Extranjeros in Puerto Rico, 1815-1845. Series T1170, 19 rolls. Record Group 186, Records of the Spanish Governors of Puerto Rico, The National Archives at Washington, DC.
About Puerto Rico, Records of Foreigners, 1815-1845
This collection contains requests made by foreigners to reside in Puerto Rico. Documents in this collection consist of “cartas de domicilio”, lists of foreigners residing in carious towns in the island, various correspondence, and some copies of the final naturalization papers (“cartas de naturalizacion”). Immigrants to Puerto Rico were given free land and paid no taxes for a period of 5 years, after which they could either become Spanish subjects or return to their homelands.
An approved request to reside in the island usually contains the following information: name of immigrant, names of members of his immediate family, country and town of origin, proof of his being of good moral character and a Catholic, amount of capital he was bringing into the country, name of town he planned to live in, and his trade or profession.
Most of this material is dated after 1815, when foreign immigration was permitted in Puerto Rico for the first time. Records earlier than 1815 consist mostly of letters from local authorities informing the central government of the arrival of foreigners. The records are in Spanish.