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Puerto Príncipe is the place of birth not only of Cuban independence martyr Ignacio Agramonte, but also of the first epic poem of Cuban literature.
Written in 1608 by Silvestre de Balboa, who hailed from Canary Islands, the poem reflects and actual event: the abduction of a Bishop by a French privateer. "Espejo de Paciencia" (Patience Mirror) is at the same time expression of the naïveté and imagination of the poet and the revelation in blossom of the eventual mestizo character of the Cuban. In the imagery of the poem, there are naiads, surrounded by the exuberant Cuban nature and wearing aboriginal outfits; fruit; and fauna of the land together with Spaniards, natives, and African slaves, who where the population of the time.
Literature, science, and philosophy had notable representatives in this city: Esteban Borrero Echevarría (1849-1906), Gaspar Betancourt Cisneros (1803-1866), José de Armas y Céspedes (1834-1900), Enrique José Varona (1849-1933). They were, at the same time, founders in the field of Cuban literature and progenitors of new figures that would fill Cuban culture with glory. Together with literature, they did research, gave prominence to the customs of the region, and in many cases promoted technical advantages. A notable poetess, Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda (1814-1873), who made incursions in theater and narrative, became an outstanding figure of all Hispanic literature. Modern science owes to Carlos Juan Finlay, born in Camagüey, the discovery of the transmitting agent of yellow fever.
In the 20th century, Camagüey culture enriches with relevant figures of Cuban poetry: Nicolás Guillén (1902-1989) y Emilio Ballagas (1908-1954). Considered National Poet, Nicolás Guillén expresses with authenticity and artistic quality the essence of the Cuban and the problems of the exploited. The rhythm of his poetry evokes the Cuban Son, which rhythmic scheme is present in the best of the popular music of the Cuban.
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