Marquisate of the Valley of Oaxaca


The Marquessate of the Valley of Oaxaca ( es, Marquesado del Valle de Oaxaca) is a hereditary
marquess A marquess (; french: marquis, ) is a nobleman of high hereditary rank in various European peerages and in those of some of their former colonies. The term is also used to translate equivalent Asian styles, as in Imperial China The ea ...
al title in the
Spanish nobility Spanish nobles are persons who possess the legal status of hereditary nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocr ...
and a former seignorial estate in
New Spain New Spain, officially the Viceroyalty of New Spain ( es, Virreinato de Nueva España, ), or Kingdom of New Spain, was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio Español), also known as th ...

New Spain
. It was granted to Don
Hernán Cortés Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano, 1st Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca (; ; 1485 – December 2, 1547) was a Spanish ''Conquistador'' who led an expedition that caused the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, fall of the Aztec ...

Hernán Cortés
, ''
conquistador Conquistadors (, ) or conquistadores (, ; meaning 'conquerors') were the invaders, knights, soldiers, and explorers of the Spanish Empire, Spanish and the Portuguese Empires. During the Age of Discovery, conquistadors sailed beyond Europe to t ...

'' who led the conquest of the Aztec Empire, by
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, german: Karl V, it, Carlo V, nl, Karel V, la, Carolus V (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator Romanoru ...

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
in 1529. Despite its name, the marquessate covered a much larger area than the
Valley of Oaxaca The Central Valleys ( es, Valles Centrales) of Oaxaca, also simply known as the Oaxaca Valley, is a geographic region located within the modern-day state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. In an administrative context, it has been defined as comprising ...
, comprising a vast stretch of land in the present-day
Mexican state The states of Mexico are first-level administrative territorial entities of the country of Mexico, which officially is named United Mexican States Mexico ( es, México ; Nahuan languages: ), officially the United Mexican States (; EUM ), ...
s of
Oaxaca ) , population_note = , population_rank = 10th , timezone1 = CST CST or Cst may refer to: Time zones * Central Standard Time, North America's Central Time Zone: UTC−06:00 * China Standard Time: UTC+08:00 * Cuba ...

Morelos Morelos (), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Morelos ( es, Estado Libre y Soberano de Morelos), is one of the 32 states which comprise the Federal Entities of Mexico Mexico ( es, México ; Nahuan languages: ), officially the U ...
Veracruz Veracruz (), formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave (), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave ( es, Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave), is one of the 31 states which, along with Mex ...

Michoacán Michoacán, formally Michoacán de Ocampo (; Purépecha The Purepecha or Tarascans (endonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'name'; also known as autonym) is a common, internal name A name is a term used for identification by an exte ...
Mexico Mexico ( es, México ; Nahuan languages: ), officially the United Mexican States (; EUM ), is a List of sovereign states, country in the southern portion of North America. It is borders of Mexico, bordered to the north by the United States; ...
. The title was held by Cortés' descendants through 1814, when the Constitución de Apatzingan abolished hereditary titles in Mexico. After the 12th Marquess died in 1859, his successors as Duke of Monteleone appear to have not renewed this title until 1916, when the 16th Duke of Monteleone became the 13th Marquess of the valley of Oaxaca. The title again became dormant on his death in 1938. A member of a cadet branch of the family (descendant of the 7th Marchioness) asked for the resumption of the title in 1973, and it was granted to him. The descendants of the 13th Marquess, a family established in Italy, has claimed the title, but has not taken any legal action in Spain against the legal holder. Given the multiple claims, the 1535 Mayorazgo (entailment) guaranteeing the continuation of the Marquessate was conditioned on (among others) loyalty to the King of Spain. The current and 17th Marquess is Álvaro de Llanza y Figueroa, a
private equity Private equity (PE) typically refers to investment funds, generally organized as limited partnerships, that buy and restructure companies that are not publicly traded. Private equity is a type of equity and one of the asset classes consisti ...
fund manager and former
Citigroup Citigroup Inc. or Citi (Style (visual arts), stylized as citi) is an American multinational investment banking, investment bank and financial services corporation headquartered in New York City. The company was formed by the merger of banking g ...

investment banker. He was born on 26 January 1960 and married Isabel López-Quesada in the chapel of the
Real Club de la Puerta de Hierro Real Club de la Puerta de Hierro (; "Royal Club of the Iron Gate"), commonly known as Puerta de Hierro, is a private country club based in Madrid, Spain. It owes its name to the nearby Puerta de Hierro (Madrid), iron memorial arch. Notorious for be ...
in June 1988. They have 3 children.


Background and bestowal

After the fall of Tenochtitlan, with the capture of the last Aztec ''Tlatoani'', Cuauhtémoc, on 13 August 1521, the Aztec Empire disappeared, becoming part of the Spanish Empire. The success brought legal status for Cortés, whose position had been contested during the conquest.Díaz del Castillo, pp. 630-669 On 15 October 1522, a Royal Cedula was issued, appointing him Governor and Captain General of New Spain. Cortés personally governed the newly conquered territories until 1524, when he left for Honduras, heading an expedition against the rebel Cristóbal de Olid, who had declared his independence from Spain and claimed Honduras was his own. At his arrival at Mexico City in 1526, after having defeated Olid, Cortés found that his enemies Juan Rodríguez de Fonseca, Bishop Fonseca, President of the Council of Indies, and Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, Governor of Cuba, had persuaded the King to initiate a ''juicio de residencia'' (judgement of residence) against him. The chosen licentiate was Luis Ponce de León (governor of New Spain), Luis Ponce de León, who suspended Cortés from his office of governor on 16 July 1526, and took over the government himself. Ponce de León died shortly after his arrival, and was replaced by Marcos de Aguilar, who also died shortly after taking office. Cortés, who was accused by his opponents of having poisoned both of them, decided to return to Spain to appeal to the justice of the King. In 1528, Cortés attained Castile (historical region), Castile, where he presented himself with great splendor before Charles V's court, responding forthrightly to the accusations of his enemies. Cortés gained the royal favor, and was created Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca, being formally confirmed in his land holdings and vassals. The title was bestowed upon him by a Royal Cédula issued on 6 July 1529. He was also honored with the knighthood of the Order of Santiago and the honorary charge of ''Captain General of New Spain and of the Coast of the Southern Sea'', and the noble title ''Don (honorific), don'', but was not reinstated the governorship of New Spain as he desired and never held any office with political power again. In 1529 he married the Spanish noblewoman Doña Juana de Zúñiga he had four legitimate children, including his only legitimate son, Don Martín, who succeeded to the title on his father's death in 1547. On 27 July 1529, a new Royal Cédula was issued, permitting Cortés to establish a ''mayorazgo'' (entailed estate) or majorat annexed to the title. The institution of the majorat, which took place on 9 January 1535, ensured the permanence of the Marquessate, as it entailed most of Cortés' estates, urban properties and vassals, rendering them inheritable along with the marquessal dignity in the family. The ''mayorazgo'' also laid down the succession to the title, which is by male-preference primogeniture, i.e. female are allowed to succeed if she has no living brothers and no deceased brothers who left surviving legitimate descendants. It was also specified that the Marquess or Marchioness had to be a Roman Catholic, loyal to the King, and bear the name and arms of Cortés.

Territories and administration

Cortés' estate was one of the very few seignorial hereditary domains created in the Indies, along with the short-living Dukedom of Veragua and Marquessate of Jamaica; the Dukedom of Atrisco, the Marquessate of Santiago de Oropesa and the Lordship of Maní. The Spanish crown preferred to reward conquistadors via the ''encomienda'' system, granting tribute and labor from specific indigenous settlements to the holder of the encomienda.Bravo Lira, Bernardino (1988)
"La monarquía moderna en Europa e Iberoamérica. Paralelo institucional"
Academy of History of Chile, p. 121. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
The ''encomiendas'' could only be inherited up to two generations, and the ''encomenderos'' had no political or judiciary power in their lands, depending on the pertinent Royal Audience and Captaincy General or Intendance. Far from it, the Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca had full civil law (legal system), civil and criminal jurisdiction over his 23.000 vassals, and could name justice and administrative officials.Rubio, pp. 101-102 Although the crown had granted the title and privileges, the "royal authorities made continual efforts to prevent the Marquesado from fully acquiring the political and juridical power required in the classic feudal model.". The Marquessate granted to Cortés was not a geographically unified estate, but consisted of separate, fertile, populous, and often strategic areas in different parts of Mexico but with economic potential. The holdings covered a total extension of over 11.500 square kilometres.Barret, p. 35Marquesado del Valle de Oaxaca
, Unknown Mexico. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
Cortés built a palace in Cuernavaca, (now the capital of the state of Morelos), which is relatively close to Mexico city, where he had substantial holdings. House to house censuses from ca. 1535 in the Nahuatl language are extant for the Cuernavaca region, which give important information about the social and economic structure of indigenous communities held by Cortés. It is likely that the censuses were carried out as part of the dispute between Cortés and the Spanish crown about the number of tribute payers Cortés actually held. In the censuses Cortés is referred to directly by his title of ''Marqués''. The censuses also give important information about the extent to which Christian evangelization was effective at the local level, since each member of a household was identified as baptized or unbaptized. This type of local-level documentation in indigenous languages are used in Mesoamerican ethnohistory (also termed the New Philology) to write history from indigenous viewpoints. The Cuernavaca censuses demonstrate that although Cortés was the recipient of tributes and was acknowledged as the Indian communities' overlord, these communities continued to function with little change fifteen years after the conquest of Mexico. The Marquessate was composed of seven jurisdictions: four ''Corregimientos'' and three ''Alcaldías Mayores''. The ''Corregimiento'' of Coyoacán, of 550 km2,Barret, pp. 30-34 included the main town, 34 villages (among others Mixcoac, Tlalpan, San Agustín de las Cuevas, San Ángel, Churubusco and Tacubaya) and 5 ''haciendas''. Depending of the ''Corregimiento'' of Toluca were 12 villages and an ''hacienda'' of 450 km2, and of the ''Corregimiento'' of Charo Matlazinco, of 100 km2, Charo, Michoacán, San Miguel Charo, 2 villages and an ''hacienda''. The ''Corregimiento'' of Jalapa de Tehuantepec, headed by Santa María Jalapa del Marqués, with 7 ''haciendas'' that summed up 550 km2. The holdings were to bring enormous income to the Marquessate when it was managed well was a large profit-making, economic enterprise with a centralized administration. This last ''Corregimiento'' included until 1560 the port of Tehuantepec, when King Philip II of Spain, Philip II issued a Royal Cédula, dated 16 December, which removed Tehuantepec from the marquessal estate, but specified that the Marquess should receive in exchange the equivalence of the tributes in gold that the town produced for the Royal Treasury. The Royal Audience of Mexico, on 23 November 1563, fixed a perpetual annual reward of 1,527 pesos of gold and 3,442 ''fanegas'' of maize paid by the villages of Tenango del Valle and Chimalhuacán, Mexico State, Chimalhuacán. The ''Alcaldía Mayor'' of the four towns of the Marquessate (Santa María de Oaxaca, Cuilapan, Guadalupe Etla, Etla and Santa Ana Tlapacoyan), of 1,500 km2, included 34 villages, 2 ''haciendas'' and a sugar ''engenho, ingenio''. Notwithstanding being surrounded by lands of this ''Alcaldía'', the city of Antequera (today Oaxaca de Juárez) was patrimony of the Crown. The ''Alcaldía Mayor'' of Cuernavaca spanned the former ''Corregimientos'' of Acapixtla and Oaxtepec, covering an area of 4,100 km2. It included the city of Cuernavaca, head of the Marquessate; 80 villages, 8 ''haciendas'' and 3 sugar ''ingenios'', situated in Tlaltenango de Sánchez Román Municipality, Tlaltenango (the first one in New Spain), Amatitlán and Atlacomulco. The ''Alcaldía Mayor'' of Los Tuxtlas, Tuxtla and Cotaxtla, headed by the town of Santiago Tuxtla, was composed of 51 villages. Up to 1567, the Marquess assigned the general supervision of the Estate affairs to the High Steward (''Mayordomo Mayor''), an official directly below him whose work consisted of routine collection and disbursement of funds and materials, as well as the conduct of lawsuits.Barret, pp. 14-15 In that year, the viceregal authorities discovered a conspiracy led by Don Martín Cortés, 2nd Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca, Martín Cortés, 2nd Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca, 2nd Marquess and his brother Martín Cortés (son of doña Marina), Martín Cortés ''the Mestizo'', planning to proclaim the former King of New Spain, supported by the conquistadors, who were unhappy with New Laws that restricted the inheritance of ''encomiendas''. The King ordered the Sequestration (law), sequestration of the Marquessate, which meant the Crown seized control of the Estate and withdrew all its incomes; the leaders being expelled from New Spain and forbidden to return. Although the sequestration was lifted in 1593, the Marchionesses lost direct control of the administration of the Estate, as they had to retain the structure through which the Crown had worked, which relinquished the governing autonomy they used to exercise. From then, the Marquessate had a fixed bureaucracy: The Governor and Privative Judge of the Estate (''Gobernador y Juez Privativo''), the Estate Controller (''Contador''), the Estate Lawyer (''Abogado de Cámara''), the Estate Solicitor (''Procurador''), the Estate Bailiff (''Agente solicitador''), the Estate Executioner (''Ministro ejecutor''), the Administrator of houses and ground rents and the Interpreter of the Náhuatl language, Náhuatl. These major officials met together as a group, called the ''Junta'', to discuss Estate affairs. Also, there was an office in Madrid, the General Direction, so that the decisions could be taken jointly with the agents of the Marquess. The Marquesado del Valle Codex, written in the second half of the 16th century, includes 28 petitions filed by local landowners in the Nahuatl language requesting return of their seized lands.

From the Cortés to the Pignatellis

Don Martín, the 2nd Marquess, obtained royal pardon in 1574, returning from his exile in Oran and recovering part of his sequestered lands in Mexico. However, he could not go back to New Spain and still had to pay a fine of 50,000 ducats and lend 100,000 more to the Crown.Mateos, pp. 211-225 He died in Madrid in 1589 and was succeeded in the title by his eldest son, Don Hernando Cortés, 3rd Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca, who was reinstated the rest of his Estate in 1593, with the help of his brother-in-law, Diego Fernández de Cabrera, 3rd Count of Chinchón, close adviser to the King. The 3rd Marquess left no legitimate children, so the title passed on his death to his brother, Don Pedro Cortés, 4th Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca. This Marquess was allowed to settle in Mexico, where he personally took up the running of the Estate, which had been controlled by administrators since 1567. The 4th Marquess also died without surviving descendants, so the Marquessate was inherited by his niece, Doña Estafanía Carrillo de Medonza, Duchess of Terranova, Estafanía Carrillo de Mendoza y Cortés, married to the Sicilian Diego Tagliavia d'Aragona, 4th Duke of Terranova, Duke of Terranova. Doña Estefanía was the eldest daughter of Doña Juana Cortés, Countess of Priego, Juana Cortés, sister of the 3rd and the 4th Marchionesses, and her husband Don Pedro Carrillo de Mendoza, 9th Count of Priego, Count of Priego. Upon the inheritance of the title, in compliance with the ''mayorazgo'' or entailment, the family adopted the name Aragona Tagliavia Cortés, although commonly referred to as Tagliavia d'Aragona.The Pignatelli Aragona Cortés Line
Official site of the Pignatelli family. Retrieved 21 January 2011
This marriage produced a single child, Giovanna Tagliavia d'Aragona, Duchess of Monteleone, Giovanna, one of the richest heiresses of her time, who married Ettore Pignatelli, 5th Duke of Monteleone, giving birth to a dynasty that assembled the immense wealth of the Aragonas, the Tagliavias, the Pignatellis and the Cortés, their titles and their fiefs, among which the Mexican marquessate was the crown jewel. Upon marriage, the groom assumed the name Aragona Pignatelli Cortés for him and all his descendants, who however where generally known as Pignatelli d'Aragona.

Marquesses of the Valley of Oaxaca (1529-)

* Don Hernán Cortés, Hernán Cortés, 1st Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca (1529–1547).Bernardo García Martínez, ''El Marquesado del Valle, Tres siglos de régimen senorial en Nueva España''. Mexico: El Colegio de México, 1969, p. 119. * Don Martín Cortés, 2nd Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, Martín Cortés, 2nd Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca (r. 1547–1589), eldest legitimate son of the 1st Marquess. * Don Hernando Cortés, 3rd Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca (r. 1589–1602), eldest son of the 2nd Marquess. * Don Pedro Cortés, 4th Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca (r. 1602–1629), second son of the 2nd Marquess * Doña Estefanía Carrillo de Mendoza y Cortés, Duchess of Terranova, (married to Diego de Aragón, IV Duke of Terranova) 5th Marchioness of the Valley of Oaxaca (r. 1635–1653), eldest daughter of the 2nd Marquess' elder daughter. * Giovanna Tagliavia d'Aragona, Duchess of Monteleone, Giovanna Tagliavia d'Aragona, (married to Héctor Pignatelli, V Duke of Monteleone) 5th Duchess of Terranova, 6th Marchioness of the Valley of Oaxaca (1619–1692), only daughter of the 5th Marchioness. * Giovanna Pignatelli d'Aragona, 8th Duchess of Monteleone, 7th Marchioness of the Valley of Oaxaca (1666–1723), eldest daughter of the 6th Marchioness' eldest surviving son. * Diego Pignatelli d'Aragona, 9th Duke of Monteleone, 8th Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca (1687–1750), elder son of the 7th Marchioness. * Fabrizio Pignatelli d'Aragona, 10th Duke of Monteleone, 9th Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca (1718–1763), elder son of the 8th Marquess. * Ettore Pignatelli d'Aragona, 11th Duke of Monteleone, 10th Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca (1742–1800), elder son of the 9th Marquess. * Diego Pignatelli d'Aragona, 12th Duke of Monteleone, 11th Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca (1774–1818), elder son of the 10th Marquess. * Giuseppe Pignatelli d'Aragona, 13th Duke of Monteleone, 12th Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca (1795–1859), eldest surviving son of the 11th Marquess. ;Dormant (1859–1916) * Giuseppe Pignatelli d'Aragona, 16th Duke of Monteleone, 13th Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca (1860–1938), eldest son of the 12th Marquess' second surviving son. ;Dormant (1938–1984) * Jorge de Llanza, 14th Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca (1921–2001), 4th great-grandson of the 7th Marchioness' third son. * Álvaro de Llanza, 15th Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca''Boletín Oficial del Estado''
no. 249, p. 38201
17 October 2001. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
(b. 1960), elder son of the 14th Marquess. The heiress apparent is Doña Claudia de Llanza y López-Quesada (b. 1990)

Pignatelli pretenders (1938-)

* Antonio Pignatelli d'Aragona, 17th Duke of Monteleone, "14th Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca" (1892–1958), elder son of the 13th Marquess. * Giuseppe Pignatelli d'Aragona, 18th Duke of Monteleone, "15th Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca" (1931–1989), elder son of the "14th Marquess". * Niccolò Pignatelli d'Aragona, 19th Duke of Monteleone, "16th Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca" (b. 1923), grandson of the 13th Marquess' third brother. The titular heir apparent is Prince Diego Pignatelli d'Aragona (b. 1958)

Family Tree


Further reading

* *Bernal Díaz del Castillo, Díaz del Castillo, Bernal. ''The Conquest of New Spain'' – available as ''The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico: 1517-1521'' *García Martínez, Bernardo. ''El Marquesado del Valle: Tres Siglos de régimen señorial en Nueva España''. Mexico City: El Colegio de México 1969. * * *Martin, Cheryl English. ''Rural Society in Colonial Morelos''. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 1985. * * * *Riley, G. Micheal. "Marquesado del Valle de Oaxaca." ''Encyclopedia of Mexico'', Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997, pp. 781–82. * *

External links

* — ''contains 28 separate petitions from different leaders and towns of the Marquesado del Valle, protesting seizures of lands and sugar mills by Hernán Cortés''. {{DEFAULTSORT:Marquessate of the Valley of Oaxaca History of Oaxaca Mexican noble titles 1529 establishments in New Spain