The Spanish State Archives are legally mandated, as the coordinating body of the Spanish Archive system, to promote cooperation with other countries and cultural spheres, especially with the countries of the European Union, Latin America and the Mediterranean, in digitisation programmes and in the creation and development of Internet platforms and portals, with the aim of promoting knowledge and dissemination of the documents which form part of our common history.1

In the development of these competencies, the Ibero-American Migratory Movements Portal 2 was created in 2010 with the aim of rescuing and disseminating collections relating to the emigration and exile of Spaniards to Ibero-America in contemporary times. Developed as a microsite of the Portal of Spanish Archives (PARES), this Portal is a digital repository through which one can access information and documents that bear witness to the circumstances of the emigration of thousands of Spaniards to Ibero-American countries.

Figure 1: Ibero-American Migratory Movements Portal home screen.

The Portal offers information on emigrants online and allows the downloading of documents with migratory content from the period in which mass emigration took place, which is circumscribed between the last third of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century. It also shows documentation of the Republican exile, so the Portal contains information on both economic emigrants and those who left Spanish territory for political reasons in the decade of the thirties and forties of the 20th century. The idea of creating a web portal with these characteristics had its origins in the need to facilitate access to the documentation of the period of greatest influx of Spanish emigrants, taking into account that, since the enactment of the Law of Democratic Memory3 , the interest of many Latin American citizens in the archives and documents that bear witness to the circumstances and dates of their ancestors’ journeys has grown considerably (see graphic 1).

Graphic 1. Enquiries to the Ibero-American Migratory Movements Portal.

Currently, the Portal offers 77,481 records4 of emigrants, allowing the search by different criteria, for example, through the known personal data of the emigrants, the places of departure or destination, the dates of the journey, the name of the ships that transported them or by the condition of exile, among others.

Through these filtering possibilities (see figures 2 and 3), the Ibero-American Migratory Movements Portal promotes the dissemination of archival documentation of migratory content, with the intention of supporting historical research, but fundamentally to facilitate citizens’ access to documents and ensure the right to information and knowledge of people, many of whom are direct descendants of emigrants.

Figure 2. Search screen.

The Portal is the result of cooperation between several Spanish and Latin American archives and its contents are progressively updated and increased as the work of archival description and digitisation of documentation progresses, as well as through the signing of collaboration agreements with countries interested in disseminating this type of documentation. At the moment, the Portal contains documents from the following archives: Archivo General de la Administración (Spain), Archivo General de Indias (Spain), Archivo General de la Nación de México, Archivo General de la Nación de República Dominicana, Archivo General de la Nación de Uruguay and the Fundación Complejo Complejo Cultural Parque de España (Argentina).

Figure 3. Search results screen

The description of the documentary series contained in the Portal has been carried out using the structure of elements of the ISAD (G) standard. However, an analytical description of the documentary units has been considered in order to extract as much information as possible about the emigrants and thus facilitate their search. This data has been entered in a standardised form, using the Standard for the development of standardised access points for institutions, persons, families, places and subjects in the archival description system of the State Archives.

In addition to the search engine for emigrants, which allows multiple filtering options to be combined, the Portal incorporates a guide to documentary sources for the study of Spanish emigration, structured by archives in Spain and America, which is the result of intensive research on the subject.

The Portal also includes an electronic contact form through which citizens’ queries on the search for emigrants can be answered.

The personal details of emigrants that feature on this portal are taken from the following document series :

Listas de pasajeros y emigrantes del Consulado de España en Veracruz [Lists of passengers and emigrants from the Spanish Consulate in Veracruz] (Spanish National Archive, Spain)

Expedientes de licencias de embarque a la Isla de Cuba y Puerto Rico [Files of boarding permits for travelling to Cuba and Puerto Rico] (General Archive of the Indies, Spain)

Registro Nacional de Extranjeros en México [National Register of Foreigners in Mexico] (Mexican National and State Archives)

Solicitudes de permisos de residencia en la República Dominicana [Requests for residency permits for the Dominican Republic] (General State Archive of the Dominican Republic)

Libros de Pasajeros de Policía de Montevideo [Passenger Log Books of the Montevideo Police] (General State Archive of Uruguay).

Registro de Nacionalidad del Consulado de España en Rosario [Nationality Register of the Spanish Consulate in Rosario] (Parque de España Complex Foundation in Argentina

Cristina Díaz Martínez, Head of Institutional Relations. Spanish State Archives

[1] Art. 3 f) of Royal Decree 1708/2011, of 18 November, which establishes the Spanish Archive System and regulates the Archive System of the General State Administration and its Public Bodies and its access regime.

[2] http://pares.mcu.es/MovimientosMigratorios

[3] Law 20/2022 of 19 October on Democratic Memory.

[4] The data provided in this article are as of 28 September 2023.

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