Royal Audiencia of Mexico

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The Royal Audience of Mexico (Spanish: Real Audiencia de México) was the highest tribunal of the Spanish crown in the Kingdom of New Spain or the Kingdom of Mexico (not to be confused with the Viceroyalty of New Spainnamed after the kingdom—which had a higher hierarchy and controller). It was created by royal decree on December 13, 1527, and was seated in Mexico City.


Hernán Cortés decided to establish a government in the town of Coyoacán, south of Lake Texcoco, because Tenochtitlan was in ruins after the conquest. From here he governed with the title of Captain General and Justicia Mayor. Also from Coyoacán left many of the expeditions of conquest with the goal of subduing the indigenous peoples of the various regions that would become the Viceroyalty of New Spain.

The first Real Audiencia in Mexico was created in 1528 and headed by the corrupt Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán, who was opposed by the first bishop of Mexico, Juan de Zumárraga. Four years later, in 1532, the Viceroyalty of New Spain was created, although the first Viceroy, Antonio de Mendoza, would not arrive in Mexico until 1535. The Viceroy took over the executive functions of government from the Audiencia and served as its President. In the following decade as more mainland civilizations were conquered a second audiencia was created in Guadalajara.


Law III (Audiencia y Chancillería Real de México en la Nueva España) 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 compiles the decrees of November 29, 1527; December 13, 1527; July 12, 1530; April 22, 1548, November 17, 1553; and January 19, 1560—describes the borders and functions of the Audiencia.[1]

In the City of Mexico-Tenuxtitlan, capital of the Provinces of New Spain shall reside another Royal Audiencia and Chancellery of ours, with our viceroy-governor-captain general and our lieutenant, who shall be president; eight judges of civil cases [oidores]; four judges of criminal cases [alcaldes del crimen]; and two crown attorneys [fiscales], one civil and the other criminal; a bailiff [alguacil mayor]; a lieutenant of the Gran Chancellor; and the other necessary ministers and officials, which will have for district the provinces which are properly called of New Spain, with the ones of Yucatán, Cozumel and Tabasco; and by the coast of the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico to the cape of Florida; and by the South Sea from where the district of the Audiencia of Guatemala ends to where that of the Audiencia of Galicia [Guadalajara] begins as demarcated by the laws in this title, dividing these among them by the east and west; with the North Sea and Province of Florida by the north and with the South Sea by the South.

Law XXXXVII, of the same book and title, is the Decree of Philip III of January 30, 1600, which mandated that when the office of viceroy was vacant, the Audiencia of Mexico became the acting viceroy, directly governing the provinces of New Spain and overseeing the area of the Audiencia of Guadalajara in administrative matters.

See also[edit]


  • Arregui Zamorano, Pilar (1981). La Audiencia de México según los visitadores (siglos XVI y XVII). México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas. ISBN 968-5801-96-7 [1]. 
  • Ruiz Medrano, Ethelia (1991). Gobierno y sociedad en Nueva España: segunda audiencia y Antonio de Mendoza. Zamora (Michoacán, México): Gobierno del Estado de Michoacán, El Colegio de Michoacán. ISBN 968-7230-69-X. 


  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.