Jose Manuel de Molina Bautista
Inducted on April 27, 2019
The history of the first settlers of New Iberia is very interesting. The details of the settlement were discussed in a book written by the nominated honoree de Molina Bautista, a native of Malaga, Spain. A short summary follows: On June 1, 1778, 16 families from Malaga, Andalusia, Spain boarded the Brig San Josef, and sailed to New Orleans. Commanded by Lt. Col. Francisco Bouligny, with the approval of Governor Bernardo de Galvez, they founded New Iberia in the Spring of 1779. The initial settlement was at current-day Charenton, LA, but it was moved to the present-day site after the Spring rains flooded the area. Today, New Iberia remains the only extant town in Louisiana to be founded by Spaniards during the Colonial Era. The Spanish pioneers called their town "Nueva Iberia" in consideration of their homeland, the Iberian Peninsula in Spain.
In his nomination of de Molina, Reaux noted, "With so few Spanish families in the area in 1779, the Spanish men began marrying French women who taught the children how to speak French and not Spanish. As a result the Spanish language was quickly lost. Today many descendants of the original families, with names like Segura, Migues, Romero, Gary, Viator, Lopez and Prados, speak fluent French and not Spanish. It was the work of author and historian Jose Manuel de Molina that helped create an awareness among the Cajun Spaniards that they indeed had Spanish roots in addition to their Acadian connections. Jose Manuel has indeed contributed to helping to shape and define our Cajun culture and is certainly very worthy of induction into the Order of the Living Legends of the Acadian Museum."
The following is a summary of de Molina Bautista�s outstanding work as a historian and researcher.
Jose Manuel de Molina Bautista, born on August 30, 1964 in Malaga, Spain, is currently working as an archivist in the Center for Historical Research Julian Sesmero Ruiz in Alhaurin de la Torre. He is a TV presenter on the local channel Torrevision and a theater scriptwriter with plays such as Alhaurinsomnio, October, 2018.
He is the author of many books and magazine articles and has presented a variety of lectures both in Spain and the U.S.