This graveyard owes its name to the venerable Spaniard Juan José Díaz de Espada y Fernández de Landa who arrived in Havana to fulfill his duty as bishop in 1802.
One of its first functions was to have the dead buried outside parochial precincts. Since 1519 when the Main Parish Church (antecedent of the Cathedral) still existed, the burials were conducted inside the parish church and were hierarchically arranged, the rich people being allotted the best places next to the high altar. The stench became so overpowering and dangerous that the people stopped going to the parish church.
So, on February the 2nd, 1806, the people of Havana inaugurated their first graveyard. This one was also divided into places for rich and poor people.
only this piece of the wall remains. Some of the niches, gravestones and other
elements of the time’s funerary art are shown in a museum room at the
Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, in Old Havana.