Captaincy General of Guatemala The Captaincy General of Guatemala
: 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
, 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.
Moving of the capital
In 1526 the Spanish founded a new capital at Tecpán Guatemala
is the Nahuatl
word for "palace".
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.
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.
Role of the church
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.
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
(1607) and Yucatán
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.
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 Cortes of Cádiz
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.
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.
- ^ a b "Guatemala" Archived 2009-10-30 at the Wayback Machine (Archived 2009-10-31). Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2008. 1997–2008, Microsoft Corporation.
- ^ Schele & Mathews 1999, p.297. Recinos 1998, p.101. Guillemín 1965, p.10.
- ^ Schele & Mathews 1999, p.299.
- ^ Lutz 1997, pp.10, 258. Ortiz Flores 2008.
- ^ Rieu-Millan, Marie Laure. Los diputados americanos en las Cortes de Cádiz: Igualdad o independencia (in Spanish). Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1990. 43. ISBN 978-84-00-07091-5
- ^ Rafael Heliodoro Valle (1924). La anexión de Centro América a México (in Spanish). 6th. Mexico: Archivo Histórico Diplomático Mexicano.
- Dym, Jordana and Christophe Belaubre, (editors). Politics, Economy, and Society in Bourbon Central America, 1759–1821. (Boulder: University press of Colorado, 2007) ISBN 978-0-87081-844-8
- Hawkins, Timothy. José de Bustamante and Central American Independence: Colonial Administration in an Age of Imperial Crisis. (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2004) ISBN 0-8173-1427-X
- Wortman, Miles L. Government and Society in Central America, 1680–1840. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982) ISBN 0-231-05212-X
Last edited on 14 May 2021, at 01:58
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