Trinidad, Cuba: D. Cristobal murtra e hijos, 1834. Broadside. 26.7 x 16 cm. Slightly browned, small stain at upper right corner, folded across the middle. Good. Item #2901
Unique (?) document concerning the first documented cholera epidemic in Cuba. This important proclamation from Juan Bautista de Sarria, mayor of Trinidad de Cuba, announces the rapidly approaching "liberation" from a Cholera-morbus outbreak. Though cholera morbus as a term had been used with some frequency to describe a range of conditions, including dysentery and inflammation and bleeding in the digestive tract, the outbreak in Cuba from 1833-34 is considered the first documented instance of a mass epidemic of cholera in the Caribbean. Beginning in Havanna in February 1833, after which there was a lull in the epidemic from June of that year to the following May, the disease spread to Trinidad in the summer and fall of 1834. Many inhabitants of Cuba in fact blamed the African slave trade for bringing cholera to their island, particularly noting the near mass extinction of barracks of newly arrived slaves from Africa, though the first recorded instance of the disease in West Africa is not until 1860. However it first came to the island, de Sarria here proclaims that Divine Providence has begun to liberate them from the ravages of the cholera epidemic, noting that only four have been buried in the previous three days.
The journal "El Correo" was founded by Don Cristobal Murtra who, along with his sons who inherited the business upon his death in 1846, also printed the publication during the entirety of its run from 1820-1869. In addition to reporting on contemporary issues and events, "El Correo," printed semiweekly, was used by many Cuban writers as a publication space for poetic and other literary works, among them Placido's classic sonnet "Las Pasiones" and Esteban de Jesus Borrero's poetic romance "Amira."
Our search has turned up only two physical issues of this exceedingly rare Cuban newspaper, both held by the American Antiquarian Society, from 1837 and 1844, but not this important Proclamation which was issued as a supplement to the 27 October 1834 issue.