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Archivo General de Indias (General Archive of the Indies)

Address: C/ Santo Tomás, 5. 41071 Sevilla
Tel.: (00 34) 954 50 05 28
Contact: https://www.culturaydeporte.gob.es/cultura/areas/archivos/mc/archivos/agi/contacte.html
Website: https://www.culturaydeporte.gob.es/cultura/areas/archivos/mc/archivos/agi/portada.html

The collection of the Archivo General de Indias (General Archive of the Indies, AGI) includes the Spanish Archives Portal PARES (https://pares.mecd.gob.es) where we can find digitised and identified documentation on the passengers who left for the Indies between 1509 and 1790. Although information on emigration to America can be traced in other sections of the Seville archive, most is found in its Sección de Contratación (Trading Section), which in turn is held in the archive of the Casa de la Contratación de Sevilla (Seville Trading House) itself. This institution was created in 1503 to promote and regulate trade and navigation in the New World. Its responsibilities included the control of passengers travelling to the Indies who, once granted royal warranty, had to get permission from the officers of the Casa de la Contratación, and were therefore recorded. Among the papers in this institution are two series which refer to passengers. One is called Informaciones y licencias de pasajeros (Passenger information and permits) and the other Libros de asientos de pasajeros (Books on passenger seats).

Informaciones y licencias de pasajeros (Passenger information and permits)

This covers the period between 1534 and 1790 and comprises all the information or evidence that had to be submitted to the Casa de la Contratación by anyone who wished to travel to the newly-discovered territories, and the permits issued by the chairman and official judges of the Casa. In this information, passengers had to provide proof of their standing as long-term Christians. Therefore, some files include baptism and marriage certificates which give biographical and genealogical information not only on the passengers, but also on the people that accompanied them.

Libros de asientos de pasajeros (Books on passenger seats)

Covering the period between 1509 and 1701, these books recorded the names of people travelling to the Indies when they had been granted their corresponding permit by the Casa de la Contratación which was checked when boarding. The ship's name and its master was written on the seat.

El Catálogo de Pasajeros a Indias (The Catalogue of Passengers to the Indies) in PARES

Identifying the documentary series of the AGI resulted in the publication of fourteen volumes of the so-called Catálogo de Pasajeros a Indias (Catalogue of Passengers to the Indies). These volumes have been uploaded to PARES and are an essential tool for accessing information on the personal and geographical details and destinations of passengers travelling to the Indies during the colonial age.

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Ultramar. Licencias de embarque a la isla de Cuba y a Puerto Rico

In the Portal de Archivos Españoles PARES we also find the files concerning embarkation licences for the island of Cuba and Puerto Rico, belonging to the Overseas Section of the General Archive of the Indias. In PARES, it is possible to consult the names and surnames of emigrants, together with their personal details. There are a total of 3,679 files of passengers who applied for a licence to embark for Cuba between the years 1801 and 1835. Alternatively, there are 353 files on embarkation licences to Puerto Rico, from 1797 to 1833.

Gobierno. Audiencias. Licencias de embarque

Likewise, the Government section of this archive contains embarkation licence files from the collections of the courts of Buenos Aires, Mexico, Charcas, Quito, Guatemala, Philippines, Santa Fe, Chile, Lima, Caracas, Guadalajara, Panama and Santo Domingo, mainly from the mid 18th century to the first three decades of the 19th century.

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