Nueva Vizcaya, New Spain

Last updated
New Biscay
Nueva Vizcaya
Type of subdivision of (the) Former Country
1562–1821 Flag of Chihuahua.svg
Flag of Durango.svg

Coat of arms of Nueva Vizcaya.svg

Coat of arms

Capital Victoria de Durango
Government Viceroyalty
  1562 Francisco de Ibarra
   Mexican Independence September 27, 1821

Nueva Vizcaya (New Biscay, Basque : Bizkai Berria) was the first province in the north of New Spain to be explored and settled by the Spanish. It consisted mostly of the area which is today the states of Chihuahua and Durango in Mexico.

Basque language Language of the Basque people

Basque (; euskara[eus̺ˈkaɾa]) is a language spoken in the Basque Country, a region that straddles the westernmost Pyrenees in adjacent parts of northern Spain and southwestern France. Linguistically, Basque is unrelated to the other languages of Europe and is a language isolate to any other known living language. The Basques are indigenous to, and primarily inhabit, the Basque Country. The Basque language is spoken by 28.4% (751,500) of Basques in all territories. Of these, 93.2% (700,300) are in the Spanish area of the Basque Country and the remaining 6.8% (51,200) are in the French portion.

Chihuahua (state) State of Mexico

Chihuahua, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Chihuahua, is one of the 31 states of Mexico. It is located in Northwestern Mexico and is bordered by the states of Sonora to the west, Sinaloa to the southwest, Durango to the south, and Coahuila to the east. To the north and northeast, it has a long border with the U.S. adjacent to the U.S. states of New Mexico and Texas. Its capital city is Chihuahua City.

Durango State of Mexico

Durango, officially Free and Sovereign State of Durango, is a state in northwest Mexico. With a population of 1,632,934, Durango has Mexico's second-lowest population density, after Baja California Sur. The city of Victoria de Durango is the state's capital, named after the first president of Mexico, Guadalupe Victoria.


Early exploration and the Viceroyalty

Spanish exploration of the area began in 1531 with Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán's expedition. He named the main city he founded Villa de Guadalajara after his birthplace and the area he conquered "Conquista del Espíritu Santo de la Mayor España" ("Conquest of the Holy Spirit of Greater Spain"). The Spanish regent Queen Joanna replaced this with Nuevo Reino de Galicia ("New Kingdom of Galicia").

Joanna of Castile queen of Castile from 1504 and of Aragon from 1516

Joanna, known historically as Joanna the Mad, was Queen of Castile from 1504, and of Aragon from 1516. Modern Spain evolved from the union of these two crowns. Joanna was married by arrangement to Philip the Handsome, Archduke of the House of Habsburg, on 20 October 1496. Following the deaths of her brother, John, Prince of Asturias, in 1497, her elder sister Isabella in 1498, and her nephew Miguel in 1500, Joanna became the heir presumptive to the crowns of Castile and Aragon. When her mother Queen Isabella I of Castile died in 1504, Joanna became Queen of Castile, while her father, King Ferdinand II of Aragon, proclaimed himself 'Governor and Administrator of Castile'. In 1506 Archduke Philip became King of Castile jure uxoris, initiating the rule of the Habsburgs in the Spanish kingdoms, and died that same year. Despite being the ruling Queen of Castile, she had little effect on national policy during her reign as she was declared insane and imprisoned in Tordesillas under the orders of her father, who ruled as regent until his death in 1516, when she inherited his kingdom as well. From 1516, when her son Charles I ruled as king, she was nominally co-monarch but remained imprisoned until her death.

Nueva Galicia Province & Indendancy in New Spain, Spain

Nuevo Reino de Galicia or simply Nueva Galicia was an autonomous kingdom of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. It was named after Galicia in Spain. Nueva Galicia's territory became the present-day Mexican states of Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Colima, Jalisco, Nayarit and Zacatecas.

Especially under the leadership of Francisco de Ibarra, settlements moved north into the interior of the continent after silver was discovered around Zacatecas. Ibarra named the new area Nueva Vizcaya after his homeland in Spain, Biscay. Nueva Vizcaya included the modern Mexican states of Chihuahua and Durango, the eastern parts of Sonora y Sinaloa and the southwest part of Coahuila. [1] The region was under the jurisdiction of the Royal Audience of Guadalajara and the administration of its president.

Francisco de Ibarra Spanish explorer

Francisco de Ibarra was a Basque explorer, founder of the city of Durango, and governor of the Spanish province of Nueva Vizcaya, in present-day Durango and Chihuahua.

Coahuila State of Mexico

Coahuila, formally Coahuila de Zaragoza, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Coahuila de Zaragoza, is one of the 31 states which, along with Mexico City, compose the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico.

As part of the Bourbon Reforms, the northern provinces of the Viceroyalty were organized into the Commandancy General of the Internal Provinces of the North in 1777. The Internal Provinces were originally designed to function independently from the New Spanish Viceroy, but being financially supported by him, they soon lost their autonomy. In 1787, an intendancy was established in Durango to promote economic and population growth. Another intendancy was also set up at Arizpe, Sonora. In 1788, the Internal Provinces were divided into two Commandancies, east and west. From 1788 to 1793, Nueva Vizcaya became part of the Western Internal Provinces, until the two Commandancies were reunited. The Crown restored the dual Commandancies again in 1813, and this division remained until independence in 1821. [2]

Bourbon Reforms set of economic and political legislation promulgated by the Spanish Crown under various kings of the House of Bourbon, mainly in the 18th century

The Bourbon Reforms were a set of economic and political legislation promulgated by the Spanish Crown under various kings of the House of Bourbon, mainly in the 18th century. The strengthening of the crown's power with clear lines of authority to officials contrasted to the complex system of government that evolved under the Habsburg monarchs. In particular, the crown pursued state supremacy over the Catholic Church, resulting in the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1767 as well as an attempt to abolish ecclesiastical privilege.

Arizpe Place

Arizpe is a small town in Arizpe Municipality in the north of the Mexican state of Sonora. It is located at 30°20'"N 110°09'"W. The area of the municipality is 2,806.78 The population in 2005 was 2,959 of which 1,743 lived in the municipal seat as of the 2000 census.

War of independence

The Mexican War of Independence started in 1810. Nueva Vizcaya was not spared. A month before Hidalgo’s capture, a number of insurgents were detained, and a conflict at San Francisco between several hundred men occurred early in 1812. [2]

Mexican War of Independence armed conflict which ended the rule of Spain in the territory of New Spain

The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict, and the culmination of a political and social process which ended the rule of Spain in 1821 in the territory of New Spain. The war had its antecedent in Napoleon's French invasion of Spain in 1808; it extended from the Cry of Dolores by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla on September 16, 1810, to the entrance of the Army of the Three Guarantees led by Agustín de Iturbide to Mexico City on September 27, 1821. September 16 is celebrated as Mexican Independence Day.

After the call of the Junta to reconvene the Spanish Cortes, Nueva Vizcaya elected Juan José Guereña as their representative. Guereña served from April 4, 1811, until his death on September 10, 1813, and was a signatory of the Spanish Constitution of 1812. [3] The Constitution was well received in the provinces, but was suspended by the viceroy in 1813. Colonial liberals who supported the Constitution continued both legal and extra-legal efforts to reinstate it. Towards the end of 1814, José Félix Trespalacios and Juan Pablo Caballero planned an outbreak at Chihuahua but the plot was revealed to Commandant General García Conde, who now controlled the western section from that city. He promptly arrested the principal plotters, but the men were pardoned through the efforts of authorities and clergy. A brief rebellion by the Opatas of Durango in 1820 was quelled without any serious bloodshed.

In the Napoleonic era, junta was the name chosen by several local administrations formed in Spain during the Peninsular War as a patriotic alternative to the official administration toppled by the French invaders. The juntas were usually formed by adding prominent members of society, such as prelates, to the already-existing ayuntamientos. The juntas of the capitals of the traditional peninsular kingdoms of Spain styled themselves "Supreme Juntas", to differentiate themselves from, and claim authority over, provincial juntas. Juntas were also formed in Spanish America during this period in reaction to the developments in Spain.

Spanish Constitution of 1812 the first Constitution of Spain

The Political Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy, also known as the Constitution of Cádiz and as La Pepa, was the first Constitution of Spain and one of the earliest constitutions in world history. It was established on 19 March 1812 by the Cortes of Cádiz, the first Spanish legislature. With the notable exception of proclaiming Roman Catholicism as the official and sole legal religion in Spain, the constitution was one of the most liberal of its time: it affirmed national sovereignty, separation of powers, freedom of the press, free enterprise, abolished feudalism, and established a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. It was one of the first constitutions that allowed universal male suffrage, through a complex indirect electoral system. It was repealed by King Ferdinand VII in 1814 in Valencia, who re-established absolute monarchy.

The war also imperiled the northern frontier. The trade and tribute system, which the Viceroyalty had established at the end of the 18th century to pacify the nomadic tribes, had broken down due to the war. During this period Chihuahua began to suffer from renewed Apache raids. At the same time the Jesuits, who had been suppressed decades earlier, were permitted to reëstablish their missions. Tensions grew with the young United States, which followed the French boundaries of the recently purchased Louisiana Territory, including several areas which Spain considered its own. In 1819, explorer Zebulon Pike was sent to explore the disputed territory and was arrested by the authorities. [2]

Independent Mexico

When the Spanish Constitution was restored in 1821, Mariano de Urrea was installed as Jefe Político (governor) of Nueva Vizcaya, while Antonio Cordero y Bustamante, who had governed effectively in Durango as civil and military governor during the past three years, was rewarded with the post of Commandant General of the West, replacing Diego García Conde.

A turning point came later that year, when General Agustín de Iturbide rose against the viceregal authorities. The Governor and Intendant of Nueva Galicia, General José de la Cruz, retreated to Durango to make a final effort in behalf of the royalist cause. He entered that city on July 4, 1821, with a force of several hundred soldiers accompanied by fleeing officials from Zacatecas and nearby localities. Iturbide's lieutenant, Pedro Celestino Negrete, followed in pursuit and laid siege to the city early in August with about 3,000 men. De la Cruz held out for over three weeks. His forces suffered severe losses during the fighting which involved heavy shelling and occasional sorties. On August 30, Negrete finally found a vulnerable point in de la Cruz's defenses and placed an artillery battery against it, gaining a decisive advantage. His forces diminished by many defections, de la Cruz accepted a truce on September 3 and the garrison surrendered. They were treated with full honors and permission to leave the country for Spain. [2]

In less than a year, the First Mexican Empire collapsed. Troops rose against the now-Emperor Iturbide. Chihuahua joined the rebellion. Durango was initially against the movement, but on March 5, 1823, the troops and the general population in the region declared themselves in favor. Commandant General Cordero y Bustamante resigned, as did the civil and military Governor of Durango, Brigadier I. del Corral. Gaspar de Ochoa became the new Commandant General and Juan Navarro became Governor of Durango. [2]

Creation of the Federal States of Chihuahua and Durango

On July 19, 1823, the Supreme Congress decreed the division of Nueva Vizcaya into two provinces, Chihuahua and Durango. The capital of Chihuahua received the title of city and became the seat of a provincial council (diputación provincial). Chihuahua, with a population of over 100,000, benefited from a separate administration. It had often found Durango distant and sometimes uncooperative. In the meantime, as a new constitution was being written for the nation, the Mexican provinces transformed themselves into states. A party from Chihuahua and Durango temporarily persuaded the Congress to create a new state — Estado Interno del Norte — by reuniting the two former provinces and including New Mexico. Its capital was at Chihuahua. Durango, however, raised objections, demanding retention of the capital or separation from the new state, because of its large population and superior resources. On May 22 and July 6, 1824, the separation was affirmed. New Mexico was transformed into a separate territory directly administered by the federal government. In the following year the two states issued their constitutions. Chihuahua established a legislative council of not less than eleven deputies, while Durango created bicameral state legislature, with a senate of seven members and a lower house. [2]

See also

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  1. Handbook of Texas Online. Nueva Viscaya.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 History Of The North Mexican States And Texas, Vol. II 1801-1889, San Francisco, The History Company, Publishers,1889, Chapter 24
  3. Rieu-Millan, Marie Laure. Los Diputados Americanos en las Cortes de Cádiz: Igualdad o independencia. (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, 1990), 42.