The ‘Indian houses’ of Asturias

Indian houses? In Asturias? What’s that all about, you might say.

The answer is simply that the so-called Casas Indianas were built in the late 19th Century by poor Asturians who’d made their fortunes in South America, then returned to their homeland to live.

Their new wealth not only gave them a better lifestyle, but benefitted the local economy and helped transform the rest of Spain.

Often these mansions lie in beautiful parkland. Many are open to the public, and once inside, more evidence of the returning immigrant’s wealth is visible in the lavish decor.

However, as a recent BBC documentary points out, ‘there is also a dark past behind how some gained their wealth, one that Spain is only now beginning to confront’ – the fact that some of these returning immigrants became rich through involvement in the slave trade.


3 thoughts on “The ‘Indian houses’ of Asturias

    1. I think it’s a colloquial, generalised term to refer to Asturians who emigrated to, and returned from, countries like Cuba or Mexico, rather than a reference to the indigenous people of those countries. I suppose I should have made this clearer. Interesting, too, by the way, that apparently, while Spanish immigrants were in those countries, they were all colloquially referred to as ‘Gallegos’ i.e. people from Galicia, regardless of where they came from.

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