Real Audiencia of Santiago

The Royal Audiencia of Santiago (Spanish: Real Audiencia de Santiago) was an Audiencia Real or royal law court that functioned in Santiago de Chile during the Spanish colonial period. This body heard both civil and criminal cases. It was founded during the 17th century and abolished in 1818.



Law XII (Audiencia y Chancillería Real de Santiago de Chile) 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 reproduces Philip IV's decree of February 17, 1609—describes the limits and functions of the Audiencia.[1]

In the city of Santiago de Chile shall reside another Royal Audiencia and Chancellery of ours, with a president-governor-captain general; four 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, which will have for district all of said Kingdom of Chile, with the cities, towns, places and lands, which are included in the government of those provinces, including what is now pacified and populated, as well as what shall be subdued, populated and pacified inside and outside the Straits of Magellan and inland to the Cuyo Province, inclusive. And we order that said president-governor-captain general govern and administer its government (gobernación) in all matters and by all means, and that said Audiencia, nor any other minister interfere in this, except our Viceroy of Peru, in the cases, which comply with the laws in this book and as permitted by our orders, and that said president do not intervene in matters of justice, and leave the oidores to decree in them freely, and that all sign that which they decree, sentence or dispatch.

The Province of Cuyo was transferred to the Audiencia of Buenos Aires, when the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata was created in the late eighteenth century.


The Audiencia continued to function after the establishment of the First Government Junta of the Kingdom of Chile on September 18, 1810, until the Figueroa mutiny of April 1, 1811. In fact, its Regent, Fernando Márquez de la Plata, was elected as one of the junta's members. The Figueroa uprising provided a reason to dissolve the Audiencia, seen by many as a bastion of royalism, and it was replaced by a Tribunal de Apelaciones or Appeals Court.

With the temporary return of royalists to power after the Battle of Rancagua, the body was reconstituted by the new Governor-Captain General, Mariano Osorio. It functioned until 1818, when it was finally shut down by the independent government of Bernardo O'Higgins, again replaced by a new appeals court, this time called the Cámara de Apelaciones. This was in turn the ancestor of today's Chilean Appeals Court in Santiago.


  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.


  • Barrientos Grandon, Javier (1992): «Las reformas de Carlos III y la Real Audiencia de Santiago», en Temas de Derecho de la Universidad Gabriela Mistral, Nº 2. p. 23-46
  • Barrientos Grandon, Javier (1993): «La Real Audiencia de Concepción (1565-1575)», en Revista de estudios histórico-jurídicos de la Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, vol. 1992-1993, Nº 15. p. 131-178
  • Barrientos Grandon, Javier (2000), La Real Audiencia de Chile. La institución y sus hombres 1605-1817, Madrid: Fundación Histórica Tavera. CD-ROM, Nuevas Aportaciones a la Historia Jurídica de Iberoamérica.
  • Barrientos Grandon, Javier (2003): «La creación de la Real Audiencia de Santiago de Chile y sus ministros fundadores: Sobre la formación de familias en la judicatura chilena», en Revista de estudios histórico-jurídicos de la Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Nº 25. p. 233-338
  • Muñoz Feliu, Raúl (1937), La real audiencia de Chile, Santiago de Chile. Tesis de licenciatura.
  • Valenzuela, Jaime (1998): «Conflicto y equilibrios simbólicos ante un nuevo actor político: la Real Audiencia en Santiago desde 1609», en Cuadernos de Historia de la Universidad de Chile, Nº 18. p. 115-138
Chilean Declaration of Independence

The Chilean Declaration of Independence is a document declaring the independence of Chile from the Spanish Empire. It was drafted in January 1818 and approved by Supreme Director Bernardo O'Higgins on 12 February 1818 at Talca, despite being dated in Concepción on 1 January 1818. The ceremony of independence was performed on 12 February 1818, the first anniversary of the Battle of Chacabuco.

The original document, displaying manuscript comments by O'Higgins, was damaged at the Palace of the Real Audiencia of Santiago. In 1832, under President José Joaquín Prieto, a new copy was sent to Peru to be signed by O'Higgins, and later by his former ministers, Miguel Zañartu, Hipólito Villegas and José Ignacio Zenteno, who were still living in Chile. This copy was kept at the Palacio de La Moneda until the 1973 Chilean coup d'état, when it was destroyed during the fighting.

José de Santiago Concha Jiménez Lobatón

José de Santiago Concha Jiménez Lobatón (?–?) was interim Governor of Chile from April 1801 to December 1801. Before and after his governorship, he served as Oidor of the Real Audiencia of Santiago between 1795 and 1811 and from 1815 to 1818.

Juan Henríquez de Villalobos

Juan Henríquez de Villalobos (1630 – Madrid, 1689); Spanish soldier and administrator who, after participation in various European wars, was designated as governor of Chile by Mariana of Austria. In this position, between October 1670 and April 1682, he became, according to Chilean historiography, the epítome of the corrupt and nepotistic governor. His government tenure was darkened by a long series of litigations and accusations by oidores of the Real Audiencia of Santiago and other vecinos of the colony. He was one of the governors who left the position richer than he began, with not less than 900 thousand pesos, according to Jose Toribio Medina.

In the War of Arauco, in January 1671 Henríquez held the Parliament of Malloco ending hostilities that began with the Mapuche Insurrection of 1655. However in 1672 Henríquez faced a Mapuche revolt, by the former toqui Ayllicuriche and other leaders that he repressed before it went very far. March 1674 he was able to hold a festive Parliament of Concepcion to celebrate the end of hostilities.

Juan de la Jaraquemada

Juan de la Jaraquemada, (Canary Islands ? – † Santiago of Chile, April 1612); Spanish soldier, designated by the viceroy of Peru Juan de Mendoza y Luna, Marquess of Montesclaros, Captain General and Governor of Chile, and president of the Real Audiencia of Santiago. He served from January 1, 1611 to March 27, 1612.

Real Audiencia of Guatemala

The Real Audiencia of Santiago de Guatemala (Spanish: Audiencia y Cancillería Real de Santiago de Guatemala), simply known as the Audiencia of Guatemala or the Audiencia of Los Confines, was a superior court in area of the New World empire of Spain, known as the Kingdom of Guatemala. This area included the current territories of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the Mexican state of Chiapas. The Audiencia's presiding officer, the president, was the head of the government of the area. The Audiencia was initially created by decrees of November 20, 1542 and September 13, 1543, and had its seat in Antigua Guatemala (Santiago de Guatemala).

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