New Kingdom of Granada

The New Kingdom of Granada (Spanish: Nuevo Reino de Granada), or Kingdom of the New Granada, was the name given to a group of 16th-century Spanish colonial provinces in northern South America governed by the president of the Audiencia of Santa Fe, an area corresponding mainly to modern-day Colombia, Panama and Venezuela. The conquistadors originally organized it as a captaincy general within the Viceroyalty of Peru. The crown established the audiencia in 1549. Ultimately the kingdom became part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada first in 1717 and permanently in 1739. After several attempts to set up independent states in the 1810s, the kingdom and the viceroyalty ceased to exist altogether in 1819 with the establishment of Gran Colombia.[1]

New Kingdom of Granada
Kingdom of the New Granada

Nuevo Reino de Granada
Reino de la Nueva Granada
The New Kingdom of Granada
The New Kingdom of Granada
StatusColony of the Spanish Empire
CapitalSanta Fe de Bogotá
Common languagesCastilian
Historical eraSpanish colonization of the Americas
• Established
• Viceroyalty established.
July 17, 1712
• Viceroyalty suppressed; kingdom autonomous again
November 5, 1723
• Disestablished
August 20 1739
Succeeded by
Viceroyalty of New Granada
Today part of Colombia


Map New Kingdom of Granada
Old map of Tierra Firme, showing the initial divisions of the region

Discovery and settlement

In 1514, the Spanish first permanently settled in the area. With Santa Marta (founded on July 29, 1525 by the Spanish conquistador Rodrigo de Bastidas) and Cartagena (1533), Spanish control of the coast was established, and the extension of colonial control into the interior could begin. Starting in 1536, the conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada explored the extensive highlands of the interior of the region, by following the Magdalena River into the Andean cordillera. There his force defeated the powerful Muisca and founding the city of Santa Fé de Bogotá (Bogotá) and naming the region El nuevo reino de Granada, "the new kingdom of Granada", in honor of the last part of Spain to be recaptured from the Moors, home to the brothers De Quesada. After Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada left for Spain in May 1539, the reign of the colony was transferred to his brother Hernán. De Quesada, however, lost control of the province when Emperor Charles V granted the right to rule over the area to rival conquistador, Sebastián de Belalcázar, in 1540, who had entered the region from what is today Ecuador, and named himself governor of Popayán.

Regularization of the government

Belalcázar's victory placed the region under the Viceroyalty of Peru, which was being organized at the time. Charles V ordered the establishment of an audiencia, a type of superior court that combined executive and judicial authority, at Santa Fé de Bogotá in 1549.

Royal Audiencia

The Royal Audiencia was created by a royal decree of July 17, 1549. It was given authority over the provinces of Santa Marta, Río de San Juan, Popayán, Guayana and Cartagena de Indias. The Audiencia was charged primarily with dispensing justice, but it was also to oversee the running of government and the settlement of the territory. It held its first session on April 7, 1550, in a mansion on the Plaza Mayor (today, Plaza de Bolívar) at the site which today houses the Colombian Palace of Justithey

Law VIII ("Royal Audiencia and Chancery of Santa Fe in the New Kingdom of Granada") of Title XV ("Of the Royal Audiencias and Chanceries of the Indies") of Book II of the Recopilación de Leyes de las Indias of 1680—which compiles the decrees of July 17, 1549; May 10, 1554; and August 1, 1572—describes the final limits and functions of the Audiencia.[2]

In Santa Fé de Bogotá of the New Kingdom of Granada shall reside another Royal Audiencia and Chancery of ours, with a president, governor and captain general; five judges of civil cases [oidores], who shall also be judges of criminal cases [alcaldes del crimen]; a crown attorney [fiscal]; a bailiff [alguacil mayor]; a lieutenant of the Gran Chancellor; and the other necessary ministers and officials, and which will have for district the provinces of the New Kingdom and those of Santa Marta, Río de San Juan, and of Popayán, except those places of the latter which are marked for the Royal Audiencia of Quito; and of Guayana, or El Dorado, it shall have that which is not of the Audienicia of Hispaniola, and all of the Province of Cartagena; sharing borders: on the south with said Audiencia of Quito and the undiscovered lands, on the west and north with the North Sea and the provinces which belong to the Royal Audiencia of Hispaniola, on the west with the one of Tierra Firme. And we order that the Governor and Captain General of said provinces and president of their Royal Audiencia, have, use and exercise by himself the government of all the district of that Audiencia, in the same manner as our Viceroys of New Spain and appoint the repartimiento of Indians and other offices that need to be appointed, and attend to all the matters and business that belong to the government, and that the oidores of said Audiencia do not interfere with this, and that all sign what in matters of justice is provided for, sentenced and carried out.

One further change came as part of the Bourbon Reforms of the eighteenth century. Because of the slowness in communications between Lima and Bogotá, the Bourbons decided to establish an independent Viceroyalty of New Granada in 1717 (which was reestablished in 1739 after a short interruption). The governor-president of Bogotá became the viceroy of the new entity, with military and executive oversight over the neighboring Presidency of Quito and the provinces of Venezuela.

Administrative divisions

The New Kingdom was organized into several Governments and Provinces:

Government/Province Capital Established Founder
Government of Santa Marta Santa Marta 1525 Don Rodrigo de Bastidas
Government of Cartagena de Indias Cartagena de Indias
(Alternative Capital of Viceroyalty)
1533 Don Pedro de Heredia
Government of Popayán Popayán 1537 Don Sebastián de Belalcázar
Province of Pasto San Juan de Pasto 1539 Don Lorenzo de Aldana
Government of Santa Fé (de Bogotá),
the area originally called the "New Kingdom of Granada"
Santa Fé de Bogotá
(Capital of Viceroyalty)
1538 Don Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada
Government of Tunja Tunja 1539 Don Gonzalo Suárez Rendón
Government of Antioquia Santa Fe de Antioquia 1541 Don Jorge Robledo
Province of Chocó Quibdó 1648 Manuel Cañizales
Government of Panama Ciudad de Panama 1519 Don Pedro Arias Dávila
Vast Province of Guyana
(special province)
Angostura 1595 Don Antonio de Berríos

Main cities

The largest cities of the New Kingdom of Granada in the 1791 Census were

  1. Cartagena de Indias – 154,304
  2. Santa Fé de Bogotá – 108,533
  3. Popayan – 56,783
  4. Santa Marta – 49,830
  5. Tunja – 43,850
  6. Mompóx – 24,332

See also


  • Avellaneda Navas, José Ignacio. The Conquerors of the New Kingdom of Granada ((Albuquerque): University of New Mexico Press, 1995)
  • Cook, Karoline P. "Religious Identity, Race and Status in New Granada." Race and Blood in the Iberian World; 3 (2012): 81.
  • Fisher, John R., Allan J. Keuthe, and Anthony McFarlane, eds. Reform and Insurrection in Bourbon New Granada and Peru. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990. ISBN 978-0-8071-1654-8
  • Graff, Gary W. "Spanish Parishes in Colonial New Granada: Their Role in Town-Building on the Spanish-American Frontier." The Americas (1976): 336-351. [ in JSTOR]
  • Grahn, Lance Raymond. The Political Economy of Smuggling: regional informal economies in early Bourbon New Granada (Boulder: Westview Press, 1997)
  • Kuethe, Allan J. Military Reform and Society in New Granada, 1773–1808. Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1978. ISBN 978-0-8130-0570-6
  • Markham, Clements. The Conquest of New Granada (1912) online
  • McFarlane, Anthony. Colombia Before Independence: Economy, Society and Politics under Bourbon Rule. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. ISBN 978-0-521-41641-2
  • Phelan, John Leddy. The People and the King: The Comunero Revolution in Colombia, 1781. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1978. ISBN 978-0-299-07290-2
  • Ramírez, Susan Elizabeth. "Institutions of the Spanish American Empire in the Habsburg Era." in A Companion to Latin American History (2008): 106-23.
  • Rodríguez Freyle, Juan. The Conquest of New Granada (London: Folio Society, 1961)


  1. ^ Avellaneda Navas and José Ignacio. The conquerors of the New Kingdom of Granada ((Albuquerque): University of New Mexico Press, 1995)
  2. ^ Spain (1680). Recopilación de las Leyes de Indias. Titulo Quince. De las Audiencias y Chancillerias Reales de las Indias. Madrid. Spanish-language facsimile of the original.

External links

Baltasar Maldonado

Baltasar Maldonado, also written as Baltazar Maldonado, (?, Salamanca, Castile - 1552, Bogotá, New Kingdom of Granada) was a Spanish conquistador who first served under Sebastian de Belalcázar in the conquest of Quito and Peru, the foundations of Cali and Popayán, and later in the army of Hernán Pérez de Quesada in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca.Baltasar Maldonado is known as the conquistador who defeated the last ruling main cacique of the Muisca: Tundama, whom he killed with a large hammer in late December 1539. Subsequently, Baltasar Maldonado took part in the Quest for El Dorado led by Hernán Pérez de Quesada in the southern regions of present-day Colombia. After this failed expedition, where many of the Spanish soldiers died of diseases, poisoned arrows and drowning in the numerous rivers of the Llanos Orientales and western Amazon River basin, Baltasar Maldonado returned to Popayán and Cali and traveled back to Bogotá, the capital of the New Kingdom of Granada where he died in 1552.The adventures of Baltasar Maldonado during the first half of the 16th century have been described by scholars Juan de Castellanos and Juan Rodríguez Freyle in his work El Carnero.

Bartolomé Camacho Zambrano

Bartolomé Camacho Zambrano (1510, Villafranca de los Barros, Extremadura, Castile - after 1583, Tunja, New Kingdom of Granada) was a Spanish conquistador who took part in the expedition of the Spanish conquest of the Muisca led by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada. He accompanied Gonzalo Suárez Rendón in the foundation of Tunja on August 6, 1539 and settled in the city. In 1583, Bartolomé Camacho Zambrano was mayor of Tunja together with Francisco de Avendaño.

Bernardo de Lugo

Fray Bernardo de Lugo (born late 16th century, New Kingdom of Granada) was a Colombian linguist, friar and writer. He has been an important contributor to the knowledge about the Chibcha language (also called "Muisca" or in its own language "Muysccubun") of the Muisca, having published the oldest surviving work on the language in 1619.Later linguists and chroniclers, such as Ezequiel Uricoechea, based their work on the texts of Bernardo de Lugo. Various modern scholars have reprinted the work or published reviews, among others Jorge Gamboa Mendoza (2010), Nicholas Ostler (1995) and Manuel Alvar (1977).

Diego de Torres y Moyachoque

Diego de Torre(s) y Moyachoque (1549 in Tunja, New Kingdom of Granada – 4 April 1590 in Madrid, Spain) was cacique of Turmequé, in the former Muisca Confederation, under Spanish rule. He served as chief from 1571 to his death. De Torres y Moyachoque was a mestizo; the child of a Spanish conquistador and a Muisca mother. He is known for his defense of the local Muisca and resistance against the Spanish encomenderos, particularly his half-brother Pedro de Torres. De Torres y Moyachoque is also known as the first cartographer of the lands surrounding the capital of the New Kingdom of Granada; Santa Fe de Bogotá.

De Torres y Moyachoque traveled twice to Spain, first in 1575-1577 and the second journey in the 1580s, where he presented complaints about the mistreatment of the Muisca by the Spanish colonisers to the Spanish King Felipe II. After this travel, he stayed, married and died in Madrid on April 4, 1590.

Gonzalo Macías

Gonzalo Macías (c. 1509, Calamonte, Extremadura, Castile – ?, Tunja, New Kingdom of Granada) was a Spanish conquistador who participated in the expedition from Santa Marta into the Muisca Confederation that was led by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada from 1536 to 1538. He settled in Tunja, formerly called Hunza, as seat of the zaque.

Gonzalo Suárez Rendón

Gonzalo Suárez Rendón (c.1503, Málaga, Castile – 1590 (or 1583), Tunja, New Kingdom of Granada) was a Spanish conquistador, known as the founder of the capital of Boyacá; Tunja. He took part in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca people led by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, and later by his brother Hernán Pérez de Quesada. On August 6, 1539, he founded Tunja on the site of the former seat of the zaque (ruler) of the Hunza.Gonzalo Suárez Rendón is mentioned in the work of uncertain authorship Epítome de la conquista del Nuevo Reino de Granada as "Suarex".

Hernán Pérez de Quesada

Hernán Pérez de Quesada, sometimes spelled as De Quezada, (~1500 – 1544) was a Spanish conquistador. Second in command of the army of his elder brother, Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, Hernán was part of the first European expedition towards the inner highlands of the Colombian Andes. The harsh journey, taking almost a year and many deaths, led through the departments Magdalena, Cesar, Santander, Boyacá, Cundinamarca and Huila of present-day Colombia between 1536 and 1539 and, without him, Meta, Caquetá and Putumayo of Colombia and northern Peru and Ecuador between 1540 and 1542.

Hernán founded Sutatausa, Cundinamarca, and aided in the conquest of various indigenous groups, such as the Chimila, Muisca, Panche, Lache, U'wa, Sutagao and others. Under the command of Hernán Pérez de Quesada the last Muisca ruler; zaque Aquiminzaque were publicly decapitated. As second in command under his brother, in the previous years zipas Tisquesusa and Sagipa and Tundama of Duitama had suffered a similar fate. After returning from his expeditions to the south reaching Quito, where he reunited with his younger brother Francisco, both De Quesadas went back to Bogotá. Hernán was tried and imprisoned there for the murders of the Muisca rulers by the governor of the capital of the New Kingdom of Granada. In 1544, en route back to Spain with his brother Francisco, their ship was hit by lightning off the coast of Cabo de la Vela in the Caribbean Sea killing Hernán and Francisco and wounding several other conquistadors who were returning to Spain.

Knowledge of the life and expeditions of Hernán Pérez de Quesada has been provided by his brother Gonzalo and scholars Pedro de Aguado, Juan Freyle, Lucas Fernández de Piedrahita, Joaquín Acosta and Liborio Zerda.

Juan Rodríguez Freyle

Juan Rodríguez Freyle (also written as Juan Rodríguez Freile), (Bogotá, New Kingdom of Granada, 25 April 1566 - Bogotá, 1642) was an early writer in the New Kingdom of Granada, the Spanish colonial territory of what today is Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela. The son of a soldier in the army of Pedro de Ursúa, Rodríguez Freyle knew the cacique of Guatavita and the founder of Bogotá: Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada. His major work El Carnero is a collection of stories, anecdotes and rumours about the early days of colonial Colombia and the demise of the Muisca Confederation. It is one of the most important sources for the sixteenth century colonial period of present-day Colombia.

Juan Rodríguez Freyle was married to Francisca Rodríguez and died in Bogotá in 1642.

Juan de Castellanos

Juan de Castellanos (Alanís, Sevilla, Spain, March 9, 1522 - Tunja, Boyacá, New Kingdom of Granada, November 1606) was a Criollo poet, soldier and Catholic priest. As one of the early Spanish chroniclers he has contributed to the knowledge of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, mainly the Muisca.

Juan de Céspedes Ruiz

Juan (Francisco) de Céspedes Ruiz (1501 or 1505 in Argamasilla de Calatrava, Castile – 1573 or 1576 in Bogotá, New Kingdom of Granada) was a Spanish conquistador who is known as the founder of the town of Pasca, Cundinamarca, in the south of the Bogotá savanna, Colombia. De Céspedes arrived in the Americas in 1521 and participated in the conquest of the Tairona and the foundation of Santa Marta under Rodrigo de Bastidas. From 1542 to 1543 and in 1546 he served as mayor of Bogotá and after that until 1570 as lieutenant general of the first president of Colombia. Juan de Céspedes married Isabel Romero, one of the first Spanish women who arrived at Colombian territories and had two legitimate sons and one daughter. His date of death is uncertain; in late 1573 or 1576.

Knowledge about Juan de Céspedes has been provided by chroniclers Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada in his memoirs (1576), Pedro Simón in 1626, Juan Rodríguez Freyle in his work El Carnero (written between 1636 and 1638) and Lucas Fernández de Piedrahita (1688).

List of Viceroys of New Granada

Spanish viceroys of the colonial Viceroyalty of New Granada (1717−1819) located in northern South America.

Luis Lanchero

Luis Lanchero, also known as Luis Lancheros (?, Castile - 1562, Tunja, New Kingdom of Granada) was a Spanish conquistador and the founder of the town of Muzo, Boyacá, the most important emerald settlement in Colombia. Muzo was founded after twenty years of unsuccessful attempts to subjugate the Muzo to Spanish rule. Lanchero arrived in the New World in 1533 and died impoverished in Tunja in 1562.


Maracay (Spanish pronunciation: [maɾaˈkai̯]) is a city in north-central Venezuela, near the Caribbean coast, and is the capital and most important city of the state of Aragua. Most of it falls under the jurisdiction of the Girardot Municipality. The population of Maracay and its surroundings as per the 2011 census was 955,362. In Venezuela, Maracay is known as "Ciudad Jardín", or "Garden City".

Martín Galeano

Martín Galeano (?, Valencia del Mombuey, Badajoz, Spain - ?, Vélez, New Kingdom of Granada) was a Spanish conquistador of Genovese descent who is known as the founder of the towns of Vélez, Oiba and Charalá in Santander, Colombia. He took part in the expedition of the Spanish conquest of the Muisca led by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada. After the foundation of Bogotá, he was sent northwards into Guane territories.

Martín Yañéz Tafur

Martín Yañéz Tafur (?, Córdoba, Andalusia, Castile - ?, New Kingdom of Granada) was a Spanish conquistador who participated in the foundation of Cartagena, the Spanish conquest of the Muisca and the conquest of the Panche.

Ortún Velázquez de Velasco

Ortún Velázquez de Velasco (c. 1500, Cuéllar, Castile – 4 November 1584, Pamplona, New Kingdom of Granada) was a Spanish conquistador. He is known as the co-founder and first governor of Pamplona in the Norte de Santander department of Colombia, which borders Venezuela.

Panche people

The Panche or Tolima were an indigenous group of people in what is now Colombia. Their language is unclassified – and possibly unclassifiable – but may have been Cariban. They inhabited the southwestern parts of the department of Cundinamarca and the northeastern areas of the department of Tolima, close to the Magdalena River. At the time of the Spanish conquest, more than 30,000 Panche were living in what would become the New Kingdom of Granada. Early knowledge about the Panche has been compiled by scholar Pedro Simón. According to the latter, the word panche in their own Panche language means "cruel" and "murderer".

Pedro de Aguado

Pedro de Aguado (1513 or 1538 – late 16th or early 17th century) was a Spanish Franciscan friar who spent around 15 years in the New Kingdom of Granada, preaching to the indigenous people. During this time he collected source material for a history of the region, and began a manuscript, Recopilación historial, which he completed in Spain between 1576 and 1583 but was unable to publish. The manuscript was used by other historians, but was not published until the twentieth century.


Sagipa or Zaquesazipa (died 1539, Bosa, New Kingdom of Granada) was the fifth and last ruler (zipa) of Bacatá, currently known as the Colombian capital Bogotá, as of 1537. He was the brother of his predecessor Tisquesusa but the traditional faction of the Muisca considered him an usurper as his nephew Chiayzaque, the cacique of Chía, was the legitimate successor of Tisquesusa. His zaque counterpart in the northern part of the Muisca territory was Aquiminzaque, the last surviving ruler of the Muisca. The daughter of Sagipa, named as Magdalena de Guatavita, married conquistador Hernán Venegas Carrillo, one of the first mestizo marriages in the New Kingdom of Granada.Sagipa appears with alternative names in the Spanish chronicles; Saquesazippa, Saquezazippa, Sacresasigua, Saxagipa, Sajipa and Zaquezazigua.

Start End Governor
1538 1539 Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada
1539 1542 Hernán Pérez de Quesada
1542 1544 Alonso Luis Fernández de Lugo
1544 1545 Lope Montalvo de Lugo
1545 1546 Pedro de Ursúa
1546 1550 Miguel Díez de Armendáriz
1551 1558 Juan de Montaño

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.