Viceroyalty of Peru

Viceroyalty of Peru

Virreinato del Perú
Motto: Plus Ultra (Latin)
"Further Beyond"
Anthem: Marcha Real
"Royal March"
Location of the Viceroyalty of Peru: Initial territory 1542–1718 (light green) and final de jure territory 1776–1824 (dark green)
Location of the Viceroyalty of Peru: Initial territory 1542–1718 (light green) and final de jure territory 1776–1824 (dark green)
StatusViceroyalty of Castile (Spanish Empire)
Cuzco (1821–24)
Common languagesOfficial: Spanish (de facto); common: Quechua, Kichwa, Aymara, Puquina.
Roman Catholic
• 1544–46
Blasco Núñez Vela
• 1821–24
José de la Serna e Hinojosa
Historical eraSpanish Empire
• Established
July 28, 1821
December 9 1824
Spanish Real
ISO 3166 codePE
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Vilcabamba, Peru
Governorate of New Castile
Governorate of New Toledo
Province of Tierra Firme
Governorate of New Andalusia
Free Province of Guayaquil
Viceroyalty of New Granada
Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata

The Viceroyalty of Peru (Spanish: Virreinato del Perú) was a Spanish imperial provincial administrative district, created in 1542, that originally contained modern-day Peru and most of Spanish-ruled South America, governed from the capital of Lima. Peru was one of the two Spanish Viceroyalties in the Americas from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

The Spanish did not resist the Portuguese expansion of Brazil across the meridian established by the Treaty of Tordesillas. The treaty was rendered meaningless between 1580 and 1640 while Spain controlled Portugal. The creation during the 18th century of Viceroyalties of New Granada and Río de la Plata (at the expense of Peru's territory) reduced the importance of Lima and shifted the lucrative Andean trade to Buenos Aires, while the fall of the mining and textile production accelerated the progressive decay of the Viceroyalty of Peru. Eventually, the viceroyalty would dissolve, as with much of the Spanish Empire, when challenged by national independence movements at the beginning of the nineteenth century. These movements led to the formation of the modern-day country of Peru, as well as Chile, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, and Guyana, the territories that at one point or another had constituted the Viceroyalty of Peru.


Conquest of Peru

Exploration and settlement (1542–1643)

The Marquess of Salinas, 8th Viceroy of Peru

After the Spanish conquest of Peru (1532–37), the first Audiencia was constituted by Lope García de Castro (1516–1576), a Spanish colonial administrator who served as a member of the Council of the Indies and of the Audiencias of Panama and Lima. From September 2, 1564, to November 26, 1569, he was interim viceroy of Peru. In 1542, the Spanish created the Viceroyalty of New Castile, which shortly afterward would be called the Viceroyalty of Peru. In 1544, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (King Charles I of Spain) named Blasco Núñez Vela Peru's first viceroy, but the viceroyalty was not organized until the arrival of Viceroy Francisco Álvarez de Toledo, who made an extensive tour of inspection of the colony.

Francisco de Toledo, "one of the great administrators of human times",[1] established the Inquisition in the viceroyalty and promulgated laws that applied to Indians and Spanish alike, breaking the power of the encomenderos and reducing the old system of mita (the Incan system of mandatory labor tribute). He improved the defensibility of the viceroyalty with fortifications, bridges, and la Armada del Mar del Sur (the Southern Fleet) against pirates. He ended the indigenous Neo-Inca State in Vilcabamba, executing the Inca Túpac Amaru, and promoted economic development from the commercial monopoly and mineral extraction, mainly from silver mines in Potosí.

The Amazon Basin and some large adjoining regions had been considered Spanish territory since the Treaty of Tordesillas and explorations such as that by Francisco de Orellana, but Portugal fell under Spanish control between 1580 and 1640. During this time, Portuguese territories in Brazil were controlled by the Spanish crown, which did object to the spread of Portuguese settlement into parts of the Amazon Basin that the treaty had awarded to Spain. Still, Luis Jerónimo de Cabrera, 4th Count of Chinchón sent out a third expedition to explore the Amazon River, under Cristóbal de Acuña; this was part of the return leg of the expedition of Pedro Teixeira.

Some Pacific islands and archipelagoes were visited by Spanish ships in the sixteenth century, but they made no effort to trade with or colonize them. These included New Guinea (by Ýñigo Ortiz de Retez in 1545), the Solomon Islands (in 1568), and the Marquesas Islands (in 1595) by Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira.

Location of the most important Jesuit Reductions, with present political divisions.

The first Jesuit reduction to Christianize the indigenous population was founded in 1609, but some areas occupied by Brazilians as bandeirantes gradually extended their activities through much of the basin and adjoining Mato Grosso in the 17th and 18th centuries. These groups had the advantage of remote geography and river access from the mouth of the Amazon, which was in Portuguese territory. Meanwhile, the Spanish were barred by their laws from enslaving indigenous people, leaving them without a commercial interest deep in the interior of the basin.[2]

A famous attack upon a Spanish mission in 1628 resulted in the enslavement of 60,000 indigenous people.[3] In fact, as time passed, they were used as a self-funding occupation force by the Portuguese authorities in what was effectively a low-level war of territorial conquest.

In 1617, viceroy Francisco de Borja y Aragón divided the government of Río de la Plata in two, Buenos Aires and Paraguay, both dependencies of the Viceroyalty of Peru. He established the Tribunal del Consulado, a court and administrative body for commercial affairs in the viceroyalty. Diego Fernández de Córdoba, Marquis of Guadalcázar, reformed the fiscal system and stopped the interfamily rivalry that was bloodying the domain.

Other viceroys, such as Fernando Torres, Fernández de Cabrera, and Fernández Córdoba expanded the colonial navy and fortified the ports to resist pirate attacks, such as those led by the Englishman Thomas Cavendish. Fernández de Cabrera suppressed an insurrection of the Uru and Mapuche Indians.

The last Spanish Habsburgs (1643–1713)

Colonized area in its maximum extension ca 1650 (dark green) and the Viceroyalty in 1816 (dark brown)
The Plaza Mayor and the Cathedral of Lima

Viceroys had to protect the Pacific coast from French contraband and English and Dutch pirates. They expanded the naval forces, fortified the ports of Valdivia, Valparaíso, Arica and Callao and constructed city walls in Lima (1686) and Trujillo (1685–1687). Nevertheless, the famous English privateer Henry Morgan took Chagres and captured and sacked the city of Panama in the early part of 1670. Also Peruvian forces repelled the attacks by Edward David (1684 and 1686), Charles Wager and Thomas Colb (1708). The Peace of Utrecht allowed the British to send ships and merchandise to the fair at Portobello. In this period, revolts were common. Around 1656, Pedro Bohórquez crowned himself Inca (emperor) of the Calchaquí Indians, inciting the indigenous population to revolt. From 1665 until 1668, the rich mineowners José and Gaspar Salcedo revolted against the colonial government. The clergy were opposed to the nomination of prelates from Spain. Viceroy Diego Ladrón de Guevara had to take measures against an uprising of slaves at the hacienda of Huachipa de Lima. There were terrible earthquakes (1655, 1687) and epidemics, too.

During Baltasar de la Cueva Enríquez's administration, the laws of the Indies were compiled.[4] Diego de Benavides y de la Cueva issued the Ordenanza de Obrajes (Ordenance of Manufactures) in 1664 and Pedro Álvarez de Toledo y Leiva introduced the papel sellado (literally, sealed paper). In 1683 Melchor de Navarra y Rocafull reestablished the Lima mint, which had been closed since 1572. Viceroy Diego Ladrón de Guevara increased the production of silver in the mines of Potosí, and stimulated production in other mines at San Nicolás, Cajatambo and Huancavelica. He limited the manufacture of aguardiente from sugar cane to authorized factories, which he taxed heavily.

The Churches of Los Desamparados (1672), La Buena Muerte and the convent of Mínimos de San Francisco de Paula were finished and opened. The Hospital of Espiritu Santo in Lima and San Bartolomé hospital were built.

The Bourbon Reforms (1713–1806)

In 1717 the Viceroyalty of New Granada was created from the northern territories, the Audiencias of Bogotá, Quito and Panamá. This viceroyalty initially lasted only until 1724, but was reestablished permanently in 1740. With the creation of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata from southern areas that are now Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay in 1776, the Charcas and Buenos Aires audiencias were similarly lost. The 256-year-old Treaty of Tordesillas was superseded by the 1750 Treaty of Madrid which granted Portugal control of the lands it had occupied in South America in the intervening centuries. This Portuguese occupation led to the Guaraní War of 1756. Amazonas is named after the Amazon River, and was formerly part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru, a region called Spanish Guyana. It was settled by the Portuguese in the early 18th century and incorporated into the Portuguese empire after the Treaty of Madrid in 1750. It became a state of the Brazilian Republic in 1889.

Several viceroys had scientific, political and economic impact on the Viceroyalty. Manuel de Amat y Juniet organized an expedition to Tahiti. Viceroy Teodoro de Croix also decentralized the government through the creation of eight intendencias in the area of the Audiencia of Lima, and two in the Captaincy General of Chile. Francisco Gil de Taboada reincorporated the region of Puno into the Viceroyalty of Peru. José de Armendáriz stimulated the production of silver and took steps against fraud, corruption and smuggling. Amat y Juniet established the first Regulation of Commerce and Organization of Customs rules, which led to the building of the customshouse in Callao.[5] Teodoro de Croix collaborated in the creation of the Junta Superior de Comercio and the Tribunal de Minería (1786).

An earthquake demolished Lima and Callao, in 1746. Viceroy Amat y Juniet constructed various public works in Lima, including the first bull ring. Manuel de Guirior also improved the medical care at ten hospitals in Lima and established a foundling home.

War between Spain and Britain again broke out (the War of Jenkins' Ear, 1739–1748). Amat y Juniet constructed the fortress of Real Felipe in Callao in 1774.

Nevertheless, throughout this period, rebellions by Native peoples were not entirely suppressed. In the eighteenth century alone, there were fourteen large uprisings, the most important of which were that of Juan Santos Atahualpa in 1742, and the Sierra Uprising of Túpac Amaru II in 1780. The Comunero Revolt broke out in Paraguay from 1721 to 1732). In 1767, the Jesuits were expelled from the colony.

End of the Viceroyalty (1806–24)

(in picture) made the 1820 Freedom Expedition of Perú Viceroy José Fernando de Abascal y Sousa promoted educational reforms, reorganized the army, and stamped out local rebellions. During his administration, the Inquisition of Lima was temporarily abolished as a result of the reforms taken by the Cortes in Spain.

When the wars of independence broke out in 1810, Peru was the center of Royalist reaction. Abascal reincorporated the provinces of Córdoba, Potosí, La Paz, Charcas, Chile and Quito (Ecuador) into the Viceroyalty of Peru. The Royal Army of Perú during 14 years defeated the patriots armies of Argentinians and Chileans, turning Peru into the last royal bastion in South America.

A large fire in Guayaquil destroyed approximately half of the city in 1812.[citation needed]

Lord Cochrane, unsuccessfully attacked Guayaquil and El Callao, but on 4 February he captured Valdivia, called at the time The Key of the South Seas and the Gibraltar of the Pacific, due to its huge fortifications. However the viceroyalty managed to defend Chiloé Island until 1826.

On September 8, 1820, the Expedición Libertadora of Peru, organized mainly by Argentinians and with some Peruvian and Chilean involvement, landed on the beach at Paracas Bay, near the city of Pisco, Peru. The army was under the command of José de San Martín. After fruitless negotiations with the viceroy, San Martín occupied the Peruvian capital of Lima on July 21, 1821. The independence of Peru was proclaimed on July 28, 1821. Viceroy José de la Serna e Hinojosa, still in command of a sizable military force, retired to Jauja, and later to Cusco.

On July 26, 1822, San Martín and Simón Bolívar met in Guayaquil to define a strategy for the liberation of the rest of Peru. The meeting was secret, and exactly what occurred is not known. However, afterwards San Martín returned to Argentina while Bolívar prepared to launch an offensive against the remaining royalist forces in Peru and Upper Peru (Bolivia). In September 1823 Bolívar arrived in Lima with Antonio José de Sucre to plan the offensive.

In February 1824 the royalists briefly regained control of Lima. Olañeta's Rebellion started by surprise and the entire royalist army of Upper Peru (today's Bolivia) revolted, led by Pedro Antonio Olañeta (royalist) against La Serna, the viceroy of Peru (a liberal). This broke the royal army and started a civil war in Upper Peru. Having regrouped in Trujillo, Bolívar in June led his rebel forces south to confront the Spanish under Field Marshal José de Canterac. The two armies met on the plains of Junín on August 6, 1824, and the Peruvians were victorious in a battle fought entirely without firearms. The Spanish troops subsequently evacuated Lima for a second time.

As a result of a decree of the Congress of Gran Colombia, Bolívar turned over command of the rebel troops to Sucre on October 7, 1824.

Royalist control was now reduced to Cuzco in the south-central highlands. The viceroy launched a counter-offensive over Ayacucho. It was there that the final battle for the independence of Peru would be fought.

On 9 December 1824, the Battle of Ayacucho, or Battle of La Quinua, took place at Pampa de La Quinua, a few kilometers away from Ayacucho, near the town of Quinua. This battle — between royalist (Spanish) and nationalist (republican) troops — sealed the independence of Peru and South America. The victorious nationalist forces were led by Antonio José de Sucre, Bolívar's lieutenant. Viceroy Serna was wounded and taken prisoner. The Spanish army had 2,000 dead and wounded and lost 3,000 prisoners, with the remainder of the army entirely dispersed. After the battle, Serna signed the final capitulation whereby the Spaniards agreed to leave Peru. Serna was released soon afterwards and sailed for Europe.

Spain made futile attempts to retain its former colonies, such as at the Siege of Callao (1826), but after death of King Ferdinand VII of Spain, in 1836 government of Spain renounced its territorial and sovereignty claims over all of continental America. In 1867 Spain signed a peace treaty with Peru and in 1879 it signed a treaty recognizing Peru's independence.