Real Audiencia of Panama

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The Real Audiencia and Chancery of Panama in Tierra Firme (Spanish: Audiencia y Cancillería Real de Panamá en Tierrafirme) was a governing body and superior court in the New World empire of Spain. The Audiencia of Panama was the third American audiencia after the ones of Santo Domingo and Mexico. It existed three times under various guises since it first creation in 1538 until its ultimate abolition in 1751.

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.

The executive is the organ exercising authority in and holding responsibility for the governance of a state. The executive executes and enforces law.

In common law systems, a superior court is a court of general competence which typically has unlimited jurisdiction with regard to civil and criminal legal cases. A superior court is "superior" relative to a court with limited jurisdiction, which is restricted to civil cases involving monetary amounts with a specific limit, or criminal cases involving offenses of a less serious nature. A superior court may hear appeals from lower courts.

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First installation

The first Audiencia of Panama was created by Charles V by a royal decree of February 26, 1538. Its initial jurisdiction included the provinces of Tierra Firme (Castilla de Oro and Veragua), all land from the Strait of Magellan to the Gulf of Fonseca, Nicaragua, until 1543 when most of the South American territories were assigned to a new audiencia in Lima. A decree of May 23, 1539, removed the entire province of Nicaragua from the Audiencia of Santo Domingo and placed under the Panama one.

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor 16th-century Holy Roman Emperor

Charles V was Holy Roman Emperor (1519–1556), King of Germany (1520-1556), King of Italy (1530-1556), King of Spain (1516-1556), King of the Indies (1521-1556), Lord of the Habsburg Netherlands (1506–1555), and head of the House of Austria (1519-1556). Charles V revitalized the medieval concept of the universal monarchy of Charlemagne and travelled from city to city, with no single fixed capital: overall he spent 28 years in the Habsburg Netherlands, 18 years in Spain, and 9 years in Germany. After four decades of incessant warfare with the Protestants, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of France, Charles V abandoned his multi-national project with a series of abdications between 1554 and 1556 in favor of his son Philip II of Spain and brother Ferdinand I of Austria. The personal union of his European and American territories, spanning over nearly 4 million square kilometres, was the first collection of realms to be defined as "the empire on which the sun never sets".

Castilla de Oro

Castilla de Oro or del Oro was the name given by the Spanish settlers at the beginning of the 16th century to the Central American territories from the Gulf of Urabá, near today's Colombian-Panamanian border, to the Belén River. Beyond that river, the region was known as Veragua, and was disputed by the Spanish crown along with the Columbus family. The name "Castilla de Oro" was made official in May 1513 by King Ferdinand II of Aragon, then regent of the Crown of Castile.

Veragua or Veraguas was the name of five Spanish colonial territorial entities in Central America, beginning in the 16th century during the Spanish colonization of the Americas.

The Audiencia began functioning in Panama City in 1539 with the arrival of the Oidores Francisco Pérez de Robles, Lorenzo Pérez de la Serna, Pedro de Villalobos, and Attorney Alonso de Montenegro. Pérez de Robles served as the first audiencia president and replaced Governor Pedro Vásquez de Acuña. Pérez de Robles carried out his duties until 1543, when the Audiencia was decreed abolished and replaced with an Audiencia of the Confines in Guatemala. During this period the Audiencia supervised various voyages of exploration. Ultimately, the administration of Pérez de Robles proved to be corrupt, resulting in several charges that led to a trial and destitution from office. The investigation and trial ( juicio de residencia ) were carried out by Pedro Ramírez de Quiñones, who had been appointed corregidor of Panama and Nombre de Dios.

Panama City City in Panama

Panama City is the capital and largest city of Panama. It has an urban population of 880,691, with over 1.5 million in its metropolitan area. The city is located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, in the province of Panama. The city is the political and administrative center of the country, as well as a hub for banking and commerce.

Guatemala Republic in Central America

Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 16.6 million, it is the most populated country in Central America. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City.

A corregidor was a local administrative and judicial official in Spain and in its overseas empire. They were the representatives of the royal jurisdiction over a town and its district.

Second installation

On September 8, 1563, Philip II decreed the return of the Audiencia from Guatemala to Panama. The Province of Guatemala was transferred to the Audiencia of Mexico. The work of moving the Audiencia was overseen by Lope García de Castro. The Audiencia began functioning again on May 15, 1565, under interim president Manuel Barrios de San Millán, before the arrival of its permanent president, Alonso Arias de Maldonado. The jurisdiction of the new Audiencia of Panama consisted of territories between Buenaventura in the New Kingdom of Granada and the Gulf of Fonseca.

Philip II of Spain 16th-century King of Spain who became King of England by marriage

Philip II of Spain was King of Castile and Aragon (1556–98), King of Portugal, King of Naples and Sicily, and jure uxoris King of England and Ireland. He was also Duke of Milan. From 1555 he was lord of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands.

Lope García de Castro Spanish colonial administrator

Lope García de Castro was a Spanish colonial administrator, member of the Council of the Indies and of the Audiencias of Panama and Lima. From September 2, 1564 to November 26, 1569 he was interim viceroy of Peru.

Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca Municipality and town in Valle del Cauca Department, Colombia

Buenaventura is a coastal seaport city on the department of Valle del Cauca, Colombia. Buenaventura is the main port of Colombia in the Pacific Ocean.

Law IV (Audiencia y Chancillería Real de Panamá en Tierrafirme) of Title XV (De las Audiencias y Chancillerias Reales de las Indias) of Book II of the Recopilación de Leyes de las Indias of 1680—which compiles the decrees of February 30, 1535; March 1537; February 26 12, 1538; September 8, 1563, November 19, 1570; February 6, 1571; and September 10, 1588—describes the borders and functions of the Audiencia. [1]

Laws of the Indies

The Laws of the Indies are the entire body of laws issued by the Spanish Crown for the American and the Philippine possessions of its empire. They regulated social, political, religious, and economic life in these areas. The laws are composed of myriad decrees issued over the centuries and the important laws of the 16th century, which attempted to regulate the interactions between the settlers and natives, such as the Laws of Burgos (1512) and the New Laws (1542).

In the City of Panama, in the kingdom of Tierrafirme, shall reside another Royal Audiencia and Chancery of ours, with a president, governor and captain general; four oidores , who shall also be judges of criminal cases [alcaldes del crimen]; a crown attorney [fiscal]; a bailiff [alguacil mayor]; a lieutenant of the Gran Chancellor; and the other necessary ministers and officials, and which will have for district the province of Castilla del Oro until Portobelo and its territory; the City of Natá and its territory; the Governorate of Veragua; and by the South Sea towards Peru until the port of Buenaventura, exclusive; and from Portobelo towards Cartagena until the Darien River, exclusive, with the Gulf of Urabá and Tierrafirme; bordering its district in the east and south with those of the Audiencias of the New Kingdom of Granada and San Francisco of Quito, in the west with that of Santiago de Guatemala, and in the north and south with the North and South Seas. And we order that the governor and captain general of said provinces and president of the Royal Audiencia of these, have, use and exercise by himself the government of said Province of Tierrafirme and of all the district of the Royal Audiencia, in the same manner as the viceroys of the Provinces of Peru and New Spain have, and attend by himself all matters and business which arises, regarding the government, and that the oidores do not interfere with these regards, nor that said President interfere in those matters of justice and that he sign with the oidores all that they sentence and decree. We also order that when our viceroys of Peru, as such, decree in certain matter of government, war and administration of our royal treasury, and direct certain dispatches on this to the president and oidores of our Royal Audiencia of Panama, they keep it and make it be kept and fulfilled completely by all, in all the ways and manners in which they have been ordered, without any delay.

In addition a decree of Philip III of July 19, 1614 reiterated, "that the president of Panama obey the viceroy of Peru and have with him regular communication." The Audiencia was abolished once again in 1718 due to bad conduct of its members. This time the Isthmus was placed under the authority of the viceroy and Audiencia of Peru.

Third installation

Nevertheless, this arrangement resulted in problems and poor government for the region, so the crown once more established the Panama Audiencia in a decree of July 21, 1722. From 1739 on, the area of the Panama Audiencia formed part of the recently created Viceroyalty of New Granada. Due to economic problems in Tierrafirme, the crown ordered the final abolition of the Audiencia in a decree of June 20, 1751. A government headed by the regional military commander, the Comandancy General of Tierra Firme, was created in Panama, which was dependent on the viceroy of New Granada in administrative matters. The Comandancy General was originally to be dependent on the Audiencia of Lima in judicial matters, but in 1752 they were transferred to the Audiencia of Bogotá.

Viceroyalty of New Granada Viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire

The Viceroyalty of New Granada was the name given on 27 May 1717, to the jurisdiction of the Spanish Empire in northern South America, corresponding to modern Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela. The territory corresponding to Panama was incorporated later in 1739, and the provinces of Venezuela were separated from the Viceroyalty and assigned to the Captaincy General of Venezuela in 1777. In addition to these core areas, the territory of the Viceroyalty of New Granada included Guyana, southwestern Suriname, parts of northwestern Brazil, and northern Peru.

See also

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References

  1. Spain (1680). Recopilación de las Leyes de Indias. Titulo Quince. De las Audiencias y Chancillerias Reales de las Indias. Madrid. Spanish-language facsimile of the original.