The tomb of Amelia Goyri in Colon Cemetery on December 25, 2020, in Havana, Cuba.
Amelia’s story is a tragic love story which has become legend over time and as a result of some extraordinary events. Amelia Francisca de Sales Adelaida Ramona Goyri y de la Hoz was born on January 29th 1877 into a wealthy family in Havana, of Spanish origin.
Amelia fell in love at 13 years old with her second cousin Jose Vicente Adott, but her family opposed their union outright because the alleged fiancé couldn’t ensure a comfortable future for their daughter.
Years later, when the 1895 Independence War began, Jose Vicente left for the jungle to fight for Cuba’s freedom. He returned three years later, now a captain of the Liberation Army and he decided to ask for the young woman’s hand in marriage, who he had loved ever since he was a boy. By this time, Amelia’s mother had passed away, as had her uncle the Marquess of Balboa and her father was very sick and had no other choice but to accept.
They got married on June 25th 1900 and Amelia fell pregnant soon after. On May 3rd 1901, she suffered from eclampsia in the eight month of gestation. Medical science at that time couldn’t save her and she passed away, as did her child. She was 24 years old.
Amelia was buried in a modest vault at Colon Cemetery, as her husband refused for her to be buried in the Marquesses of Balboa’s vault. However, she was buried in a luxurious bronze coffin, with her daughter placed between her legs, which was a Spanish custom back then, according to chronicles of the time.
Jose Vicente’s sad story reached his friend, the Cuban artist Jose Vilalta Saavedra, one of the greatest sculptors of his time, the author of the monument at the top of the cemetery’s entrance. When he heard what had happened, Vilalta offered to create a statue of Amelia. The artist was in Italy at the time so he asked her husband to send him a photo and he chiseled her features into Carrara marble. He then brought