Adelantado ( UK: // , US: /--/ , Spanish: [aðelanˈtaðo] ; meaning "advanced") was a title held by Spanish nobles in service of their respective kings during the Middle Ages. It was later used as a military title held by some Spanish conquistadores of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.
Adelantados were granted directly by the monarch the right to become governors and justices of a specific region, which they were charged with conquering, in exchange for funding and organizing the initial explorations, settlements and pacification of the target area on behalf of the Crown of Castile. These areas were usually outside the jurisdiction of an existing audiencia or viceroy, and adelantados were authorized to communicate directly with the Council of the Indies.
The term has its origins in the reconquista . The term comes from the phrase por adelantado (Spanish: "in advance", although translations stating "one who goes before" and "the forward man" are also found). According to the Siete Partidas the office of adelantado was the equivalent of the Roman Praefectus urbi (Latin).
The earliest definitely known adelantado was appointed by Alfonso X in 1253 in the recently conquered territory of "La Frontera" (Andalusia). However the office had precedents in the duties and rights held by some officers of the Navarrese dynasty of Castile and León, and Álvar Fáñez or Fortún Sánchez in the Ebro valley performed similar services in detached territories beyond the frontier. It was during this time that the Siete Partidas, commissioned by Alfonso X, more precisely identified the powers of the office. That law code created the position of an adelantado mayor, who was at the same time an intermediary appellate judge, located in the judicial hierarchy between local justices and the king's court, and an executive officer, who as a direct representative of the king, was charged with implementing royal orders in his assigned area. Most appointees were from the upper nobility or the royal family. After its success in Andalusia, the institution was introduced in the northern areas of the peninsula, merging with, and becoming indistinguishable from an older judicial office, the Royal Merinos.
Beyond the peninsula the term adelantado was granted to Alonso Fernández de Lugo in the conquest of the Canary Islands and was confirmed to members of his family. The term became modified over time. During the colonization of the Americas and Spanish East Indies (Asia), each charter specified different powers to each adelantado, sometimes in a vague manner, which often lead to confusion, as in the case between Juan de Oñate and the Viceroy of New Spain.The title was also granted both as an inheritable title and one that lasted for one life only. With the publication of the Ordinances Concerning Discoveries (Ordenanzas de descubrimientos, nueva población y pacificación de las Indias) in 1573, the attributes of adelantados became regularized, although the title was granted with much less frequency after this date, especially since the institutions of audiencias, governors and viceroys had been developed. Nevertheless, the Ordinances are useful because they illustrate the faculties adelantados often had. The Ordinances established that adelantados, in their capacity as governors and justices of the new territories, had the right to hear civil and criminal cases in appeal, to name the regidores and employees of the cabildos of any towns founded, to name interim treasury officials, to issue ordinances on the use of land and mines, to establish districts, and to organize militias and name their captains.
The first use of the title adelantado in the Americas was by Bartolomeo Columbus, brother of Christopher Columbus, who governed Hispaniola under this title during his brother's absence from 1494 to 1498. It was later inherited by Diego Colón after much litigation. Other conquistadors who were granted the title include:
The Viceroyalty of Peru was a Spanish imperial provincial administrative district, created in 1542, that originally contained modern-day Peru and most of Spanish-ruled South America, governed from the capital of Lima. Peru was one of the two Spanish Viceroyalties in the Americas from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries.
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was a Spanish explorer of the New World, and one of four survivors of the 1527 Narváez expedition. During eight years of traveling across the US Southwest, he became a trader and faith healer to various Native American tribes before reconnecting with Spanish civilization in Mexico in 1536. After returning to Spain in 1537, he wrote an account, first published in 1542 as La relación y comentarios, which in later editions was retitled Naufragios y comentarios. Cabeza de Vaca is sometimes considered a proto-anthropologist for his detailed accounts of the many tribes of Native Americans that he encountered.
The Real Audiencia, or simply Audiencia, was an appellate court in Spain and its empire. The name of the institution literally translates as Royal Audience. The additional designation chancillería was applied to the appellate courts in early modern Spain. Each audiencia had oidores.
Alonso Fernández de Lugo was a Spanish military man, conquistador, city founder, and administrator. He conquered the islands of La Palma (1492–1493) and Tenerife (1494–1496) for the Castilian Crown; they were the last of the Canary Islands to be conquered by Europeans. He was also the founder of the towns of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Santa Cruz de La Palma. One biographer has written that his personality was a “terrible mixture of cruelty and ambition or greed, on one part, and on the other a great capacity and sense for imposing order and government on conquered lands,” a trait found in the conquistadors of the New World.
The Captaincy General of Guatemala, also known as the Kingdom of Guatemala, was an administrative division of the Spanish Empire, under the viceroyalty of New Spain in Central America, including the present-day nations of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, and the Mexican state of Chiapas. The governor-captain general was also president of the Royal Audiencia of Guatemala, the superior court.
Pedro Antonio Fernández de Castro, 10th Count of Lemos was a Spanish nobleman who was Viceroy of Peru from 1667 until his death.
Pedro Fernández de Lugo (1475–1536) was the second adelantado of the Canary Islands and governor of Tenerife and La Palma, a title confirmed again by Charles I of Spain, in Barcelona, on August 17, 1519. Pedro Fernández de Lugo was the son of Alonso Fernández de Lugo. Born in Seville, Pedro arrived at Gran Canaria as a young child and later accompanied his father to expeditions to Barbary. In 1509, his father gave him some of the rights and powers over the coast of Africa that he had acquired in 1499. Pedro commanded the tower of Santa Cruz de Mar Pequeña and participated in expeditions against the Berbers alongside the Portuguese.
The Real Audiencia of Mexico or high court was the highest tribunal of the Spanish crown in the Kingdom of New Spain. The Audiencia was created by royal decree on December 13, 1527, and was seated in the viceregal capital of Mexico City. The First Audiencia was dissolved by the crown for its bungling and corruption and the crown established the Second Audiencia in 1530. Another Audiencia was created in Guadalajara in western Mexico in 1548.
Juan Vázquez de Coronado y Anaya was a Spanish conquistador, remembered especially for his role in the colonization of Costa Rica, in Central America, where he gained a reputation for fairness, effective administration, and good relationships with the native population. He was a nephew of Francisco Vázquez de Coronado y Luján, who explored the southwestern United States between 1540 and 1542.
The Captaincy General of Cuba was an administrative district of the Spanish Empire created in 1607 as part of Habsburg Spain's attempt to better defend the Caribbean against foreign powers, which also involved creating captaincies general in Puerto Rico, Guatemala and Yucatán. The restructuring of the Captaincy General in 1764 was the first example of the Bourbon Reforms in America. The changes included adding the provinces of Florida and Louisiana and granting more autonomy for these provinces. This later change was carried out by the Count of Floridablanca under Charles III to strengthen the Spanish position vis-a-vis the British in the Caribbean. A new governor-captain general based in Havana oversaw the administration of the new district. The local governors of the larger Captaincy General had previously been overseen in political and military matters by the president of the Audiencia of Santo Domingo. This audiencia retained oversight of judicial affairs until the establishment of new audiencias in Puerto Príncipe (1800) and Havana (1838). In 1825, as a result of the loss of the mainland possessions, the Spanish government granted the governors-captain generals of Cuba extraordinary powers in matters of administration, justice and the treasury and in the second half of the 19th century gave them the title of Governor General.
An oidor was a judge of the Royal Audiencias and Chancillerías, originally courts of Kingdom of Castile, which became the highest organs of justice within the Spanish Empire. The term comes from the verb oír, "to hear," referring to the judge's obligation to listen to the parts of a judicial process, particularly during the phase of pleas.
The House of Lara is a noble family from the medieval Kingdom of Castile. Two of its branches, those from the Duke of Nájera and from the Marquess of Aguilar de Campoo were considered Grandees of Spain. The Lara family gained numerous territories in Castile, León, Andalucía, and Galicia and members of the family moved throughout the former Spanish colonies, establishing branches as far away as the Philippines and Argentina. The House of Lara were most prominent in the history of Castile and León from the 11th to the 14th century. For example, Álvaro Núñez de Lara served as regent for Henry I of Castile. They were dispossessed of much of their land by Peter the Cruel, but most was returned by Henry II.
Francisco V Fernández de la Cueva y Fernández de la Cueva, was the 10th Duke of Alburquerque, a Grandee of Spain, a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece since 1707, and Viceroy of New Spain from 27 November 1702 to 14 January 1711. His tenure as Viceroy of New Spain is commemorated in the namesake of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The Real Audiencia of Santiago de Guatemala, simply known as the Audiencia of Guatemala or the Audiencia of Los Confines, was a superior court in area of the New World empire of Spain, known as the Kingdom of Guatemala. This area included the current territories of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the Mexican state of Chiapas. The Audiencia's presiding officer, the president, was the head of the government of the area. The Audiencia was initially created by decrees of November 20, 1542 and September 13, 1543, and had its seat in Antigua Guatemala.
Lope Díaz II de Haro "Cabeza Brava" was a Spanish noble of the House of Haro, the sixth Lord of Biscay, and founder of the municipality of Plentzia. He was the eldest son of Diego López II de Haro and his wife, María Manrique. Lope was also a member of the Order of Santiago.
Captaincies were military and administrative divisions in colonial Spanish America and the Spanish Philippines, established in areas under risk of foreign invasion or Indian attack. They could consist of just one province, or group several together. These captaincies general should be distinguished from the ones given to almost all of the conquistadores, which was based on an older tradition. During the Reconquista, the term "captain general" and similar ones had been used for the official in charge of all the troops in a given district. This office was transferred to America during the conquest and was usually granted along with the hereditary governorship to the adelantado in the patent issued by the Crown. This established a precedent that was recognized by the New Laws of 1542, but ultimately the crown eliminated all hereditary governorships in its overseas possessions.
Pedro Ponce de León the Elder was a Castilian nobleman, grandson of King Alfonso IX of León. He was a knight of the Order of the Band, and Lord of Marchena, Bailén, Rota, Mairena del Alcor, Bornos and Oliva de la Frontera.
Enrique Enríquez the Younger was a nobleman of Castile, son of Enrique Enríquez the Elder. He was lord of Villalba de los Barros, Nogales, Almendral, La Parra, Begíjar and other towns. He was Adelantado Mayor of the border of Andalusia, chief justice of the King's House, Chief of the forces of the bishopric and Kingdom of Jaén, Mayor of Seville and Knight of the Band.