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Until the publication of Law 27/1992 on State Ports and the Merchant Marine, which names the Maritime Captaincies as the new bodies of the Maritime Administration dependent on the Ministry of Public Works, the Naval Commands and Port Captaincies belonged to the Military Administration. These institutions had functions concerning the despatch of vessels and passenger control. Their documentation is held in the Archives belonging to the archive subsystem of the Ministry of Defence Navy

These collections are significant if we bear in mind that emigration abroad was mainly carried out through Spanish ports. With the generalised use of the steam engine in transatlantic navigation, by the end of the 19th century the number of ports where ships could set sail was limited, with the majority of departures conducted through five Spanish ports: Almería, Barcelona, Bilbao, Cadiz, La Coruña, Gijón, Las Palmas, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Santander, Valencia, Vigo and Villagarcía. Ship captains had to present the Captaincies with a list similar to that used for Sanidad Marítima (Maritime Health): a copy of the Bill of Health with the passenger list on the back. Today this documentation is dispersed in various locations, although it can be traced in the following archives of the Ministerio de Defensa (Ministry of Defence):

Archivo General de la Marina "Álvaro de Bazán" (General Archive of the Navy "Álvaro de Bazán")

Address: Plaza de Pradillo, 12. Viso del Marqués, Ciudad Real.
Tel.: (00 34) 926 33 67 43
E-mail: archivoalvarodebazan@fn.mde.es
Website: https://patrimoniocultural.defensa.gob.es/es/centros/archivo-marina-alvaro-bazan/portada

This archive holds documentation from the Departamentos Marítimos de Cádiz (Maritime Departments of Cadiz) (1604-1936), Cartagena (1633-1984) and Ferrol (1633-1984). Passenger lists have also been identified in the series called Despachos de buques del Departamento Marítimo de Ferrol (Dispatches of Vessels of the Ferrol Maritime Department (1876-1929).

Archivo Naval de Canarias (Naval Archive of the Canary Islands)

Address: Calle Verdi, 15. 35001 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Tel.: (00 34) 928 33 75 03
Website: https://patrimoniocultural.defensa.gob.es/es/centros/archivo-naval-canarias/portada

This archive holds the collection of the Las Palmas Naval Command (1898-1995).

Archivo Naval de Cartagena (Naval Archive of Cartagena)

Address: Calle Real s/n. Arsenal Militar de Cartagena (Cartagena Naval). 30290 Cartagena
Tel.: (00 34) 968 12 71 37
E-mail: arnacart@fn.mde.es
Website: https://patrimoniocultural.defensa.gob.es/es/centros/archivo-naval-cartagena/portada

This archive safeguards the documentation of the Comandancias de Marina (Naval Commands) of Alicante (1969-1976), Barcelona (1971-1980), Cartagena (1921-1976), Castellón (1818-1976), Ibiza (1894-1954), Palma de Mallorca (1952-1994) and Valencia (1948-1955).

Archivo Naval de Ferrol (Naval Archive of Ferrol)

Address: Sala de Armas. Arsenal Militar (Ferrol-Naval). 15490 Ferrol, A Coruña.
Tel.: (00 34) 981 33 89 47
E-mail: archivonavalferrol@fn.mde.es
Website: https://patrimoniocultural.defensa.gob.es/es/centros/archivo-naval-ferrol/portada

This archive conserves the documentation of the Comandancias de Marina (Naval Commands) of Bilbao (1895-1991), Ferrol (1808-1975), Gijón (1850-1947), A Coruña (1869-1979), San Sebastián (1849-1987), Santander (1870-1975), Vigo (1883-1970) and Villagarcía (1901-1975).

Archivo Naval de San Fernando (Naval Archive of San Fernando)

Address: Población Militar de San Carlos s/n. 11110 San Fernando, Cádiz.
Tel.: (00 34) 956 54 50 00, ext. 35000
Website: https://patrimoniocultural.defensa.gob.es/es/centros/archivo-naval-san-fernando/portada

To date, the collections of the Comandancia de Marina (Naval Commands) of Algeciras (1919-1975), Ceuta (1942-1980) and Seville (1928-1971) have been identified

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