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Galván, Manuel de Jesús (1834–1910)

Galván, Manuel de Jesús (1834–1910)

Manuel de Jesús Galván (b. 1834; d. 1910), Dominican writer, politician, and jurist. Galván was considered the Dominican Republic's greatest writer for his book Enriquillo, which dealt with the confrontation between the indigenous Tainos and Spanish colonizers. Galván was also a member of the Dominican Congress and a justice of the Supreme Court. Considered a masterwork of Spanish literature, Enriquillo is a fictionalized account of the struggle of the last Taino cacique, Enrique, who fled his Spanish landlord into the Bahoruco Mountains and organized with his followers a thirteen-year resistance (1520–1533) to Spanish rule. While Enrique and his followers never surrendered, and while a peace agreement that moved the surviving Tainos to reservations was signed, by the 1550s the Taino population had been virtually wiped out. Galván's novel was not published until 1882 and contains considerable embellishment, including the oft-repeated nineteenth-century style of depicting the indigenous Americans as "noble savages." Despite its nostalgia for the vanquished, Galván's novel is considered one of the greatest novels produced by a Dominican.

See alsoDominican Republic; Literature: Spanish America.


Manuel De Jesús Galván, Manuel de Jesús Galván's Enriquillo: The Cross and the Sword, translated by Robert Graves (1975).

Louise L. Cripps, The Spanish Caribbean: From Columbus to Castro (1979).

Additional Bibliography

Durán-Cogan, Mercedes F., and Antonio Gomez-Moriana, eds. National Identities and Sociopolitical Changes in Latin America. New York: Routledge, 2001.

Summer, Doris. "Borrón y cuenta nueva: Comienzos tardíos y razas tempranas en Enriquillo, Cumandá y Tabaré." Casa de las Américas, 187 (Apr.-June 1992): 136-140.

                                  Michael Powelson

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