Viceroyalty of New Granada

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The Viceroyalty of New Granada (Spanish: Virreinato de la Nueva Granada) was the name given on 27 May 1717,[1] to a Spanish colonial jurisdiction in northern South America, corresponding mainly to modern Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela. The territory corresponding to Panama was incorporated later in 1739. In addition to these core areas, the territory of the Viceroyalty of New Granada included Guyana, and parts of northwestern Brazil, northern Peru, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Contents

Colonial history

Nearly two centuries after the establishment of the New Kingdom of Granada in the 16th century, whose governor was loosely dependent upon the Viceroy of Peru at Lima, and an audiencia at Santa Fé de Bogotá (today capital of the republic of Colombia), the slowness of communications between the two capitals led to the creation of an independent Viceroyalty of New Granada in 1717 (and its reestablishment in 1739 after a short interruption). Other provinces corresponding to modern Ecuador, the eastern and southern parts of today's Venezuela,[2] and Panama came together in a political unit under the jurisdiction of Bogotá, confirming that city as one of the principal administrative centers of the Spanish possessions in the New World, along with Lima and Mexico City. Sporadic attempts at reform were directed at increasing efficiency and centralizing authority, but control from Spain was never very effective.

The rough and diverse geography of northern South America and the limited range of proper roads made travel and communications within the Viceroyalty difficult. The establishment of an autonomous Captaincy General in Caracas in 1777 and the preservation of the older Audiencia of Quito, nominally subject to the Viceroy but for most purposes independent, was a response to the necessities of effectively governing the peripheral regions. Some analysts also consider that these measures reflected a degree of local traditions that eventually contributed to the differing political and national differences among these territories once they became independent in the nineteenth century and which the unifying efforts of Simón Bolívar could not overcome.

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