Real Audiencia of Panama

The Real Audiencia and Chancery of Panama in Tierra Firme (Spanish: Audiencia y Cancillería Real de Panamá en Tierrafirme) was a governing body and superior court in the New World empire of Spain. The Audiencia of Panama was the third American audiencia after the ones of Santo Domingo and Mexico. It existed three times under various guises since it first creation in 1538 until its ultimate abolition in 1751.

First installation

The first Audiencia of Panama was created by Charles V by a royal decree of February 26, 1538. Its initial jurisdiction included the provinces of Tierra Firme (Castilla de Oro and Veragua), all land from the Strait of Magellan to the Gulf of Fonseca, Nicaragua, until 1543 when most of the South American territories were assigned to a new audiencia in Lima. A decree of May 23, 1539, removed the entire province of Nicaragua from the Audiencia of Santo Domingo and placed under the Panama one.

The Audiencia began functioning in Panama City in 1539 with the arrival of the Oidores Francisco Pérez de Robles, Lorenzo Pérez de la Serna, Pedro de Villalobos, and Attorney Alonso de Montenegro. Pérez de Robles served as the first audiencia president and replaced Governor Pedro Vásquez de Acuña. Pérez de Robles carried out his duties until 1543, when the Audiencia was decreed abolished and replaced with an Audiencia of the Confines in Guatemala. During this period the Audiencia supervised various voyages of exploration. Ultimately, the administration of Pérez de Robles proved to be corrupt, resulting in several charges that led to a trial and destitution from office. The investigation and trial (juicio de residencia) were carried out by Pedro Ramírez de Quiñones, who had been appointed corregidor of Panama and Nombre de Dios.

Second installation

On September 8, 1563, Philip II decreed the return of the Audiencia from Guatemala to Panama. The Province of Guatemala was transferred to the Audiencia of Mexico. The work of moving the Audiencia was overseen by Lope García de Castro. The Audiencia began functioning again on May 15, 1565, under interim president Manuel Barrios de San Millán, before the arrival of its permanent president, Alonso Arias de Maldonado. The jurisdiction of the new Audiencia of Panama consisted of territories between Buenaventura in the New Kingdom of Granada and the Gulf of Fonseca.

Law IV (Audiencia y Chancillería Real de Panamá en Tierrafirme) of Title XV (De las Audiencias y Chancillerias Reales de las Indias) of Book II of the Recopilación de Leyes de las Indias of 1680—which compiles the decrees of February 30, 1535; March 1537; February 26 12, 1538; September 8, 1563, November 19, 1570; February 6, 1571; and September 10, 1588—describes the borders and functions of the Audiencia.[1]

In the City of Panama, in the kingdom of Tierrafirme, shall reside another Royal Audiencia and Chancery of ours, with a president, governor and captain general; four 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 province of Castilla del Oro until Portobelo and its territory; the City of Natá and its territory; the Governorate of Veragua; and by the South Sea towards Peru until the port of Buenaventura, exclusive; and from Portobelo towards Cartagena until the Darien River, exclusive, with the Gulf of Urabá and Tierrafirme; bordering its district in the east and south with those of the Audiencias of the New Kingdom of Granada and San Francisco of Quito, in the west with that of Santiago de Guatemala, and in the north and south with the North and South Seas. And we order that the governor and captain general of said provinces and president of the Royal Audiencia of these, have, use and exercise by himself the government of said Province of Tierrafirme and of all the district of the Royal Audiencia, in the same manner as the viceroys of the Provinces of Peru and New Spain have, and attend by himself all matters and business which arises, regarding the government, and that the oidores do not interfere with these regards, nor that said President interfere in those matters of justice and that he sign with the oidores all that they sentence and decree. We also order that when our viceroys of Peru, as such, decree in certain matter of government, war and administration of our royal treasury, and direct certain dispatches on this to the president and oidores of our Royal Audiencia of Panama, they keep it and make it be kept and fulfilled completely by all, in all the ways and manners in which they have been ordered, without any delay.

In addition a decree of Philip III of July 19, 1614 reiterated, "that the president of Panama obey the viceroy of Peru and have with him regular communication." The Audiencia was abolished once again in 1718 due to bad conduct of its members. This time the Isthmus was placed under the authority of the viceroy and Audiencia of Peru.

Third installation

Nevertheless, this arrangement resulted in problems and poor government for the region, so the crown once more established the Panama Audiencia in a decree of July 21, 1722. From 1739 on, the area of the Panama Audiencia formed part of the recently created Viceroyalty of New Granada. Due to economic problems in Tierrafirme, the crown ordered the final abolition of the Audiencia in a decree of June 20, 1751. A government headed by the regional military commander, the Comandancy General of Tierra Firme, was created in Panama, which was dependent on the viceroy of New Granada in administrative matters. The Comandancy General was originally to be dependent on the Audiencia of Lima in judicial matters, but in 1752 they were transferred to the Audiencia of Bogotá.

See also


  1. ^ 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.
Central America

Central America (Spanish: América Central, pronounced [aˌmeɾika senˈtɾal], Centroamérica [sentɾoaˈmeɾika]) is a region found in the southern tip of North America and is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas. This region is bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The combined population of Central America is estimated to be between 41,739,000 (2009 estimate) and 42,688,190 (2012 estimate).Central America is a part of the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot, which extends from northern Guatemala to central Panama. Due to the presence of several active geologic faults and the Central America Volcanic Arc, there is a great deal of seismic activity in the region, such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, which has resulted in death, injury and property damage.

In the Pre-Columbian era, Central America was inhabited by the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica to the north and west and the Isthmo-Colombian peoples to the south and east. Following the Spanish expedition of Christopher Columbus' voyages to the Americas, Spain began to colonize the Americas. From 1609 to 1821, the majority of Central American territories (except for what would become Belize and Panama) were governed by the viceroyalty of New Spain from Mexico City as the Captaincy General of Guatemala. On 24 August 1821, Spanish Viceroy Juan de O’Donojú signed the Treaty of Córdoba, which established New Spain’s independence from Spain. On 15 September 1821, the Act of Independence of Central America was enacted to announce Central America’s separation from the Spanish Empire and provide for the establishment of a new Central American state. Some of New Spain’s provinces in the Central American region (i.e. what would become Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica) were annexed to the First Mexican Empire; however, in 1823 they seceded from Mexico to form the Federal Republic of Central America until 1838. In 1838, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica and Guatemala became the first of Central America’s seven states to become independent autonomous countries, followed by El Salvador in 1841, Panama in 1903 and Belize in 1981. Despite the dissolution of the Federal Republic of Central America, there is anecdotal evidence that demonstrates that Nicaraguans, Hondurans, Costa Ricans, Guatemalans, Savadorans, Panamanians and Belizeans continue to maintain a Central American identity. For instance, Central Americans sometimes refer to their nations as if they were provinces of a Central American state. It is not unusual to write "C.A." after the country’s name in formal and informal contexts. Governments in the region sometimes reinforce this sense of belonging to Central America in its citizens. For example, automobile licence plates in many of the region’s countries include the moniker, Centroamerica, alongside the country’s name.

List of governors in the Viceroyalty of New Spain

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

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


Panama ( (listen) PAN-ə-mah; Spanish: Panamá [panaˈma]), officially the Republic of Panama (Spanish: República de Panamá), is a country in Central America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half the country's 4 million people.Panama was inhabited by indigenous tribes before Spanish colonists arrived in the 16th century. It broke away from Spain in 1821 and joined the Republic of Gran Colombia, a union of Nueva Granada, Ecuador, and Venezuela. After Gran Colombia dissolved in 1831, Panama and Nueva Granada eventually became the Republic of Colombia. With the backing of the United States, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903, allowing the construction of the Panama Canal to be completed by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. The 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties led to the transfer of the Canal from the United States to Panama on December 31, 1999.Revenue from canal tolls continues to represent a significant portion of Panama's GDP, although commerce, banking, and tourism are major and growing sectors. It is regarded as a high-income country. In 2015 Panama ranked 60th in the world in terms of the Human Development Index. In 2018, Panama was ranked seventh-most competitive economy in Latin America, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index. Covering around 40 percent of its land area, Panama's jungles are home to an abundance of tropical plants and animals – some of them found nowhere else on the planet. Panama is a founding member of the United Nations and other international organizations such as OAS, LAIA, G77, WHO and NAM.

Panamanian Spanish

Panamanian Spanish is the Spanish (Castilian) language as spoken in the country of Panama. It is closely related to other varieties of Caribbean Spanish.

The variations among different speaker groups of the same language can be lexical (vocabulary), phonological (pronunciation), morphological (word forms), or in the use of syntax (grammar).

Historically, Panama and Colombia were part of the same political entity. Colombia, governed from the Real Audiencia of Panama during the 16th century, then part of Castilla de Oro, with its capital in Panama, during the 17th century, and after independence from Spain, Panama voluntarily became part of the Republic of Gran Colombia along with Venezuela and Ecuador, with its capital in Bogota. From the colonial times and periods and also during most of the 19th century and until 1903, and even though there are still lexical similarities shared by the two countries (e.g., pelao in both Colombia and Panama means "kid" or "child"), phonetically, Panamanian Spanish is very similar with the Spanish as spoken in the coastal areas around the Caribbean, specifically Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Atlantic coast of Colombia and Venezuela.

Real Audiencia of Manila

The Real Audiencia de Manila (English: Royal Audience of Manila) was the Real Audiencia of the Spanish East Indies, which included modern-day Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Micronesia and the Philippines. Similar to Real Audiencias throughout the Spanish Empire, it was the highest tribunal within the territories of the Captaincy General of the Philippines, a dependency of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.

The Governor-General of the Philippines was appointed as its highest judge, although on many occasions his absence forced other members to rule the tribunal and assume temporary civilian and military powers.

Sovereign states

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