The Info List - Captaincy General Of Guatemala

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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 in Central America
Central America
, including the present-day nations of Costa Rica
Costa Rica
, Nicaragua
, Honduras
, El Salvador
El Salvador
, Belize
and Guatemala
, and the Mexican state of Chiapas
. The governor-captain general was also president of the Royal Audiencia of Guatemala .


* 1 Antecedents

* 1.1 Moving of the capital * 1.2 Role of the church

* 2 Establishment * 3 Independence * 4 References * 5 Further reading * 6 External links


Main article: Spanish conquest of Guatemala

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


The colonial coat of arms of Antigua Guatemala
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 , as the first regional capital, styled _Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala
_ ("St. James of the Knights of Guatemala"). However, hostilities between the Spaniards and the Kaqchikel soon made the city uninhabitable.

In 1526, the Spanish founded a new capital settlement at Tecpán Guatemala
, _Tecpán_ being the Nahuatl
word for "palace". Tecpán is sometimes called the "first" capital because of its status as the first permanent Spanish military center. The Spaniards soon abandoned Tecpán due to continuous Kaqchikel attacks that made defense of the city untenable.

In 1527, the capital was moved yet again to the Almolonga Valley to the east, being refounded on the site of today's San Miguel Escobar district of Ciudad Vieja , near Antigua Guatemala
Antigua Guatemala
. This settlement was destroyed by a catastrophic lahar from Volcan de Agua in 1541, and the survivors had no choice but to abandon the site.

In 1543, the capital was again refounded several kilometres away at Antigua Guatemala
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.

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


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 are 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
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
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 (1580), Cuba (1607) and Yucatán (1617).

In the 17th century a process of uniting the church hierarchy of Central America
Central America
also began. The dioceses of Comayagua and León were made 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 are 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 were 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 de facto intendant of Guatemala
proper. The agricultural, southern region of Costa Rica
Costa Rica
remained under a civil and military governor with fiscal oversight of only 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 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.

The _jefe político superior_ (governor) of Guatemala
remained the Captain General of Central America
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
First Mexican Empire
. With the exception of Chiapas, the region peacefully seceded from Mexico in July 1823, establishing the United Provinces of Central America
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 2009-10-31). Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2008. 1997–2008, Microsoft Corporation. * ^ Schele & Mathews 1999, p.297. Recinos 1998, p.101. Guillemín 1965, p.10. * ^ Schele ">

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