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Parish Record


Census of Deaths of Prisoners in the Penal Colony of Ceuta


Emilio Barranco, resident of Ceuta, has made a notable compilation of the Cubans that died while they were interned in the Penal Colony of Ceuta during the Cuban Liberation Wars. Thanks to his efforts and generosity we are very pleased to present the result of his work here.

Introduction (by Emilio Barranco)

[the following is a feeble attempt to translate Emilio's rich prose - ed]

In spite of the sad and bitter era that links my city of Ceuta with the sufffering endured, due to its status as a penal colony during some years of its history, those of us that now enjoy its beauty are ignorant of the pain of others, until we dig deep into its archives, or until we are told in a simple and human manner as is the case with Don Pablo de la Concepcion, whose book I have the honor to posess [Ref. 3].

For some time, an idea was circling my mind to find out the path of cubans through Ceuta and the reasons for their connection to this city. Alas, how painful was the find! The sons of Spain who wanted emacipation, after becoming of age, recived punishment and scorn, instead of the blessings that all fathers give to their sons when they take flight and form their own families. Even more painful, if that is possible, is the affection and respect with which Don Pablo treats the opressor! This deserves rivers of ink that, for the moment, I am not going to spill.

Nevertheless, my leisure activities have given fruit, thanks to the collaboration of Don Juan Sánchez Cuesta, archivist at the Parish of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. The result is the compilation of a census of the prisoners in the penal colony of Ceuta, who died victims of illness and hate. Not surprising, given that, unlike the deportees, the war prisoners were piled in the Acho together with common delinquents of the worst sort. The first inscription dates from 10 Aug 1869 and the last to 25 Jul 1909, from which it is my understanding that included are prisoners from the first war [from the Big War or Ten Years War to more than 10 years after the end of the War of Independence in 1898. See our page on the History of the Cuban Wars of Liberation - ed]

Unfortunately, my historic academic rigor is very minimal and I have tried to make the notes as good as possible, trying to be an accurate transcriber.

The archivist allowed me to photograph the pages of the old records where the priests certified the administration of the extreme unction and later cristian interrment in the Santa Catalina Cemetery (northern zone of Acho), (at present written "Hacho"). The compressed archive of these phots occupies about 250 Mb.

I hope to have clarified somewhat with my diatribe and also expect that some day we will rectify (which "is for wise men"), and definitively stauch the wounds of the past. Cuban remains rest in Ceuita, just as Spanish remains rest in Cuba. It's time to honor those who gave their lives for noble causes: some defending their far away country, others defending the birth of theirs. Distancing myself from any partidary or national interest, I dare demand an emotional memory for all of them, and to make ammends to their kind. My humble contribution to thies end is th epublication, and I belive I have placed the material in good hands. I leave to your criteria to use the contents in whatever manner is most convenient.

Emilio Barranco Cazalla
Ceuta, 13 June 2009


  • In the 3rd part of the Census, the last column indicates the number(s) of the photo(s) of the certification in the corresponding book (there are four books).

  • Some documetn inscritpions are documented with two photos, there are different sizes, and others (at the end) I "cut and pasted" so that inscriptions that continued on the reverse of a page or on the next page appear in the same image. That also explains why some images have two or more shades.


If you consult the book by Don Pablo de la Concepción, you will find on page 266 and following pages, a reference to an "oriental mulatto" Don Hilario Alvarez (who does not come off too well). You will read an explanation of the death of his son in the penal colony of Ceuta. Inscription 1994, of book 3, folio 122 verse, is the order of burial of Don Juan Alvarez Chacón, 14 years of age, born in Santiago de Cuba, son of Hilario and Dorotea, who died at eight in the morning of 14 December 1897, of pulmonary tuberculosis, which was the sword that took almost all. The image is # 312, where you can verify said inscription. [This is also entry # 251 in the data base under the name "Juan Alvarez" - ed]


Census of Deaths

The Census document consists of 3 parts:

  1. Description of the contents (1 page)
  2. Alphabetic Index, in order of 1st surname, 2nd surname and given name. Each entry provides the book (libro), folio, verse (verso) and number (numero) where the entry appears in the Parish Register (6 pages)
  3. Complete data transcribed from the Census, in order of book, folio, verse and number (6 pages)

You can download the Census of deaths from the following link:


Parish Records

To download a photo of an entry in the Death Register of the Parish of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios of Ceuta:

  1. First find the person in Section 2 of the Census and note the corresponding book (libro), folio, verso (verse) and number (número) of the entry.
  2. In Section 3 of the Census, locate the entry with the same book (libro), folio, verso (verse) and number (número). Note the corresponding number of the photo (foto) in the last column.
  3. Enter the number of the photo in the following search box (you do not need to enter leading zeros), and click on the "Search" button.
photo #:  


These 306 photos are adapted for viewing on the web and so they can be easily downloaded and printed. If after viewing a photo you need a full resolution version send us an e-mail to the address at the bottom of the page indicating the number of the photo and we will gladly send it to you. Please take into account that full resolution photos are large files (typically 1.5MB) and may be blocked by your e-mail service provider.



  1. Data Base of Prisoners and Deportees During the War of Independence (1895-1898).
  2. Data Base of Prisoners and Deportees During the Ten Years War (1868-1878).
  3. Prisioneros y Deportados Cubanos 1895-1898 en la Guerra de Independencia (Cuban Prisoners and Deportees 1895-1898), by Pablo de la Concepción y Hernández, Sargeant of the Fifth Corps of the Mambí Army and prisoner in the Castle of Acho, written during 1898-1908 and published in April 1932 by Imprenta P. Fernandez, Habana.

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Deaths in Ceuta- Updated 30-Jun-2009

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