Real Audiencia of Quito

The Real Audiencia of Quito (sometimes referred to as la Presidencia de Quito or el Reino de Quito) was an administrative unit in the Spanish Empire which had political, military, and religious jurisdiction over territories that today include Ecuador, parts of northern Peru, parts of southern Colombia and parts of northern Brazil. It was created by Royal Decree on 29 August 1563 by Philip II of Spain in the city of Guadalajara (Law X of Title XV of Book II of the Recopilación de Leyes de Indias).[1] It ended in 1822 with the incorporation of the area into the Republic of Gran Colombia.

Real Audiencia of Quito
Real Audiencia de Quito
Real Audiencia of the Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada

Coat of arms of Quito
Coat of arms
Location of Quito
Royal Audiencia of Quito, a map of 1779 by Francisco Requena y Herrera
Capital Quito
0°15′S 78°35′W / 0.250°S 78.583°WCoordinates: 0°15′S 78°35′W / 0.250°S 78.583°W
Government Audiencia Real
Historical era Spanish Empire
 •  Established 29 August 1563
 •  Incorporation into Colombia 24 May 1822
 •  Independence of Ecuador 13 May 1830
Today part of Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Brazil
Real Audiencia de Quito
Real Audiencia de Quito, Real Cédula de 1563


The 1563 decree established its structure and district:

In the City of San Francisco of El Quito, in Peru, shall reside another Royal Audiencia and Chancellery of ours, with a president; four judges of civil cases [oidores], who will 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 Quito, and along the coast towards the Ciudad de los Reyes [Lima] to the Port of Paita, exclusive; and inland towards Piura, Cajamarca, Chachapoyas, Moyobamba and Motilones, exclusive, including towards the aforesaid part the towns of Jaén, Valladolid, Loja, Zamora, Cuenca, La Zarza and Guayaquil, with the rest of the towns, which are in their districts or will be founded [in them]; and towards the towns of La Canela and Quijos, it should include said towns and the rest that shall be discovered; and along the coast towards Panama, until the Port of Buenaventura, inclusive; and inland to Pasto, Popayán, Cali, Buga, Chapanchinca and Guarchicona; because the rest of the places of the Government (Gobernación) of Popayan are of the Audiencia of the New Kingdom of Granada, with which, and with the one of Tierrafirme [Panama], it shall share a border on the north; and with the one of Los Reyes in the south; having for its western border the South Sea [Pacific Ocean] and eastern the provinces still not yet pacified nor discovered.

The Audiencia was effectively autonomous because the Viceroyal government (to which the Audiencia was technically subordinate in political matters) was too far away to administer its territories effectively. Thus, power was devolved to the Audiencia by the Viceroy and the audiencia territory was directly administered by the President of the Audiencia and the political, military, and religious officials underneath him. Initially the Audiencia of Quito formed part of the Viceroyalty of Peru (1563–1717) and (1723–1739). Later the Audiencia was part of a newly created Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada (1717–1723). This Viceroyalty was temporarily suppressed by the King of Spain in 1723 and the Audiencia of Quito returned to the Viceroyalty of Peru. In 1739, the Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada was re-established and the Audiencia of Quito was returned to it until it declared itself independent from Spain. A year later the King of Spain passed the Real Cedula of 1740 where the borders of the Audiencia of Quito would be closer to 4° south of the Equator. The Audiencia of Quito briefly became independent for 3 years after it staged the Quito revolution in 1809, was annexed again to the Spanish Empire in 1812. The Audiencia of Quito was liberated again in 1822 and formerly joined the territories of what is today Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia and Panama to form the Republic of Gran Colombia.


Gran Colombia map
The Republic of Gran Colombia Divided into Departments—June 25, 1824

As part of Gran Colombia, the territories of Quito were divided up into districts, departments, and provinces on 25 June 1824 by the Subdivisions of Gran Colombia. The Audiencia de Quito was divided into 4 departments: Ecuador Department, Guayaquil Department, Azuay Department, and Cauca Department. The departments of Ecuador, Guayaquil, and Azuay united to form the Distrito del Sur. On 13 May 1830 the departments of Ecuador, Guayaquil, and Azuay separated from La Gran Colombia to form a new nation called Ecuador with Juan José Flores as its first president, who tried to incorporate the Department of Cauca, but to no avail.


  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.


  • Phelan, John Leddy. The Kingdom of Quito in the Seventeenth Century: Bureaucratic Politics in the Spanish Empire. Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1967.

See also

Alonso de Illescas

Alonso de Illescas (fl. 1528–1590s) was an African Maroon (fugitive slave) leader and was perceived as the single most powerful person in the Esmeraldas region of colonial northwestern Ecuador in the sixteenth century. According to historian Charles Beatty-Medina, Illescas was a typical "Atlantic Creole.".


Ecuador ( (listen) EK-wə-dor, Spanish: [ekwaˈðoɾ]) (Quechua: Ikwayur; Shuar: Ecuador or Ekuatur), officially the Republic of Ecuador (Spanish: República del Ecuador, which literally translates as "Republic of the Equator"; Quechua: Ikwadur Ripuwlika), is a country in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west. Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland. The capital city is Quito, which is also the largest city.What is now Ecuador was home to a variety of Amerindian groups that were gradually incorporated into the Inca Empire during the 15th century. The territory was colonized by Spain during the 16th century, achieving independence in 1820 as part of Gran Colombia, from which it emerged as its own sovereign state in 1830. The legacy of both empires is reflected in Ecuador's ethnically diverse population, with most of its 16.4 million people being mestizos, followed by large minorities of European, Amerindian, and African descendants. Spanish is the official language and is spoken by a majority of the population, though 13 Amerindian languages are also recognized, including Quichua and Shuar.

The sovereign state of Ecuador is a middle-income representative democratic republic with a developing economy that is highly dependent on commodities, namely petroleum and agricultural products. It is governed as a democratic presidential republic. One of 18 megadiverse countries in the world, Ecuador hosts many endemic plants and animals, such as those of the Galápagos Islands. In recognition of its unique ecological heritage, the new constitution of 2008 is the first in the world to recognize legally enforceable Rights of Nature, or ecosystem rights. It also has the fifth lowest homicide rate in the Americas. Between 2006 and 2016, poverty decreased from 36.7% to 22.5% and annual per capita GDP growth was 1.5 percent (as compared to 0.6 percent over the prior two decades). At the same time, inequalities, as measured by the Gini index, decreased from 0.55 to 0.47.

Ecuador–Spain relations

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

Fernando Márquez de la Plata

Fernando Márquez de la Plata y Orozco (30 August 1740 – 17 December 1818) was a Spanish colonial functionary, and a member of the First Government Junta of Chile.

He was born in Seville in August 30, 1740, to a very aristocratic family. The son of Rodrigo Márquez de la Plata y García de Celis and of Luisa de Orozco y Martel. His father was a judge, and latter a member of the Council of Indies. He began his studies at the Colegio de Santo Tomás and then obtained his degree in Canon Law at the University of Seville, graduating as a lawyer. He began his career as a member of the Council of Indies.

In 1776, he was sent to America. He lived first in the city of La Paz, Bolivia, becoming an Appeals Judge (Oidor) between 1781 and 1783. In that year he was promoted to Governor of Huancavelica, Peru, a position he held between 1784 and 1789. He was then named Appeals Judge to the city of Lima. In 1786, he married the Chilean María Antonia Calvo de Encalada y Recabarren. The ceremony was held by proxy, since the groom could not leave his position in Lima. In 1798, he was named President of the Appeals Court (Real Audiencia) of Quito. By then, he was famous for his knowledge, equanimity and good sense. In 1803, he travelled to Chile to assume the position of Regent of the Appeals Court of Santiago.

After Mateo de Toro y Zambrano took over as Royal Governor in 1810, he was convinced to call an open meeting of the leading citizens of the city to decide the political future of the colony. He convened such a meeting for the morning of September 18, 1810. The discussion ended with the conformation of the First Government Junta of Chile where Márquez de la Plata was elected as one of the members. After the death of Toro y Zambrano, the illness (and posterior death) of the Vice President, Bishop José Martínez de Aldunate, and the disgrace of their appointed successor Juan Martinez de Rozas as a consequence of the Figueroa mutiny, which Márquez de la Plata had to put down, he was elected President, a position he held between April 2 and July 4, 1811. In September 1811 he was named a member of the New Appeals Court (Tribunal de Apelaciones), the body that replaced the colonial Appeals Court (Real Audiencia) and became its doyen.

In 1814, after the Battle of Rancagua, he was forced to exile himself to Mendoza. As a difference with most émigrés he travelled with almost all his fortune. According to the contemporary sources, he carried 5,000 pesos in silver coin, 14 tuns of crafted silver and 7 chests with clothes and jewelry. He finally returned to Chile in 1818, after independence, and was named Regent of the Justice Courts, a position he held until his death later in the same year, at the age of 78.

Francisco Luis Héctor de Carondelet, 5th Baron of Carondelet

Francisco Luis Héctor de Carondelet y Bosoist, 5th Baron of Carondelet, (born 1748, Noyelles-sur-Selle, Flanders – died 1807 Quito, Ecuador) was a Spanish administrator of partial Burgundian descent in the employ of the Spanish Empire. He was a Knight of Malta.

Instituto Nacional Mejía

Instituto Nacional Mejía is a public secondary educational institution of Quito, capital city of Ecuador. It was founded on June 1, 1897 by Mr Eloy Alfaro Delgado, then president of Ecuador.

Juan de Velasco

Juan de Velasco y Pérez Petroche (1727–1792) was an 18th-century Jesuit priest, historian, and professor of philosophy and theology from the Royal Audience of Quito. He was born in Riobamba to Juan de Velasco y López de Moncayo and to María Pérez Petroche. Among the universities where he taught was the Universidad de San Marcos in Lima in the Viceroyalty of Peru. He is best known for his history book Historia del Reino de Quito, although he also wrote books in fields other than history, such as physics textbooks and poetry anthologies.

The book Historia del Reino de Quito is important in the history of Ecuador and of the city of Quito because it alleges the existence of a pre-Inca kingdom in what is now Ecuador and which is known as Reino de Quito (Kingdom of Quito). The book is mentioned, discussed and criticized by several historians such as Marcos Jiménez de la Espada, Federico González Suárez, Jacinto Jijón y Caamaño, Alfredo Pareja Diezcanseco, Misael Acosta Solís, Enrique Ayala Mora and Galo Ramón Valarezo.

A picture of Juan de Velasco was in a 1947 60-cent postal stamp of the Ecuadorian postal service [1].

Lope Díez de Armendáriz, 1st Marquess of Cadreita

Don Lope Díez de Aux de Armendáriz, 1st Marquess of Cadreita (sometimes Lope Díaz de Armendáriz) (1575 in Quito, Viceroyalty of Peru – after 1639) was a Spanish nobleman and the first Criollo to be viceroy of New Spain. He served as viceroy from September 16, 1635 to August 27, 1640.

Mariana Carcelén

María Ana Carcelén de Guevara y Larrea-Zurbano, 5th Marquise of Villarocha and 7th Marquise of Solanda (27 July 1805 – 15 December 1861) was an Ecuadorian aristocrat and the wife of the Venezuelan independence leader Antonio José de Sucre. She is considered the 1st First Lady of Bolivia.

Mercedes Jijón

María de las Mercedes Jijón de Vivanco y Chiriboga (b. 25 March 1811, Otavalo — d. 4 June 1878, Quito) was the first First Lady of Ecuador, serving in that capacity twice alongside her husband, Juan José Flores.

Samuel Fritz

Samuel Fritz SJ (9 April 1654 – 20 March 1725, 1728 or 1730) was a Czech Jesuit missionary, noted for his exploration of the Amazon River and its basin. He spent most of his life preaching to Indigenous communities in the western Amazon region, including the Omaguas, the Yurimaguas, the Aisuare, the Ibanomas, and the Ticunas. In 1707 he produced the first accurate map of the Amazon River, establishing as its source the Marañón.

Adept in technical arts and handicrafts, he also was a physician, a painter, a carpenter, a joiner and a linguist skilled at interacting with the Indians. He was effective and respected, and helpful to the Viceroyalty of Peru in its boundary dispute with the State of Brazil.

Between 1686 and 1715, he founded thirty-eight missions along the length of the Amazon River, in the country between the Rio Napo and Rio Negro, that were called the Omagua Missions. The most important of these were Nuestra Señora de las Nieves de Yurimaguas, and San Joaquín de Omaguas, which was founded in the first years of Fritz’s missionary activities and then moved in January 1695 to the mouth of the Ampiyacu river, near the modern-day town of Pebas in the Peruvian Department of Loreto. These missions were continually attacked by the Brazilian Bandeirantes beginning in the 1690s.Fritz detailed his early missionary activity among the Omagua people in a set of personal diaries written between 1689 and 1723. Lengthy passages from these diaries were compiled and interspersed with commentary by an anonymous author in the time between Fritz’s death and 1738, when they appear in the collection of Pablo Maroni.

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