The abolition of slavery in Cuba took place gradually over the course of several years. In 1880, the Spanish colonial government instituted a system called patronato, loosely translated as "apprenticeship." Most of the workings of the slave system were preserved, but patrocinados, as former slaves came to be known, received a minimal set of legal rights and were to be paid a token wage. The transition to the patronato system was overseen by a provincial network of government agencies called Juntas de Patronato. The Junta Provincial de Patronato de Matanzas was created in 1880 when the Law of Patronato was passed. As a central body, it processed claims and cases from a series of local juntas throughout the province of Matanzas. The records in this collection contain official documents, correspondence between local juntas and the main junta, and tables reporting names or numbers of patrocinados. The collection also documents the cases of individual patrocinados who were trying to obtain their freedom through the provisions of the new law.
All of the materials in this collection have been digitized and are available through the University of Miami Digital Collections.