Social Status, Race, and the Timing of Marriage in Cuba's First Constitutional Era, 1902-1940

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This article examines the practice of marriage among whites, mestizos, blacks, Cubans, and Spaniards during the first constitutional era, focusing upon the reported ages of brides and grooms. The study consists of a quantitative examination of trends found in the records of 900 Catholic marriages celebrated in Havana during the opening decades of independence. The first major finding of the research is that according to most major indicators of status, age was negatively correlated with rank. Thus, contrary to the conclusions of studies conducted in many other contexts, those in the highest strata of society married younger. Furthermore, very significant differences were detected in the marital patterns of those identified as mixed-race and those labeled as black. This finding offers empirical weight to the notion that the early-mid twentieth-century Cuban racial structure would best be characterized as tripartite, rather than binary in nature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-71
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Family History
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Cuba
  • marriage
  • parish archives
  • race
  • racial hierarchy
  • timing of marriage

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