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Jíbaro, a term describing the rural subsistence population of the inland regions of Puerto Rico. During the 1890s and early twentieth century, the jíbaro was characterized as an untrustworthy and uncultured peasant. In the 1960s, under the nationalist program of the Popular Democratic Party and its leader, Luis Muñoz Marín, the jíbaro reemerged as a symbol of Puerto Rican identity. While perhaps poor in material wealth, the jíbaro was considered to be rich in cultural traits: hospitable, honorable, and hardworking. The virtues of jíbaro culture became identified with an idealized political image of Puero Rican nationality. This depiction was adopted by both pro-independence and pro-statehood political groups. Notable among the former was Eugenio María de Hostos, who called them "philosophers of nature" in his 1863 novel La peregrinación de Bayoán. Despite the effects of modernization and urbanization, which produced migration from rural to urban areas in the 1940s, the rural image of the jíbaro remains a powerful symbol of puertoriqueñidad. "Estado Jíbaro" was the term coined by Governor Luis A. Ferré to describe a state in which Puerto Rican culture would exist within a multicultural society. Some Amazonian indigenous groups in Peru and Ecuador have erroneously been called jíbaros by outsiders. In the past, some of these groups, such as the Shuar, may have manufactured shrunken heads.

See alsoCampesino; Ferré Aguayo, Luis Antonio; Margil de Jesús, Antonio; Muñoz Marín, Luis; Shuar.


José C. Rosario, The Development of the Puerto Rican Jíbaro and His Present Attitude Towards Society (1935).

Kenneth R. Carr, A Historical Dictionary of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (1973).

Raymond Carr, Puerto Rico: A Colonial Experiment (1984).

Additional Bibliography

Bolla, Luis. Los Achuar: Sub etnia del pueblo de los Aínts o jí Baros. Lima: Centro Amazónico de Antropología y Aplicación Práctica (CAAAP), 2003.

Guerra, Lillian. Popular Expression and National Identity in Puerto Rico: The Struggle for Self, Community, and Nation. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1998.

Hostos, Eugenio María de. La peregrinación de Bayoán. Río Piedras, PR: Editorial Edil, 1970.

María, José de. "Gramática y vocabulario jíbaros." In Boletín de la Sociedad Ecuatoriana de Estudios Históricos y Americanos. Vol. 1, nos. 2-3; vol. 2, nos. 4-5. Quito: J. Jijon y Caamaño, 1918.

Torres-Robles, Carmen L. "La mitificación y desmitificación del jibaro como símbolo de la identidad nacional puertorriqueña." Bilingual Review/Revista Bilingüe 24, no. 3 (September-December 1999): 241-253.

                                  Heather K. Thiessen