Historia geográfica, civil y natural de la Isla de San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico
Iñigo Abbad y Lasierra (1745-1813) was a Spanish-born Catholic priest who became secretary to the bishop of Puerto Rico in 1773 and remained on the island for ten years. Abbad's Historia, originally published in Spain, is considered the first modern historical work on Puerto Rico. It begins with the Spanish discovery and conquest of the island and ends in the late eighteenth century. Chapters twenty through forty are devoted to the study of the island's climate, economy, population, geography and natural history. Acosta's edition is an annotated and enlarged version of Abbad's work, published eighty years after the original. Acosta brought the Historia up-to-date (1866) and incorporated much new information that had not been available to Abbad. Acosta added his corrections and additions to the end of each chapter. As Acosta approached his own time, he incorporated much new historical information. He also used his annotations as a vehicle to advocate the abolition of slavery in Puerto Rico and encourage Spain to reduce Puerto Rican trade barriers.
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This is the first comprehensive historical description written about Puerto Rico. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the history of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. It most be noted that the book is written from the perspective of a Spanish priest and some aspects may be written from a subjective point of view. Still, this is a treasure for Puertorricans and history students everywhere.