Alfredo Zayas

Lawyer; writer; orator; Vice-president of the Republic of Cuba, 1909-1913.

Alfredo Zayas y Alfonso was born on the twenty-first of February, 1861, in the city of Havana where his whole life has been spent. His early education was obtained in the colegio of Madame Boblag and the more famous colegio "El Salvador" founded by Luz Caballero which was then under the charge of his father, Juan Bruno Zayas. In 1882 at the age of twenty-one he received the degree of Licenciado en Derecho from the University of Havana and entered upon the practice of the law. Like most Cubans of his generation he shared in the revolutionary activities of the time; he was a member of the Autonomist party, a contributor of propagandist articles to various newspapers, editor of a literary magazine, and representative of the Revolutionary party in Havana. His part in the revolutionary program resulted in his arrest and imprisonment in 1896 and his exile in 1897.

With the triumph of the Revolution in 1898, he returned to political life in which he has since been active. He has held many offices. As early as 1889 he was Prosecuting Attorney; in 1891 Municipal Judge; in 1901 acting Mayor of Havana and Member of the Council; in 1905 he was made Senator for the Province of Havana and chosen President of the Senate; in 1906 he was President of the Revolutionary Committee; in 1907 he was chosen member of the Committee of Consultation to deal with matters affecting Cuba and the United States and in 1908 he was elected Vice-president of the Republic.

The literary interests of Dr. Zayas have been many and varied. He has been a frequent contributor to the press and to magazines on political and historical subjects; he was for six years Librarian of the Sociedad Económica de Amigos del Pais and for many years its President. His published works include El presbitero don José Agustin Caballero y su Vida y sus obras, 1891. Cuba Autonómica. Lexicografia Antillana. Habana, 1914.