Captaincy General of Yucatán

The Captaincy General of Yucatán (Spanish: Capitanía General de Yucatán) was an administrative district of colonial Spain, created in 1617 to provide more autonomy for the Yucatán Peninsula, previously ruled directly by a simple governor under the jurisdiction of Audiencia of Mexico. Its creation was part of the, ultimately futile, Habsburg attempt in the late 16th century to prevent incursion into the Caribbean by foreign powers, which also involved the establishment of Captaincies General in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and neighboring Guatemala. With the addition of the title of captain general to the governor of Yucatán, the province gained greater autonomy in administration and military matters. Unlike in most areas of Spanish America, no formal corregidores were used in Yucatán, and instead the governor-captain general relied on other subordinate officials to handle the oversight of local districts. The Captaincy General remained part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, with the viceroy retaining the right to oversee the province's governance, when it was deemed necessary, and the Audiencia of Mexico taking judicial cases in appeal. The province and captaincy general covered the territory that today are the States of Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Yucatán, and nominally the northern areas of Petén and Belize.

Law IV ("Que el Governador de Yucatan guarde las ordenes del Virrey de Nueva España") of Title I ("De los Terminos, Division, y Agregación de las Governaciones") of Book V of the Recopilación de Leyes de Indias of 1680 reproduces the November 2, 1627 royal decree (real cédula) of Philip V, which established the nature of the relationship between the Governor of Yucatán and the Viceroy of New Spain: "It is convenient that the governors and captain generals of the Province of Yucatán, precisely and in a timely manner fulfill the orders that the viceroys of New Spain give them. And we order that the governors obey them and fulfill them."[1]

In 1786, as part of the Bourbon Reforms the Spanish Crown established an Intendancy of Yucatán covering the same area as the Province. The intendancy took control of government and military finances and had broad powers to promote the local economy.

Intendencia de yucatán
Intendancy of Yucatán

See also


  1. ^ Spain (1680). Recopilación de las Leyes de Indias. Titulo Uno. De los Terminos, Division, y Agregación de las Governaciones. Madrid. Spanish-language facsimile of the original.


  • Farriss, Nancy M. Maya Society Under Colonial Rule. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1984. ISBN 978-0-691-10158-3
  • Moseley, Edward H. "From Conquest to Independence: Yucatan Under Spanish Rule, 1521-1821" in Yucatan: A World Apart. The University of Alabama Press, 1980. ISBN 0-8173-0025-2
  • Patch, Robert W. Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1648-1812. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-8047-2062-2
Antonio de Benavides

Antonio Benavides Bazán y Molina (December 8, 1678 – January 9, 1762) was a Lieutenant General in the Spanish Army who held administrative positions in the Americas as Royal Governor of Spanish Florida (1718–1734), Governor of Veracruz (1734–1745), Governor and Captain General of Yucatán province (1745 – 1750), as well as Governor of Manila in the Philippines (September 1750 – ?). Before his successive appointments to these various positions, he served with distinction in several campaigns of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1710, and perhaps saved the life of Philip V, the first Bourbon King of Spain, at Guadalajara.

During his term of office in Florida, Benavides jailed Juan de Ayala y Escobar, the previous governor, for dealing in contraband, and repelled several attempts by the English to invade Florida by land and sea. He secured the friendship of the neighboring Indian groups who had previously been inimical to the Spaniards, a state of affairs that continued without interruption while he governed the province. He defended the rights of the indigenous people and established the first black militia unit in Florida to defend St. Augustine, the capital of the province, from British attacks. Over the course of his various administrative appointments, Benavides apparently donated most of his income to the poor people of Florida, Yucatan, Veracruz and Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands.


Colonialism is the policy of a nation seeking to extend or retain its authority over other people or territories, generally with the aim of opening trade opportunities. The colonising country seeks to benefit from the colonised country or land mass. In the process, colonisers imposed their religion, economics, and medicinal practices on the natives. Some argue this was a positive move toward modernisation, while other scholars counter that this is an intrinsically Eurocentric rationalisation, given that modernisation is itself a concept introduced by Europeans. Colonialism is largely regarded as a relationship of domination of an indigenous majority by a minority of foreign invaders where the latter rule in pursuit of its interests.Early records of colonisation go as far back as Phoenicians, an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550 BC to 300 BC and later the Greeks and Persians continued on this line of setting up colonies. The Romans would soon follow, setting up colonies throughout the Mediterranean, Northern Africa, and Western Asia. In the 9th century a new wave of Mediterranean colonisation had begun between competing states such as the Venetians, Genovese and Amalfians, invading the wealthy previously Byzantine or Eastern Roman islands and lands. Venice began with the conquest of Dalmatia and reached its greatest nominal extent at the conclusion of the Fourth Crusade in 1204, with the declaration of the acquisition of three octaves of the Byzantine Empire.

Later, in the 15th century some European states established their own empires during the European colonial period. The Belgian, British, Danish, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish empires established colonies across large areas. Imperial Japan, the Ottoman Empire and the United States also acquired colonies, as did imperialist China and finally in the late 19th century the German and the Italian.

At first, European colonising countries followed policies of mercantilism, in order to strengthen the home economy, so agreements usually restricted the colonies to trading only with the metropole (mother country). By the mid-19th century, however, the British Empire gave up mercantilism and trade restrictions and adopted the principle of free trade, with few restrictions or tariffs. Christian missionaries were active in practically all of the colonies because the Colonialists were Christians. Historian Philip Hoffman calculated that by 1800, before the Industrial Revolution, Europeans already controlled at least 35% of the globe, and by 1914, they had gained control of 84%.

In the aftermath of World War II, the archetypal European colonial system practically ended between 1945–1975, when nearly all Europe's colonies gained political independence.

José María Gutiérrez de Estrada

José María Gutiérrez de Estrada (17 October 1800 – 17 May 1867), was a Mexican diplomat and politician born in San Francisco de Campeche when this city was still a part of the Captaincy General of Yucatán and died in Paris, France. He was one of the first foreign representatives sent to Europe by President Guadalupe Victoria to establish relations. He served as Minister of Interior and Exterior Relations during the presidency of Antonio López de Santa Anna in 1835. He was also a Senator of the Republic for Yucatán.

In 1863, he headed the delegation that offered the Mexican throne to Maximilian of Habsburg at Miramare Castle. His brother, Joaquín Gutiérrez de Estrada, also a conservative politician, was Governor of Yucatán.

List of Mexican states by date of statehood

This is a list of Mexican States by date of statehood, that is, the date when each Mexican State was accepted by Congress of the Union as a free and sovereign state of the Mexican Union.

The effective independence of Mexico reached on September 27, 1821, does not meant the independence of the states, because Mexico was the only Latin American country which became independent from Spain as a monarchy. After the fall of the Mexican Empire, the Federal Republic was established on July 12, 1823.Although 18 of the 19 founder states can be considered official members of the federation since the enactment of the Constitutive Act of the Mexican Federation on January 31, 1824; eleven of them were ratified as states before the enactment and some of the others were included as three states (the internal States of North, Western and Eastern).6 7 Tamaulipas, Tabasco and Chiapas were ratified after the enactment of the act.8All the later admission dates were set by law or decree of congress, except for Chiapas, whose admission was determined by its own people in a referendum.This list does not account the secession of several states during the establishment of the Centralist Republic and the territorial changes made during the civil and foreign wars.

List of governors in the Viceroyalty of New Spain

Governors in the various provinces of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.

In addition to governors, the following list (under construction) intends to give an overview of colonial units of the provincial level; therefore it also includes some offices of similar rank, especially the intendant. Intendente is both a Spanish and Portuguese word, derived from the French Intendant. It was introduced to the Spanish Empire by the Bourbon Dynasty, which Spain shared with France after the early 18th century. This list also does not distinguish between Gobernaciones and Provincias, because they were essentially two grades of provinces.

Republic of Yucatán

The Republic of Yucatán (Spanish: República de Yucatán) was a sovereign state during two periods of the nineteenth century. The first Republic of Yucatán, founded May 29, 1823, willingly joined the Mexican federation as the Federated Republic of Yucatán on December 23, 1823, less than seven months later. The second Republic of Yucatán began in 1841, with its declaration of independence from the Mexican Federation. It remained independent for seven years, after which it rejoined the United Mexican States. The area of the former republic includes the modern Mexican states of Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo. The Republic of Yucatán usually refers to the Second Republic (1841–1848).

The Republic of Yucatán was governed by the Constitution of 1841, one of the most advanced of its time. It guaranteed individual rights, religious freedom and what was then a new legal form called amparo (English: protection). The 1847 Caste War caused the Republic of Yucatán to request military aid from Mexico. This was given on the condition that the Republic rejoin the Mexican Federation.

Territorial evolution of Mexico

Mexico has experienced many changes in territorial organization during its history as an independent state. The territorial boundaries of Mexico were affected by presidential and imperial decrees. One such decree was the Law of Bases for the Convocation of the Constituent Congress to the Constitutive Act of the Mexican Federation, which determined the national land area as the result of integration of the jurisdictions that corresponded to New Spain, the Captaincy General of Yucatán, the Captaincy General of Guatemala and the autonomous Kingdoms of East and West. The decree resulted in the independence from Spain.


Yucatán (Spanish pronunciation: [ɟ͡ʝukaˈtan] (listen)), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Yucatán (Spanish: Estado Libre y Soberano de Yucatán), is one of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 106 municipalities, and its capital city is Mérida.

It is located on the north part of the Yucatán Peninsula. It is bordered by the states of Campeche to the southwest and Quintana Roo to the southeast, with the Gulf of Mexico off its north coast.

Before the arrival of Spaniards to the Yucatán Peninsula, the name of this region was Mayab. In the Mayan language, "ma' ya'ab" is translated as "a few". It was a very important region for the Mayan civilization, which reached the peak of its development here, where the Mayans founded the cities of Chichen Itza, Izamal, Motul, Mayapan, Ek' Balam and Ichcaanzihóo (also called T'ho), now Mérida.After the Spanish conquest of Yucatán, the Peninsula was a single administrative and political entity, the Captaincy General of Yucatán. Following independence and the breakup of the Mexican Empire in 1823, the first Republic of Yucatán was proclaimed, which was then voluntarily annexed to the Federal Republic of United Mexican States on December 21, 1823. On March 16, 1841, as a result of cultural and political conflicts around the federal pact, Yucatán declared its independence from Mexico. forming a second Republic of Yucatán. Eventually on July 14, 1848, Yucatán was forced to rejoin Mexico. In 1858, in the middle of the caste war, the state of Yucatán was divided for the first time, establishing Campeche as a separate state (officially in 1863). During the Porfiriato, in 1902, the state of Yucatán was divided again to form the Federal territory that later became the present state of Quintana Roo.Today, Yucatán is the safest state in Mexico and Mérida was awarded City of Peace in 2011.

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