Council of the Indies

The Council of the Indies; officially, the Royal and Supreme Council of the Indies (Spanish: Real y Supremo Consejo de las Indias, pronounced [reˈal i suˈpɾemo konˈsexo ðe las ˈindjas]), was the most important administrative organ of the Spanish Empire for the Americas and the Philippines. The crown held absolute power over the Indies and the Council of the Indies was the administrative and advisory body for those overseas realms. It was established in 1524 by Charles V to administer "the Indies," Spain's name for its territories. Such an administrative entity, on the conciliar model of the Council of Castile, was created following the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire in 1521, which demonstrated the importance of the Americas. Originally an itinerary council that followed Charles V, it was subsequently established as an autonomous body with legislative, executive and judicial functions by Philip II of Spain and placed in Madrid in 1561.[1] The Council of the Indies was abolished in 1812 by the Cádiz Cortes, briefly restored in 1814 by Ferdinand VII of Spain, and definitively abolished in 1834 by the regency, acting on behalf of the four-year-old Isabella II of Spain.[2][3]

Philip II's realms in 1598
Map of the Spanish Empire in 1598.
  Territories administered by the Council of Castile
  Territories administered by the Council of Aragon
  Territories administered by the Council of Portugal
  Territories administered by the Council of Italy
  Territories administered by the Council of the Indies
  Territories appointed to the Council of Flanders


Alcazar de Madrid siglo XVII
The palace of the Alcázar in Madrid, residence of the kings of Spain, in which the Council of the Indies was installed till 1701.
Pedro Moya de Contreras, former archbishop of Mexico, President of the Council of the Indies
Luis de Velasco II, Marqués de Salinas, Viceroy of New Spain and of Peru, later President of the Council of the Indies
Politica indianapor Iuan de Solorzano Pereira
Juan de Solórzano Pereira, member of the Council of the Indies.

Queen Isabella had granted extensive authority to Christopher Columbus, but then withdrew that authority, and established direct royal control, putting matters of the Indies in the hands of her chaplain, Juan Rodríguez de Fonseca in 1493. The Catholic Monarchs (Isabella and Ferdinand) designated Rodríguez de Fonseca to study the problems related to the colonization process arising from what was seen as tyrannical behavior of Governor Christopher Columbus and his misgovernment of Natives and Iberian settlers. Rodríguez de Fonseca effectively became minister for the Indies and laid the foundations for the creation of a colonial bureaucracy. He presided over a committee or council, which contained a number of members of the Council of Castile (Consejo de Castilla), and formed a Junta de Indias of about eight counselors. Emperor Charles V was already using the term "Council of the Indies" in 1519.

The Council of the Indies was formally created on August 1, 1524.[4] The king was informed weekly, and sometimes daily, of decisions reached by the Council, which came to exercise supreme authority over the Indies at the local level and over the Casa de Contratación ("House of Trade") founded in 1503 at Seville as a customs storehouse for the Indies. Civil suits of sufficient importance could be appealed from an audiencia in the New World to the Council, functioning as a court of last resort.[5] There were two secretaries of the Council, one in charge of Peru, Chile, Tierrafirme (northern South America), and the Kingdom of New Granada; the other was in charge of New Spain, encompassing Mexico, Guatemala, Nueva Galicia, Hispaniola, and the Philippines. The name of the Council did not change with the addition of the indias orientales of the Philippines and other Pacific territories claimed by Spain to the original indias occidentales.[6]

Internecine fighting and political instability in Peru and the untiring efforts of Bartolomé de las Casas on behalf of the natives' rights resulted in Charles's overhaul of the structure of the Council in 1542 with issuing of the "New Laws," which put limits on the rights of Spanish holders of encomiendas, grants of indigenous labor. Under Charles II the Council undertook the project to formally codify the large volume of Council and Crown's decisions and legislation for the Indies in the 1680 publication, the Laws of the Indies (es:Recopilación de las Leyes de Indias) and re-codified in 1791.[7]

The Council of the Indies was usually headed by an ecclesiastic, but the councilors were generally non-clerics trained in law. In later years, nobles and royal favorites were in the ranks of councilors, as well as men who had experience in the high courts (Audiencias) of the Indies. A key example of such an experienced councilor was Juan de Solórzano Pereira, author of Política Indiana, who served in Peru prior to being named to the Council of the Indies[8] and led the project on the Laws of the Indies. Other noteworthy Presidents of the Council were es:Francisco Tello de Sandoval; es:Juan de Ovando y Godoy; Pedro Moya de Contreras, former archbishop of Mexico; and Luis de Velasco, marqués de Salinas, former viceroy of both Mexico and Peru.

Although initially the Council had responsibility for all aspects of the Indies, under Philip II the financial aspects of the empire were shifted to the Council on Finance in 1556-57, a source of conflict between the two councils, especially since Spanish America came to be the source of the empire's wealth. When the Holy Office of the Inquisition was established as an institution in Mexico and Lima in the 1570s, the Council of the Indies was removed from control. The head of the Supreme Council of the Inquisition, es:Juan de Ovando y Godoy became president of the Council of the Indies 1571-75. He was appalled by the ignorance of the Indies by those serving on the Council. He sought the creation of a general description of the territories, which was never completed, but the Relaciones geográficas were the result of that project.[9]

The height of the Council's power was in the sixteenth century. Its power declined and the quality of the councillors decreased. In the final years of the Habsburg dynasty, some appointments were sold or were accorded to people obviously unqualified, such as a nine-year-old boy, whose father had rendered services to the crown.[10]

With the ascension of the Bourbon dynasty at the start of the eighteenth century, a series of administrative changes, known as the Bourbon reforms, were introduced. In 1714 Philip V created a Secretariat of the Navy and the Indies (Secretaría de Marina e Indias) with a single Minister of the Indies, which superseded the administrative functions of the Council, although the Council continued to function in a secondary role until the nineteenth century. Fifty years later Charles III set up a separate Secretary of State for the Indies (Secretarío del Estado del Despacho Universal de Indias).[11] In the late eighteenth century, the Council became powerful and prestigious again, with a great number of well qualified councillors with experience in the Indies.[12] In 1808 Napoleon invaded Spain placed his brother, Joseph Napoleon on the throne. The Cádiz Cortes, the body Spaniards considered the legitimate government in Spain and its overseas territories in the absence of their Bourbon monarch, abolished the Council in 1812. It was restored in 1814 upon Ferdinand VII's restoration, and the autocratic monarch appointed a great number of Councillors with American experience.[13] The Council was finally abolished in 1834, a year after Ferdinand VII's death and after the loss of most of Spain's empire in the Americas.

The archives of the Council, the Archivo General de Indias one of the major centers of documentation for Spanish, Spanish American, and European history, are housed in Seville.

See also


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Fernando Cervantes, "Council of the Indies" in Encyclopedia of Mexico, vol. 1, p. 36163. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997.
  3. ^ El Consejo Real de Castilla y la Ley
  4. ^ Gibson, Charles (1966). Spain in America. New York: Harper & Row. p. 92.
  5. ^ Gibson, 94-95.
  6. ^ Recopilación de las leyes de Indias, Libro II, Título VI.
  7. ^ Gibson, 109-110, note 24.
  8. ^ Cervantes, "Council of the Indies" p. 361.
  9. ^ Cervantes, "Council of the Indies", p. 362.
  10. ^ Burkholder, Mark A. "Council of the Indies", vol. 2, p. 293. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1996.
  11. ^ Gibson, 167-168.
  12. ^ Burkholder, "Council of the Indies" p. 293.
  13. ^ Burkholder, "Council of the Indies" p. 293.

Further reading

  • Burkholder, Mark A. Biographical Dictionary of Councilors of the Indies, 1717-1808. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1986. ISBN 0-313-24024-8
  • Burkholder, Mark A. "Council of the Indies" in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, vol. 2, p. 293. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1996.
  • Cervantes, Fernando. "Council of the Indies" in Encyclopedia of Mexico, vol. 1, pp. 361-3. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997.
  • Haring, Clarence H. The Spanish Empire in America. New York: Oxford University Press 1947.
  • Merriman, R.G. The Rise of the Spanish Empire in the Old World and the New, 4 vols. New York: Cooper Square 1962.
  • Parry, J.H. The Spanish Theory of Empire in the Sixteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1940.
  • Schäfer, Ernesto. El consejo real y supremo de las Indias. vol 1. Seville: M. Carmona 1935.
  • Solórzano y Pereira, Juan de. Política Indiana. 2 vols. Mexico City: Secretaria de Programación y Presupuesto 1979.
  • Zavala, Silvio. Las instituciones jurídicas en la conquista de América. 3rd. ed. Mexico City: Porrúa 1935.

Adelantado (Spanish pronunciation: [aðelanˈtaðo]) (meaning "advanced") was a title held by Spanish nobles in service of their respective kings during the Middle Ages. It was later used as a military title held by some Spanish conquistadores of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.

Adelantados were granted directly by the monarch the right to become governors and justices of a specific region, which they were charged with conquering, in exchange for funding and organizing the initial explorations, settlements and pacification of the target area on behalf of the Crown of Castile. These areas were usually outside the jurisdiction of an existing audiencia or viceroy, and adelantados were authorized to communicate directly with the Council of the Indies.

Alonso Muñoz

Alonso Muñoz (sometimes Alonso de Muñoz) (ca. 1512, Caravaca, Spain—December 19, 1568) was a high-ranking administrator in Spain and, from November 1567 to about July 1568, royal commissioner with Luis Carrillo for the inspection of the government of New Spain for King Philip II.

Captaincies of the Spanish Empire

Captaincies (Spanish: capitanías) were military and administrative divisions in colonial Spanish America and the Spanish Philippines, established in areas under risk of foreign invasion or Indian attack. They could consist of just one province, or group several together. These captaincies general should be distinguished from the ones given to almost all of the conquistadores, which was based on an older tradition. During the Reconquista, the term "captain general" and similar ones had been used for the official in charge of all the troops in a given district. This office was transferred to America during the conquest and was usually granted along with the hereditary governorship to the adelantado in the patent issued by the Crown. This established a precedent that was recognized by the New Laws of 1542, but ultimately the crown eliminated all hereditary governorships in its overseas possessions.

With the establishment of appointed governors, who served only for a few years, captaincies were created in the areas where the crown deemed them necessary. The new captaincies general were governed by what was also called a captain general, and it is this title alone that is usually used by historians. The title of captain general itself is a high military rank of general officer grade, equivalent to the rank of Field Marshal, as well as, and a gubernatorial title. However, in practice this was a person who held two distinct offices: one military, which granted him command of the regional forces (the "captaincy general" proper), and another civilian, which included the presidency of the audiencia, if there was one in the provincial capital, (the governorship). The specific powers of any governor-captain general varied by time and place and were specified in the decrees establishing the captaincy general. The institution of the captaincy general predated the viceroyalty, but was incorporated into the latter when the viceroyalties were established in the mid-16th century.

Some captaincies general, such as Guatemala, Chile and Venezuela were eventually split off from their viceroyalties for better-administration purposes. Although under the nominal jurisdiction of their viceroys, governors-captains general were virtually independent, because the law granted them special military functions and given the considerable distance of their districts from the viceregal capital, they were authorized to deal directly with the King and the Council of the Indies, in Madrid. The institution was later revived as part of the Bourbon Reforms. Captaincies general were first introduced into Spain beginning in 1713 during the War of the Spanish Succession. After the losses of the Seven Years' War, the Bourbon kings established new ones in many American regions, which had not had them before. Along with the new governors-captains general, the Bourbons introduced the Intendant, to handle civilian and military expenses.

Captaincy General

The Captaincy General was a division of a viceroyalty in Spanish or Portuguese colonial administration. Captaincies general were established districts that were under threat from foreign invasion or Indian attack. Their governors were the Captains general. Captaincies general, on account of their independence and distance from the crown, became virtual viceroyalties, having a direct relationship with the king and the Council of the Indies, in Madrid.

Captaincy General of the Philippines

The Captaincy General of the Philippines (Spanish: Capitanía General de las Filipinas [kapitaˈni.a xeneˈɾal ðe las filiˈpinas]; Filipino: Kapitaniyang Heneral ng Pilipinas) also known as the Kingdom of the Philippines (Spanish: Reino de Las Filipinas; Filipino: Kaharian ng Pilipinas) was an administrative district of the Spanish Empire in Southeast Asia governed by a Governor-General. The Captaincy General encompassed the Spanish East Indies, which included among others the Philippine Islands and the Caroline Islands. It was founded in 1565 with the first permanent Spanish settlements.

For centuries all the political and economic aspects of the Captaincy were administered in Mexico City by the Viceroyalty of New Spain, while the administrative issues had to be consulted with the Spanish Crown or the Council of the Indies through the Royal Audience of Manila. However, in 1821, following the independence of Mexico, all control was transferred to Madrid. It was succeeded by the short-lived First Philippine Republic following its Independence through the Philippine Revolution.

Casa de Contratación

The Casa de Contratación (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkasa ðe kontɾataˈθjon], "House of Trade") or Casa de la Contratación de las Indias ("House of Trade of the Indies") was established by the Crown of Castile, in 1503 in the port of Seville (and transferred to Cadiz in 1717) as a crown agency for the Spanish Empire. It functioned until 1790, when it was abolished in a government reorganization. Before the establishment of the Council of the Indies in 1524, the Casa de Contratación had broad powers over overseas matters, especially financial matters concerning trade and legal disputes arising from it. It also was responsible for the licensing of emigrants, training of pilots, creation of maps and charters, probate of estates of Spaniards dying overseas. Its official name was La Casa y Audiencia de Indias.

Cornelis Speelman

Cornelis Speelman (2 March 1628 – 11 January 1684) was Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1681 to 1684.

Cornelis Janzoon Speelman was the son of a Rotterdam merchant. He was born on 2 March 1628. In his 16th year, he left aboard the Hillegersberg for the Indies. He was employed as an Assistant (assistent) in the service of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). In 1645 he arrived in Batavia, Dutch East Indies. He became Bookkeeper (boekhouder) in 1648 and Underbuyer (onderkoopman) in 1649. He became Secretary (secretaris) to the Dutch Council of the Indies (Raad van Indië). He travelled with ambassador Joan Cunaeus to Persia that year, and wrote an account of the voyage. They were received by the Shah Abbas II with great festivity. Even before his voyage came to an end, in 1652 he was promoted to Buyer (koopman).

On his return to Batavia, he took up a post in the office of the Bookkeeper-General (boekhouder-generaal), for whom he deputed for a long time, and whom he succeeded in 1657. Meanwhile, he had married the fifteen-year-old Petronella Maria Wonderaer, daughter to the Receiver-General (ontvanger-generaal). In 1659 he was placed in charge of the Company's clerical and administrative staff (kapitein over de compagnie pennisten) in Batavia. In 1661, he became schepen van Batavia (a sort of alderman post connected with local government there).

On 12 June 1663, Cornelis Speelman was appointed Governor and Director of Dutch Coromandel, but was suspended by the Lords Seventeen (Heren XVII), being accused of having illegally engaged in private trading. He had bought a diamond for his wife and later re-sold it because she had not liked it. Despite his strenuous protests, the court in Batavia wanted to make an example of him and he was sentenced to a 15 months suspension and a fine of 3,000 guilders. In 1666, he was named admiral and superintendent of an expedition to Makassar. On 18 November 1667, he concluded the so-called Bongaais Treaty (Treaty of Bongaya[1]). In the same year, he was named Commissioner (commissaris) of Amboina, Banda and Ternate. Consequently, he became Counsellor-extraordinary (raad extra-ordinaris) to the Dutch Council of the Indies. He travelled once again, in 1669, as admiral of another expedition to Makassar where he completely subjugated the kingdom, receiving a gold chain and medallion in recognition of this the following year.

He became a full Counsellor of the Indies on 23 March 1671. The following year he was admiral of a fleet sent against the French. In December 1676, he led an expedition to Central Java, supporting the ruler of Mataram who was facing the Trunajaya rebellion. On Java's East Coast, he went to war against the rebel leader Trunajaya. It took some time before peace was re-established. He was called back to Batavia at the end of 1677 and on 18 January 1678 named First Counsellor and Director-General of the Indies (Eerste Raad en Directeur-Generaal van Indië). Also in that year he was appointed President of the College van Schepenen (to do with local government) in Batavia. On 29 October 1680 he was named Governor-General, a post he took up on 25 November 1681, succeeding Rijckloff van Goens.

During the term of office of Cornelis Speelman as Governor-General, the Sultan of Ternate was defeated. He ceded all his lands of his kingdom to the Company. Speelman also subdued the city of Bantam. Cornelis Speelman died on 11 January 1684 in the Castle at Batavia. His funeral was accompanied with great clamour and splendour, for which no pains or monies were spared. He was buried in the Kruiskerk to the salute of 229 cannon shots. He was followed as Governor-General by Johannes Camphuys.

Cornelis van der Lijn

Cornelis van der Lijn (1608 – 27 July 1679) was Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1646 until 1650.

Diederik Durven

Diederik Durven (13 September 1676 – 26 February 1740) was a Dutch colonial administrator and Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1729 to 1732.

Durven studied Law at Leiden University where he graduated on 19 July 1702. He became an advocate in Delft in 1704. In 1705, he was nominated as a member of the Council of Justice at Batavia in the Indies. He left for Batavia on the "Grimmestein" on 4 January 1706, arriving later that year. After his appointment in 1720 to the Council of the Indies, he was sent, in 1722 and 1723, to supervise the gold- and silver-mines in Parang province. Subsequently, he became (in 1723) chairman of the College van Heemraden (i.e. drainage board, comparable to a polder board in the Dutch Republic), which was responsible for the management of land outside the city, including supervision of boundaries. He later become President of the Council of Justice - the supreme court of Dutch Asia. In 1729, Mattheus de Haan died. Diederik Durven succeeded him as provisional Governor-General. This did not last long, as the Directors of the East India Company were very impatient of the speed of change there. Following alleged financial misbehaviour, though more probably as a scapegoat, he was dismissed on 9 October 1731. Diederik Durven died in the Netherlands on 26 February 1740. He was succeeded by Dirck van Cloon.

Hendrik Becker

Hendrik Becker (sometimes "Bekker") (3 August 1661, in Amsterdam – ca 15 August 1722, in Amsterdam) was the Governor of Ceylon from 1707 until 1716.

Becker was the son of Johanna Rombouts and Hendirk Becker Sr, schepen of Amsterdam, a director of the Dutch West Indies Company and owner of a whaling fleet. Hendrik Jr joined the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) and sailed to the East Indies as captain of the ship de Voetboog. He was captain in the army at Japara on Java and from 1692 in Malabar in south-west India. In 1694 he moved to Ceylon, where he had a function in Negapatnam. He became extraordinary member of the council of the Indies in 1705, and when in 1707 Cornelis Johannes Simonsz had requested a transfer from governor of Ceylon, he solicited for the position. He was appointed on 22 November 1707. During his reign as governor the financial situation of the VOC on Ceylon improved considerably. He was renowned for founding the Leper Hospital in Hendella (now Hendala in the Gampaha District). Still, the fact that the VOC appointed Isaak Augustijn Rumpf, an adversary of Becker, as his successor suggests that the VOC council was not entirely pleased with his tenure. He retired in December 1716. and in 1717 returned to his fatherland as commander of a fleet of 29 ships carrying cargo worth seven million guilders.Becker was married with Anna Catharina Collaert, but remained without offspring. He died in his hometown and was buried on 17 August 1722 in the Westerkerk.

Jeremias van Riemsdijk

Jeremias van Riemsdijk (18 October 1712 – 3 October 1777) was a Dutch colonial administrator who served as Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1775 to 1777.

Jeremias van Riemsdijk was born on 18 October 1712 in Utrecht, the son to Scipio van Riemsdijk, the minister of Bunnik near Houten, and Johanna Bogaert. He entered service with the Dutch East India Company as a sergeant left for the Indies, aboard the van de Proostwijk, on 25 February 1735. Very shortly after his arrival in Batavia/Jakarta on 14 September 1735, he entered the civil (as opposed to military) service. Jeremias was the nephew of the future Governor-General Adriaan Valckenier (1737-1741), who at the time was still a member of the Dutch Council of the Indies. H could therefore expect to make rapid progress in his career.In 1736 he became onderkoopman (underbuyer/undermerchant), in 1738 koopman (buyer/merchant), in 1740 tweede opperkoopman (second upperbuyer/uppermerchant) and in 1742 eerste opperkoopman (first upperbuyer/uppermerchant) in the castle headquarters at Batavia/Jakarta. In 1743 he became the chief (kapitein) of the company of clerical/writing staff (pennisten) and in October Jeremias van Riemsdijk was named Counsellor-extraordinary (Raad extra-ordinaier) to the Council of the Indies. In 1759 he was appointed President of the College van Weesmeesters (dealing with the affairs of orphans, minors, etc.). On 15 October 1760 he was named ordinary Counsellor (Raad ordinair) and on 17 August 1764 Director-General.On 28 December 1775, following the death of Petrus Albertus van der Parra, Van Riemsdijk was chosen as Governor-General. He had had at the time five marriages, to leading Eurasian ladies. He had learned a lot from the eleven years he had worked with his predecessor, whose great appetite for money he had acquired. During his term in office, there was a shortage of ships and ship personnel. This problem was solved with help from the homeland. However, shortly after his governorship had begun, Jeremias van Riemsdijk died in Batavia/Jakarta. He was followed as Governor-General by Reynier de Klerck

Joan Orpí

Joan Orpí i del Pou, also Juan Orpín or Juan Urpín (1593 in Piera – 1 July 1645 in Barcelona, Venezuela) was a Spanish conquistador, known for founding New Barcelona in Venezuela, and for founding the short-lived Province of New Catalonia (1633–1654).

In 1623 he journeyed to Araya. In 1624 the Governor of New Andalusia Province, Diego de Arroyo Daza, named Orpí Lieutenant General of the province, a position he held until 1627/8. That year the Real Audiencia of Santo Domingo recognised the law degree he had obtained in Barcelona, and he began acting as a legal representative of the Audiencia in Caracas.

In 1631 he moved to Santo Domingo, where the difficulty of communication between the Venezuela Province (Caracas) and the New Andalusia Province (Cumaná) was a matter of some concern. He agreed to launch an expedition to secure the territory between the Unare River and the Neverí River, inhabited by the Cumanagotos, and was granted the royal privilege to do so, despite opposition from others. His expedition began in 1632 but had to be called off when the privilege was revoked, and he had to plead a case to the Audiencia and to the Council of the Indies to regain it, which he was able to do in 1636.

A second expedition was launched in 1637, and Orpí founded New Barcelona (Nueva Barcelona del Cerro Santo) in February 1638. New Barcelona became the capital of the Province of Nueva Cataluña he created in 1633, extending along the coast from San Felipe de Austria (Cariaco) to Cabo Codera, and down to the Orinoco River. After his death in 1645 the Province did not last long, being merged into New Andalusia Province in 1654, while New Barcelona had to be refounded in 1671.

Joan van Hoorn

Joan van Hoorn (1653–1711) was Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1704 until 1709.

Joan (or Johan) van Hoorn was born on 16 November 1653, son to the wealthy Amsterdam gunpowder manufacturer, Pieter Janszn van Hoorn and his wife Sara Bessels, a grandchild of Gerard Reynst. As the gunpowder trade was no longer doing so well, his influential friends got him named as Counsellor-extraordinary (Raad extraordinair) to the Dutch Council of the Indies. The whole family left for the Indies in 1663, including Joan.

In 1665, when he was still only 12 years old, Joan van Hoorn was already Under-assistant (onder-assistant) in the Dutch East India Company (VOC). From July 1666 until January 1668, he accompanied his father on a mission to China, where he was received by the Kangxi Emperor. Thereafter, Van Hoorn made rapid progress in his career. He became Assistant (assistent) in 1671, Underbuyer (onderkoopman) in 1673, Buyer (koopman) and First Clerk to the general secretarial function in 1676. He was made Secretary to the High Government (Hoge Regering) of the Indies in 1678. On 11 August 1682 he became Counsellor-extraordinary to the Council of the Indies. In that same year he was sent on a visit to Bantam. He was also named President of the Weeskamer (overseeing the estates of orphans, etc.). In 1684, he became President of the College van Heemraden (looking after land boundaries, roads, etc.). A further visit to Bantam took place in 1685, following which he was named full Counsellor (Raad ordinair) of the Indies.

In 1691 Van Hoorn married Anna Struis. They had a daughter, Petronella Wilhelmina. She later married Jan Trip, the Mayor's son. A later marriage (1721) saw Petronella married to Lubbert Adolf Torck, Lord of Rozendaal.

Van Hoorn became Director-General in 1691. In this post, he completely reorganised the Company's administration. Following the death of his wife, he remarried, in 1692, this time to Susanna, the daughter of the then Governor-General Willem van Outhoorn. He himself was named, on 20 September 1701, as Governor-General in succession to his father-in-law. However, he declined to accept the post until three other high officials (Mattheus de Haan, Hendrick Zwaardecroon and de Roo), nominated by him, were admitted to the High Government of the Indies. He did this as he had no faith in the existing Council. The Seventeen Lords (Heren XVII) acceded to this demand and on 15 August 1704, Joan van Hoorn accepted the post of Governor General.

The early years of Joan van Hoorn's term of office were marked by the war then raging - the First Javanese War of Succession (1704 - 1708) . At first the Company wanted to stay out of the conflict, but eventually they had to take sides. In 1705, Joan van Hoorn concluded an agreement with Mataram, which ceded West Java to the Company. Joan van Hoorn experimented with coffee plantation. Prices were determined by the merchants at Mocha so to do something about this, the Company tried growing coffee in other regions. Subsequently, there was great expansion of coffee growing, especially in the Priangan uplands near Batavia.

On 16 November 1706, following the death of Susanna, Van Hoorn remarried, this time to Joanna Maria van Riebeeck, oldest

daughter of the then Director-General Abraham van Riebeeck. She was also the widow of Gerard de Heere, who had been Counsellor of the Indies and Governor of Ceylon. A son was born on 2 February 1708, but he died shortly afterwards.

On 2 March 1708, Joan van Hoorn's request to leave post was granted. On 30 October 1709, he handed over the post to his father-in-law Abraham van Riebeeck. Despite his further request to remain in the Indies, he was recalled to the Netherlands, as Commander of the returning fleet. He bought a very pleasant house on the Herengracht in Amsterdam. The Heren XVII presented him with a gold chain and medallion. He died six months following his return on 21 February 1711. He was buried in the evening, as was then the fashion.

Johannes Thedens

Johannes Thedens (1680 – 19 March 1748) was Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 6 November 1741 until 28 May 1743.

Thedens, born in a largely Dutch settlement in Friedrichstadt, Schleswig, sailed on 17 December 1697 as a soldier aboard the Unie to the Dutch East Indies. In 1702 he was appointed to the post of 'Assistant' in the Dutch East India Company and in 1719, to 'Buyer' (koopman). He then progressed (between 1723 and 1725) up through the ranks to 'Chief Buyer' (opperkoopman) then 'Head of Post' (opperhoofd) at Deshima in Japan.In 1731, he was co-opted to the Council of the Indies and in 1736, he was made a full member (Raad-ordinair of Indie). In 1740 he was appointed by the Directors as a 'First Councillor and Director General' of the Indies. On 6 November 1741, following the dismissal of Adriaan Valckenier (whom he had arrested and placed in prison in the castle at Batavia), he became 'interim' Governor General. He continued in office up to 28 May 1743, and was able to overcome the Chinese insurrection and put the sugar trade on a better footing. He was succeeded by Gustaaf Willem baron van Imhoff. He died in Batavia

Laws of the Indies

The Laws of the Indies (Spanish: Leyes de las Indias) are the entire body of laws issued by the Spanish Crown for the American and the Philippine possessions of its empire. They regulated social, political, religious, and economic life in these areas. The laws are composed of myriad decrees issued over the centuries and the important laws of the 16th century, which attempted to regulate the interactions between the settlers and natives, such as the Laws of Burgos (1512) and the New Laws (1542).

Throughout the 400 years of Spanish presence in these parts of the world, the laws were compiled several times, most notably in 1680 under Charles II in the Recopilación de las Leyes de los Reinos de las Indias (Compilation of the Laws of the Kingdoms of the Indies). This became considered the classic collection of the laws, although later laws superseded parts of it, and other compilations were issued.

Luis de Velasco, 1st Marquess of Salinas

Luis de Velasco, 1st Marquess of Salinas (known as Luis de Velasco, hijo to distinguish him from his father) (c. 1534, Carrión de los Condes, Spain – September 7, 1617, Seville), was a Spanish nobleman, son of the second viceroy of New Spain, and himself the eighth viceroy. He governed from January 27, 1590 to November 4, 1595, and again from July 2, 1607, to June 10, 1611. In between he was viceroy of Peru for eight years (July 24, 1596, to January 18, 1604).

Pedro Fernández de Castro, Count of Lemos

Pedro Fernández de Castro y Andrade (1576–1622), better known as the Great Count of Lemos, was a Galician (Spanish) nobleman who was viceroy of Naples from 1608, and was also president of the Council of the Indies.

Pieter Gerardus van Overstraten

Pieter Gerardus van Overstraten (19 February 1755, Bergen op Zoom – 22 August 1801, Batavia) was Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies from 1796 until 1801. He was the last Governor-General of the Dutch East India Company, which was dissolved, bankrupt in 1799, but he remained in post as the Dutch state took over ruling its territories in the Indies. In that sense, he was also the first state appointed Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies.

Van Overstraten was appointed member-extraordinary of the Council of Justice (Raad van Justitie) in Batavia/Jakarta in 1780. He arrived in there in 1781. Subsequently, he was promoted to full member. In the same year, he was made interim Advocate-Fiscal. He was made Second Secretary to the High Government of the Indies in 1784. He was promoted in 1786 to First Secretary. He became Counsellor-extraordinary to the Dutch Council of the Indies in 1789. By 1791 he was Governor and Director of Java's Northeast Coast, in which post he greatly distinguished himself. During his time in the Northeast Coast, he was instrumental in getting Hamengkubuwono I established as the first Sultan of Yogyakarta. He wrote an historically important memoir for his successor containing information about that area during his term of office.

On 16 August 1796 Pieter van Overstraten was selected as Governor-General. On 17 February 1797, Willem Arnold Alting resigned as Governor-General and Commissioner of Police (Commissaris-General). He handed over his offices to Van Overstaten. The appointment was confirmed in the Netherlands on 22 January 1798. When the High Government of the Indies was dissolved in 1799, he resigned as Commissioner of Police, but remained as Governor-General serving the Batavian Republic, which the Netherlands had become under Napoleon Bonaparte. He remained in post until his death in Batavia in 1801.

During Van Overstraten's term of office, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) was dissolved, Ternate went into British hands, Batavia was blockaded by a British fleet, and the fortifications on the island of Onrust, and on a few other islands, destroyed.

Spanish West Indies

The Spanish West Indies or the Spanish Antilles (also known as "Las Antillas Occidentales" or simply "Las Antillas Españolas" in Spanish) was the former name of the Spanish colonies in the Caribbean. In terms of governance of the Spanish Empire, The Indies was the designation for all its overseas territories and was overseen by the Council of the Indies, founded in 1524 and based in Spain. When the crown established the Viceroyalty of New Spain in 1535, the islands of the Caribbean came under its jurisdiction.

The islands claimed by Spain were Hispaniola, modern Haiti and the Dominican Republic; Cuba, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, the Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat, Guadalupe and the Lesser Antilles, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Venezuela (Margarita island), Trinidad, and the Bay Islands.

The islands that later became the Spanish West Indies were the focus of the voyages of the Spanish expedition of Christopher Columbus in America. Largely due to the familiarity that Spaniards gained from Columbus's voyages, the islands were also the first lands to be permanently colonized by Spanish in the Americas. The Spanish West Indies were also the most enduring part of Spain's American Empire, only being surrendered in 1898 at the end of the Spanish–American War. For over three centuries, Spain controlled a network of ports in the Caribbean including Havana (Cuba), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Cartagena de Indias (Colombia), Veracruz (Mexico), and Portobelo, Panama, which were connected by galleon routes.

Some smaller islands were seized or ceded to other European powers as a result of war, or diplomatic agreements during the 17th and 18th centuries. Others such as Dominican Republic gained their independence in the 19th century.

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