Fun Facts Friday: José Eustasio Rivera Salas

February 19, 2016

José Eustasio Rivera Salas (19 February, 1888 – 1 December, 1928) was a Colombian lawyer and poet.

  1. He was born in Aguas Calientes, a small suburb later incorporated into the larger city of Neiva in the municipality of San Mateo
  2. The municipality was later renamed Rivera in his honor.
  3. He was the first boy, and fifth child, out of 11 children.
  4. Rivera’s occupation is a lawyer.
  5. He once tried, and failed to run for Senate.
  6. He was appointed Legal Secretary of the Colombo-Venezuelan Border Commission he traveled through the Colombian jungles, rivers, and mountains, subjects he would later write about.
  7. His 1924 novel The Vortex (La vorágine), about the rubber workers in the Amazon basin, is considered a most important novel in Latin American literary history.
  8. In 1925, as a result of the success of The Vortex, he was elected as a member for the Investigative Commission for Exterior Relations and Colonization.
  9. Rivera published articles criticizing the Colombian government’s irregularities in contracts and the mistreatment of workers in Colombian’s rubber areas.
  10. Rivera suffered a heart attack while in New York trying to get his novel translated.


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