Conquest, 1522-1538 1821-1939

The Captaincy of Guatemala, 1538/70-1821

The VICEROYALTY OF NEW SPAIN, covering all of Mexico and Central America, was established in 1538. In 1544 it was subdivided in two; the AUDIENCIA DE GRACIAS was established, including CHIAPAS, TABASCO, YUCATAN and Panama. In considerable areas, the native population continued to resist Spanish rule; Maya resistance was broken in 1546; the first Spanish city in Costa Rica, Cartago, founded in 1563.

In 1570 the seat of what was now referred to as the CAPTAINCY OF GUATEMALA (or Kingdom of Guatemala) was moved to ANTIGUA (Guatemala); Tabasco and Yucatan (to Mexico) and Panama (to Lima, in 1567) were separated. The capital Antigua was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773; the capital then was moved to Guatemala City.
In 1534, the DIOCESIS OF SANTIAGO DE GUATEMALA was established, Don Francisco de Marroquin being the first bishop. In 1743 it was elevated an ARCHDIOCESIS, with the suffragan DIOCESES OF COMAYAGUA (est. 1527 at Trujillo, transferred to Comayagua in 1561) and NICARAGUA (est. 1534). The DIOCESIS OF CHIAPAS had been erected in 1546. Another diocesis at VERAPAZ in Guatemala, erected 1556, was suppressed in 1605.
In the 16th century, MINING, especially for silver, was thriving. Yet, the mines were soon exploited. The economy was mainly agricultural, the population centered on the highlands along the Pacific coast. The most fertile region was El Salvador, where cocoa and INDIGO were grown. The lowlands along the Caribbean coast were inhabited by Indios.
The region was subject to frequent raids of Dutch, French and British pirates; the city of Granada (Nic.) was conquered by them twice, in 1658 and 1660. In 1687 the Jamaican governor declared the MOSQUITO COAST a British protectorate. It was to remain contended between Spain and Britain for centuries.
In 1697, the last independent Maya Kingdom located on Lago Peten Itza was conquered by the Spanish.

Articles from Infoplease : Central American Federation
Articles from the Catholic Encyclopedia : Santiago de Guatemala, Comayagua, Nicaragua, Chiapas
Library of Congress, Country Studies : Nicaragua; Honduras (enter : Colonial Honduras); El Salvador

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 5th 2004

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