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The information below is taken directly from the descriptive pamphlet (DP) created by NARA for this title, Registro Central de Esclavos, T1121. The PDF version of the DP can be viewed or downloaded from this link.
By the Treaty of Paris of December 10, 1898, Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the United States. The cession included Spanish rights to the official archives and records on the islands, which the United States agreed to preserve and make available for use.
The fragmentary correspondence and related executive records received or created by the Spanish governors of Puerto Rico were transferred to the National Archives in 1943. A joint resolution of August 21, 1957, authorized the return of the Puerto Rican archives in the National Archives to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
This title from the Records of the Spanish Governors of Puerto Rico (RG 186).
Using the collection
This microfilm publication reproduces the 1872 Puerto Rican Registro Central de Esclavos. On June 4, 1870, a law known as the ley Moret was approved, granting freedom to certain categories of slaves, including those over age 60, those belonging to the state, and children of slaves born after Sept. 17, 1868. The law also resulted in the preparation of a central register of slaves. There are now eight volumes of this register, which cover geographical departments 1, 2, and 4 through 6. Slaves are listed under the department and thereunder the municipality in which they resided. The following information is usually given for each slave: name, country of origin, present residence, name of parents, sex, marital status, trade, age, physical description, and master's name. The schedules are in Spanish.
The contents of the eight rolls of microfilm from which the images were taken are:
- Departmento (District) I. Dorado, Maranjito, TrujiUo Alto, Trujillo Bajo, the Capital (San Juan)
- Departmento (District) II, Arecibo, Camuy, Ciales, Hatillo, Manati Morovis, Quebzadillas, Utuado
- Deportmento (District) IV (pt.), Anasco, Cabo Rojo, Mayaguez (pt.)
- Mayaguez (pat.), Sabana Grande, San German
- Departmento (District) V (pt.) Adjuntas, Barros, Coamo, Guayanilla, ]uana Diaz, Penuelas, Yauco
- Barranquitas, Ponce
- Deportmento (District) VI (pt.), Arroyo, Cidra (pt.), Guayama
- Aquas Buenas, Caguas, Cayey, Cidra (pt.) Gurabo, Hato Grande (San Lorenzo), Sabana del Palmar (Comerio), Salinas