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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.
Viceroyalty of New Spain
Virreinato de Nueva España
Old coat of arms of Mexico, Viceregal capital
|Motto: Plus Ultra|
|Anthem: Marcha Real|
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)
|Common languages||Spanish (official, administrative), Nahuatl, Mayan, Indigenous languages, French (Spanish Louisiana), Philippine languages, Chamorro language|
|Charles I (first)|
|Ferdinand VII (last)|
|Antonio de Mendoza (first)|
|Juan O'Donojú (as Political chief superior)|
|Legislature||Council of the Indies|
|Historical era||Colonial 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|
|Currency||Spanish colonial real|
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.