Real Audiencia of Charcas

The Real Audiencia of Charcas (Spanish: Audiencia y Cancillería Real de La Plata de los Charcas) was a Spanish audiencia with its seat in what is today Bolivia. It was established in 1559 in Ciudad de la Plata de Nuevo Toledo (later Charcas, today Sucre) and had jurisdiction over Charcas, Paraguay and the Governorate of the Río de la Plata, today Uruguay and northern Argentina.[1] This court oversaw the incredible silver output of the mines at Potosí. It was part of the Viceroyalty of Peru until 1776, when it was transferred to the newly created Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata and began to be referred to as Upper Peru.


Philip II of Spain originally established the audiencia by royal decree on 4 September 1559. Law IX (Audiencia y Chancillería Real de la Plata, Provincia de los Charcas) of Title XV of Book II of the Recopilación de Leyes de Indias of 1680 — which compiles the original 1559 decree and the ones of 29 August 1563, 1 October 1566, 26 May 1573 — describes the borders and functions of the Audiencia.

In Ciudad de la Plata de Nuevo Toledo, Province of the Charcas in Peru, shall reside another Royal Audiencia and Chancellery of ours, with a president; 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 shall have for district the Province of the Charcas, all of El Collao, from the town of Ayabiri, along the road of Urqusuyu, from the town of Asillo by the road of Umasuyu, from Atuncana, by the road of Arequipa, towards the part of the Charcas, inclusive with the Provinces of Sangabana, Carabaya, Juríes y Diaguitas, Moyos [see also Moxos people] and Ch'unchu, and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, sharing borders: in the north with the Royal Audiencia of Lima and provinces not yet discovered; in the south with the Royal Audiencia of Chile; and in the east and west with the two Seas of the North and South and the line of demarcation between the Crowns of the Kingdoms of Castile and Portugal, along the Province of Santa Cruz of Brazil. All said territories are and shall be understood to comply with Law 13, which deals with the founding and erection of the Royal Audiencia of Trinidad, Port of Buenos Ayres, because our will is that said law be kept, complied with and executed precisely and punctually.


Charcas was one of the first regions in Spanish America to establish juntas in the independence period, which deposed the Audiencia judges. These juntas, set up in 1809, were quashed by forces from Peru and Río de la Plata the following year, but the Audiencia was not reestablished until 1816, and then under the auspices of the viceroy of Peru. Areas of Charcas under patriot control sent deputies to the Congress of Tucumán of 9 July 1816 which declared the independence of the provinces of the Río de la Plata. The Republic of Bolivia was created from the Royal Audiencia of Charcas on August 6, 1825.


  1. ^ "Charcas". Retrieved 25 July 2013.
Baltazar García Ros

Baltazar García Ros (Valtierra, Spain, ca. 1670 - Buenos Aires, Río de la Plata, September 18, 1740) was a Navarrese-Spanish soldier and administrator. He was maestre de campo and interim governor of the Governorate of Paraguay from 1706 to 1707 and governor of the Governorate of the Río de la Plata from 1715 to 1717. During his career, he campaigned against the indigenous Charrua, Yaro, and Bohán people; the Portuguese; and the comunero rebels of Paraguay.

Battle of Cotagaita

The Battle of Cotagaita was fought on October 27, 1810 during the Campaign of Upper Peru in the Argentine War of Independence when the troops of the Army of the North were sent by the Primera Junta government in Buenos Aires to the Alto Perú to fight the Royalists. It was the first skirmish of the Army of the North in this theatre. The battle was fought near the town of Santiago de Cotagaita, nowadays in Potosí Department in Bolivia.

General José Manuel de Goyeneche was appointed by the viceroy of Perú to command the royalist forces in Alto Perú, who along with the president of the Real Audiencia of Charcas, Vicente Nieto, decided to establish a forward post in Cotagaita under the command of Frigate Captain José de Córdoba y Rojas. These forces were left isolated after the pronouncement of Cochabamba (September 14) and later of Oruro (September 24) in favor of the Junta in Buenos Aires.

The royalist forces comprised the provincial battalion of Potosí, under commander Indalecio González de Socasa; the Puno battalion; veterans of Borbón; the King's Volunteers; dragoons of Chichas and lancers of Cinti. The revolutionary forces included the first battalion under commander Gregorio Perdiel; sixth battalion under commander Carlos Forest, Hunters battalion under commander Manuel Dorrego; Blandengues battalion under commander Abraham González; and the Husars Regiment under commander Martín Miguel de Güemes.

The attack started in the early hours of the morning and ended at 2 pm the same day. Not having been able to dislodge the royalists from their trenches, Balcarce effected an orderly retreat without being chased.

After the Cotagaita action, the revolutionary forces were obligated to retreat towards Tupiza and then Suipacha, to await reinforcement, where later they achieved their first victory at the Battle of Suipacha.

Bernardino de Cárdenas

Bernardino de Cárdenas y Ponce, O.F.M., (1579?–1668) was a friar of the Franciscan order and Bishop of Asunción and later Santa Cruz de la Sierra. He served as Governor of Paraguay from March 4, 1649 – October 1, 1649. He ordered the first expulsion of the Jesuits from the Governorate of Paraguay, although this expulsion did not last; he was deposed as governor following a battle against the Jesuit armies.

Bolivia–Spain relations

Bolivia–Spain refers to the current and historical relations between Bolivia and Spain. Both nations are members of the Association of Spanish Language Academies and the Organization of Ibero-American States.


Charcas may refer to:

Charcas Province, a province in Potosí Department, Bolivia

Real Audiencia of Charcas, one of six political units of the Viceroyalty of Peru

Charcas, a historical name of Sucre, capital of Bolivia

University of Saint Francis Xavier, also known as the University of Charcas

Charca people, an Indian tribe that inhabited the Chuquisaca Department prior to the arrival of the Spaniards

Charcas, San Luis Potosi, a town and municipality in San Luis Potosí state, Mexico

Las Charcas, Azua, a town in the Azua Province of the Dominican Republic

Charcas, Quebradillas, Puerto Rico , a barrio in Quebradillas, in Puerto Rico (U.S.)

Chuquisaca Revolution

The Chuquisaca Revolution was a popular uprising on 25 May 1809 against the governor and intendant of Chuquisaca (today Sucre), Ramón García León de Pizarro. The Real Audiencia of Charcas, with support from the faculty of University of Saint Francis Xavier, deposed the governor and formed a junta. The revolution is known in Bolivia as the "First libertarian scream" (Spanish: Primer grito libertario), meaning, the first step in the Spanish American wars of independence; but historians dispute whether such a description is accurate or not.

Colonial Argentina

Colonial Argentina is designated as the period of the History of Argentina when it was an overseas colony of the Spanish Empire. It begins in the precolumbian age of the indigenous peoples of Argentina, with the arrival of the first Spanish conqueror.

Conquest of Chile

The Conquest of Chile is a period in Chilean historiography that starts with the arrival of Pedro de Valdivia to Chile in 1541 and ends with the death of Martín García Óñez de Loyola in the Battle of Curalaba in 1598, and the destruction of the Seven Cities in 1600 in the Araucanía region.

This was the period of Spanish conquest of territories, founding of cities, establishment of the Captaincy General of Chile, and defeats ending its further colonial expansion southwards. The Arauco War continued, and the Spanish were never able to recover their short control in Araucanía south of the Bío Bío River.

Diego de Escobar y Osorio

Diego de Escobar y Osorio (died February 22, 1649) was Governor of Paraguay from February 2, 1647 – February 22, 1649.

Diego de los Reyes Balmaseda

Diego de los Reyes y Balmaseda (fl. 1690–1733) was the Governor of Paraguay from February 5, 1717 to August 20, 1721. His governorship was deeply unpopular with the inhabitants of Asunción, and an investigation by judge José de Antequera y Castro of the Real Audiencia of Charcas concluded that Reyes had abused his office, and he was deposed. Antequera took the governorship of Paraguay upon himself afterward, the beginning of the Revolt of the Comuneros. Reyes never recovered his governorship, and was eventually exiled from the province after a year-long imprisonment.

History of Bolivia

After the fall of Tiwanaku empire, the many Aymara Lake Titicaca were conquered by the Inca empire. Prior to the Spanish conquest, the Andean province of Qullasuyu was a part of the Inca empire, while the northern and eastern lowlands were inhabited by independent nomadic tribes. Spanish conquistadors, arriving from Cuzco and Asunción took control of the region in the 16th century. During most of the Spanish colonial rule, Bolivia was known as Upper Peru and administered by the Royal Audiencia of Charcas. After the 1st call for independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the Bolivian Republic, named for the Liberator Simón Bolívar, on August 6, 1825. Since then Bolivia has endured regular periods of political and economic instability, including the loss of various provinces to its neighbors, such as Acre, parts of the Gran Chaco and its Pacific coast, making it a land-locked country.

Index of Bolivia-related articles

The following is an alphabetical list of topics related to the Republic of Bolivia.

List of Bolivia-related topics

The following is an outline of topics related to the Republic of Bolivia.

List of Governors in the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata

Governors in the various Provinces of the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata.

In addition to governors, the following list (under construction) intends to give an overview of colonial units of that echelon. It also includes some offices of similar rank, especially the intendant. Intendente is both a Spanish and Portuguese word, derived from the French Intendant. It was introduced to the Spanish Monarchy by the Bourbon Dynasty, which Spain shared with France after the early 18th century.

Pedro Domingo Murillo

For the province, see Pedro Domingo Murillo Province.Pedro Domingo Murillo (September 17, 1757– January 29, 1810) was a patriot of Upper Peru who played a key role in Bolivia's independence.

Peruvian War of Independence

The Peruvian War of Independence was composed of a series of military conflicts in Peru beginning with viceroy Abascal military reconquest in 1811 in the battle of Guaqui, continuing with the definitive defeat of the Spanish Army in 1824 in the battle of Ayacucho, and culminating in 1826 with the Siege of Callao. The wars of independence took place with the background of the 1780–1781 uprising by indigenous leader Túpac Amaru II and the earlier removal of Upper Peru and the Río de la Plata regions from the Viceroyalty of Peru. Because of this the viceroy often had the support of the "Lima oligarchy," who saw their elite interests threatened by popular rebellion and were opposed to the new commercial class in Buenos Aires. During the first decade 1800s Peru had been a stronghold for royalists, who fought those in favor of independence in Peru, Bolivia, Quito and Chile. Among the most important events during the war was the proclamation of independence of Peru by José de San Martín on 28 July 1821.

Ramón García de León y Pizarro

Ramón García de León y Pizarro (born Oran, now Algeria, 1745; died Charcas, Bolivia, December 1815), was a Spanish military officer and administrator. As president of the Real Audiencia of Charcas, he governed the Intendancy of Chuquisaca during the final colonial years of Upper Peru. He was also the founder of the city San Ramón de la Nueva Orán, in the north of present-day Argentina.

Revolt of the Comuneros (Paraguay)

The Revolt of the Comuneros (Spanish: Revolución Comunera) was a series of uprisings by settlers in Paraguay in the Viceroyalty of Peru against the Spanish authorities from 1721–1725 and 1730–1735. The underlying cause of the unrest was strong anti-Jesuit feelings among the Paraguayans and dislike for any governor seen as favoring the Jesuits. In the resumption of the revolt in 1730, economic issues came to fore as well. The rebel organization split in its second phase, as the rural poor and the urban elite each formed their own factions with similar grievances against the Jesuits, but incompatible politics. Paraguay had an unusually strong tradition of self-rule; the colonists did not have a tradition of strict obedience to everything the Spanish Crown's governor decreed. This independence helped push the revolt forward.

The beginnings of the revolt were quasi-legal at first. José de Antequera y Castro (1690–1731), a judge for the Real Audiencia of Charcas, was sent to Asunción in 1721 to examine charges of misconduct against pro-Jesuit Governor Diego de los Reyes Balmaseda. Antequera concluded the charges were valid, forced Reyes into exile and later imprisoned him, and declared himself governor by the power of the Audencia in 1722. Antequera also accused the Jesuits of various crimes, demanded that the mission Indians under their care be enslaved and distributed to the citizens of Paraguay, and expelled the Jesuits from their college in Asunción. All these actions had the support of the citizens of Asunción, and governors had been deposed and replaced before without the central government complaining. However, Viceroy of Peru Diego Morcillo, residing in Lima, did not approve of Antequera's action and ordered Reyes' restoration as governor. With the backing of the settlers, Antequera refused, citing the authority of the Audencia as superior to that of the Viceroy. The feud between Antequera and the Viceroyalty continued after Viceroy Morcillo was replaced by the Marquis of Castelfuerte as Viceroy of Peru. Antequera's Paraguayan militia attacked and defeated an allied force of Jesuit mission Indians and Spanish colonial forces during the standoff. The battle tainted the legitimacy of Antequera's claim of governorship, however, and a second force was sent by Castelfuerte against a movement now seen as clearly treasonous. Antequera resigned in 1725 and fled to Charcas, while order was seemingly restored in the province. Antequera was arrested, imprisoned for five years at Lima, and executed.

Paraguay was quiet for 5 years under interim governor Martín de Barúa, seen as friendly to the settlers and hostile to the Jesuits. When he was replaced by Ignacio de Soroeta, however, Paraguay refused its new governor. Fernando de Mómpox y Zayas had spread ideas among the populace that the power of the people - the común - was superior to that of the governor and even the King. The comuneros held new elections to the town council of Asunción, won the seats, and resumed self-rule. A replacement governor sent in 1732, Agustín de Ruyloba, was killed by the comuneros. However, the comunero movement split several times. The notables of Asunción, who had been happy to defy the colonial authorities when the town council was run by them, now feared the total breakdown of order, as the poorer Paraguayans started to loot the estates and property of any notable not thought to be sufficiently pro-comunero. The inability of Asunción to trade with the rest of the Spanish Empire led to an economic crisis, as well. When colonial forces finally moved on Asunción, the divided comuneros scattered and fled, with most of the Asunción faction joining the government forces in a bid for clemency.

Upper Peru

Upper Peru (Spanish: Alto Perú, Portuguese: Alto Peru) is a name for the land that was governed by the Real Audiencia of Charcas. The name originated in Buenos Aires towards the end of the 18th century after the Audiencia of Charcas was transferred from the Viceroyalty of Peru to the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776. It comprised the governorships of Potosí, La Paz, Cochabamba, Chiquitos, Moxos and Charcas (since renamed Sucre).

Following the Bolivian War of Independence, the region became an independent country and was renamed Bolivia in honor of Simón Bolívar.

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