Pioneer newspaper printed in Cuba

Pioneer newspaper printed in Cuba

Heritage & Traditions

By Alejandro Rodríguez Ruiz

The eighteenth century saw the takeoff for Cuba in terms of social communication, with the emergence of the Gazeta de la Havana and the Papel Periódico de la Havana, which are considered the pioneers of the Cuban press.

Around 1720 - belatedly compared to other Latin American countries - the printing press appeared on the island, and with it countless possibilities for spreading news of all kinds: official, commercial, curious ...

On November 8, 1782, the first issue of the Gazeta de la Havana, the oldest printed Cuban newspaper of which there is physical evidence, came to light, and of which are kept in the National Library its third number, on November 22 of the inaugural year, and a supplement of 15th of that month itself.

With output every Friday, its print run was carried out at the General Captaincy Printing Office, with a format of 20.5 by 31 centimeters, with four two-column pages of internationalnews and headlines, appointments by the Spanish crown for positions in America, entry and exit records of ships in the port, price rates, instructions in the event of loss of slaves and jewels, among others, were the content of the Gazeta ... After 28 issues, its circulation ceased, and due to its limited durability and low impact on society, it is not considered the first newspaper in Cuba, although it is its most immediate antecedent.

The Papel Periódico of Havana was founded on October 24, 1790, with varied content that covered economic, commercial, social, scientific, educational, cultural and other topics, and invited the participation of the public.

With a format of 22 by 15.5 centimeters, the publication circulated on Sundays and, from 1791, also on Thursdays, until in 1805 it began to be called El Notice and later adopted other names.

Relevant figures of the time wrote in the Papel Periódico de la Havana, which was a reflection of the then colony and the evolution of ideas in the midst of a process of national identity formation, for which the publication is recognized as a sample of the beginning of a socially significant journalism on the island.