Question & Answer 30 in the Cadastre of Ensenada


The Mapping Hospitals Project was initiated by Estefanía López Salas, Professor of the Department of Architectural Design, Urbanism and Composition at University of A Coruña (Spain). The first stage of the project was founded through the generosity of 1st Fellowship granted by the Chair for the Study of the St. James Way and Pilgrimage from the University of Santiago de Compostela in June 2018.

The initial goal of the project was to create a digital map of the Galician hospitals in the mid-18th century through the Cadastre of Ensenada with a twofold purpose. On the one side, we aimed to gain knowledge about the number, location and features of the buildings used as hospitals, hospices, inns or rest houses for pilgrims that were on travel to Santiago de Compostela, in the mid-18th century, within the borders of the present autonomous community of Galicia in Spain. On the other side, we proposed to make accessible this new knowledge to the general public through a website in which we visualize the research data and results.

Within the available sources from the Modern Age, the project is built upon the so-called Cadastre of Ensenada. It was carried out in the mid-18th century in the Crown of Castile. Its target was to introduce a single tax in the kingdom to ensure that each person paid in accordance to its possessions. In order to achieve that purpose, enquiries were conducted to have a good knowledge, register and assessment of all the existing properties, as well as their owners, residents and families. The work began with an enquiry on the municipal level. A set of forty common questions about different issues were asked in each place. This thorough survey is called the Interrogation. The answers given to all these questions are comprised in the first document of the cadastre, known as the General Answers. It was written one book for each place where the enquiry was made.

The 30th question of the Interrogation tried to know: “if there were hospitals in the place, what their quality was, what rent they paid, and how they were maintained”. Therefore, when we read the answer to this particular question for each Castilian area where the survey was made, we can collect a rich data set regarding the aim proposed.

The study undertaken for the first release of the project was structured in five main phases. The first one was devoted to read and transcribe one part of the primary sources; that is, the answer to the 30th question in the case of all areas currently located in Galicia. Secondly, we created a data base to store and structure all the information we previously collected. This way we were able to analyze and interpret this data in the third step of the process as well as to georeference it onto the current cartography in the fourth phase. Last, we implemented the digital map in the web-based environment where you are right now.

The Mapping Hospitals Project was conceived as open-ended. We aimed to extent the research program in future developments of the project to map the whole network of hospitals in the old Crown of Castile in the mid-18th century. By the same taken, future attempts will include to manage other historical sources as well as to address diverse time periods. Our last goal is not only to visualize a complex and evolving network of one type of building heritage connected to pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, but we will also provide audience with a new way of interacting with, understanding and learning about each single building of the network and the network as a whole of interconnected architectures by historical routes and pilgrims. Through a custom-built platform, the website of Mapping Hospital Projects will, we hope, become a medium for public engagement and a tool for evolving research around hospitality and pilgrimage in the St. James Way by means of computer-aided analysis and interactive web-based presentation. We invite you to explore this site and to participate in the project with your comments or contributions.

Estefanía López Salas

First release: 27th May 2020
Last update: 4th April 2021

© 2020 All rights reserved • Estefanía López Salas • Powered by Universidade da Coruña • This project has received funding from the Cátedra do Camiño de Santiago e das Peregrinacións in 2018