Luis Argeo is a journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in Gijón, Asturias, Spain. A graduate of the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, Argeo is the author of more than 15 travel books published by Spain’s most prestigious press in that sector, Anaya Touring. He is also the writer, producer and director of the documentary films that explore Spaniards in the US: AsturianUS (2006), Corsino, by Cole Kivlin (2010).
James D. Fernández is Collegiate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at NYU. Fernández received his PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures from Princeton University, and taught at Yale University for 7 years before joining the faculty of NYU in 1995. He is the author of Apology to Apostrophe: Autobiography and the Rhetoric of Self-Representation in Spain (Duke, 1992) and Brevísima relación de la construcción de España (Polifemo, 2013).
Our primary goal is to create a multi-media archive that will document the history of Spanish immigrants in the United States.
As we pursue that goal, whenever we come across particularly compelling material, we produce an intervention, which might be a documentary film, a book, an exhibition or a podcast.
The revenue produced by those interventions is used to fund our ongoing research.
“Spaniards in the Americas”; for many, this expression will surely evoke images of the conquistadors and missionary friars who, on behalf of the Spanish Crown, conquered and colonized vast swaths of the American continents –South, Central and North—in the XVIth, XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries.
Few people realize, however, that the number of Spaniards who emigrated from the Iberian Peninsula to the Americas in the half-century between 1880 and 1930 is far greater than the number of those who made the same journey during the previous four centuries; that is to say, since Columbus’s first voyage in 1492 until the year 1880. In other words: the presence of large numbers of Spaniards in the Americas is, in reality, a result not of the establishment and maintenance of the Spanish Empire, but rather, of the dissolution and end of that empire.
Spain contributed significantly to the vast wave of emigration of Europeans to the Americas which, in the late XIXth and early XXth century, radically transformed the three continents. It is estimated that some 4 million Spaniards decided to “hacer las Americas” in the fifty-year period between 1880 and 1930.
While most of those millions of Spaniards had, as their original destination, points in Spanish-speaking America, tens of thousands of them would wind up in the United States, coming either directly from Spain, or as “rebound” emigrants, who re-emigrated to the US after stints in Spanish America.
Following formal or informal chains or networks, the Spaniards settled in compact enclaves all over the United States, almost always connected to a certain labor sector. Sugar-cane plantation workers in Hawaii; cigar workers in Tampa; stone-cutters in New England; coal, zinc and steel workers in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, and Illinois; sheep herders and wool merchants in the western mountainous states, for example.
Our goal is to document the history of this relatively unknown diaspora.