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RAMIREZ, Alejandro (rah-me'-reth), Cuban financier, born in Alaejos, Valladolid, in 1777: died in Havana, Cuba, in 1821. When he was fifteen years old he entered in the service of the government at Alcala de Henares. In 1794 he went to Guatemala, where he was employed in the department of finance, and became its superintendent. In this capacity he made many important reforms, improved the means of communication in the country, introduced the cultivation of several useful plants, and founded many public schools and a public library. He was appointed in 1813 superintendent of the finances of Porto Rico, where one of his first measures was to open the ports of the island to foreign commerce. He founded a board of commerce, a board of agriculture, a literary and scientific society, and many public schools, and gave a great impulse to the development and progress of the island. In 1816 he was promoted superintendent of the finances of Cuba, where he founded the cities of Guantanamo, Sagua, Nuevitas, and Mariel. A census of the population and resources of the island was taken, and the tobacco monopoly was abolished. He established at Havana a botanical garden, an anatomical museum, a free academy of drawing, and numerous public schools, and promoted the development of the commerce, agriculture, and industries of the island. He was one of the best and most honest officers that was ever sent by Spain to her colonies in America, and his memory is held in high esteem throughout the island. His portrait hangs in the reception-room of the Sociedad economica, whose president he was, and it has been proposed to erect his statue in Havana.
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