Captaincy General of Cuba

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Captaincy General of Cuba

Capitanía General de Cuba
1607–1898
1814 Thomson Map of the West Indies ^ Central America - Geographicus - WestIndies-t-1814.jpg
StatusCaptaincy General
Capital Havana
Common languagesSpanish
Religion
Roman Catholicism
Government Monarchy
King 
 1759–1788
Charles III
 1886–1898
Alfonso XIII
Maria Christina of Austria (Regent)
Captain General 
 1764–1779
Count of Ricla
 1887–1898
Ramón Blanco y Erenas
Historical era Early modern Europe
 Administrative reorganisation
1607
1898
Currency Spanish real, Peso
ISO 3166 code CU
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of New Spain.svg New Spain
United States Military Government in Cuba US flag 45 stars.svg
Today part ofFlag of Cuba.svg  Cuba
Flag of the United States.svg  United States
Part of a series on the
History of Cuba
Insigne Cubicum.svg
Governorate of Cuba (1511–1519)
Viceroyalty of New Spain (1535–1821)
Captaincy General of Cuba (1607–1898)

US Military Government (1898–1902)
Republic of Cuba (1902–1959)

Republic of Cuba (1959–)

Timeline
    Topical
    Flag of Cuba.svg Cubaportal

    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 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.

    Spanish, or Castilian, is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula and today has over 450 million native speakers in Spain and the Americas. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

    Spanish Empire world empire from the 16th to the 19th century

    The Spanish Empire, historically known as the Hispanic Monarchy and as the Catholic Monarchy, was one of the largest empires in history. From the late 15th century to the early 19th, Spain controlled a huge overseas territory in the New World, the Asian archipelago of the Philippines, what they called "The Indies" and territories in Europe, Africa and Oceania. The Spanish Empire has been described as the first global empire in history, a description also given to the Portuguese Empire. It has been described as the world's most powerful empire of the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries, a description also given to the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Empire as a whole, and Ming China. It was known as "the empire on which the sun never sets" and reached its maximum extension in the 18th century.

    Habsburg Spain Reigning dynasty in Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

    Habsburg Spain refers to Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries (1516–1700), when it was ruled by kings from the House of Habsburg. The Habsburg rulers reached the zenith of their influence and power. They controlled territory that included the Americas, the East Indies, the Low Countries and territories now in France and Germany in Europe, the Portuguese Empire from 1580 to 1640, and various other territories such as small enclaves like Ceuta and Oran in North Africa. This period of Spanish history has also been referred to as the "Age of Expansion".

    Contents

    History

    Antecedents

    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.

    Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar Spanish governor of Cuba

    Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar was a Spanish conquistador. He conquered and governed Cuba on behalf of Spain and moved Havana from the south coast of western Cuba to the north coast, placing it well as a port for Spanish trade.

    Baracoa Municipality in Guantánamo, Cuba

    Baracoa is a municipality and city in Guantánamo Province near the eastern tip of Cuba. It was visited by Admiral Christopher Columbus on November 27, 1492, and then founded by the first governor of Cuba, the Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar on August 15, 1511. It is the oldest Spanish settlement in Cuba and was its first capital.

    <i>Cabildo</i> (council) Spanish colonial, and early post-colonial, administrative council which governed a municipality

    A cabildo or ayuntamiento was a Spanish colonial, and early post-colonial, administrative council which governed a municipality. Cabildos were sometimes appointed, sometimes elected; but they were considered to be representative of all land-owning heads of household (vecinos). The colonial cabildo was essentially the same as the one developed in medieval Castile.

    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.

    Adelantado 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.

    Pedro Menéndez de Avilés Spanish explorer

    Pedro Menéndez de Avilés was a Spanish admiral and explorer from the region of Asturias, Spain, who is remembered for planning the first regular trans-oceanic convoys and for founding St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565. This was the first successful Spanish settlement in La Florida and the most significant city in the region for nearly three centuries. St. Augustine is the oldest continuously-inhabited, European-established settlement in the continental United States. Menéndez de Avilés was also the first governor of Florida (1565–74).

    Spanish treasure fleet Convoy system used by the Spanish Empire from 1566 to 1790

    The Spanish treasure fleet, or West Indies Fleet from Spanish Flota de Indias, also called silver fleet or plate fleet, was a convoy system of sea routes organized by the Spanish Empire from 1566 to 1790, which linked Spain with its territories in America across the Atlantic. The convoys were general purpose cargo fleets used for transporting a wide variety of items, including agricultural goods, lumber, various metal resources such as silver and gold, gems, pearls, spices, sugar, tobacco, silk, and other exotic goods from the overseas territories of the Spanish Empire to the Spanish mainland. Spanish goods such as oil, wine, textiles, books and tools were transported in the opposite direction. The West Indies fleet was the first permanent transatlantic trade route in history. Similarly, the Manila galleons were the first permanent trade route across the Pacific.

    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.

    Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santiago de Cuba archdiocese

    The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santiago de Cuba is a Metropolitan Archdiocese, responsible for the dioceses of Guantánamo-Baracoa, Holguín and Santísimo Salvador de Bayamo y Manzanillo.

    Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seville archdiocese

    The Archdiocese of Seville is part of the Catholic Church in Seville, Spain. The Diocese of Seville was founded in the 3rd century. It was raised to the level of an archdiocese in the 4th century. The current Archbishop is Juan José Asenjo Pelegrina. It has the suffragan dioceses of:

    Pope Leo X Pope from 1513 to 1521

    Pope Leo X, born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, was pope from 9 March 1513 to his death in 1521.

    Establishment

    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 British conquered Jamaica and expelled the Spanish residents there.

    Philip III of Spain King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia

    Philip III was King of Spain. He was also, as Philip II, King of Portugal, Naples, Sicily and Sardinia and Duke of Milan from 1598 until his death in 1621.

    Piracy in the Caribbean Piracy in the Caribbean region from the 1500s to the 1830s

    The era of piracy in the Caribbean began in the 1500s and phased out in the 1830s after the navies of the nations of Western Europe and North America with colonies in the Caribbean began combating pirates. The period during which pirates were most successful was from the 1660s to 1730s. Piracy flourished in the Caribbean because of the existence of pirate seaports such as Port Royal in Jamaica, Tortuga in Haiti, and Nassau in the Bahamas. Piracy in the Caribbean was part of a larger historical phenomenon of piracy, as it existed close to major trade and exploration routes in nearly all the five oceans.

    Captaincy General of Puerto Rico Spanish 1580-1898 possession in the Caribbean

    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 1756 the construction of ships for the Spanish Navy began with the establishment of an Intendancy of the Navy was established in Havana, which functioned as a royal shipyard.

    A Spanish frigate towing a British ship to Havana. Oil on canvas, c. 1770. LaFragataDeBlasDeLezoRemolcandoAlStanhopeHaci1710.jpg
    A Spanish frigate towing a British ship to Havana. Oil on canvas, c. 1770.

    The British conquest 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 (1763). 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 conducted an unprecedented amount of trade with the island. [1] 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.

    The Bourbon Reforms

    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.

    Territorial gains and losses

    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 19th century

    The Spanish Constitution of 1812 enacted by the Cádiz Cortes 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 New Mexican republic under Emperor Don Agustin de Iturbide, gave back the Island of Cuba and its Captaincy to the Spanish crown in good faith.

    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 a filibustering 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." [2] The new government functioned only for a few months before the United States took control of the island.

    See also

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    Luis de Unzaga y Amézaga (1721–1790), also known as Luis Unzaga y Amezéga, was a Spanish governor of Louisiana from late 1769 to mid-1777, as well as a Captain General of Venezuela and Cuba.

    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.

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    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.

    Captaincy General of Yucatán Spanish 1617-1821 possession in Central America

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    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.

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    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.

    References

    1. Thomas, Hugh (1998). Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom (2nd ed.). New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN   0-306-80827-7.
    2. "Autonomic Constitution of 1897" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2012-06-29.

    Bibliography

    Coordinates: 23°07′N82°21′W / 23.117°N 82.350°W / 23.117; -82.350