Revisiting Why Spaniards Migrated to Spain’s Colonies of Puerto Rico and Cuba: Experiences of a Catalan Family in the 1800s

This essay explores the experiences of one family and one Catalan community (Begur in Gerona) immigrating to Cuba and Puerto Rico in the nineteenth century.  We begin by discussing what Catalans learned about the Caribbean, because they came to possess considerable knowledge and intimacy with the region.  Next, we rely on what Catalan historians have uncovered about moves to the Caribbean, particularly about Begur and the general province of Gerona, adding particulars of one local family.  We explore why the youth of Begur left for the New World, introducing this new scholarship to the readers of this journal.  Engaging with historians of immigration is kept to a minimum, but not ignored, since this topic is well-trod ground, saving space for explaining what occurred with this one family and community.  It concludes about the specific effects such migrations had on both its participants and on the home villages in Spain, particularly on how the identity of a family evolved over multiple generations. The article demonstrates what micro-case studies of a family can reveal about migrations from Spain to the New World.

Profane Bodies: The Shifting Conceptions of the Sacred and the Profane in the Spanish Atlantic Enlightenment

This article examines the evolving construction of the “profane” at the hands of eighteenth-century Spanish Catholic reformers inspired by a pessimistic Jansenist dualism about the body and spirit, as well as an increasing distrust of the consumerism and pursuits of “pleasure” that were becoming more characteristic of eighteenth-century Spanish socioeconomic life. The term “profane” was an elastic term that conveyed elite cultural and religious concerns and in much of the Spanish-speaking world, the primary meaning of the profane shifted from violating the sacred to that which was immodest and excessive. Spanish elites came to demarcate religion by new polarities—not by the demonic and the divine, but that which drew attention to or delighted the body and that which minimized and disciplined it. This article examines these themes through the lens of reform efforts to extinguish confraternal comedies. But in shifting the concerns about the profane from demonic idols to idols of flesh in their endeavors to “purify” worship, reformers upended the festive universe their predecessors in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had helped construct and had long condoned. Thus, we cannot simply remark, as many historiographies do, that eighteenth-century reformers finally found the “mixture of the sacred and profane” intolerable and set about untangling them. We must ask instead how elites and laity defined the sacred and the profane, how those meanings changed, and how the laity and elites –particularly those who maintained an integral, Thomistic understanding of the body– challenged reformers’ new parameters of the sacred and profane.

Death in the Indies: Basque Immigration and Memory in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

Using testaments from Basque immigrants to the New World in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, this article assesses the ways in which memory was altered, reworked, and reinforced. Basques represented a critical group of trans-Atlantic immigrants during the early colonial period, and were in high demand due to their expertise in mining and shipping industries. Settling in the New World, and often never returning to the Basque Country, their testaments document a vivid sense of emotional loss and longing, which was ironically often not reciprocated by their family members who had not immigrated. Focusing on testaments that were challenged in court by reluctant heirs, often who could barely remember the testator after decades of absence, I argue that these litigated testaments reveal a rare glimpse into the processes in which memory forked through absence, and diverged from continued lived experience. The trauma and grief of absence further contributed to this refashioning of memory, altering the ways in which Basque immigrants remembered their homelands, and the ways in which they felt tied to people they had not seen in decades or whom they had never met.

The Double Nationality of João Rodrigues Cabrilho, Portuguese-Born, Naturalized Castilian. Part I – A Much Needed Review

This is a series of three papers revealing many important new connections between known historical documents and Alta California’s early maritime discovery. It brings new data about the complex network of individuals and events leading to this epic voyage, while focusing on the nationality of João Rodrigues Cabrilho and other Portuguese shipowners in Alvarado-Mendoça’s 1540-1543 fleet.

Remarkably, Part I presents Bartolome Ferrer’s unpublished 1547 testament, where Cabrilho’s pilot-major declares to be natural (likely as in being born, not naturalized) of Albissola, near Savona. Ferrer was Genoese, not Spanish, correcting what is currently accepted.

Furthermore, Part I critically reviews Cabrilho’s epoch international context, and gives many examples of naturalized foreigners who were not Spanish-born, seriously questioning the simplistic and premature conclusions about Cabrilho being Spanish-born based on W. Kramer’s 2015 important documental findings.

Part II details categoric evidence about Alvar Nunes, a Portuguese pilot, co-owner of the Santa María de Buena Esperança, very likely Cabrilho’s fleet second largest ship (perhaps rebaptized as Santa María de La Victoria). Noticeable, António Fernandes may have been the Portuguese owner of another ship in Alvarado’s fleet – the Anton Hernandez, alternatively indicated as Cabrilho’s fleet second largest ship.

Adding to Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas’ sole confirmation (c. 1615) of Cabrilho’s Portuguese nationality, Part II details an extremely important 1604 map of California, done by the Florentine cartographer Matteo di Jacopo Neroni da Peccioli. Based on Spanish sources, this “novel” 1604 map (introduced in Part I) shows the toponym Cabrilho’s Bay, with the navigator’s name  written in its Portuguese form (with lh), thus significantly reinforcing Cabrilho’s Portuguese nationality. Clearly, Herrera is not alone anymore.

Most crucially, supporting Cabrilho’s Portuguese nationality, new, diversified, and strong circumstantial evidence is documented regarding Juan Rodríguez(s) portugués (who was Cabrilho, in all verisimilitude) in Honduras and Nicaragua. While António Fernandes was a Portuguese neighbor of Granada (Nicaragua), Alvar Núñez portugués and Juan Rodríguez portugués (their names in Castilian written documents) met in León de Nicaragua, at least by October 1529.

Part II also presents Cabril’s parish (north of Portugal) ecclesiastic archive records of a Rodrigues family from the 1520’s. Furthermore, past centuries forgotten documents about nearby Mount Cabrilho, confirm that Cabrilho as a name did exist in Portugal.

Part II ends by discussing remarkable new Carbon-14 radioisotope chronological data strongly supporting early 1530’s as the time when Cabrilho offered a crucifix to his Rodrigues family in Lapela (de Cabril), in agreement with their ancestral oral tradition.

Part III addresses homonymous of Juan Rodríguez(s) portugués (like Panama’s rich Portuguese merchant) who were not Cabrilho, and homonymous of other key individuals in many of Cabrilho’s life events, including Francisco López portugués, perhaps also naturalized in nowadays Palma del Río. Finally, Part III also discusses what likely is the very first evidence about the existence of Cabrilho’s own testament.

City between a Striped Flag and a Bisected Banner: Contested Imagination of Barcelona between Catalan Nationalism and Anarcho-Syndicalism in Twentieth Century Spain

This paper analyzes the history of bilateral relations between Catalan nationalist and anarcho-syndicalist movements in Barcelona from the Revolution of 1868 to the Spanish Civil War. Drawing from historical literature, party pamphlets, periodicals, and memoirs, the paper primarily explores the idea of conceptual frontier as the method through which both the Catalan nationalists and the anarcho-syndicalists constructed a collective civic identity wholly alternative to national Spain associated with backwardness and political oppressiveness. For the Catalan nationalists, the source of imagining Barcelona as the capital of national Catalonia distinct from Spain was the history, especially the medieval past of the thalassocratic Crown of Aragon. As for the anarcho-syndicalists, they imagined Barcelona as the heart and frontier of a whole new world not only unassociated with, but opposing all nationalisms based on the proletarian social experience and its distinct cosmography of the working-class barrios. Highlighting points of collision and common influences such as religion, cosmopolitan urban culture, international exposure, the paper concludes with the total rupture of Barcelona’s political landscape with the Francoist victory in the Spanish Civil War, reflecting upon the wider legacy of the bilateral relationship between the two movements that most importantly shaped Barcelona’s 20th century.

Liberal Protectionism in Nineteenth Century Spain: An Alternative Route to Economic Modernization

The nineteenth century dispute between the protectionist and free trade movements in Spain divided the country, often bitterly, for nearly a century. Catalan, and later Vizcaya, industrialists fiercely opposed the progressive dismantling of trade protection by a succession of free trade supporting governments. Economic and political historians have traditionally interpreted the conflict as a case of a powerful group of self-interested manufacturers defending their sectoral and regional interests against more advanced foreign products and technologies, especially from Britain. The result, they suggest, was to undermine the economic modernization of the country as it attempted to catch up with the rapidly industrializing economies of northern Europe. This paper argues that the debate is more accurately viewed as an argument between two liberal factions with competing visions about the most effective way to modernize the national economy. On the one hand, free trade supporters, encouraged by an unrelenting British campaign, looked for the strongest possible integration of the country into the new industrial economies of northern Europe, based on Spain’s natural advantages in food and mineral supply. For their part, the liberal protectionists also wanted to see Spain participate in the new dynamic world market, but as a modern industrial competitor rather than as a complementary supplier. The paper argues that both factions were committed to a fundamentally reformed and modernized economy driven by a unified and effective state. Both were strongly patriotic movements, though driven by radically different assumptions about the nature of liberalism and society.

Influence and Skulduggery: What the Vetting of Inquisition Officials in 17th-Century Spain Reveals about the Family of Catalina Clara Ramírez de Guzmán (1618-c.1685)

The detailed records compiled by the Spanish Inquisition are an indispensable source of information not just on the controversial institution itself but also for expanding our historical knowledge of Golden Age Spain. They can also be an extremely valuable tool for the investigation of the family antecedents of literary figures of the period. This is particularly important when relatively little biographical information exists on an author, as is the case of the lesser-known Extremaduran poet, Catalina Clara Ramírez de Guzmán (Llerena, 1618-1685), whose two younger brothers sought appointment to the junior post of familiars of the Inquisition in the 1640s. In addition to adding to our understanding of the detailed vetting required for such posts, the abundant and highly intriguing official documentation relating to their application is of immense value as it sheds light on bitter controversies involving the Ramírez family and provides irrefutable evidence of deep-running enmities and rivalries in the author’s home city, particularly within the ranks of its Inquisition Tribunal.

Aleksander Solzhenitsyn Arrives in Spain: The Gulag Debate and the Transition to Democracy

This article aims to analyze the scandal sparked by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn during his stay in Spain in 1976, when he gave an interview on National TV arguing that Spaniards did not know what a dictatorship was. It will show how the scandal was connected with the convulsive Spanish political context and how the different participating actors blamed or praised Solzhenitsyn depending on the political side they occupied and the project they implicitly wanted for Spain. The controversy took place on the pages of newspapers and magazines whose analysis can help us better identify the diverse political groups that concurred after the death of the dictator. The dispute provoked by Solzhenitsyn brought to light many issues of Spanish political culture, such as the Spanish Civil War, the communist experience or the various conceptions of democracy. Analyzing all these elements, the article aims to give a broad view of Spanish political culture and how Solzhenitsyn’s example had a significant force given the historical conditions the country was going through.

Spanish Inquisitors, Etiquette Culture, and the Brain in the 17th Century

Suggestions to Granada inquisitors and royal judges locked in a 1678 dispute over public courtesies included a series of ambivalent movements to break the impasse. Whether we think of half-bows, moving only one knee if greeted while praying, and even appearing to get up from chair without actually doing so, these subtle gestures were typical of a mannered habitus informing ceremonial etiquette. Considering Spanish inquisitors during the seventeenth century, this article employs an interdisciplinary analysis of the intersection between brain, body, and culture in the formation of such a gestural habitus. After all, seeing and doing precise etiquette gestures brought neurophysiological process, such as visual perception, motor control and social cognition, into interaction with broader expectations and institutional cultures. Ultimately, even in the midst of changing gestural codes and social epistemologies, the inquisitorial performance of etiquette was built on the daily iteration of neurophysiological processes embedded in tribunal life itself.

Spain in the Depths of Russia 1941-1944

This article focuses on the history from 1941 to 1944 of one of the orphanages created for three thousand young Spaniards evacuated in 1937 and 1938 from war-torn Spain to the USSR. It examines the relationship between Spaniards at the orphanage, both children and adults, with their Soviet counterparts at that facility and in the surrounding community. It also measures the extent of a Soviet commitment to the well-being of its young guests and the revolutionary cause abroad. Finally, this article’s close observation of a Spanish institution compels, if ironically, an assessment of the loci and practice of political power at the USSR’s center and periphery. This work is based on memoirs, interviews, and abundant archival records produced by and about the orphanage.