The Asturian emulation to America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was a social phenomenon that over the years has become part of the history of the region. Both for what the Indians undertook back in their homeland, as for the indelible mark that the Asturian has left behind in several countries of South America and Central America.
The Archive of Indianos-Emigration Museum, located in the town of Colombres, in the municipality of Ribadedeva, is surely a perpetual and very complete sample of this migratory past, in which the visitor with interest will discover enough reasons to understand how many buildings, including social acts and part of the current folklore of Asturias are debtors of those families who crossed the pond.
Where do you locate the Indianos Archive?
The house where the archive-museum is located was built by the one who emigrated to Mexico Iñigo Noriega Laso, who returned to his land full of money and with the intention of building a whole manorial enclosure in the record of his fortune.
The building dates from 1906 and is named after Quinta Guadalupe in honor of the founder's wife. This palace, a clear example of Indian architecture, however passed through several uses before reaching the current. It was Casa de Reposo and Hospital de Sangre after its first owner died in Mexico. Later, it would be acquired by the Spanish state and converted into a Social Assistance Center until 1986. The following year, on the initiative of the Principality of Asturias, Caja de Asturias and the University of Oviedo, it was sent to the headquarters of the Archivo de Indianos Foundation.
What does the Archivo de Indianos treasure?
Its interior it is absolutely eloquent, speaks for itself of a unique aesthetic, the indiana, that reinforces the senses with the solidity that the best and most exotic building materials provide. In this, the Indians were very perseverant, reaching the ends of boats loaded with wood crossing the Atlantic on request, to build a house in Asturias with the youngest wood in the tropics. In the museum some units with furniture of the time have been reconstructed. The rest of the building is occupied by a permanent exhibition on the different aspects of emigration: from tickets that speak of the departure of emigrants and ports of destination, to the great social centers of Spanish emigration that today have a great activity and that emerged decades after they were acquired those bills, and not with little effort, by a good part of the peasant class of Asturias. In this way, the memories and objects of that game have as much weight as the meaning of morriña that marked the Asturian emigrant during decades in his exile.
The foundation owns a specialized library and an important documentary archive about the Asturian centers of Mexico, Buenos Aires, Cuba and other Asturian and Spanish centers and societies in America. In his work of research and documentation he is concerned to be faithful to the reasons and circumstances that marked the outward journey, the stay and the return, and pursues the creation of a large database capable, in turn, of generating Multiple sign investigations, related to emigration to America during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Walking through the house is like walking through history and the feeling of nostalgia for many. There are no historiographical references that contrast this first impression. The Foundation has an assembly hall that annually convenes a series of scholars on the subject. Many weighty considerations and conclusions have already emerged from their meetings, without margin for error, in many cases almost obvious but with the precise support of data and facts.
The Asturian emigration
It is known, for example, that the Asturian emigration was later than the rest of Europe. It began to migrate in a notorious way at the beginning of the 20th century, whereas the migratory flows from Europe already took place throughout the XIX century and before. Another characteristic note is the predilection of the Asturians, as well as the Spaniards in general, by the American countries, with the exclusion of the United States, a place chosen by Italians, English and Germans in their majority, but never the Spanish as the first destination. , because they had enormous legal obstacles to settle there. Against him was a whole legislation that marginalized them and did not encourage the trip to these lands. It must be taken into account, of course, that Spain had just had a war with the Americans.
The bulk of those leaving were young people and single people. Also, and in general as in the whole of the state, it is an emigration in which there is a greater proportion of people who pay their passages more or less voluntarily, either with their own means or paid by companies or relatives of the places of destiny. The emigrant always had the support of a family, of some relatives, who invited him and collaborated economically in the emigration. In other countries, on the contrary, there were more recruiting agents who enrolled people with few resources and practically forced them to emigrate.
It is also known that the expression «Make the americas» translates the impression, on the part of those who remain, that those who have left have improved economically, that they have taken advantage of the circumstances of those countries to the fullest. It is also true that we must fight the idea that everyone was successful on their journey. Not all achieved it, but a majority, and this is measured in the regions of origin where the prestige of the returnees, the Indians, was very high.
This circumstance can be observed without going any further in the town of Colombres, where the Archive is located, because it breathes even a Latin American air, with a town hall and a circular plaza that could well be the replica of a Mexican public space.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com
Information of interestAddress / Location:
Quinta de Guadalupe, s / n
Telephone: 985 41 20 05
More information: www.archivodeindianos.es