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El Mundo (San Juan, Puerto Rico) printed its first issue on February 17, 1919. This Spanish-language publication self-identified as the “Diario de la mañana” (“the morning daily”). In its first years, El Mundo‘s content primarily focused on providing information from the Americas and Europe, frequently including news services from the United States.
The paper covered Puerto Rican politics, the economy, and daily life in the villages.
It also reported information about strikes in the sugarcane and tobacco industries, the 1918 influenza epidemic, and struggles for women’s rights.
The debate over political control of Puerto Rico dates to the late nineteenth century. In 1898, the United States formally became the main buyer of sugar from the island. That same year, the US invaded, and Spain lost its control of the island. Since then, corporations and the US Congress have controlled the economy and politics of Puerto Rico.
Different manifestations of this reality are evident in El Mundo. For example, advertisements for agricultural machinery such as tractors, automobiles, tires, and other symbols of “progress and modernity” made in the United States frequently occupied half or full pages of the newspaper.
Chronicling America offers access to more than 20,000 pages of El Mundo, published between 1919 and 1925. Explore the newspaper and share with us any interesting content you may find!