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Indianos or americanos
Casa Indiano

The names indianos and americanos are common parlance in our country for the people who emigrated to the Americas and later returned to their homeland with their fortunes.

The arrival of indianos was always a great event for a village. They were received with music and great enthusiasm on the part of the authorities and the population. They normally announced their arrival well in advance and commissioned someone of confidence to oversee the construction of the house where they were to live. The houses were in the Caribbean style: large, almost always of two storeys, with large balconies running all along the façade, with many details in neo-classical, neo-Gothic and modernist style adapted to the colonial architecture, with a large gardened courtyard in the back presided over by porticoed façades with exquisite mural paintings.

Our grandparents and great-grandparents were astonished to see those people who had left home as poor as church mice now returning with great opulence, elegantly dressed, speaking a mixture of Catalan and Latin American Spanish, with negro or mulatto servants bearing parrots, splendid wood carvings and palm trees, and recounting a thousand and one adventures that must have captivated the locals.

In the Baix Empordà there are fine examples of the architecture of the indianos: in Sant Feliu de Guíxols (where they called them càncamos), Begur, La Bisbal, Corçà and other places.

Apart from the architecture, we also still have the palm trees that adorn many of our seafront promenades, persimmons, magnolias and so on, and in particular the songs known as havaneres, which we still love listening to on a summer evening with a cup of cremat, hot rum punch.

On the other hand, many other people emigrated to Cuba and either died there of malaria or finally returned home in poverty – but these were never given the name of indianos-.


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Consell Comarcal del Baix Empordà
C/Tarongers, 12 · Tel. 972 642 310 · 17100 La Bisbal d'Empordà · turisme@baixemporda.cat - Google+
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