Andalusian culture

Andalusian Culture guest of honor at the Fifteenth edition


Andalusia participated with 37% during the first century of Indian emigration, which means about 55 thousand people. Together with Extremadura, 16%, a region with which it has a series of affinities, it reaches 5% of the total. More than half of the entire peninsula in terms of colonizing population in the Antilles, especially in Hispaniola, according to data from Professor Boyd Bowman, cited by José Antonio Calderón Quijano, in his text Sevillian geographical names in the New World, published on December 53, 5 by the University of Seville.

The first influence of Andalusian culture is in the speech of the Dominican, which phonetically is distinguished by its similarity to the Andalusian dialect. The predominance of the presence of Andalusians in the first waves of emigrants marked some of the features of Caribbean Spanish, hence the affinity is observed in the Spanish spoken in the main islands with southern Spanish, this is the case of seseo, yeísimo, la weakening of the final s, the soft j or the velarized final n, among the most striking features.


This is because most of the Spaniards who traveled from Spain to America left from Seville or other Andalusian ports and it was precisely in the area of ​​​​the Caribbean Sea where they settled for the first time in America during the first voyage of Christopher Columbus. with the creation of the La Navidad fort and later with his second trip where he brought fifteen hundred people from different social classes and professions to Santo Domingo. It was through them that the first Spanish dialect developed in the New World was born, since in the old Spanish captaincy of Santo Domingo (current Dominican Republic) the first texts of Spanish literature in America emerged. It is stated, according to Pedro Henríquez Ureña in his work El Español en Santo Domingo, written between 1935 and 1961, that: “Hispaniola was in America the acclimatization field where the Spanish language began to adapt to new needs…”

One of the first descriptions of these new and beautiful landscapes came from a Sevillian named Diego Álvarez Chanca, a doctor in the service of the Catholic Monarchs. Diego Álvarez went on Christopher Columbus's second voyage and after landing on the island of Hispaniola he was amazed by its nature. His letter to the council of Seville, dated 1494, became a valuable study on the flora, fauna and ethnology of the island.


For the 16th century, the Andalusians chose Hispaniola as their main destination; while for the next century the island became a place of passage to the continent. In the first half of the 17th century, the Antillean world became more cosmopolitan; English, French and Dutch privateers and pirates began to settle on the nearby islands.

Once those first years had passed, the reasons were very diverse; search for a new way of life, a stroke of luck, the settlement on the islands of the members of the ship's crews, working as men at arms,...For these reasons the professional profile of the Andalusians who came to These lands were very varied, formed mainly by farmers, craftsmen, bricklayers, carpenters, blacksmiths and other more specialized groups, such as silversmiths or carvers who could be considered artists, in addition to other free professionals such as men of law. , surgeons and apothecaries, and a large number of religious who marched with the intention of evangelizing.


The presence of these Andalusians on the islands left a cultural mark that has survived to this day, a mark that can be perceived in every corner of its geography: in the cities; in its planning, organization and place names; in agriculture and livestock; in art and language, etc.

They did not conceive the existence of places without the protection, structuring and cohesion that a city could offer. Its foundation in the Antilles was done in an original way, it did not continue the European medieval model but rather a more innovative one uncommon in Europe, a regular, checkerboard layout was followed, where in Andalusia itself some examples were found such as Puerto Real, founded in 1483 in the Cadiz bay or Santa Fe, located in the Granada plain and founded in 1491, a model that was imposed throughout Hispanic America. Among the first foundations in the Antilles, La Navidad 1492, La Isabela, 1493, Santo Domingo 1496, Santiago de Cuba 1514, among others, stood out.

Soon the construction of fortifications and the preparation of efficient artillery began; The island had to be turned into the best stronghold in the Spanish Indies. Hence, Andalusian emigration to this island was shaped in relation to Spanish policy in the Indies and the role that the island took in the colonial administration. 



The Andalusians had directly to do with the adaptation of domestic animals: cows, sheep, pigs, goats, mules, donkeys or horses, which were used for meat or cargo, highlighting the war role that Andalusian horses had in the conquest. It is on Columbus's second voyage that these first animals were transported, which met the needs of both the conquerors and later colonizers, as well as the natives.

The new urban centers became radiators of culture. On an artistic level, one cannot ignore what Latin American art owes to Andalusian art. Bricklayers, builders, silversmiths, master stonemasons... arrived from the first moments to these new lands. Along with this personnel, tiles, bricks, ceramics, etc., and construction models also arrived. These are some of the reasons why the Andalusian imprint can be perceived in many of the Antillean buildings.

Andalusian talent and hands were in the first important constructions, such as the sewers of the shipyards, before the future city was populated; from the Convent of San Francisco de Asís to the Alcázar of Colón, passing through the Primate Cathedral of America, the University of Santa Cruz (which was its first name) and the first chapel.



As these Andalusians settled in the land, they discovered the new geographical reality of the region and with it the need to adapt Old World agriculture and livestock to the new environment: seeds, plants, cuttings and live animals filled the wineries. of these first ships. In a short period of time, products were obtained that were integrated into the diet of the new society, especially rice, sugar cane and some fruit trees, among others. Rice adapted very quickly. It arrived on Columbus's second voyage, although it was not until 1512 when it began to acclimatize, spreading from Spain to the rest of the Antilles and from here to the continent. Likewise, sugar cane found exceptional conditions for its development in the Caribbean environment. There is dubious historical record about where the first sugar cane plant arrived in the Antilles. Some bet that it was brought from the Canary Islands, however, others are of the opinion that it came from eastern Andalusia and that it was taken on Columbus's third voyage. This plant was undoubtedly the one that best acclimatized and thrived in those lands.

In the 1501th century, the incorporation of America into the Castilian Crown meant the march towards those lands of a large number of people in search of better social prospects for themselves and their families. The Casa de Contratación de la Indias was located in Seville and many Andalusians were attracted by the idea of ​​leaving for rich lands in which to carry out their work. The artists, like other professionals, had a double possibility: to leave or send their works to the presumed buyers established there. Most of the craftsmen embarked for the New World with the desire to find a decent livelihood with better social prospects. Their names are recorded from an early date, Diego López was a stew of images and a resident of Seville when in XNUMX he agreed to move to Hispaniola, where he was mentioned years later, according to Carmen Fraga González, professor at the University of La Laguna, in her work Emigration of Andalusian painters in the XNUMXth century (Portal of Complutense Scientific Magazines).