Council of the Indies


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Council of the Indies

 

(Consejo de Indias; official name, Royal Council and Board of War of the Indies), the high legislative, executive, and judicial body that from the 16th to 19th centuries carried out Spain’s colonial policies in the Americas (referred to as “the Indies” in Spanish documents until the 18th century), Oceania, and Asia. Established in 1511, the Council of the Indies consisted of a president, a chancellor, eight councillors, a procurator general, two secretaries, a cosmographer, a mathematician, and a historian. It had charge of such matters as finances, the conclusion of capitulations (treaties) with the conquistadores, the conversion of Indians to Christianity, the provisioning of expeditions, and the selection of military, ecclesiastical, and civil personnel. It was through the Council of the Indies that Spain plundered newly discovered lands and exploited the native population in its overseas possessions. The Council of the Indies existed until 1809 and at intervals thereafter (1810–20,1823–34, and 1846–47); it was permanently abolished in 1847.

References in periodicals archive ?
When Cabeza de Vaca's men mutinied, he was sent back to Spain in chains to stand trial before the Royal Council of the Indies.
With Olivares's support, he gained a position on the Council of the Indies, and then became visitor-general for New Spain and Bishop of Puebla de los Angeles, that viceroyalty's richest diocese.
The result is that this two-volume study offers both excellent legal history as well as important documentary sources for historians interested in future research on issues as wide ranging as the nature of church jurisdiction, the relationship between the Council of the Indies and Mexico, as well as the broad social history of early Michoacan and Mexico.
His close friend Juan de Ibarra, who held a position of influence at the Council of the Indies in Seville, dissuaded Antonelli from this course.
With his baggage full of plans, recommendations, and estimates, the Italian engineer returned to Spain to present them to the king and the Council of the Indies.
Inspired partially by a self-interested interpretation of the preaching of Bartolome de las Casas, the royal Council of the Indies composed the Nuevas Leyes of 1542 and the Ordenanzas of 1526 and 1573.
This relative harmony, however, was threatened by the appointment of Luis de Las Casas as Governor-General in 1790 by the inept Charles IV, and the rise of influence by pro-sugar elite groups led by Francisco de Arango y Parreno who had pronounced his famous Discurso Sobre la Agricultura to the Council of the Indies in 1789 advocating the development of a Cuban slave/sugar complex on the British and French models.
It was sent to all his jurisdictions in the New World by Juan Lopez de Velasco, appointed the official cartographer of the Council of the Indies in 1571.
The story begins in 1692 when Martin de Ursua and Arizmendi, a Basque aristocrat resident in Mexico City, prevailed upon his contacts on the Council of the Indies to grant him the privilege of constructing a road from Merida in Yucatan to northern Guatemala.
Appointed to the Council of the Indies as its first cosmografo real, this self-made man, lacking in all academic credentials, worked under its able president, Juan de Ovando 1571-1575.
Their determined defense of their unusual position allowed them to marry, to transmit property including a few slaves of their own, to form their own cabildo (local government), and even to send representatives to argue (unsuccessfully) for their full freedom before the Supreme Royal Council of the Indies in Madrid.
A protracted series of lawsuits involving Maria Abreo, the widow of Juan de Turregano, an official for the Council of the Indies, illustrates this well.
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