On June 1, 1689, the authorities of the town council of Remedio, the mayor Miguel Rodriguez and the alderman Antonio Diaz de Acevedo, sent a letter to the highest Spanish authorities requesting the definitive moving to the herd of Antonio Diaz, which was accepted by the governor Viana de Hinojosa who, on the same month and year was issued an order authorizing the request.


On the date chosen for departure, not for the purpose of relocation but to found a new urban center, the following families left Remedios [1]Note that previously there were 17 families, but here there are only 7 families with two separate persons. Inconsistencies such as these are not explained in the original source. It is very probable … Continue reading.

  1. Manuel Rodríguez (Mayor of Remedios) and family ……….. 4 personas
  2. El Capitán Gabriel de Moya and family …………………………… 10
  3. Juan González de la Cruz and family ………………………………. 4
  4. Gaspar Bermúdez and family ……………………………………….. 6
  5. Ana María Rodríguez and family …………………………………… 5
  6. Bernarda Torres and family ………………………………………….. 3
  7. Juan Antonio Noble and family ……………………………………… 3
  8. Regidor Esteban Díaz …………………………………………………. 1
  9. Fray Salvador Guillén del Castillo ………………………………….. 1

This is how, after a difficult cross-country march and having to pass rivers of abundant flow due to the rainy season which – according to the latest research – a total of 37 people arrived at the Orejanos barracks of the Ciego de Santa Clara hacienda, including seven families and two single people, the alderman and the priest.

This reduced group joins at the foot of a leafy tamarind tree, which was located at the top of a small elevation of the land that later would be called Loma del Carmen, with the descendants of Antonio Díaz y de Pavia, that integrated the families of the Diaz de Pavia and the Rojas de Pavia (138 people) with the objective of carrying out the ritual accustomed by the Spanish conquerors of saying a mass of rogations requesting all kinds of fortunes from the Most High for the new town that was going to be founded, ritual that was officiated precisely by Fray Salvador Guillen del Castillo.

Memorial Mass at the Carmen Church under the tamarind tree in 1907.

We want to clarify that the remedian neighbor Juan González de la Cruz is the brother of the priest José González de la Cruz, who would not take long to pack his belongings and settle in the new town.

Once the religious duties had been fulfilled, the 175-persons group set off down the hill looking for a suitable place to build their new homes, and they found it a short distance from what would become the famous tamarind tree.


Once the site was selected, the layout of an area destined to be a square was drawn up and, in accordance with Spanish traditions, a modest church with palm wood walls and a guano roof and the town hall were built in a corner of the square; it was on July 15, 1689, the date that has officially remained to commemorate the founding of Santa Clara.

Once the house where the town council would officiate was finished, the election of its mayor took place and Manuel Rodríguez was elected as the first one. The first family houses were also built of palm wood and guano roof and began to be built along the first street that was traced, which for some time was called Calle de los Crímenes and later, after the Church of Buen Viaje was built at the end of it, it was renamed Buen Viaje Street, although its real name today is Rolando Pardo in memory of a fighter in the struggle against the Machadist tyranny, the truth is that for everyone it continues to be called Buen Viaje Street.


Now a special situation arose with reference to the name to be given to the newborn village, according to old chronicles, during its first years it was known as Ciego de Santa Clara, then Cayo-Nuevo, Villa Nueva de Santa Clara del Cayo, Pueblo Nuevo de Antonio Díaz, until August 16, 1695, at the proposal of the alderman, then ordinary mayor of the town holding the rank of Captain Juan Sardui, it was agreed to name it GLORIOSA SANTA CLARA, because July 15 was the date consecrated by the Catholic ritual to the virgin of Santa Clara de Asis, also approving that this virgin would be the patron saint of the town. Notwithstanding this formal agreement, for more than 200 years it was called VILLA CLARA and this is recorded in the Chapter Acts of the time. In 1864 when the Queen of Spain Isabel II granted it the category of city, she did it to Villa Clara, not to Santa Clara.

Reaffirming Natalia Raola’s thesis regarding the large number of people who already lived in the Ciego de Santa Clara hacienda, we have a message that a group of remedian women dated October 9, 1690 addressed to Bishop Diego Evelino de Compostela, where referring to the founding of the new town they say:

(…) it is only useful for those who wanted to move because their country estates are very close to the surrounding area, since without having moved or settled in a town, they used to stay in the countryside all year round without coming to this place (…).

Santa Clara was embraced by two streams, one called Arroyo de la Sabana (later the Matanzas poet Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés, “Plácido” would baptize it with the name Bélico, which it still bears) and the Arroyo Cubanicay, a name of indigenous origin.

Within the perimeter of the nascent town there was a lagoon called De los Patos from where a small stream ran along the current Cuba Street, following through Maestra Nicolasa until it flowed into the Bélico River and was called Marmolejo, which has stopped flowing because the spring that fed it has been exhausted. Famous in the early years were the baths that Bélico had and that in the absence of beaches were places where it was customary to take a dip, among them we can mention the Borroto, the Misioneros (used to bathe there Capuchin friars), the Jácaro, the Copey by the large number of this type of trees that were on its banks, the Poza del Fraile, the Padre Lamadrid (in memory of the presbyter D. Antonio Lamadrid who used to go there to bathe), the Tejar and the Cucusubia.

Luis A. García Gonzales

Dr. Luis A. García Gonzales. Born in Santa Clara on January 18, 1917. He graduated in Philosophy and Letters at the University of Havana. He has been a professor at the Universities of Oriente and Central de Las Villas. Also of the Pre-University "Osvaldo Herrera" of Santa Clara.

He has been awarded 5 times in the 1st of January History Contest.

He has published biographies of Orestes de la Torre Morgado and Juan Alberto Días Gonzales by Editora Política. He has published articles in Granma[2]Official newspaper of the Cuban Government with national scope, Bastión, Vanguardia and in the magazines Transporte, Mar y Pesca, Cubanacán and the Bulletin 8/16 of Cine Club Cubanacán[3]Magazines and newspapers with local and national scope. Five of his scripts have won awards at the Cine Club Cubanacán Festivals[4]Amateur Film Festival that takes place annually in the center of the island.

Editing: Angel Cristóbal García
Escambray Collection, Santa Clara, 1993. Printed in Cuba by PUBLICIGRAF
Photo: Carlos Rodríguez Torres


1 Note that previously there were 17 families, but here there are only 7 families with two separate persons. Inconsistencies such as these are not explained in the original source. It is very probable that the descendants of which it is spoken later: Diaz de Pavia and Rojas de Pavia are the ones that completed the number of 17 families specified.
2 Official newspaper of the Cuban Government with national scope
3 Magazines and newspapers with local and national scope
4 Amateur Film Festival that takes place annually in the center of the island