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.

Review of Simon Kuper, The Barcelona Complex: Lionel Messi and the Making — and Unmaking — of the World’s Greatest Soccer Club

Review of Aurora G. Morcillo, (In)Visible Acts of Resistance in the Twilight of the Franco Regime: A Historical Narration

Review of Beatriz Blasco Esquivias, Jonatan Jair López Muñoz, and Sergio Ramiro Ramírez, eds., Las mujeres y las artes. Mecenas, artistas, emprendedoras, coleccionistas

Review of Sylvia Z. Mitchell, Queen, Mother, Stateswoman: Mariana of Austria and the Government of Spain

Review of Natalia Silva Prada, Pasquines, cartas y enemigos: Cultura del lenguaje infamante en Nueva Granada y otros reinos americanos, siglos XVI y XVII