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New Spain

Kingdom of the Spanish Empire (1535–1821) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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New Spain, officially the Viceroyalty of New Spain (Spanish: Virreinato de Nueva España, Spanish pronunciation: [birejˈnato ðe ˈnweβa esˈpaɲa] ), or Kingdom of New Spain, was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire, established by Habsburg Spain during the Spanish conquest of the Americas and having its capital in Mexico City. Its jurisdiction comprised a large area of the southern and western portions of North America, mainly what is now Mexico and the Southwestern United States, but also California and Florida; Central America, the Caribbean, and northern parts of South America; several Pacific Ocean archipelagos, most notably the Philippines and Guam; and numerous Asian port cities including Nagasaki and Spanish Formosa.

Quick facts: Viceroyalty of New SpainVirreinato de Nueva E...
Viceroyalty of New Spain
Virreinato de Nueva España
Old coat of arms of Mexico, Viceregal capital of New Spain
Old coat of arms of Mexico, Viceregal capital[2]
Motto: Plus Ultra
"Further Beyond"
Anthem: Marcha Real
"Royal March"
Flag_of_Spain_%281785%E2%80%931873%2C_1875%E2%80%931931%29.svg Bandera_de_la_Nueva_Espa%C3%B1a.svg
Left: Flag of Spain: first national flag, naval and fortress flag, the last flag to float in continental America, in the Fortress of San Juan de Ulúa. Right: Military flag of the Viceroyalty of New Spain with Cross of Burgundy and Royal or Duchy Crown (military flag)
Maximum extent of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The areas in light green were territories claimed but not controlled by New Spain.
Maximum extent of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The areas in light green were territories claimed but not controlled by New Spain.
Common languagesSpanish (official, administrative), Nahuatl, Mayan, Indigenous languages, French (Spanish Louisiana), Philippine languages, Chamorro language
Roman Catholicism
Charles I (first)
Ferdinand VII (last)
Antonio de Mendoza (first)
Juan O'Donojú (as Political chief superior)
LegislatureCouncil of the Indies
Historical eraColonial era
 Kingdom created
27 May 1717
 Acquisition of Louisiana from France
1 October 1800
22 February 1819
 Trienio Liberal abolished the Kingdom of New Spain
31 May 1820
10 million
8 million
CurrencySpanish colonial real
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Banner_of_arms_crown_of_Castille_Habsbourg_style.svg Governorate of Cuba
Aztec_Triple_Alliance.png Aztec Triple Alliance
Glifo_Michhuahc%C4%81n.png Kingdom of Tzintzuntzan
Blank.png Mayan Civilization
Pavillon_royal_de_France.svg Louisiana (New France)
TlaxcalaGlyph.jpg Tlaxcala (Nahua state)
Blank.png Indigenous peoples of the Americas
Blank.png Cebu (historical polity)
Blank.png Maynila
Flag_carried_during_a_Ternatean_king_ceremony%2C_de_Bry_%281601%29.svg Sultanate of Ternate
First Mexican Empire Flag_of_Mexico_%281821-1823%29.svg
Spanish West Indies Flag_of_Spain_%281785%E2%80%931873%2C_1875%E2%80%931931%29.svg
Spanish East Indies Flag_of_Spain_%281785%E2%80%931873%2C_1875%E2%80%931931%29.svg
Louisiana (New France) Royal_Standard_of_King_Louis_XIV.svg
Florida Territory Flag_of_the_United_States_%281820%E2%80%931822%29.svg
Oregon Country Flag_of_the_United_States_%281820%E2%80%931822%29.svg
Federal Republic of Central America Flag_of_the_United_Provinces_of_Central_America.svg

After the 1521 Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, conqueror Hernán Cortés named the territory New Spain, and established the new capital, Mexico City, on the site of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Mexica (Aztec) Empire. Central Mexico became the base of expeditions of exploration and conquest, expanding the territory claimed by the Spanish Empire. With the political and economic importance of the conquest, the crown asserted direct control over the densely populated realm. The crown established New Spain as a viceroyalty in 1535, appointing as viceroy Antonio de Mendoza, an aristocrat loyal to the monarch rather than the conqueror Cortés. New Spain was the first of the viceroyalties that Spain created, the second being Peru in 1542, following the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Both New Spain and Peru had dense indigenous populations at conquest as a source of labor and material wealth in the form of vast silver deposits, discovered and exploited beginning in the mid-1500s.

New Spain developed strong regional divisions based on local climate, topography, distance from the capital and the Gulf Coast port of Veracruz, size and complexity of indigenous populations, and the presence or absence of mineral resources. Central and southern Mexico had dense indigenous populations, each with complex social, political, and economic organization, but no large-scale deposits of silver to draw Spanish settlers. By contrast, the northern area of Mexico was arid and mountainous, a region of nomadic and semi-nomadic indigenous populations, which do not easily support human settlement. In the 1540s, the discovery of silver in Zacatecas attracted Spanish mining entrepreneurs and workers, to exploit the mines, as well as crown officials to ensure the crown received its share of revenue. Silver mining became integral not only to the development of New Spain, but also to the enrichment of the Spanish crown, which marked a transformation in the global economy. New Spain's port of Acapulco became the New World terminus of the transpacific trade with the Philippines via the Manila galleon. New Spain became a vital link between Spain's New World empire and its East Indies empire.

From the beginning of the 19th century, the kingdom fell into crisis, aggravated by the 1808 Napoleonic invasion of Iberia and the forced abdication of the Bourbon monarch, Charles IV. This resulted in a political crisis in New Spain and much of the Spanish Empire in 1808, which ended with the government of Viceroy José de Iturrigaray. Conspiracies of American-born Spaniards sought to take power, leading to the Mexican War of Independence, 1810–1821. At its conclusion in 1821, the viceroyalty was dissolved and the Mexican Empire was established. Former royalist military officer turned insurgent for independence Agustín de Iturbide would be crowned as emperor.