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A Guide to the Cuban Slave Death Certificates and Burial Letters Collection

Finding aid created by Margarita Vargas-Betancourt

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections

July 2017



Descriptive Summary

Title: Cuban Slave Death Certificates and Burial Letters Collection
Dates: 1852-1898
Bulk dates: 1860s-1870s
Abstract: The collection, which spans the second half of the nineteenth century, includes 28 documents. Some are letters of slave owners to the priest of the church of Montserrat in Havana, Cuba; others are death certificates of slaves, runaway slaves, and free persons of color issued by the Real Hospital de Caridad de San Felipe y Santiago.
Extent: .01 Linear feet. 1 Folder.
Identification: MSS 0397
Language(s): Spanish
Note: This guide is available in Spanish at http://www.library.ufl.edu/spec/manuscript/guides/cuban-slave-death-certs_es.pdf

Biographical/Historical Note

From the sixteenth century up to its abolition in 1886, slavery was an important form of labor for the Cuban economy, especially the production of sugar. Within this society, the Catholic Church provided some services to slaves, such as assigning burial space for slaves and providing care to the sick in the church's charity hospitals. One of these hospitals was the Real Hospital de Caridad de San Felipe y Santiago established in 1603 by the order of friars of San Juan de Dios. The hospital provided care for soldiers, white people, blacks, and people of mixed races. However, it functioned mostly as a hospice, for most of the people who went there were either very old or very sick. Alexander Humboldt indicated that plantation owners used to send their sick slaves to die to this hospital so they did not have to care for them in their own houses.


Scope and Content

The collection, which spans the second half of the nineteenth century, includes letters from slave owners to the priest of the church of Montserrat in Havana, Cuba. In these letters they report the death of their slaves and ask for burial arrangements. The collection also includes death certificates of slaves, runaway slaves, and free persons of color issued by the Real Hospital de Caridad de San Felipe y Santiago. Both types of documents provide extensive detail on the slaves, such as their names, racial classification, ages, origin, and cause of death. The letters are manuscript; the death certificates are completed printed forms. The collection also includes a notice of baptism and the death certificate of a Spaniard issued by the Hospital General Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes de La Habana.


Arrangement

The collection is arranged in chronological order.


Access or Use Restrictions

Access

The collection is open for research.


Related or Separated Material

Cuban Slave Insurance Collection

Chinese Indentured Workers in Cuba Contracts

Contrato de Cárdenas para Leopoldo, un culí chino en Cuba, 1867 June 10


Administrative Information

Alternative Format Available

This guide is available in Spanish at http://www.library.ufl.edu/spec/manuscript/guides/cuban-slave-death-certs_es.pdf.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Cuban Slave Death Certificates and Burial Letters Collection, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

The collection was purchased in 2016.


Contents List

Folder
1 Letter to the priest of Monserrat requesting burial for the black freeman Juan who suffered dementia. 1852 May 21
1 Letter from Alejandro Núñez to the priest of Monserrat regarding the death of the black boy Luis, son of his slave Salmira lucumí. 1864 March 1
1 Letter from Gabriel de Oliva to the priest of Monserrat requesting burial for his slave Joaquín. 1864 March 19
1 Letter from Francisca Cantero to the priest of Monserrat regarding death of her slave Micaela Cantero. 1864 March 31
1 Letter from Felipe Barona to the priest of Monserrat regarding the suicide of the black Emeterio lucumí, slave of don Pedro de la Calzada. 1864 November 10
1 Letter from Manuel Morell to the priest of Monserrat regarding the death of his black slave Asunción criolla. 1864 November 22
1 Letter to the priest of Monserrat requesting burial for the newborn baby Theresa, daughter of the black Theresa, slave of Manuel Menéndez. 1864 November 24
1 Letter from Dolores de Estorino to the priest of Monserrat requesting the paperwork to bury the slave baby named Esperanza, daughter of the black criolla Isabel, her slave. 1867 March 14
1 Death certificate of the black slave Juan, property of doña Asunción Adame, Real Hospital de Caridad de San Felipe y Santiago. 1870 August 12
1 Letter from Eugenio Faurés to the priest of Monserrat regarding the death of the boy Lino, slave of the heirs of don Antonio de [Foias]. 1871 May 22
1 Death certificate of Federico Castro criollo, Real Hospital de Caridad de San Felipe y Santiago. 1871 June 12
1 Death certificate of the runaway slave José Marquer, Real Hospital de Caridad de San Felipe y Santiago. 1871 June 26
1 Letter from Bernardo Figueredo to the priest of Monserrat regarding the burial of the mixed-race baby Francisco Amadeo Segundo, son of his slave Fordecia. 1871 June 26
1 Death certificate of the black Fidelino, Real Hospital de Caridad de San Felipe y Santiago. 1871 October 9
1 Letter from Nicolasa Crespo to the priest of Monserrat regarding the death of his slave Luis, carabalí. 1872 November 27
1 Death certificate of the runaway slave Tirso from Africa, Real Hospital de Caridad de San Felipe y Santiago. 1873 August 19
1 Death certificate of the runaway slave Domingo from Africa, Real Hospital de Caridad de San Felipe y Santiago. 1874 April 14
1 Letter from Matilde García de Pelayo to the priest of Monserrat requesting burial for his 12-year old mixed-race slave Alejo, son of her slave Merced criolla. 1874 June 25
1 Letter from Manuel Peraza to the priest of Monserrat requesting burial for the baby Florencio Blanco, son of María de Magdalena Cruz, slave of don José Blanco (mixed race). 1874 June 27
1 Letter written by don Félix Viana requesting burial in Cristóbal Colón to his slave Antonio from Congo. 1874 October 21
1 Death certificate of the runaway slave Antonio, Hospital de Caridad de San Felipe y Santiago. 1874 November 1
1 Letter to the priest of Monserrat regarding the death of the black slave Ángela criolla. 1874 November 5
1 Note on the baptism of Claudio de la Caridad del Pilar, from China, son of Si-huá and Vasá, at the church Nuestra Señora del Pilar. 1875 December 27
1 Letter to the priest of Monserrat requesting a burial for the Asian Pedro Layunta, from Emuy. 1876 July 22
1 Request to bury for free the free black woman María de la Cruz Flores, whose employer was doña Regla Escarrás, Alcaldía del Barrio de Colón. 1881 January 17
1 Death certificate of don Manuel Suárez Rico from Lamuño, Oviedo (Spain), son of José and Perfecta, Hospital General Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes de La Habana. 1898 December 15
1 Letter to the chaplain of the cemetery of Cristóbal Colón requesting him to bury the Asian Pedro Layunta. undated
1 Letter from Florencia Bry de Jackson to the priest of Monserrat requesting burial for the black baby Patricio, son of her slave Paula criolla. undated

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Burial.
Catholic Church.
Cuba -- Havana.
Cuba.
Death certificates.
Nineteenth century.
Slavery.




For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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