ARTICLE: Stark on Slave Marriage in Puerto Rico

Caption, “A Spanish planter in Porto Rico, luxuriating in his hammock.” John A. Waller, A Voyage in the West Indies (London, 1820), facing p. 33, as shown on, sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library.

Stark, David M. “Making the Most of Their Time: Seasonality of Slave Marriage in Eighteenth-Century Puerto Rico.” Colonial Latin American Review 19, no. 2 (2010): 323. 

1st paragraph steal:

“On the morning of 28 December 1768, Antonio and Mariacutea, a slave couple belonging to Feacutelix Pagaacuten, were married in the Catholic church of San Germaacuten, Puerto Rico. The event was recorded in the parish marriage register, along with a notation stating no se velaron por ser tiempo prohibido; that is the couple had not received the velacioacuten, or solemn nuptial blessing, because it was a forbidden season. Although marriage may be contracted at any time of the year, Church officials frowned upon it during the seasons of Advent and Lent since the velacioacuten could not be conferred at this time. Because these seasons were to be marked by abstinence and penance, couples were discouraged from celebrating and consummating their marriage if they had not received the nuptial blessing.1 Once the penitential season was over, couples wishing to receive the blessing often returned to the church for it to be conferred, which Antonio and Mariacutea did. Seventeen days later they appeared before the parish priest Joaquiacuten Nazario de Figueroa y Matos, and received the velacioacuten.2 Marriage among slaves was not uncommon in eighteenth-century Puerto Rico and neither was it unusual for them to be joined in matrimony during the forbidden seasons, especially Advent….”

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