Academics race to save rare colonial documents in Cuba

HAVANA — An American team of academics is racing to preserve millions of Cuban historical documents before they are lost to the elements and poor storage conditions.
Many of the documents shed light on the slave trade, an integral part of Cuba’s colonial history that was intertwined with that of the United States.

David Lafevor, a history professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, and his brother Matthew, a geography professor at the University of Alabama, have worked since 2005 to make computer copies of millions of documents mouldering in damp storage spaces on the island.

Their latest project is a partnership between the British Library Foundation and Vanderbilt University to capture almost 2 million documents in digital form, a treasure trove stretching back to the mid-16th century of documents about early island life and the slave trade.

Read more in the Washington Post or New York Times.

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