Captaincy General of Guatemala

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Captaincy General of Guatemala

Capitanía General de Guatemala
1609–1821
Spanish Caribbean Islands in the American Viceroyalties 1600.png
The Kingdom of Guatemala within the wider Spanish Americas, c.1600.
Status Spanish colony
Capital Santiago de Guatemala
Guatemala City
Common languages Spanish (de facto); Mayan languages
Religion
Roman Catholic
Government Monarchy
 1609–1621
Philip III
 1621–1665
Philip IV
 1808–1813
Joseph I Bonaparte (not recognized)
 1810–1814
Cádiz Cortes
 1814–1821
Ferdinand VII
Captaincy General 
LegislatureAudiencia of Guatemala
Historical era Spanish Empire
 Established
1609
 Disestablished
1821
Currency Peso
ISO 3166 code GT
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of New Spain.svg Royal Audiencia of Guatemala
First Mexican Empire Flag of Mexico (1821-1823).svg
Federal Republic of Central America Flag of the Federal Republic of Central America.svg

The Captaincy General of Guatemala (Spanish : Capitanía General de Guatemala), also known as the Kingdom of Guatemala (Spanish: Reino de 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.

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. 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 and the Asian archipelago of the Philippines, what they called "The Indies". It also included 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 was the world's most powerful empire during the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries, reaching its maximum extension in the 18th century. The Spanish Empire was the first empire to be called "the empire on which the sun never sets".

New Spain viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire (1535-1821)

The Viceroyalty of New Spain was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire, established by Habsburg Spain during the Spanish colonization of the Americas. It covered a huge area that included territories in North America, South America, Asia and Oceania. It originated in 1521 after the fall of Mexico-Tenochtitlan, the main event of the Spanish conquest, which did not properly end until much later, as its territory continued to grow to the north. It was officially created on 8 March 1535 as a viceroyalty, the first of four viceroyalties Spain created in the Americas. Its first viceroy was Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, and the capital of the viceroyalty was Mexico City, established on the ancient Mexico-Tenochtitlan.

Contents

Antecedents

Colonization of the area that became the Captaincy General began in 1524. In the north, the brothers Gonzalo and Pedro de Alvarado, Hernán Cortés and others headed various expeditions into Guatemala and Honduras. In the south Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, acting under the auspices of Pedro Arias Dávila in Panama, moved into what is today Nicaragua.

Pedro de Alvarado Spanish conquistador, explorer and condottiero

Pedro de Alvarado y Contreras was a Spanish conquistador and governor of Guatemala. He participated in the conquest of Cuba, in Juan de Grijalva's exploration of the coasts of the Yucatán Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico, and in the conquest of Mexico led by Hernán Cortés. He is considered the conquistador of much of Central America, including Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Although renowned for his skill as a soldier, Alvarado is known also for the cruelty of his treatment of native populations, and mass murders committed in the subjugation of the native peoples of Mexico.

Hernán Cortés Spanish conquistador

Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano, Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of what is now mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century. Cortés was part of the generation of Spanish colonizers who began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas.

Francisco Hernández de Córdoba (founder of Nicaragua) Dddddd

Francisco Hernández de Córdoba is usually reputed as the founder of Nicaragua, and in fact he founded two important Nicaraguan cities, Granada and León. The currency of Nicaragua is named the córdoba in his memory.

Moving of the capital

The colonial coat of arms of Antigua Guatemala and Guatemala City. Coat of Arms of Guatemala City (Colonial).svg
The colonial coat of arms of Antigua Guatemala and Guatemala City.

The capital of Guatemala has moved many times over the centuries. On 27 July 1524, Pedro de Alvarado declared the Kaqchikel city Iximche the first regional capital, styled Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala ("St. James of the Knights of Guatemala"). [1] However, hostilities between the Spaniards and the Kaqchikel soon made the city uninhabitable.

Kaqchikel people ethnic group

The Kaqchikel are one of the indigenous Maya peoples of the midwestern highlands in Guatemala. The name was formerly spelled in various other ways, including Cakchiquel, Cakchiquel, Kakchiquel, Caqchikel, and Cachiquel.

Iximche human settlement

Iximcheʼ is a Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican archaeological site in the western highlands of Guatemala. Iximche was the capital of the Late Postclassic Kaqchikel Maya kingdom from 1470 until its abandonment in 1524. The architecture of the site included a number of pyramid-temples, palaces and two Mesoamerican ballcourts. Excavators uncovered the poorly preserved remains of painted murals on some of the buildings and ample evidence of human sacrifice. The ruins of Iximche were declared a Guatemalan National Monument in the 1960s. The site has a small museum displaying a number of pieces found there, including sculptures and ceramics. It is open daily.

Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala

Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala was the name given to the capital city of the Spanish colonial Captaincy General of Guatemala in Central America.

In 1526 the Spanish founded a new capital at Tecpán Guatemala. Tecpán is the Nahuatl word for "palace". [2] Tecpán is sometimes called the "first" capital because it was the first permanent Spanish military center, but the Spaniards soon abandoned it due to Kaqchikel attacks that made defense of the city untenable.

Tecpán Guatemala Municipality and town in Chimaltenango, Guatemala

Tecpán Guatemala is a municipality in the department of Chimaltenango, in Guatemala, on the Inter-American Highway CA-1.

Nahuatl, known historically as Aztec, is a language or group of languages of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Varieties of Nahuatl are spoken by about 1.7 million Nahua peoples, most of whom live in central Mexico.

Spaniards people native to any part of Spain or that hold Spanish citizenship

Spaniards are a Romance ethnic group and nation. They are indigenous to Spain and share a common Spanish culture, history, ancestry, and language. Within Spain, there are a number of nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history and diverse culture. Although the official language of Spain is commonly known as "Spanish", it is only one of the national languages of Spain, and is less ambiguously known as Castilian, a standard language based on the medieval romance speech of the Kingdom of Castile in north and central Spain. Historically, the Spanish people's heritage includes the pre-Celts and Celts.

In 1527, the capital was moved to the Almolonga Valley to the east, on the site of today's San Miguel Escobar district of Ciudad Vieja, near Antigua Guatemala. [3] This settlement was destroyed by a catastrophic lahar from Volcan de Agua in 1541, and the survivors abandoned the site.

Ciudad Vieja Municipality and town in Sacatepéquez, Guatemala

Ciudad Vieja is a municipality in the Guatemalan department of Sacatepéquez. According to the 2002 Guatemalan Census, the municipality has a total of 25,696 people. Ciudad Vieja was the second site of Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala, the colonial capital of the country.

Antigua Guatemala City in Sacatepéquez, Guatemala

Antigua Guatemala, commonly referred to as just Antigua or la Antigua, is a city in the central highlands of Guatemala famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches. It served as the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Lahar

A lahar is a violent type of mudflow or debris flow composed of a slurry of pyroclastic material, rocky debris and water. The material flows down from a volcano, typically along a river valley.

In 1543, the capital was again refounded several kilometres away at Antigua Guatemala. Over the next two centuries, this city would become one of the richest of the New World capitals. However, it too was destroyed, this time by a devastating series of earthquakes, and the city was ordered abandoned in 1776.

New World Collectively, the Americas and Oceania

The New World is one of the names used for the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas, and Oceania.

The final and current capital is the modern-day Guatemala City.

Role of the church

The Church played an important role in the administration of the overseas possessions of the Spanish crown. The first dioceses were established in León, Nicaragua and Guatemala in 1534. Another diocese was created in Chiapas in 1539. The dioceses of Guatemala and Chiapas were suffragan to the Archdiocese of Seville, until 1546 when they were placed under the Archdiocese of Mexico. The Diocese of León was made suffragan to Archdiocese of Lima in 1546. Another short-lived diocese was set up in Verapaz, Guatemala in 1559. Along the Caribbean coast, there were several attempts to establish a diocese in Honduras—which finally succeeded in 1561 with the Diocese of Comayagua—which was placed under the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo.

In 1543 the territory of the kingdom was defined with the establishment of the Audiencia of Guatemala, which took most of Central America as its jurisdiction. This audiencia, along with the one in Lima, took over the territory of the first Audiencia of Panama. It was the first institution to define Central America (with the exception of Panama) as a region within the Spanish Empire.

Establishment

The Fort of San Fernando Omoa. Built by the Spaniards to defend against pirates. SanFernadodeOmoa.jpg
The Fort of San Fernando Omoa. Built by the Spaniards to defend against pirates.

In 1609 the area became a captaincy general, when the governor and Audiencia president was also granted the title of captain general to deal with foreign threats to the area from the Caribbean, granting the area autonomy in administrative and military matters. Around the same time Habsburg Spain created other captaincies general in Puerto Rico (1580), Cuba (1607) and Yucatán (1617).

In the 17th century a process of uniting the church hierarchy of Central America also began. The dioceses of Comayagua and León became suffragan to the Archdiocese of Mexico in 1620 and 1647, respectively. Finally in the 18th century Guatemala was raised to an archdiocese in 1743 and the dioceses of León, Chiapas and Comayagua were made suffragan to it, giving the region unity and autonomy in religious matters.

As part of the Bourbon Reforms in 1786 the crown established a series of intendancies in the area, which replaced most of the older corregimientos . The intendants were granted broad fiscal powers and charged with promoting the local economy. The new intendancies were San Salvador (El Salvador), Ciudad Real (Chiapas), Comayagua (Honduras), and León (Nicaragua).

The governor-captain general-president of Guatemala became the superintendente general of the territory and functioned as the de facto intendant of Guatemala proper. The agricultural, southern region of Costa Rica remained under a civil and military governor with fiscal oversight only over military expenses; the expenses of the civil government were handled by the intendant of León. These intendancies helped shape local political identity and provided the basis of the future nations of Central America.

Independence

With the removal of Ferdinand VII during the Peninsular War, independence movements broke out in the intendancies of San Salvador and León in 1811, which were quickly suppressed. In 1812 the Cádiz Cortes divided the region into two provinces: Guatemala (consisting of Guatemala, Belize, Chiapas, Honduras and El Salvador) and Nicaragua y Costa Rica. These provinces existed from 1812 to 1814 and once again from 1820 to 1821, the period during which the Spanish Constitution of 1812 was in effect. The two provinces elected seven deputies to the Cortes during the first period. [4]

The jefe político superior (governor) of Guatemala remained the Captain General of Central America and Chiapas. The Captaincy General ended in 1821 with the signing of the Act of Independence of Central America, after which the regional elite supported the Plan of Iguala and joined the First Mexican Empire. With the exception of Chiapas, the region peacefully seceded from Mexico in July 1823, establishing the United Provinces of Central America. While the region remained politically cohesive for a short time, centrifugal forces soon pulled the individual provinces apart by 1842.

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References

  1. Schele & Mathews 1999, p.297. Recinos 1998, p.101. Guillemín 1965, p.10.
  2. Schele & Mathews 1999, p.299.
  3. Lutz 1997, pp.10, 258. Ortiz Flores 2008.
  4. Rieu-Millan, Marie Laure. Los diputados americanos en las Cortes de Cádiz: Igualdad o independencia. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1990. 43. ISBN   978-84-00-07091-5

Further reading