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Captaincy General of Cuba
Capitanía General de Cuba
|Anthem: National anthem of Spain|
|Count of Ricla|
|Historical era||Early modern Europe|
• Administrative reorganisation
|December 10 1821|
|157,215 km2 (60,701 sq mi)|
|Currency||Spanish real, Peso|
|ISO 3166 code||CU|
|Today part of||Cuba|
The Captaincy General of Cuba (Spanish : Capitanía General de Cuba) was an administrative district of the Spanish Empire created in 1607 as part of Habsburg Spain's attempt to better defend and administer its Caribbean possessions. It 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 to 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.
Since the 16th century the island of Cuba had been under the control of the governor-captain general of Santo Domingo, who was at the same time, president of the audiencia there. He oversaw the local governor and the Santo Domingo Audiencia heard appeals from the island.
The conquest of Cuba was organized in 1510 by the recently restored Viceroy of the Indies, Diego Colón, under the command of Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, who became Cuba's first governor until his death in 1524. The new settlers did not wish to be under the personal authority of Colón, so Velázquez founded the city of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Baracoa in 1511 and convoked a general cabildo (a local government council), which was duly authorized to deal directly with Spain. This legal move removed Velázquez and the settlers from under the authority of Colón, their nominal superior. It was a precedent that would come back to haunt Velázquez during Hernán Cortés's conquest of Mexico. Other cities were later founded under Velázquez: Bayamo in 1513; Santísima Trinidad, Sancti Spíritus and San Cristóbal de La Habana in 1514; Puerto Príncipe and Santiago de Cuba in 1515. After the conquest of Mexico, Cuba experienced an exodus of settlers, and its population remained small for the next two centuries.
In 1565 the Adelantado Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, who was also Captain General of the Spanish treasure fleet which rendezvoused in Havana, established the first permanent Spanish settlement in Florida, San Agustín, initially bringing the province under the administrative control of Cuba, although due to distance and sea currents, Florida's government was granted the right to correspond directly with the Council of the Indies.
The Church played an important role in the Spanish settlement of the Americas. Furthermore, since governors, as representatives of the King, oversaw church administration due to the crown's right of patronage, the church and state were tightly intertwined in Spanish America. The first diocese was established in 1518 in Baracoa and was made suffragan to the Diocese of Seville. The seat of the Diocese was transferred to Santiago de Cuba in 1522. In 1520 Pope Leo X established the short-lived Diocese of Santiago de la Florida (or "Santiago de la Tierra Florida"). In 1546 the Diocese of Santo Domingo was elevated to an Archdiocese and the Diocese of Santiago de Cuba was made suffragan to it.
In 1607 Philip III created the Captaincy General of Cuba as part of larger plans to defend the Caribbean against foreign threats. The first captain general was Pedro Valdés. Around the same time other captaincies general were established in Puerto Rico (1580) and Central America (1609). Cuba was divided into two governorships with capitals in Havana and Santiago de Cuba. The governor of Havana was Captain General of the island. In 1650 Cuba received a large influx of refugees when the English captured Jamaica and expelled the Spanish settlers in the colony.
In 1756 the construction of ships for the Spanish Navy began with the establishment of an Intendancy of the Navy in Havana, which functioned as a royal shipyard.
The British capture of the island in 1762 during the Seven Years' War proved to be a turning point in the history of Cuba and Spanish America in general. The British captured Havana after a three-month siege and controlled the western part of the island for a year. Britain returned Cuba in exchange for Florida in the Treaty of Paris. The events revealed not only the weaknesses of the region's defenses but also proved just how much the Cuban economy had been neglected by the Spanish. During the year they controlled Cuba, the British and their American colonies conducted an unprecedented amount of trade with the island.A year earlier France had secretly ceded Louisiana to Spain in compensation for its losses as its ally during the war.
As a sign of the seriousness with which the government took the problems, the very year the Spanish retook control of Havana construction began on what would become the largest Spanish fort in the New World, San Carlos de la Cabaña on the eastern side of the entrance to harbor of Havana.
Starting in 1764 the government apparatus of Cuba was completely reworked. A report on the island was created by Alejandro O'Reilly, which provided the basis for the changes. A new emphasis was placed on appointing military men to the governorship-captaincy general of Cuba, many of whom were later rewarded with the post of Viceroy of New Spain. To aid the captain general of Cuba, the governor of Santiago was made captain general of the province and given command of the military forces there. At the same time a new institution, which up until now had only been used in Spain, was introduced into Cuba: the intendancy. An intendencia de hacienda y guerra was set up in Havana to oversee government and military expenditures and to promote the local economy. The first Intendant, Miguel de Altarriba arrived on March 8, 1765. Other intendancies soon followed: Louisiana (1766), Puerto Príncipe (1786) and Santiago de Cuba (1786). In 1774 the first census of the island was carried out, revealing 171,670 inhabitants, and other measures were taken to improve the local economy.
These reforms, especially the institution of the intendancy, initiated a dramatic social and economic transformation of the island during the last half of the 18th century and early 19th. Cuba went from being a defensive post in the Caribbean sustained by a subsidy from New Spain, the situado, to becoming a self-sustaining and flourishing, sugar-, coffee- and tobacco-exporting colony, which also meant that large number of slaves were imported into Cuba. The agricultural economy was aided by the gradual opening of Cuban ports to foreign ships, especially after the loss of the mainland due to the independence wars.
During the American Revolutionary War Spain recaptured colonial Florida (which at that time included Gulf Coast lands extending all the way to the Mississippi River) from Great Britain, which was ratified in the 1783 Treaty of Paris. But, within about 35 years, all of this territory was incrementally obtained by the U.S.; this was due in part to boundary disputes.
The transfer of the Spanish part of Santo Domingo to France in 1795 in the Treaty of Basel, made Cuba the main Spanish possession in the Caribbean. The Audiencia of Santo Domingo was formally moved to Santa María del Puerto Príncipe (today, Camagüey) five years later, after temporarily residing in Santiago de Cuba. (It resided in Havana for a few years starting in 1808 before returning to Camagüey.)
The Church also experienced growth. In 1787 a Diocese of San Cristóbal de La Habana was established, which included Florida and Louisiana in its territory. In 1793 the Diocese of Louisiana and the Two Floridas was established. Both were suffragan to the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo, but after the Treaty of Basel, it disappeared, so Santiago de Cuba was elevated to an Archdiocese with the above-mentioned dioceses suffragan to it, as well as the Diocese of Puerto Rico.
The Spanish Constitution of 1812, enacted by the Cortes of Cádiz –which served as a parliamentary Regency after Ferdinand VII was deposed –declared the territory of the Captaincy General an integral part of the Spanish Monarchy and transformed it into a province with its own elected diputación provincial, a governing board with joint administrative and limited legislative powers. Municipalities were also granted locally elected cabildos . The provincial deputation and cabildos functioned while the Constitution was in force from 1812 to 1814 and 1820 to 1823. Ultimately the Constitution was abolished by Ferdinand VII.
The death of Ferdinand VII brought about new changes. Regent María Cristina reconvened the Cortes, in its traditional form with three estates. In 1836, Constitutional government was reestablished in Spain, except this time the government in Spain, despite its liberal tendencies, defined the overseas territories as colonies, which should be governed by special laws. The democratic institutions, such as the Diputación Provincial and the cabildos, established by the 1812 Constitution were removed. The new Constitution of 1837 ratified Cuba's demoted status. However, the "special laws" by which the overseas areas would be governed were not drafted until three decades later, when a special Junta Informativa de Reformas de Ultramar (Overseas Informative Reform Board), with representatives from Cuba and Puerto Rico, was convened in 1865. Even then its proposals were never made into laws.
On 24 August 1821 the new Mexican Empire under Emperor Don Agustin de Iturbide, gave back the Island of Cuba and its Captaincy to the Spanish crown in good faith.[ citation needed ]
In the 1830s, judicial affairs were restructured. An Audiencia of Havana was created in 1838, with the jurisdiction of the Puerto Príncipe Audiencia limited to the east and center of the island. (The latter was temporarily abolished from 1853 to 1868.)
In 1851 the filibustering Lopez Expedition from the United States led by Narciso López and William Crittenden failed with many of the participants being executed. Three years later the territory was the subject of the Ostend Manifesto by which several American diplomats discussed a scheme to purchase Cuba from Spain, or even take it by force.
By mid-century a definite pro-independence movement had coalesced, and Cuba experienced three civil wars in thirty years that culminated in a US intervention and the island's eventual independence: the Ten Years' War (1868–78), the Little War (1879–80) and the War of Independence, which became the Spanish–American War. During the last war the issue of autonomy came to a head. In 1895 the Overseas Minister, with approval from the Prime Minister, took the extra-constitutional step in 1897 of writing the Constitución Autonómica , which granted the Caribbean islands autonomy, technically bringing the Captaincy General to an end. Given the urgency of the movement, the government approved this unusual measure. The new government of the island was to consist of "an Island Parliament, divided into two chambers and one Governor-General, representative of the Metropolis, who will carry out his duties in its name, the supreme Authority."The new government functioned only for a few months before the United States took control of the island.
Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar was a Spanish conquistador and the first governor of Cuba. In 1511 he led the successful conquest and colonization of Cuba. As the first governor of the island, he established several municipalities that remain important to this day and positioned Cuba as a center of trade and a staging point for expeditions of conquest elsewhere. From Cuba he chartered important expeditions that led to the Spanish discovery and conquest of the Aztec Empire.
Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón was a Spanish magistrate and explorer who in 1526 established the short-lived San Miguel de Gualdape colony, one of the first European attempts at a settlement in what is now the United States. Ayllón's account of the region inspired a number of later attempts by the Spanish and French governments to colonize the southeastern United States.
A Real Audiencia, or simply an 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.
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.
The Spanish West Indies or the Spanish Antilles were Spanish colonies in the Caribbean. In terms of governance of the Spanish Empire, The Indies was the designation for all its overseas territories and was overseen by the Council of the Indies, founded in 1524 and based in Spain. When the Crown established the Viceroyalty of New Spain in 1535, the islands of the Caribbean came under its jurisdiction.
The Captaincy General of Venezuela, also known as the Kingdom of Venezuela, was an administrative district of colonial Spain, created on September 8, 1777, through the Royal Decree of Graces of 1777, to provide more autonomy for the provinces of Venezuela, previously under the jurisdiction of the Audiencia of Santo Domingo and then the Viceroyalty of New Granada. It established a unified government in political (governorship), military, fiscal (intendancy), ecclesiastical (archdiocese) and judicial (audiencia) affairs. Its creation was part of the Bourbon Reforms and laid the groundwork for the future nation of Venezuela, in particular by orienting the province of Maracaibo towards the province of Caracas.
The Captaincy General of Santo Domingo was the first colony in the New World, established by Spain in 1492 on the island of Hispaniola. The colony, under the jurisdiction of the Real Audiencia of Santo Domingo, was granted administrative powers over the Spanish possessions in the Caribbean and most of its mainland coasts, making Santo Domingo the principal political entity of the early colonial period.
The Real Audiencia of Santo Domingo was the first court of the Spanish crown in America. It was created by Ferdinand V of Castile in his decree of 1511, but due to disagreements between the governor of Hispaniola, Diego Colon and the Crown, it was not implemented until it was reestablished by Charles V in his decree of September 14, 1526. This audiencia would become part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain upon the creation of the latter two decades later. Nevertheless, the audiencia president was at the same time governor and captain general of the Captaincy General of Santo Domingo, which granted him broad administrative powers and autonomy over the Spanish possessions of the Caribbean and most of its mainland coasts. This combined with the judicial oversight that the audiencia judges had over the region meant that the Santo Domingo Audiencia was the principal political entity of this region during the colonial period.
The Captaincy General of Puerto Rico was an administrative district of the Spanish Empire, created in 1580 to provide better military management of the island of Puerto Rico, previously under the direct rule of a lone governor and the jurisdiction of Audiencia of Santo Domingo. Its creation was part of the, ultimately futile, Habsburg attempt in the late 16th century to prevent incursion into the Caribbean by foreign powers. Spain also established Captaincies General in Cuba, Guatemala and Yucatán.
In the history of the Dominican Republic, the period of España Boba lasted from 1809 to 1821, during which the Captaincy General of Santo Domingo was under Spanish rule, but the Spanish government exercised minimal powers because its resources were attenuated by the Peninsular War and the various Spanish American wars of independence. The period ended when Dominican officials declared a short-lived independence on 30 November 1821. In February 1822, Haiti annexed former Santo Domingo, leading to an occupation that lasted until 1844.
Havana was founded in the sixteenth century displacing Santiago de Cuba as the island's most important city when it became a major port for Atlantic shipping, particularly the Spanish treasure fleet.
Adolfo Jiménez Castellanos was a Spanish Governor General of Cuba. On January 1, 1899, he turned Cuba over to the United States.
Since the 16th century the island of Cuba had been under the control of the governor-captain general of Santo Domingo. The conquest of Cuba was organized in 1510 by the recently restored Viceroy of the Indies, Diego Colón, under the command of Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, who became Cuba's first governor until his death in 1524.
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.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Concepción de la Vega was an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the Caribbean located in Concepción de La Vega. It was established August 8, 1511 and suppressed in 1527 becoming part of the Diocese of Santiago de Cuba.
The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Camagüey, Cuba.
Campuzano-Polanco was a prominent family from the colony of Santo Domingo with origins in Santiago de los Caballeros. During the colonial era of the Hispaniola, their members and descendants went on to occupy high political, military and ecclesiastical positions, locally and outside the Island, as well as in the metropolis of Spain. Their merits extend since the beginning and until the end of the colony.
Salvador José de Muro y Salazar, 2nd Marquis of Someruelos, in Spanish: Marqués de Someruelos,, was a Spanish military officer who served as a lieutenant general of infantry and a field marshal in the Spanish Army, as captain general of Cuba and governor of Havana, and as president of the Real Audiencia of Puerto Príncipe.
The Devastations of Osorio refer to a period in the colonial history of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola in the early 17th century. In order to eliminate the contraband trade in the north and the northwest parts of the island, the Spanish monarch Felipe III sent an order to the then-governor of Hispaniola, Antonio de Osorio, to depopulate those parts of the island and to relocate the inhabitants to the vicinity of Santo Domingo in the southeast of the island. The Devastations were carried out between 1605 and 1606.