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Spanish Immigration to the United States*

  • R. A. Gomez (a1)
Extract

In our preoccupation with the Spaniards of earlier centuries and their subsequent impact on the history of the United States, we have tended to overlook the Spanish immigrants of modern decades. The presence of large numbers of Spanish family names in the United States, particularly in New York City and in western states, has obscured the fact that very few Spaniards have come to the United States directly from Spain. It is the purpose of this paper to investigate the data on modern movements of Spaniards to the Americas in general, with special emphasis on the United States, and to consider the pattern of Spanish settlement in the United States that resulted from these movements.

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Footnotes
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The author is indebted to the American Philosophical Society for a travel grant which greatly facilitated research in the United States and Spain. This paper is intended as a framework for a book on the subject.

Footnotes
References
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1 The terms “Spaniard” and “Spanish,” when used hereafter in this paper, refer to Spaniards who have come directly from Spain or who have come after only reasonable transitory movement through other countries.

2 League of Nations, International Labor Office, Migration In Its Various Forms (Geneva, 1926), pp. 7–9. Prepared for the International Economic Conference, 1927.

3 Some representative titles: Ribes, Vicente Borregón, La emigración española a América (Vigo, 1952); Fernández, Ramon Bullón, El problema de la emigración. Los crímenes de ella (Barcelona, 1914); Casais, José y Santaló, , Emigración española y particularmente gallega a Ultramar (Madrid, 1915); Grangel, Domingo Villar, La emigración gallega (Santiago, 1901); Vincenti, Eduardo, Estudio sobre emigración (Madrid, 1908); and special publications of the Consejo Superior de Emigración such as La emigración española transoceánica, 1911–1915.

4 The most recent meeting was held in Madrid in September, 1961. See ABC, Madrid, for September 19, 23, and 30, 1961.

5 The problem is difficult for any migratory movement. In 1922 the International Labor Office tried to assist with Methods of Compiling Emigration and Immigration Statistics.

6 The figures on Spanish migration presented in this and following paragraphs represent a comparison of those found in the following sources: (1) Spanish official figures from Estadística de la emigración e inmigración de España from 1891 through 1923 (but covering from the year 1882), published in nine volumes by the official Spanish statistical agency known from 1891 to 1919 as Dirección General del Instituto Geográfico y Estadístico; also, Anuario estadístico de España, 1960. (2) U. S. figures taken from the Annual Report of the Secretary of Labor for 1923 and 1924. (3) Argentine figures from Dirección General de Inmigración, Resumé estadístico del movimiento migratorio en la República Argentina, 1857–1924. (4) Cuban figures from U. S. Bureau of the Census, Cuba. Population, History, Resources, 1907 and Republic of Cuba, Censo de 1943.

7 On the attractions of Cuba, see Consejo Superior de Emigración (Spain), Emigración transoceánica, 1911–1915, pp. 135–136. Also, Acevedo, J.M. Alvárez, La colonia española en la economía cubana (Habana, 1936), passim.

9 In Anuario Estadístico Interamericano, 1942, immigration totals from 1820 to 1924 are given as follows: U. S. A.—33,188,000; Argentina—5,486,000; Canada—4,520,000; Brazil—3,855,000. All of these are gross figures, not accounting for departures.

8 Indeed, the preamble of Argentina’s Constitution of 1852-1853 extended equality of treatment for aliens.

10 Estimates for the longer period from 1857 place the number at about one million, as does Anuario estadístico de España, 1960, p. 48.

11 Consejo Superior de Emigración (Spain), Emigración transoceánica, 1911–1915, passim.

12 Faro de Vigo. Número especial conmemorativo del centenario, 1853–1953. Two contributors to this issue write about Galicia in Argentina: Lozano, Antonio, pp. 9293 ; Salvador Lorenzana, pp. 172–173.

13 General Franco, Spain’s Chief of State, is a Galician. It is sometimes said that his native shrewdness has provided him with the necessary qualities to achieve success militarily and politically. Recently, in ABC (Madrid), in the special twenty-fifth anniversary issue honoring Franco’s accession to power, October 1, 1961, José Maria Pemán of the Spanish Royal Academy, referred to this prudencia gallega.

14 Quoted by de Pereda, J.M. in “A Las Indias,” a short story in the volume entitled Escenas montañesas.

15 See Jefferson, Mark, Peopling the Argentine Pampa (New York, 1926), pp. 182 ff.

16 Ribes, Vicente Borregón, La emigración española a América (Vigo, 1952), pp. 155156.

17 U. S. Bureau of the Census, Cuba, p. 206.

18 United Nations. Department of Social Affairs. Population Division, Sex and Age of International Migrants: Statistics for 1918–1947 (New York, 1953), pp. 261 ff.

19 Dirección General del Instituto Geográfico y Estadístico, Estadística de la emigración de España, 1891–1895.

20 Lorenzana, Salvador in Faro de Vigo. Número Especial, pp. 172173.

21 The author’s father always maintained that he was reluctant to leave Spain and that he was tricked into leaving by his older brother.

22 See later paragraphs on the Andalusian migration to Hawaii.

23 Fernández, Ramon Bullón, El problema de la emigración (Barcelona, 1914), pp. 32 ff.

24 Casais, J. y Santaló, , Emigración española, p. 9.

25 de Pereda, J. M., “ A Las Indias,” Escenas montañesas, has a description of this.

26 Vicente Borregón Ribes, Emigración española, discusses this.

27 All official Spanish reports give details on ports of embarkation; see especially Consejo Superior de Emigración, Nuestra emigración por los puertos españoles en 1917.

28 Vincenti, Eduardo, Estudio sobre emigración (Madrid, 1908), pp. 26 ff. gives a good survey of law applicable until 1907.

29 Consejo Superior, Emigración, 1911–1915, is quite candid about the subject.

30 Ibid., p. 227.

31 Superior, Consejo, Nuestra emigración, p. 468.

32 Enciclopedia universal ilustrada (Barcelona), XIX, 985.

33 Biblioteca legislativa de la Gaceta de Madrid, Ley y reglamento provisional para la aplicación de la ley de emigración de 1907 (Madrid, 1908).

34 Mexicans and Puerto Ricans are not subject to quotas.

35 Annual Report of the Secretary of Labor, 1923, appends a detailed chart for the years 1820–1923.

36 See table on “Foreign-born Population by Country of Birth” in Historical Statistics of the U. S., p. 66.

37 Annual Report of the Secretary of Labor, 1923 and 1924.

38 No figures available before 1908.

39 Gordon, Charles and Rosenfeld, Harry N., Immigration Law and Procedure (Albany, 1959) gives a good brief survey of U. S. immigration legislation, pp. 5 ff.

40 85th Congress, 1st Session, House Report 67 (1957).

41 Ibid.

42 Compiled from U. S. Bureau of the Census. Census of 1950.

43 Ibid.

44 See de Pereda’s, Prudencio novel, Windmills in Brooklyn (New York, 1960) for a delightful description of a fictional Spanish group based on the author’s youth in Brooklyn.

45 Mr. Cabrero contributed the section on Spain in Brown, F.J., and Roucek, J.S., Our Racial and National Minorities (New York, 1937), pp. 388394.

46 See Schnack, George F., Subjective Factors in the Migration of Spanish from Hawaii to California, unpublished M. A. thesis, Stanford University, 1940 ; also, Hearing on Immigration into Hawaii Before Committee on Immigration, U. S. Senate, 67th Congress, 1st Session.

47 In Fernández, Bullón, Emigración, Appendix, p. 76, there is a reprint of a news story that appeared in Noticiero universal (Barcelona), March 7, 1912; it states that forty children and three adults died on the Willisden en route to Hawaii.

48 In Southern Folklore Quarterly, in the volumes for 1937, 1938, 1939, and 1941, appear a number of articles on the Spaniards in Tampa, written by Ralph Steele Boggs and others.

49 Historical Statistics of the U. S., p. 66.

50 See Annual Report of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1950.

51 Ibid.

52 Courtesy of Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, by letter.

* The author is indebted to the American Philosophical Society for a travel grant which greatly facilitated research in the United States and Spain. This paper is intended as a framework for a book on the subject.

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The Americas
  • ISSN: 0003-1615
  • EISSN: 1533-6247
  • URL: /core/journals/americas
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