The Latin American Archive

Learn about the history of Asturian's emigration

The Asturian Emigration to America at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century was a social phenomenon that with the passing of time has become a big part of the region’s history. Before they returned to their home land, the Latin Americans had been leaving footsteps all along the South American and Central American countries.

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The foundation of the Latin Americans Archive-Museum of Emigration is located in the locality of Colombres, in the council of Ribadedeva. This place is a sign of the migratory past, where the interested visitor will find several reasons behind the understanding of numerous buildings, social acts and part of the present folklore of Asturias, that are the result of those families who crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

Where is the Latin Americans Archive-Museum of Emigration?

The house in which the archive-museum is located, was built by Iñigo Noriega Laso, a person who emigrated to Mexico and came back as a wealthy man with the intention of building a stately home in honour of his fortunes.

This building was build in 1906 and it is named Quinta Guadalupe in honour of the founder’s wife. This small palace is a clear example of Latin American architecture, but it had several uses before the current one. First of all, it was a Rest House and a blood hospital after the death of its first owner in Mexico. Later on, it would have been acquired by the Spanish state that converted it into a centre for Social Assistance up until 1986. The following year, the Principado of Asturias, Caja de Asturias and the University of Oviedo, finally turned the house into the central office for the Latin Americans Archive Foundation.

What can we discover in the Latin Americans Archive-Museum of Emigration?

The building’s interior says a lot about this culture with its unique aesthetic, the Latin American culture characterised by the solidity of its materials, that are considered to be the best for this kind of construction. The Latin Americans used to cross the Atlantic Ocean in big ships loaded with the best types of wood in order to build houses in Asturias, the youngest of the wood coming from the Tropics. In the museum are reconstructions in which some of the furniture in the room is similar to the furniture of that time.

The rest of the building shows a permanent exposition of the different aspects of the emigration: for instance tickets that show the emigrants departures and arrivals to the new ports. The Spanish social centres nowadays show signs of vivid activity, and these new social centres arose thanks to the great efforts of the Asturian peasants. In this sense all of the memories and objects of their departure together with the nostalgia of the emigrants for their country, marked the Asturian emigrant character during decades.

The foundation owns a specialised library, and an important documentary archive regarding Asturian centres in Mexico, Buenos Aires, Cuba and a number of other centres and Asturian societies in America. The main job of these societies was to investigate and find reliable evidence of the surrounding circumstances of the arrival, stay and return, and pursue the creation of a database.

The investigations span from various years during the 19th and 20th centuries, and deal with the different branches of emigration to America.

Taking a walk by the house is like travelling through history, and a feeling of nostalgia for all those emigrants. In the inside can one find many historical references. The Foundation houses an assembly hall that conducts many studies of this concern anually. From these meetings we have different considerations and conclusions all supported by precise data and facts.

The Asturian emigration

It is known that the Asturian emigration took place a bit later than in the rest of Europe. The first numerous emigrations began at the very beginning of the 20th century, while in Europe, the migratory flow began in the 19th century and ever before in some places. The Asturian people as well as the rest of Spain preferred the South American countries in which to start a new life rather than the United States. The United States received Italian, English and German emigration since the Spanish hag legal problems to settle. The existing legislation kept the Spanish people apart from these lands. This was due to the fact that Spain had recently has a warlike conflict with the Americans.

All of these emigrants were young and single people. They paid for their tickets in a voluntary way, thanks to the money granted by some firms and the money coming from the families living in the places of destination. Usually, the emigrant was economically supported by his family that invited him and collaborated actively in the emigration process at the same time. In other countries on the contrary, the poorest people were recruited and forced to leave their native countries in search of a better life in a new country.

It is also known that the expression “hacer las Americas” comes from the fact that the Spanish emigrants living in South American countries, finally got to improve their earnings and way of living. But it is also true their not all of them were successful on their journey. In the case of the Latin Americans, most of them got in the end after many years of hard working in a foreign country, to come back for good without economical problems for the rest of their lives.

An example of those emigrants who could improve their livings is placed in the locality of Colombres, where we can visit the important Archive of the Latin American emigrants. It still retains its origins and is a place where one can breathe the Latin American air on its construction. It is situated in a square next to the Town Council as if it were one of those public Mexican Squares.

Coordenadas Latitud: 43.3743591 Longitud: -4.5396600

Información de interés:

Quinta de Guadalupe, s/n
33590, Ribadedeva

Contact telephone: 985 41 20 05

More information:

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