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 This became considered the classic collection of the laws, although later laws superseded parts of it, and other compilations were issued.

Manila Cathedral (1792) by Brambila
The plaza, or city square, of Manila, Philippines

History

The Spanish Viceroyalties in the Americas sometimes generated conflicts between indigenous peoples ('Natives' or 'Indians')and the Spanish colonists. The Spanish attempted to control the Natives to force their labor. At the same time, conflicts on policy and implementation occurred between the encomenderos and the Crown.

Two of the main sets of laws issued in the 16th century regulated Spanish interaction with the Native peoples, an issue about which the Crown quickly became concerned soon after the voyages of Christopher Columbus and his governorship. The Laws of Burgos (1512), signed by King Ferdinand II of Aragon, focused upon the welfare of the conquered native peoples. The issue was revisited after Bartolomé de las Casas brought attention to abuses being carried out by encomenderos. The Laws of Burgos were revised by the New Laws of 1542 issued by Carlos I and quickly revised again in 1552, after the laws met resistance from colonists. These were followed by the Ordinances Concerning Discoveries in 1573, which forbade any unauthorized operations against independent Native Americans.[1]

Valladolid San Gregorio 20080815
Colegio de San Gregorio, Valladolid
Colegio de San Gregorio. Patio
Colegio de San Gregorio, where the Laws of the Indies were born

The Valladolid debate (1550–1551) was the first moral debate in European history to discuss the rights and treatment of a colonized people by colonizers. Held in the Colegio de San Gregorio, in the Spanish city of Valladolid, it was a moral and theological debate about the colonization of the Americas, its justification for the conversion to Catholicism and more specifically about the relations between the European settlers and the natives of the New World. It consisted of a number of opposing views about the way natives were to be integrated into colonial life, their conversion to Christianity and their rights and obligations. According to the French historian Jean Dumont The Valladolid debate was a major turning point in world history “In that moment in Spain appeared the dawn of the human rights”.[2]

To guide and regularize the establishment of presidios (military towns), missions, and pueblos (civilian towns), King Phillip II developed the first version of the Laws of the Indies. This comprehensive guide was composed of 148 ordinances to aid colonists in locating, building, and populating settlements. They codified the city planning process and represented some of the first attempts at a general plan. Signed in 1573, the Laws of the Indies are considered the first wide-ranging guidelines towards design and development of communities. These laws were heavily influenced by Vitruvius' Ten Books of Architecture and Leon Battista Alberti's treatises on the subject.

Examples: town planning

In Book IV of the 1680 compilation of The Laws of the Indies, plans were set forth in detail on every facet of creating a community, including town planning. Examples of the range of rules include:

  • Those [Colonists] who should want to make a commitment to building a new settlement in the form and manner already prescribed, be it of more or less than 30 vecinos (freemen), (know that) it should be of no less than twelve persons and be awarded the authorization and territory in accordance with the prescribed conditions.
  • Having made the selection of the site where the town is to be built, it must, as already stated, be in an elevated and healthy location; [be] with means of fortification; [have] fertile soil and with plenty of land for farming and pasturage; have fuel, timber, and resources; [have] fresh water, a native population, ease of transport, access and exit; [and be] open to the north wind; and, if on the coast, due consideration should be paid to the quality of the harbor and that the sea does not lie to the south or west; and if possible not near lagoons or marshes in which poisonous animals and polluted air and water breed.
  • They [Colonists] shall try as far as possible to have the buildings all of one type for the sake of the beauty of the town.
  • Within the town, a commons shall be delimited, large enough that although the population may experience a rapid expansion, there will always be sufficient space where the people may go to for recreation and take their cattle to pasture without them making any damage.
  • Plano de Manila 1851
    Plan of the walled city of Manila with elements of colonial planning present
    The site and building lots for slaughterhouses, fisheries, tanneries, and other business which produce filth shall be so placed that the filth can easily be disposed of.
Plano de Manila 1851
Plan of the walled city of Manila with elements of colonial planning present

These rules are part of a body of 148 regulations configuring any settlement according to the rule of Spain and its colonies. This continued as a precedent in all towns under Spanish control until the relinquishing of the land to others, as in the case of the American colonies and their growth. The Laws of the Indies are still used as an example to design guidelines for communities today.

The Laws specify many details of towns. A plan is made centered on a Plaza Mayor (main square) of size within specified limits, from which twelve straight streets are built in a rectilinear grid. The directions of the streets are chosen according to the prevailing winds, to protect the Plaza Mayor. The guidelines recommend a hospital for non-contagious cases near the church, and one for contagious diseases further away.[3]

Most townships founded in any part of the Spanish Empire in America before the various parts became independent countries were planned according to the Laws. These include many townships with Spanish names located in what is now the United States. The creation of a central square and rectilinear grid of streets was different from the haphazard and organic growth that led to meandering streets in many old townships in Iberia.

References

  1. ^ "Indies, Laws of the" Archived 2016-01-28 at the Wayback Machine. (2006). In Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 22, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online
  2. ^ Dumont, Jean (1997). El amanecer de los derechos del hombre : la controversia de Valladolid. Madrid: Encuentro. ISBN 8474904153.
  3. ^ "Foundation of the Spanish-American towns", arquba.com (in Spanish)

Sources

  • Spain/Council of the Indies and Juan Manzano Manzano. Recopilación de leyes de los reynos de las Indias. 4 vols. Madrid: Ediciones Cultura Hispánica, 1973 [1681] ISBN 978-84-7232-204-2
  • Spain/Council of the Indies. Recopilación de leyes de los reynos de las Indias, 1681. 5 vols. Mexico: M. A. Porrúa, 1987. ISBN 978-968-842-091-1
  • Spain/Council of the Indies. Recopilación de leyes de los reynos de las Indias. 3 vols. Madrid: Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitutionales: Boletín Oficial del Estado, 1998 [1681]. ISBN 978-84-340-1040-6
  • Tyler, S. Lyman. The Indian Cause in the Spanish Laws of the Indies: With an Introduction and the First English Translation of Book VI, Concerning the Indians, from the Recopilación de leyes de los reinos de las Indias, Madrid, 1681. Salt Lake City: American West Center, University of Utah, 1980.
  • Tyler, S. Lyman. Spanish Laws Concerning Discoveries, Pacifications, and Settlements among the Indians: With an Introduction and the First English Translation of the New Ordinances of Philip II, July 1573, and of Book IV of the Recopilación de leyes de los reinos de las Indias, Relating to these Subjects. Salt Lake City: American West Center, University of Utah, 1980.

External links

See also

Building code

A building code (also building control or building regulations) is a set of rules that specify the standards for constructed objects such as buildings and nonbuilding structures. Buildings must conform to the code to obtain planning permission, usually from a local council. The main purpose of building codes is to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures. The building code becomes law of a particular jurisdiction when formally enacted by the appropriate governmental or private authority.Building codes are generally intended to be applied by architects, engineers, interior designers, constructors and regulators but are also used for various purposes by safety inspectors, environmental scientists, real estate developers, subcontractors, manufacturers of building products and materials, insurance companies, facility managers, tenants, and others. Codes regulate the design and construction of structures where adopted into law.

Examples of building codes began in ancient times. In the USA the main codes are the International Commercial or Residential Code [ICC/IRC], electrical codes and plumbing, mechanical codes. Fifty states and the District of Columbia have adopted the I-Codes at the state or jurisdictional level. In Canada, national model codes are published by the National Research Council of Canada.

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. 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.

Encomienda

Encomienda (Spanish pronunciation: [eŋkoˈmjenda]) was a Spanish labor system. It rewarded conquerors with the labor of particular groups of subject people. It was first established in Spain following the Christian conquest of Muslim territories. It was applied on a much larger scale during the Spanish colonization of the Americas and the Philippines. Conquered peoples were considered vassals of the Spanish monarch. The Crown awarded an encomienda as a grant to a particular individual. In the conquest era of the sixteenth century, the grants were considered to be a monopoly on the labor of particular groups of Indians (indigenous peoples), held in perpetuity by the grant holder, called the encomendero, and his descendants.Encomiendas devolved from their original Iberian form into a form of "communal" slavery. In the encomienda, the Spanish Crown granted a person a specified number of natives from a specific community, but did not dictate which individuals in the community would have to provide their labor. Indigenous leaders were charged with mobilizing the assessed tribute and labor. In turn, encomenderos were to ensure that the encomienda natives were given instruction in the Christian faith and Spanish language, and protect them from warring tribes or pirates; they had to suppress rebellion against Spaniards, and maintain infrastructure. In return, the natives would provide tributes in the form of metals, maize, wheat, pork, or other agricultural products.

With the ouster of Christopher Columbus, the Spanish crown sent a royal governor, Fray Nicolás de Ovando, who established the formal encomienda system. In many cases natives were forced to do hard labor and subjected to extreme punishment and death if they resisted. However, Queen Isabella I of Castile forbade Indian slavery and deemed the indigenous to be "free vassals of the crown". Various versions of the Leyes de Indias or Laws of the Indies from 1512 onwards attempted to regulate the interactions between the settlers and natives. Both natives and Spaniards appealed to the Real Audiencias for relief under the encomienda system.

Encomiendas had often been characterized by the geographical displacement of the enslaved and breakup of communities and family units, but in Mexico, the encomienda ruled the free vassals of the crown through existing community hierarchies, and the natives were allowed to keep in touch with their families and homes.The abolition of the Encomienda in 1542 marks the first major movement towards the abolition of slavery in the Western world.

Fort San Carlos

Fort San Carlos was a military structure built in 1816 to defend the Spanish colonial town of Fernandina, Florida, now called Old Town, which occupied a peninsula on the northern end of Amelia Island. The fort, a lunette fortification, stood on the southwest side of the town next to the harbor, on a bluff overlooking the Amelia River. It was made of wood and earthworks, backed with a wooden palisade on the east side, and armed with an eight or ten gun battery. Two blockhouses protected access by land on the south, while the village was surrounded with military pickets. An 1821 map of Fernandina shows that the street plan, laid out in 1811 in a grid pattern by the newly appointed Surveyor General of Spanish East Florida, George J. F. Clarke, today preserves nearly the same layout as that of 1821. The fort occupied the area bounded by the streets Calle de Estrada, Calle de White, and Calle de Someruelos. The structure itself has disappeared and only traces remain in what is now Fernandina Plaza Historic State Park.

The park contains the largest known undeveloped portion of the site of Spanish municipal and military activity on Amelia Island dating from the late 1780s. Archaeological investigations, starting in the early 1950s, revealed intermittent occupation and use of the area for as long as 4,000 years, beginning in the Orange period (2000–500 BC) and continuing to this day. A Spanish sentinel house was built in 1696 at the Timuqua village located there. Nearly all of Old Town was built on this Indian village and its shell heaps. In later colonial times the site gained military importance because of its deep harbor and its strategic location near the northern boundary of Spanish Florida.

Laws of Burgos

The Leyes de Burgos ("Laws of Burgos"), promulgated on 27 December 1512 in Burgos, Crown of Castile (Spain), was the first codified set of laws governing the behavior of Spaniards in the Americas, particularly with regard to the Indigenous people of the Americas ('native Caribbean Indians'). They forbade the maltreatment of the indigenous people and endorsed their conversion to Catholicism. The laws were created following the conquest and Spanish colonization of the Americas in the West Indies, where the common law of Castile was not fully applicable.

The scope of the laws was originally restricted to the island of Hispaniola but was later extended to Puerto Rico and Jamaica. These laws authorized and legalized the colonial practice of creating Encomiendas, where Indians were grouped together to work under a colonial head of the estate for a salary, and limited the size of these establishments to between 40 and 150 people. They also established a minutely regulated regime of work, pay, provisioning, living quarters, hygiene, and care for the Indians in a reasonably protective and humanitarian spirit. Women more than four months pregnant were exempted from work.

The document also prohibited the use of any form of punishment by the encomenderos, reserving it for officials established in each town for the implementation of the laws. It also ordered that the Indians be catechized, outlawed bigamy, and required that the huts and cabins of the Indians be built together with those of the Spanish. It respected, in some ways, the traditional authorities, granting chiefs exemptions from ordinary jobs and granting them various Indians as servants.

The limited fulfillment of the laws sometimes led to protests and claims. Sometimes they were seen as a legalization of the previously poorer situation, which created momentum for reform, later carried out through the Leyes Nuevas ("New Laws") in 1542, a new set of stricter regulations about life in the New World including the rights of indigenous peoples, as well as the Laws of the Indies, to encompass the Papal bull and all edicts.

Limpieza de sangre

Limpieza de sangre (Spanish: [limˈpjeθa ðe ˈsaŋɡɾe]), limpeza de sangue (Portuguese: [lĩˈpezɐ ðɨ ˈsɐ̃ɡɨ], Galician: [limˈpeθɐ ðɪ ˈsaŋɡɪ]) or neteja de sang (Catalan: [nəˈtɛʒə ðə ˈsaŋ]), literally "cleanliness of blood" and meaning "blood purity", played an important role in the modern history of the Iberian Peninsula.

It referred to those who were considered pure "Old Christians", without recent Muslim or Jewish ancestors, or within the context of the empire (New Spain and Portuguese India) usually to those without ancestry from the American Indians, Aboriginal Asian, or Aboriginal African people.

New Laws

The New Laws (Spanish: Leyes Nuevas), also known as the New Laws of the Indies for the Good Treatment and Preservation of the Indians (Spanish:Leyes y ordenanzas nuevamente hechas por su Majestad para la gobernación de las Indias y buen tratamiento y conservación de los Indios), were issued on November 20, 1542, by King Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire (Charles I of Spain) and regard the Spanish colonization of the Americas. Following complaints and calls for reform from individuals such as the Dominican friar Bartolomé de Las Casas, these laws were intended to prevent the exploitation and mistreatment of the indigenous peoples of the Americas by the encomenderos, by strictly limiting their power and dominion over groups of natives. The text of the New Laws has been translated to English.Blasco Núñez Vela, the first Viceroy of Peru, enforced the New Laws. He was opposed by a revolt of some encomenderos and was killed in 1546 by the landowning faction led by Gonzalo Pizarro. He wanted to maintain a political structure based on the Incan model the Spanish found in place. Although the New Laws were only partly successful, due to the opposition of some colonists, they did result in the liberation of thousands of indigenous workers, who had been held in a state of semi-slavery.

Nobility

Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately under royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy. Nobility possesses more acknowledged privileges and higher social status than most other classes in society. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be largely honorary (e.g., precedence), and vary by country and era. As referred to in the Medieval chivalric motto "noblesse oblige" ("nobility obliges"), nobles can also carry a lifelong duty to uphold various social responsibilities, such as honorable behavior, customary service, or leadership positions. Membership in the nobility, including rights and responsibilities, is typically hereditary.

Membership in the nobility has historically been granted by a monarch or government, unlike other social classes where membership is determined solely by wealth, lifestyle, or affiliation. Nonetheless, acquisition of sufficient power, wealth, military prowess, or royal favour has occasionally enabled commoners to ascend into the nobility.There are often a variety of ranks within the noble class. Legal recognition of nobility has been more common in monarchies, but nobility also existed in such regimes as the Dutch Republic (1581–1795), the Republic of Genoa (1005–1815), the Republic of Venice (697–1797), and the Old Swiss Confederacy (1300–1798), and remains part of the legal social structure of some non-hereditary regimes, e.g., Channel Islands, San Marino, and the Vatican City in Europe.

Hereditary titles and styles added to names (such as "Prince" or "Lord" or "Lady"), as well as honorifics often distinguish nobles from non-nobles in conversation and written speech. In many nations most of the nobility have been un-titled, and some hereditary titles do not indicate nobility (e.g., vidame). Some countries have had non-hereditary nobility, such as the Empire of Brazil or life peers in the United Kingdom.

Original Town of Fernandina Historic Site

The Original Town of Fernandina Historic Site, also known as "Old Town", is a historic site in Fernandina Beach, Florida, located on Amelia Island. It is roughly bounded by Towngate Street, Bosque Bello Cemetery, Nassau, Marine, and Ladies Streets. On January 29, 1990, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places as a historic site. Lying north of the Fernandina Beach Historic District, it is accessible from North 14th Street.

Prior to the arrival of Europeans on what is now Amelia Island, the Old Town site was home to Native Americans. The French, English, and Spanish all maintained a presence on Amelia Island at various times during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, but the Spanish established Fernandina. Old Town, the original location of the town of Fernandina, has the distinction of being the last Spanish city platted in the Western Hemisphere, in 1811. The plat is based on the 1573 Law of the Indies, a document utilized by the Spanish to organize new towns established during their explorations.

The area within Old Town known as Plaza San Carlos was the plaza ground in front of the Spanish Fort San Carlos, which is no longer in existence. Today the Plaza San Carlos is maintained by the State of Florida as part of the State Park System. The plaza offers a space for nature study and picnicking.

David Levy Yulee, one of the first United States senators from Florida, established the first cross-state railroad running from Fernandina Beach to Cedar Key, which opened on March 1, 1861. When Yulee established the railroad, he platted "new" Fernandina, shifting the town of Fernandina from Old Town to the present location along Centre Street. As a result of this shift, Old Town has become primarily a residential neighborhood.

The field work and scholarship of archeologists and historians in the last forty years has advanced understanding of the area's Native American history after European contact. The human occupation of present-day Old Town began around three thousand years ago, and some of the most colorful episodes of Florida history occurred here. Local government has come to realize the singular place Old Town has in telling the story of Fernandina's heritage, and in 1989 the city of Fernandina Beach passed a historic preservation ordinance to protect the district by establishing local boundaries. Old Town has design guidelines for rehabilitation and construction projects, reviewed by the city's Historic District Council. The Old Town preservation and development guidelines focus on lot orientation, an integral part of the process of preserving the 1811 Spanish plan; building aesthetics are also taken into account. The Old Town Historic District was last surveyed as part of the city's 1985 Historic Resources survey.

Old Town celebrated the 200th anniversary of its founding on April 2, 2011.

Principalía

The Principalía or noble class was the ruling and usually educated upper class in the pueblos of the Spanish Philippines, comprising the gobernadorcillo (who had functions similar to a town mayor), and the cabezas de barangay (heads of the barangays) who governed the districts.The distinction or status of being part of the principalía was a hereditary right. However, it could also be acquired, as attested by the royal decree of 20 December 1863 (signed in the name of Queen Isabella II by the Minister of the Colonies, José de la Concha).This distinguished upper class was exempted from tribute (tax) to the Spanish crown during the colonial period. Colonial documents would refer to them as "de privilegio y gratis", in contrast to those who pay tribute ("de pago"). It was the true aristocracy and the true nobility of colonial Philippines, which could be roughly comparable to the patrician class of ancient Rome. The principales (members of the principalía) traced their origin from the pre‑colonial royal and noble class of Datu of the established kingdoms, rajahnates, confederacies, and principalities, as well as the lordships of the smaller ancient social units called barangays in Visayas, Luzon, and Mindanao. The members of this class enjoyed exclusive privileges: only the members of the principalía were allowed to vote, be elected to public office, and be addressed by the title: Don or Doña. The use of the honorific addresses "Don" and "Doña" was strictly limited to what many documents during the colonial period would refer to as "vecinas y vecinos distinguidos".For the most part, the social privileges of the nobles were freely acknowledged as befitting their greater social responsibilities. The gobernadorcillo during that period received a nominal salary and was not provided government funds for public services. In fact more often the gobernadorcillo had to maintain government of his municipality by looking after the post office and the jailhouse, and by managing public infrastructure, using personal resources.Principales also provided assistance to parishes by helping in the construction of church buildings, and in the pastoral and religious activities of the priests who, being usually among the few Spaniards in most colonial towns, had success in winning the goodwill of the natives. More often, the clergy were the sole representatives of Spain in many parts of the archipelago. Under the Patronato Real of the Spanish crown, these Spanish churchmen were also the king's effective ambassadors, and promoters of the realm.With the end of Spanish sovereignty over the Philippines after the Spanish–American War in 1898 and the introduction of a democratic, republican system during the American Occupation, the Principalía and their descendants lost their legal authority and social privileges. Many were, however, able to integrate into the new socio-political structure, retaining some degree of influence and power.

Pueblo de Los Ángeles

See also History of Los Angeles

El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles (the Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels) was the Spanish civilian pueblo founded in 1781, which by the 20th century became the American metropolis of Los Angeles.

Official settlements in Alta California were of three types: presidio (military), mission (religious) and pueblo (civil). The Pueblo de los Ángeles was the second pueblo (town) created during the Spanish colonization of California (the first was San Jose, in 1777). El Pueblo de la Reina de los Ángeles—'The Town of the Queen of Angels' was founded twelve years after the first presidio and mission, the Presidio of San Diego and the Mission San Diego de Alcalá (1769). The original settlement consisted of forty-four people in eleven families, recruited mostly from Estado de Occidente. As new settlers arrived and soldiers retired to civilian life in Los Angeles, the town became the principal urban center of southern Alta California, whose social and economic life revolved around the raising of livestock on the expansive ranchos.

Quito School

The Quito School (Escuela Quiteña) is a Latin American artistic tradition that constitutes essentially the whole of the professional artistic output developed in the territory of the Royal Audience of Quito — from Pasto and Popayán in the north to Piura and Cajamarca in the south — during the Spanish colonial period (1542-1824). It is especially associated with the 17th and 18th centuries and was almost exclusively focused on the religious art of the Catholic Church in the country. Characterized by a mastery of the realistic and by the degree to which indigenous beliefs and artistic traditions are evident, these productions were among of the most important activities in the economy of the Royal Audience of Quito. Such was the prestige of the movement even in Europe that it was said that King Carlos III of Spain (1716–1788), referring to one of its sculptors in particular, opined: "I am not concerned that Italy has Michelangelo; in my colonies of America I have the master Caspicara".

Real Audiencia of Buenos Aires

The Real Audiencia de Buenos Aires, were two audiencias, or highest courts, of the Spanish crown, which resided in Buenos Aires. The authority of the first extended to the territory of the Governorate of the Río de la Plata and operated from 1661 to 1671. The second began to function in 1783 and had as its territory the areas of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata not covered by the Audiencia de Charcas, that is to say the intendancies of Buenos Aires, Córdoba del Tucumán, Salta del Tucumán and Paraguay. In 1810, after the May Revolution, it was suspended, and in 1813 the Assembly of the Year XIII permanently disbanded it. The Audiencias resided in the city's cabildo building.

Retroversion of the sovereignty to the people

The Retroversion of the sovereignty to the people, which challenged the legitimacy of the colonial authorities, was the principle underlying the Spanish American Independence processes.

Thus, in both Spain and Spanish America, this principle was a predecessor to the concept of popular sovereignty, currently expressed in most constitutional systems throughout the world, whereby the people delegate governmental functions in their leaders while retaining the actual sovereignty.

Slave codes

Slave Codes are the subset of laws regarding slavery and enslaved people, specifically regarding the Transatlantic Slave Trade and chattel slavery in the Americas.

Most slave codes were concerned with the rights and duties of free people in regards to enslaved people. Slave codes left a great deal unsaid, with much of the actual practice of slavery being a matter of traditions rather than formal law.

The primary colonial powers all had slightly different slave codes. French colonies, after 1685, had the Code Noir specifically for this purpose. The Spanish had some laws regarding slavery in Las Siete Partidas, a far older law that was not designed for the slave societies of the Americas. English colonies largely had their own local slave codes, mostly based on the codes of either the colonies of Barbados or Virginia..

In addition to the these national and state- or colony-level slave codes, there were city ordinances and other local restrictions regarding enslaved people.

Slavery in the Spanish New World colonies

Slavery in the Spanish American colonies was an economic and social institution central to the operation of the Spanish Empire – it bound Africans and indigenous people to a relationship of colonial exploitation. Spanish colonists provided the Americas with a colonial precedent for slavery; however, early on opposition from the enslaved Indians and influential Spaniards moved the Crown to limit the bondage of indigenous people, and initiated debates that challenged the idea of slavery based on race. Spaniards regarded some indigenous people as tribute under the encomienda system during the late 1400s and part of the 1500s.Spanish slavery in the Americas did not diverge drastically from that in other European colonies. It reshuffled the Atlantic World's populations through forced migrations, helped transfer American wealth to Europe, and promoted racial and social hierarchies (castas) throughout the empire. Spanish enslavers justified their wealth and status earned at the work of the mines at the expense of captive workers by considering them inferior beings with limited capacities and holding them as personal property (chattel slavery), often under barbarous conditions. In fact, Spanish colonization set some egregious records in the field of slavery. The Asiento, the official contract for trading in slaves in the vast Spanish territories was a major engine of the Atlantic slave trade. When Spain first enslaved Native Americans on Hispaniola, and then replaced them with captive Africans, it established unfree labor as the basis for colonial mass-production. Subsequently, in the mid-nineteenth century when most countries in the Americas reformed to disallow chattel slavery, Cuba and Puerto Rico – the last two remaining Spanish American colonies – maintained slavery the longest.Enslaved people challenged their captivity in ways that ranged from introducing non-European elements into Christianity (syncretism) to mounting alternative societies outside the plantation system (Maroons). The first open black rebellion occurred in Spanish plantations in 1521. Resistance, particularly to the enslavement of indigenous people, also came from Spanish religious and legal ranks. The first speech in the Americas for the universality of human rights and against the abuses of slavery was also given on Hispaniola, a mere nineteen years after the first contact. Resistance to Amerindian captivity in the Spanish colonies produced the first modern debates over race and the legitimacy of slavery. And uniquely in the Spanish American colonies, laws like the New Laws of 1542, were enacted early in the colonial period to protect natives from bondage. To complicate matters further, Spain's haphazard grip on its extensive American dominions and its erratic economy acted to impede the broad and systematic spread of plantations similar to those of the French in Saint Domingue or of the British in Jamaica. Altogether, the struggle against slavery in the Spanish American colonies left a notable tradition of opposition that set the stage for current conversations about human rights.

Spanish Colonial architecture

Spanish Colonial architecture represents Spanish colonial influence on New World and East Indies' cities and towns, and it is still being seen in the architecture as well as in the city planning aspects of conserved present-day cities. These two visible aspects of the city are connected and complementary. The 16th century Laws of the Indies included provisions for the layout of new colonial settlements in the Americas and elsewhere.To achieve the desired effect of inspiring awe among the Indigenous peoples of the Americas-Indians as well as creating a legible and militarily manageable landscape, the early colonizers used and placed the new architecture within planned townscapes and mission compounds.

The new churches and mission stations, for example, aimed for maximum effect in terms of their imposition and domination of the surrounding buildings or countryside. In order for that to be achievable, they had to be strategically located – at the center of a town square (plaza) or at a higher point in the landscape. These elements are common and can also be found in almost every city and town in Spain.

The Spanish Colonial style of architecture dominated in the early Spanish colonies of North and South America, and were also somewhat visible in its other colonies. It is sometimes marked by the contrast between the simple, solid construction demanded by the new environment and the Baroque ornamentation exported from Spain.

Mexico, as the center of New Spain—and the richest province of Spain's colonial empire—has some of the most renowned buildings built in this style. With twenty-nine sites, Mexico has more sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list than any other country in the Americas, many of them boasting some of the richest Spanish Colonial architecture. Some of the most famous cities in Mexico built in the Colonial style are Puebla, Zacatecas, Querétaro, Guanajuato, and Morelia.

The historic center of Mexico City is a mixture of architectural styles from the 16th century to the present. The Metropolitan Cathedral – built from 1563 to 1813 in a variety of styles including the Renaissance, Baroque, and Neo Classical. The rich interior is mostly Baroque. Other examples are the Palacio Nacional, the beautifully restored 18th-century Palacio de Iturbide, the 16th-century Casa de los Azulejos – clad with 18th-century blue-and-white talavera tiles, and many more churches, cathedrals, museums, and palaces of the elite.

During the late 17th century to 1750, one of Mexico's most popular architectural styles was Mexican Churrigueresque. These buildings were built in an ultra-Baroque, fantastically extravagant and visually frenetic style.

Antigua Guatemala in Guatemala is also known for its well preserved Spanish colonial style architecture. The city of Antigua is famous for its well-preserved Spanish Mudéjar-influenced Baroque architecture as well as a number of spectacular ruins of colonial churches dating from the 16th century. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Ciudad Colonial (colonial city) of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, founded in 1498, is the oldest city in the New World and a prime example of this architectural style. The port of Cartagena, Colombia, founded in 1533 and Santa Ana de Coro, Venezuela, founded in 1527, are two more UNESCO World Heritage Sites preserving some of the best Spanish colonial architecture in the Caribbean." San Juan was founded by the Spaniards in 1521, where Spanish colonial architecture can be found like the Historic Hotel El Convento. Also, Old San Juan with its walled city and buildings (ranging from 1521 to the early 20th century) are very good examples, and in excellent condition.

According to UNESCO, Quito, Ecuador has the largest, best-preserved, and least-altered historic centre (320 hectares) in Latin America, despite several earthquakes. It was the first city that was inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List, along with Kraków, Poland in 1978. The historic district of this city is the sole largest and best preserved area of Spanish Colonial architecture in the world.

Trial of residence

A juicio de residencia (literally, judgment of residence) was a judicial procedure of Castilian law and the Laws of the Indies. It consisted of this: at the termination of a public functionary's term, his performance in office was subject to review, and those with grievances against him were entitled to a hearing. This was largely an automatic procedure, and did not imply prior suspicion of misconduct.

The official was not allowed to leave the place where he exercised his authority, nor to assume another office, until the conclusion of this judicial inquiry. Generally, the person charged with directing the inquiry, called the juez de residencia (residence judge), was that individual already named to succeed to the position. The penalties for conviction varied, but generally consisted of fines.

The juicio de residencia took on great importance in the administration of the Indies, perhaps because of the great distances involved and the difficulty of direct supervision by the Crown. It extended from the viceroys and the presidents of the Audiencia to the alcaldes and the alguaciles (judicial officials, sometimes translated as sheriffs). With the entrance into force of the Spanish Constitution of 1812, the procedure no longer applied.

Originally, every viceroy had to pass his juicio de residencia before his successor could take office. But in the eighteenth century viceregal juicios were conducted after the outgoing viceroy had returned to Spain. During the lengthy process (up to six months), the degree of the viceroy's compliance with his instructions was analyzed, his job performance was reviewed, and many testimonies were collected from different parties.

Another formula the Crown used to control its officials, including the viceroy in his capacity as president of the Audiencia, was the visitador who collected visitas. The visitador was an inspector named at the pleasure of the king to investigate a particular administration. Like the juicio, this institution had the aim of discovering abuses committed by the authorities, and proposing necessary reforms.

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