Una diferente ‘Plus Ultra’ - the Avís-Trastámara Kings of All Spain and the Indies (Updated 5/6)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Torbald, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. Blaze Member

    Jan 13, 2014
    After this Edict of Union, how united are the three kingdoms of Spain, do they now have common Cortes?
    And is Toledo the political capital of Spain, or is it some other city ?
    Also im loving this timeline, easily one of my favourites in the forum :biggrin:
    mrcubfan415 and Torbald like this.
  2. A_simple_pilgrim your local crusader

    Jun 23, 2018
    Kingdom of Jerusalem
    Wonderful Timeline Torbald!

    It took me a few days to read through it all but the consistent quality and plausibility of this TL, despite its rapidly growing butterflies, has really impressed me. However I do have a few questions that hopefully this next update can answer.

    First, as has been mentioned before, the biggest constraints that the Portuguese had in their colonial ambitions were their lack of bullion and men. The former has already been solved, but did the new rules imposed on the Portuguese allow them to start using Castilian, and to a lesser extent Aragonese, manpower in order to expand their colonial enterprise?
    Also to what extent did the new laws imposed by Juan reduce the independence of the Aragonese cortes? Will they finally start contributing to the Spanish enterprise with the same extent and vigor as the Castilian and Portuguese? This, along with breaking the back of the nobility, would allow Spain to avoid most of the conditions that led to their decline. Perhaps a more Vital and useful Aragon can be the part of Spain that remains most active in Europe, actively expanding Spanish power and influence in the Western Mediterranean and North Africa.

    In any case I'm excited to see where you are taking the world in this TL!
  3. Torbald þegn

    Jan 27, 2010
    Well that settles it then, America it is!

    It's mostly a formality - declaring that Castile, Aragon, and Portugal cannot legally have a separate monarch - but it sets an important precedent. It also prevents anything like the Bourbon inheritance of Spain from happening as it is likewise declared legally impossible for a foreign potentate to receive the crown. Luckily, the kingdoms of Spain recognize succession through the female line, so Spain will always have someone to rule so long as that someone isn't also king of France, England, etc. Portugal, Castile, and Aragon still have their respective cores, and probably always will. What will most likely eventually happen won't be a melding of the three cortes into one, but rather the creation of a "Cortes Grandes" over all of Spain while the individual "Cortes Generales" continue to function over Portugal, Castile, and Aragon and a system of "Cortes Menores" functions under them.

    Toledo has the distinction of having been the oldest royal capital of a Christian Spanish polity - that of the Visigoths - and consequently is more or less viewed as extremely important in a symbolic sense for the Iberian Union. Its central location and easy defensibility make it something of a center of gravity for the Spanish monarchy, but the itinerant tradition established by the Catholic Monarchs still prevails and there is no official, set capital of the Union yet, i.e. no El Escorial for the moment although Juan Pelayo has built himself the occasional palatial estate here and there.

    And thank you :)

    Thanks so much for your interest! And I'm quite flattered you think so!

    One of the important aspects of TTL's Leyes Nuevas is that it has essentially greased the wheels on future dissolution of the barriers between the Iberian kingdoms, rather than forced them together outright. With nearly all of the irregularities separating the laws of Castile, Portugal, and Aragon washed away, it's going to be significantly easier in the future for the Spanish monarchy to expect the same things from all of his subjects, and it will only be a matter of time before we see things like border tolls being done away with or the free admission of any Spaniard to any of Spain's colonies regardless of his or her extraction.

    The Aragonese and their highly protective laws haven't been touched in any serious manner at the moment, and they're still capable of vetoing a royal vote. However, without the servicio tax the Aragonese Cortes has lost a very large bargaining chip with the monarchy, and the growing private debt owed to the Casa de Prestacion by many Aragonese nobles, syndics, and merchants means the Crown is going to be able to wring more concessions out of the highly autonomous kingdom of Aragon through promises of debt relief (keep in mind that there are virtually no Aragonese profiting directly from any precious metals found in Spain's colonies overseas). What I have in mind is something along the line of the OTL Union de Armas devised by the Count-Duke of Olivares, which will be much more successful and less abrupt ITTL. In regards to your statement on Aragon becoming the part of Spain tasked with interacting with Europe, I can also see the Spanish monarchy rejuvenating the Consolat de Mar in Valencia as something more along the lines of TTL's Casa de Contratacion/Casa de Prestacion, dealing directly with European (probably Italian, French, and Imperial, primarily) investors and brokers.
  4. Zealot Moderate Radical

    Apr 5, 2010
    Great TL, I'm following It with interest....

    About the spanish presence in N Africa, I suppose it's TTL equivalent to OTL war in Flanders, in terms of resources and military deployment......but with an obvious advantage fot the Spaniards inhabiting the Mediterranean litoral. But I haven't completely understood how Spanish rule works ITTL Magreb.....does It just consist in fortified coastal towns and some outposts with permanent troops garrisoned (Military orders plus regular troops)? And about the Moriscos.....where were they resettled?. Inside the walls of these towns? Or on the contrary they dwell the countryside around them?. Do these Moriscos take part in military tasks assisting Spanish troops (akin to Austrian Military Border)?

    Keep It going !!
  5. Torbald þegn

    Jan 27, 2010
    Thank you :)

    Very astute of you to compare TTL's North Africa to OTL's Low Countries in relation to Spain, as that's exactly what I had in mind. The simple fact is that 16th century Iberia is a heavily militarized and very devout society, so if they aren't fighting heretic Dutchmen then they're going to want to expend that energy elsewhere. Given the likelihood of Spain pursuing an aggressive policy in North Africa had it not been for the Habsburg succession, the Maghreb is obviously in their crosshairs and will remain so for quite some time - especially with the need to combat Berber piracy and the encroaching influence of the Turks. Spain's going to be richer than OTL but it will never be ludicrously rich due to the almost neverending conflict it's wrapped itself up in in North Africa. The only major differences between this conflict and the 80 Years War are that it's going to last much longer than 80 years and that it involves an intensive focus on colonization/cultural-religious assimilation.

    Right now the Spanish occupation is a hodge-podge of different arrangements. For the Portuguese, Tangiers and Ceuta are perhaps the most heavily Hispanicized cities, while the rest of the Portuguese possessions (being the littoral on Tingitana and Western Morocco) consists of fortified port cities with garrisons and settler populations of varying size, and of small settler-populated farms and fishing villages, encomiendas, and additional forts (usually manned by the Ordenes Militantes). Every Muslim not living within these port cities or entrusted to an encomendero has been almost completely driven from the coast between Agadir and Melilla (something they are not in the least bit happy about) and all trade with the outside world for them has to go through Portuguese customs stations (a clever way to control the valuable trade of Moroccan textiles).

    For the Castilian/Aragonese side, things are run on with a much more militarily/strategically oriented attitude, so apart from the major ports (Bugia, Algiers, Oran, Mazalquivir, Cherchel, Tenes, Mostaganem, Tunis, Djerba, Tripoli, etc) most of the Algerian/Tunisian/Libyan coast is still out of Spanish control and is not experiencing any serious colonization efforts. However, the region between Melilla and Oran and extending down towards Tlemcen (which has been sacked and rebuilt by the Spanish) has received some resettled Moriscos and Castilian soldier-farmers via land grants.

    Beyond the Spanish pale, as the Zayyanid and Wattasid dynasties were respectively shattered at the Battles of Felaoucene and Meknes/Mequinez, puppet emirates have been established at Fez, Marrakech, Taroudant, Oujda, and Mostaganem, with the Hafsid sultanates of Tunis and Tripoli similarly puppeted and some of the Kabyle Berber tribes forced into submission. The Saadi tribe also suffered a major setback at the Battle of Mequinez, but they're beginning to fill in the void left by the Wattasids and are becoming a major threat to Spanish hegemony, threatening to topple the unpopular Spanish puppet-states.

    As for the Moriscos themselves, their position in Spain is - as always - an uneasy one, but as of yet there have been no full scale deportations. The open practice of Islam on the Iberian peninsula has either been outlawed (in Castile) or driven underground by societal pressures (in Aragon and Portugal), so the Mudejares are virtually extinct as a distinctive class by the mid 16th century. All that now remains, of course, are Moriscos, but a relatively soft hand has been laid on them and the various strictures they are to follow (e.g. no using Arabic, no dressing in their customary garb) are very rarely enforced. As you may recall, Miguel da Paz has tried to get them to move to the Spanish Maghreb, but there are obvious issues with such a program, and many apostasize and desert as soon as they are in proximity of their Islamic brothers. Tensions between the Moriscos and Old Christians continue to simmer in Spain proper.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
  6. Zealot Moderate Radical

    Apr 5, 2010
    Shame about Moros i Cristians festivals ITTL !!

    It will be interesting to see how TTL unfolds in N Africa theatre... Algiers-Oran and its hinterland seems al ideal location (fertile terrain, easy irrigation, and chiefly the natural border Tell Atlas represents) .....perhaps we'll see how a frontier-converso-hispano-arabic distinct identity developes in the next future
  7. Silver Member

    Jun 30, 2006

    Go for it Torbald!!! :):):) Also, would Cervantes (and Don Quixote and Sancho Panza) travel more miles/kilometers than Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, and Admiral Zheng He combined?

    Lastly, will Miguel de Cervantes' greatest literary work (aka Don Quixote) also includes elements of Voltaire's Candide and elements of adventure novels of Sir H. Rider Haggard along with the the previously mentioned elements from Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Jules Verne's Around The World In 80 Days, George MacDonald Fraser's The Flashman Papers, and even elements of the OTL Don Quixote, and even elements taken from Marco Polo's The Travels of Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta's The Travels, and elements of Admiral Zheng He's travels?

    Please let me know. Thank you. :)
  8. Threadmarks: XXXIV. Las Reformas Pelagianas - Parte IV: Rey del Océano Mar

    Torbald þegn

    Jan 27, 2010
    ~ Las Reformas Pelagianas ~
    Parte IV:
    - Rey del Océano Mar -

    Los pilares de Hércules

    Upon his accession to the thrones of Spain in 1536, King Juan Pelayo was informed by his father’s confessor, Francisco de Ugalde, that he had come to inherit “un imperio en el que nunca se pone el sol” - an empire on which the sun never sets. These words must have been recalled by Juan Pelayo when he chose as his royal motto in 1542 the words “Plus Ultra” (“Further Beyond”) - a play on the phrase “Non plus ultra,” which was said to have legendarily been inscribed on the Pillars of Hercules girding the Straits of Gibraltar, to warn that no mere mortal might journey beyond that point. Yet, for a monarch that styled himself the “King of the Ocean Sea,” what was once the terminus of Hercules’ world was now the slipway into a newer, larger, and richer one. Indeed, in the 16th century there was but one constant across the entirety of the Seven Seas: the presence of Spaniards.

    The world’s first global empire had appeared to reach its zenith under Juan Pelayo in the years that followed. After the establishment of the Casa de Prestación in 1542, the defeat of the French in 1562, and the subjugation of the Iberian nobility in 1567, the image of Spain overseas had significantly evolved. No longer seen as merely another European kingdom amongst European kingdoms, the Spain of Juan Pelayo’s later years had become the object of international attention, fueling equal parts admiration, fascination, jealousy, fear, and hatred. The Spanish monarchy of the late 16th century would shape the perspective on Spain’s golden age for centuries to come, characterized by the perception of the endlessly itinerant Spanish monarch, prowling about the Iberian peninsula like a lion in its cave, followed by his grave procession of priests, generals, accountants, and advisors - his hands in everyone’s pockets, his eyes and ears across the four corners of the globe, his only concerns being the enrichment of his realm and the propagation of the Holy Cross of the Faith Militant - all while his faceless, black-clad bureaucrats counted his coins, his relentless, freebooting conquistadores ground both the West and East Indies underfoot, and his zealous friars banged the drum of cruzada at home.

    In reality, the late 16th century was a time of enormous anxiety for the Spanish monarchy. Even as its riches and prestige mounted, the Crown had to send increasing numbers of troops and funds in every which direction: the Italian peninsula was in chaos, with peasant revolts and religious struggles decimating the north; the Ottoman state - having stabilized itself and grown propitiously with the relatively facile conquest of the Mamluk Sultanate - was now exerting pressure northward and westward once again with its fearsome armies and galley fleets regaining the initiative in Hungary and the Mediterranean; the French monarchy required assistance against the unexpectedly formidable resistance developing around the Farelard Prince of Condé, and was at risk of being toppled by Protestantism; and nearly the whole of the Maghreb was rising up in a coordinated push against the occupying Spaniards, with the Saadi tribe on Morocco and a Hafsid pretender in Tunisia leading the charge.

    On top of all these concerns, the Spanish global empire was everywhere else in need of royal assistance or was making trouble of its own. For Spanish America, the late 16th century was defined by foreign threats, irresponsible colonists, and immense societal strain. However, the distinct problems facing Spain’s American colonies during this period would lead to improvement in the Spanish colonial system as a whole, and would even positively influence future decisions made in the metropole.

    - Les deux héritiers aînés de la chrétienté -

    A confrontation between a Castilian vessel and French "lobos de mar"

    It was France that would offer the Spanish Crown its first wake up call in regards to paying closer attention to its American possessions, beginning with the 1534 establishment of a French colony in South America know as “France-Australe.” Louis Samuel d’Ambès was the first royally approved administrator to be sent to this ultimately ineffective first attempt at colonization of the Americas by the French. Broad chested, robust, and golden-haired, d’Ambès resembled more a lion than a man, and would prove to be just as formidable of an opponent to the Portuguese captains that sought to dislodge him and his countrymen. Beginning in 1535 with his arrival at Belle-Îsle, d’Ambès quickly earned the trust of numerous Indio tribes in the area and successfully began the construction of a fortified settlement at the more suitable location of Île-Résolue de Saint Jean (a name provided by himself). D’Ambès was vigorous in his attempts to settle Frenchmen at Île-Résolue, and under his administration the French domain began to stretch further inland (primarily in search of gold and precious stones), with another stockade founded in 1539 by the name of Fort Terre-Rouge. D’Ambès would also have his wife and children brought over from France, and encouraged his men to do the same.

    In heavy competition with the nearby Portuguese settlement of São Miguel Arcanjo - which was situated on a superior natural harbor - d’Ambès’ efforts were ultimately undone by a lack of support from the crown, disappointing returns on the little gold discovered, and the religious differences between the Farelards and Catholics in his colony - all of which heretofore had been mitigated by d’Ambès’ natural charisma. Once the Portuguese had gathered sufficient men and resources to mobilize an assault of France-Australe, d’Ambès had to rely on Île-Résolue’s unassailable position, until this too was undermined by a certain Pèire de Jonzac - a Farelard who had been expelled from the colony after killing a Catholic over a personal dispute, and who now consigned his countrymen to destruction by defecting to the Portuguese and giving them the locations of both Île-Résolue’s weaknesses and of Fort Terre-Rouge. After being defeated at Fort Terre-Rouge on a sweltering June day in 1542, the French would be forced to accept the demands of their conquerors as presented by the captain of São Miguel Arcanjo, João de Castro. Having been made aware by his courier of the imminence of war between Spain and France, D’Ambès was able to use guarantees of France-Australe’s neutrality as leverage, and thus refused to give his enemy the satisfaction of an unconditional surrender. After wearing down Castro, d’Ambès secured very lenient terms: the French would not be required to leave France-Australe nor to subject themselves to any form of bondage to the Portuguese save for the usual taxes, tithes, and tariffs, but could not offer obedience to any secular ruler than the king of Portugal and could not preach Protestant doctrine publically. D’Ambès would also be required to step down as governor, to be replaced by a Frenchman of Castro’s choosing. The French presence in South America thus endured, albeit not independently. Most of France-Australe’s Farelard populace would disperse shortly after 1542, with many continuing their privateering against the dominant Portuguese presence in the South Atlantic, at their own great peril. Others would move elsewhere, but not to France, which had again plunged itself into another war and was on the verge of a religious civil war. They would travel north.

    The opening of hostilities between France and Spain escalated the activity of the piratical lobos de mar, the most notable of whom during the war was the Frenchman Abel de Belhade. Unlike the other lobos, Belhade was a Catholic and pursued an aggressive life of piracy not only for personal gain, but also to permanently sever the Castilians and Portuguese from their American colonies and hopefully deliver them into the possession of France. Unlike the vicious Gaétan de Sarbazan, Belhade was viewed by both the common Frenchman and king Charles IX as a daring patriot and hero who could serve a highly important purpose during the war with Spain. Despite his loyalty to Catholicism, Belhade served alongside not only a great number of Farelard Protestants, but also pagan Indios and West Africans. Belhade’s success is owed in large part to his tendency to work with anyone and everyone in the West Indies that would cooperate - which was especially easy given the large number of enslaved, harassed, and otherwise dissident populations sharing the isles with the Spaniards.

    Belhade had sailed under the Farelard privateer Jean-François Roberval during the late 1530s, and acquired his own ship along with a letter of marque in 1543 at the port of Nantes. Belhade, unlike his compatriots, engaged the Castilians on the fringe of their colonial possessions, first striking at the delta of the Orinoco River, referred to by its French visitors as the “Maraignon” - a term that they would later apply to everything from Pernambuco to Maracaibo. Belhade had been fortunate to arrive in the region as Spanish fortunes there were experiencing a downturn following the failed expeditions of Diego de Ordaz and Antonio Sedeño in the 1530s. The delta provided ample - if uncomfortable - locations to hide from and ambush passing Spanish ships, and, once Belhade and his growing flotilla felt confident enough, they expanded their operations to the large neglected island of Trinidad and the Gulf of Paria, from there harassing the Captaincy-General of Cumaná and Santa Margarita. This captaincy had the misfortune of being both the vanguard position of the Spanish Caribbean and a delectable target for pirates, being rich in pearls and under-fortified (the only threat up to this point being natives from Tierra Firma or slave revolts). After a little more than a year of back-and-forth action between Belhade and the Captain-General, Pedro de Ordaz (Diego’s brother), Belhade succeeded in catching Santa Margarita undefended and sacked the island in 1545, leaving whatever inhabitants not killed or enslaved to flee into the hills or across the straits to Cumaná, where they remained huddled behind the walls for fear of the French. The plunder seized from Santa Margarita allowed Belhade to return to France to purchase and outfit three more carracks and - unsatisfied with what South America had offered him thus far - he turned further north, rounding the Caribes and establishing himself in the cays along the coast of Cuba and south of Tierra Pascua. It was here, from the years 1547 to 1568, that Belhade came to be the very terror of the seas that he would be remembered as by the populations of Cuba and La Española for generations to come. Belhade went so unopposed in the early 1550s, in fact, that he was able to lead raids into central Cuba from the Bahía de Jiguey and was also able to raze the old port of San Severino de Hicacos (from whence Cortés and company had embarked to Nueva Castilla) in 1553.

    Belhade sacks the port of San Severino de Hicacos, 1553

    Belhade even had designs on the whole of Cuba, which he spent two years preparing an invasion for from his harbors in the Lucayas, with letters sent back to Charles IX petitioning for aid in this endeavor and permission for the granting of titles - the “duc de Cuba” being Belhade’s personal request. While such an invasion never materialized, Belhade had at least succeeded in closing off the seas north of Cuba to the Spanish for many years. The settlements Belhade personally established did not flourish, however, partly due to his constant transience and also due to his prohibition on the taking of African slaves. Nonetheless, Belhade’s omnipresence on the frontier of the Spanish Caribbean planted numerous Frenchmen under his command on a plenitude of islets and coastlines - many of whom would continue their old captain’s work, with the exception of his no-slave policy. Belhade’s openness to working with every non-Spaniard he could find in the Caribbean eventually proved to be his undoing when the Farelard pirate Jacques de Sores gave away his location to the Captain-General of Cuba, Gonzalo Azarola, in exchange for immunity for his crimes. Yet, when Belhade was finally captured in 1568 in a joint French-Spanish effort near the Farelard base of Ville-de-Gaspard [1], his subsequent public execution in La Habana then only constituted a consolation prize, as innumerable French subjects had already cemented themselves in the Americas.

    The nightmare that was the Belhade-era of French piracy was instrumental in convincing Juan Pelayo that the navies of the three Spains were in need of a drastic overhaul. Beginning in 1545, Juan Pelayo picked up on a concept devised by his father’s advisor, the late Martim Branco da Grândola: that of a system of admiralties tasked with overseeing the regularity of convoys and safeguarding of Spanish coasts and sea lanes. While Castile, Portugal and Aragon possessed grand admirals, such an office pertained almost exclusively to galley fleets, was mostly honorific, and had no supervisory body. Further, the task of protecting Castile’s treasure fleets crossing to and from the Americas fell entirely on the Sevillan Casa de Contratación, and the protection of coastal Castile and Aragon required direct action from the crown. Portugal had a slightly more developed system in place at the time, with sail-powered and oar-powered fleets falling under different jurisdictions (further organized according to whether said fleets were intended for the Americas or elsewhere), but - like Castile and Aragon - it remained cursory and overly reliant on the sturdiness and firepower of individual ships, rather than on their actual presence in much needed areas of the globe. While he was distracted by the war with France, Juan Pelayo and his advisors were still able to put together a workable system of admiralties very similar to the structure of the American viceroyalties by which Spain’s military ships could be divvied up and oriented towards more comprehensive goals.

    The defeat of France in 1560 and the eradication of the more serious French interlopers in the Americas seemed to be the end the concerns that spurred on Juan Pelayo's naval reform. However, this would prove to be an underestimation of the resolve of the French - and of the rest of Europe - to break apart the Spanish stranglehold on global commerce. For the French national consciousness, the 16th century was an excruciating period. For all of the French - whether Sainte-Ligue zealot, Farelard militiamen, someone in between, or someone completely uninterested in the conflict at hand - there was a shared sense of deep frustration and sadness concerning what had befallen their homeland, with the 1562 Treaty of Soissons representing the greatest and most recent injury as the ancient house of Valois was humiliated diplomatically and militarily by the upstart, inbred houses of Austria and Spain. Amongst the Protestants, this besieged mentality developed for obvious enough reasons. There were perhaps equal numbers, in fact, of those who had adopted the creed of Guillaume Farel out of hatred for their Catholic enemies in the 20 Years’ War and disgust with the Church’s inaction as there were of those who had converted due to genuine conviction.

    For those in France who remained Catholic, the reason for this discontent was a bit more nuanced. Every French Catholic at the time who had thought about the state of France for more than a passing moment could not deny the complicity of the Catholic Germans, Spanish, English, and even the Pope himself in it all, as much as such a Frenchman would have liked to blame all of France’s problems on the pesky heretics. In their eyes, that France should be so rigorously punished by these Christian princes while they ignored the infernal Turk - leering at the heart of Europe and licking his chops - was absurd. France was, after all, the “eldest daughter of the Church,” and it was easy enough to recall a time when France - not Castile, or Portugal, or Austria - was the center and polestar of Christendom, when it was the byword for chivalry and prosperity and produced innumerable scholars, poets, and even popes. France was so sacred that the Papacy had been loath to remove itself from her borders, that her monarchy produced saints venerated across Europe, and that those who had defended her independence - such as Jeanne d'Arc - were likewise blessed with sainthood.

    Even for the members of the Catholic Sainte-Ligue, who were supported by Spain and the Hapsburgs, the prostration of France before its neighbors was utterly unacceptable. Why should the inelegant rustics of Germany and Spain be granted the immense gifts of the imperial office and the rights to settle the New World? The latter was a particularly ludicrous development in the eyes of the French monarchy. The kings of France had always taken issue with the Papal bull of Inter caetera, but the brutalization of France in the 20 Years’ Wapmonstrated commitment of the monarchy in fighting Protestantism had renewed the push to have the Pope revise its terms. Writing to Pope Julius III in 1579, Charles X remarked on the unfairness of Spain’s Papal-approved Pan-American reservation: “Surely a few cannily-steered rudders and propitiously-filled sails are insufficient to make claim over half the Earth?" It was with all this in mind that the Valois-Alençon monarchs not only continued but intensified the previous strategy of undermining Spain’s hegemony over the seas by whatever means it could. Charles X kept one hand in Europe to strike at Spain’s enemies and keep the Spanish monarchy appeased, while with the other he simultaneously encouraged his more cutthroat subjects across the Atlantic to do whatever they pleased.

    - La domesticación de los conquistadores -

    “It rarely happens that new islands emerge out of the sea. But should that occur and some new island appear, it should belong to him who first settles it.”

    - Las Siete Partidas: Partida III, Title 28, Law 29

    In the space of less than 50 years, Spanish America had experienced a precipitous growth from its origins as a chain of toilsome outposts on the fringes of the Caribbean. What began as a punitive expedition to the mainland in 1516 [2] had cracked open the Mesoamerican world, exposing its unbelievable riches and fueling an eruption of independent, expansionist enterprises across both continents. While certainly not the Spanish Empire’s only source of vitality, there are few that would contend that the Spanish colonies in the Americas were not the defining advantage of its imperial project as a whole, or that the Spanish discovery and conquest of the Americas was not one of the most fortuitous windfalls ever to happen to a nation-state. The New World and all of its affairs were therefore of utmost importance to the Spanish Crown and were always placed under close consideration.

    It was to be expected, then, that the power and influence accumulated by Castile and Portugal's more daring subjects across the sea - especially in the ruins of the great Indio realms of the Aztecs and Incas - was concerning to the Crown. The level of self-sustainability achieved in these regions by the conquistadores - in the face of strange climates, imposing distances from Europe, and the resistance of millions of native Indios - was impressive. So impressive, in fact, that the question of whether it was necessary to offer continued subservience to the Spanish Crown was a consistent, yet unspoken source of tension throughout the 16th century. This question became more pressing with Juan Pelayo’s push for legal overhaul, which aimed in part to adjust or remove some of the most basic structuring of Spanish colonial society.

    A large portion of Juan Pelayo’s law code, the Leyes Nuevas, was dedicated to the administration of the Americas and was approved separately from the rest of code by the three Cortes of Spain in 1552. Beyond some impassioned arguing between a few intellectuals in the years prior, most of these statutes went unnoticed in European Spain. The same cannot be said, however, of American Spain. The question regarding the treatment of the Indios and their place in Spanish society had been sowing division amongst the inhabitants of Spain’s colonies for decades, with the debate brought to the fore as early as 1511 when the Dominican friar Antonio de Montesinos castigated the encomenderos in his audience for their cruelty towards the native populace in the unfinished chapel of the barely-settled town of Santo Domingo. In the debate that followed - dominated by the irrepressible Dominican Bartolomé de Las Casas - the Spanish Crown officially sided with its Indio subjects and their sympathizers, with Miguel da Paz forbidding unprovoked warfare against the natives of the Americas and ordering a cessation on the further distribution of encomiendas as part of his Protecciones de Cartagena in 1522.

    La administración reorganizada de las colonias de España

    The first of these statutes was more or less effective (albeit often ignored), but enforcement or even toleration of the second required a loophole interpretation. Most encomenderos read the prohibition on further encomienda grants as pertaining to those that might be gained from further conquests, not to those that had already been granted. This ambiguity would be cleared up, however, in the Leyes Nuevas, which reaffirmed the non-hereditary nature of the encomienda and declared the passing on of encomiendas in perpetuity to be inadmissible before the law.

    As in European Spain, these rulings were not motivated by some desire to simply abuse the landed aristocracy, or even to ensure its submission. Rather, they were written up to stabilize property ownership in the colonies while simultaneously satisfying the moral qualms of the realm’s more conscientious subjects. As the encomienda was secured against the services of people rather than the use of land, the Indios entrusted to the encomenderos were virtually slaves - a condition legally intolerable for those that had been baptized, and an arrangement unsustainable at its scale. The Crown was prepared to compensate each and every registered encomendero with an affirmation of their hidalguía and a land grant measured equal in value to the Indios lost. The Indios would consequently be neither tied to an encomendero nor to the land, excepting cases in which they were to enter such a contract willingly.

    To many Spanish colonists - encomendero or not - the abolition of the encomienda threatened the entire colonial process: the working of farms and the building or repair of towns, churches, and roads were all tasks which were heavily dependent on the Indios’ corvee labor and which could not afford to be halted. Additionally, the profitability of the American colonies - by then recognized by practically everyone to be invaluable to the maintenance of the Spanish Empire - was built upon the farming of cash crops and the mining of precious metals and gems, both of which were almost exclusively performed by Indios belonging to encomenderos. Still others feared that removal of the encomienda would remove a much needed institution for the Indios, who they believed had the intellectual and spiritual capacity of small children and were incapable of managing themselves. If anything, the encomenderos felt such an abolition to be a massive insult to the travails they had endured to bring wealth, prestige, and dominion to their mother country and to the Crown.

    The undertaking that lay before the Crown - to reach across the torrid maw of the Atlantic and somehow convince or subdue the thousands of opponents of Indio emancipation - was stupefying in retrospect. However, in 1552, the sheer difficulty of this project did not occur to Juan Pelayo, who had just been dubbed “el Invicto” by the poet Juan Boscán after his victory at Montauban. By 1554, the new administrative subdivisions within the viceroyalties and the decrees binding them had been confirmed at Sevilla and Lisbon, and fleets were already on their way to the New World - carrying a complement of judges, newly-proclaimed bishops, their respective entourages, and, of course, troops - to see the Leyes Nuevas enforced.

    Throughout the Caribbean - where enslaved African labor had largely replaced encomienda-style Indio labor - the Leyes Nuevas were of no consequence. On tierra firme the approach of royal officials brought more apprehension. The magnates of the New World had long foreseen this day of reckoning, but believed they had little to fear. The domains established in Nueva Vizcaya were significantly harder to reach by sail than those in Nueva Castilla, separated from the Atlantic by the outrageously rough waters to the south of the continent and by the tauntingly thin isthmus of Panamá - where, despite the short distance to be crossed, tropical disease could easily wipe out an army of any size in no time at all. The greatest challenge presented to the Spanish Crown’s attempt to rein in its far flung American colonies therefore lay in the lands of the Inca. When the old Inca Empire was subverted and conquered by Spaniards led by the two Basque families of Beraza and Chavarría, its institutions were not fully destroyed. On the contrary, the conquest of the Incas was marked by an initial invitation extended to the Spaniards to settle in the empire, share in its administration, and marry its daughters, with the eventual supremacy of the Spanish over the Incas only coming about after years of integration had already taken place. The empire as it had existed was dead and Jesucristo had triumphed over Inti, but the Inca bureaucrats still carried out their old jobs, the imperial road system was maintained, Quechua was still used in an official capacity alongside Castilian, and most of the old nobility still held their positions and titles. Beñat Chavarría, Fermín Beraza, and Fermín’s nephew Esteban had all thrown themselves completely into Inca society - all had learned Quechua, all had taken Indio wives or mistresses, and all used the title of “tokriqok” alongside that of governor-general.

    There is no reason to doubt that these three had intended their possessions to be subordinate to the Spanish monarchy, but the temptation of assimilating themselves into a new polity was embraced early on, and there is also telling evidence that might suggest they had grown more comfortable with a degree of autonomy unacceptable to the Crown. When Hernán Cortés and his cohorts absorbed the remains of the Aztec Empire and its neighbors, they almost immediately established an audiencia in México-Tenochtitlán and sent an emissary back to Spain to request royal authorization of their conquests and also that a viceroyalty be formed to administer the “Reino de los Nahuas de Méxica, Tlaxcala y Oaxaca.” Like the quasi-duchies established by the conquistadores in Nueva Castilla, Chavarría and the Berazas gave their possessions the usual designation assigned to adelantado conquests implying a nebulous, military status - that of “captaincies” (capitanías) - but, unlike the conquistadores in Nueva Castilla, they neglected to declare either a viceroyalty or an audiencia, only accepting them once they were formally instituted by Miguel da Paz in 1532. This was, of course, profoundly concerning to the Council of the Indies in Sevilla - if one group of Spanish subjects overseas set the precedent of self-rule, there was no telling who would follow suit. Even more worryingly, the discovery of the patio process and of Cerro Rico at Potosí meant that - if independent - Nueva Vizcaya could easily stand shoulder to shoulder with the Spanish Crown economically.

    El "Cerro Rico" de Potosí

    Esteban Beraza, the maverick of the three, had shown his proclivity for domination when he took the lead in capturing the imperial city of Cuzco and ending the Inca state years earlier. His old habits never subsided, and by 1554 he was actively involved with a plot to alienate the lands of his deceased comrade, Beñat Chavarría. While both Fermín (who had died in 1542) and Esteban Beraza were childless before they arrived in the Americas, Beñat was not. When Chavarría died in 1548, his son, Amancio, had made an appeal to the Casa de Contratación for the lands captured by his father in Nueva Vizcaya. After a fruitless back-and-forth with Esteban Beraza - who claimed Amancio was an imposter - the Casa de Contratación ruled in favor of the younger Chavarría. As Beñat’s estate in the Americas was enormous, Esteban was aware that Amancio would be ferried to Nueva Vizcaya by a royal fleet, in the company of the new governor-general of Gran Virú and the new viceroy (a position Esteban had held on two intervals). When the office of viceroy became vacant in 1549, Esteban Beraza filibustered every Crown appointee through a large network of lawyers and lobbyists in Sevilla, until the Casa de Contratación relented and patiently awaited the direct deliberation of the Crown. The ratification of the portion of the Leyes Nuevas in 1552 and the impending royal intervention alarmed Esteban and his allies amongst the Hispano-Inca elite, and they made preparations to guard their old rights - at swordpoint if necessary. [3]

    When the viceregal fleet arrived at the harbor of San Martín de Limac almost two months later, they were met by a squadron of brigantines led by Esteban Beraza’s lieutenant, a young mestizo named Joaquín Pizarro, ahead of a chain drawn across the port. The new viceroy, Bernardino de Mendoza, inquired as to why the king’s men were being impeded, and Pizarro assured him that they would allow entrance once the viceroy had convened with “the qhapaq-señores of this realm and they have found the terms of su alteza virreinal to be satisfactory.” After demanding the brigantines disperse and the chain be loosed, Pizarro told the viceroy that he would come aboard to more comfortably converse, having two of the brigantines brought to the sides of the viceroy’s galleon while the others formed a vanguard, boarded his men, and then accosted Mendoza while giving orders to put to oar and fire a salvo at the rest of the fleet. Still groggy from the arduous voyage (and from rounding the southern tip of South America in particular), the royalists’ response was less than exemplary. In the chaos that ensued, the brigantines were blasted to shreds and the chain was cut, but Pizarro had successfully made off with the viceroy and was able to keep the rest of the ships at bay from the coastal batteries. After two days exchanging fire with the fortifications at San Martín, the royal fleet abandoned its bombardment and disembarked to the south at Punta Negra. The new governor-general of Gran Virú, Agustín de Cantillana, took charge and occupied the city, but Joaquín Pizarro had already left, imprisoning Mendoza far to the north at Piura two weeks later.

    Agustín de Cantillana y los realistas aterrizan en Punta Negra

    There were more than 20,000 Spaniards in the Viceroyalty of Nueva Vizcaya - the majority of whom opposed the Leyes Nuevas - while only 1,200 soldiers (across 18 vessels) had been provided to the Mendoza expedition. In order to avoid being massacred, it was imperative that the agents of the Crown get the purpose of their intrusion across to Nueva Vizcaya’s millions of Indios. Although the royalists were initially ignorant as to the lay of the land and its people, there were more than enough defectors who could quickly fill them in. Mutual understanding of Quechua and Castilian was by now fairly common, and the Franciscans and Dominicans were very helpful in this regard. Luckily for the Crown, the world of the adelantados was extremely competitive, and was therefore rife with rivalries that could easily be exploited. There were countless Spaniards who felt shortchanged by the preeminent conquistadores in the distribution of spoils, and still others who had come to despise the Berazas and their ilk as they became entangled in the schemes and power struggles that had been slowly consuming the viceroyalty since its inception. A steady stream of Spaniards had been trickling out of Nueva Vizcaya to the north and south for some time, motivated by a hunger for more plunder or a simple change of scenery, and - in some cases - in fear for their lives, but many were now willing to return and join the royalists in the hopes that they might be able to settle old scores and rebalance the scales. For instance, when the conquistador Juan de Tolosa [4] heard the news of the struggle in Nueva Vizcaya, he made the almost 2,500 kilometer trek north from Araucanía with a company of 500 Spaniards to assist the Crown, arriving in 1556.

    Cantillana would be joined by two other close confidantes of Esteban Beraza, Francisco Hernández Girón and Alonso de Alvarado, and the frontlines for a drawn-out war of attrition were set. While the capture of Cuzco and the arrest of Beraza were obvious priorities, the recapture of Viceroy Mendoza was decided to be more pressing, and Francisco de Villagra [5], viceroy of Nueva Andalucía, consequently led an army south from Santa Ana de Guatavita to form a pincer with Cantillana’s forces, respectively seizing Santiago del Ríochambo in the north and Huaraz in the south. Pizarro moved with Mendoza to the more redoubtable city of Cajamarca and sent messengers to Beraza urgently requesting pressure be put on Cantillana from the south. Nothing could be done, however, and Joaquín Pizarro was forced to surrender and hand over his prisoner after a four week siege.

    With the royalists now focused on the south, Esteban Beraza opted for a hit-and-run strategy along the various passes of the Andes separating Cuzco from the coastal plain, sending his coadjutant Francisco Yupanqui (nephew of the last Sapa Inca, Huáscar) to the port of Huelva de Riohica to send a representative to Spain to make an appeal before the Crown. With minimal shipbuilding facilities at their disposal, the Beraza camp’s attempt to keep the sealanes open was futile, and the royalists’ ships were quick to reduce Huelva de Riohica to a smoking ruin. Beraza and his companions were hardened military men with much experience in dealing with overwhelming odds, but they simply could not contend with the royalists in an open field. While the early battle of Acobamba in late 1556 was a victory - with Esteban Beraza, despite now being almost 50, unhorsing Francisco Hernández Girón by driving a lance all the way through his chest - the following field battles at Ayacucho and Cusibamba were not. Beraza was fighting with outdated weaponry, using tactics better suited against the Incas of old than against a leading-edge European army, and with his forces riven by Indio mutinies - which had become increasingly frequent once it became apparent that the other side offered to break the chains of the encomienda.

    In the end, Esteban Beraza came to realize that the connection to the outside world provided by obeisance to the Crown and its laws decided whether or not South America’s resources had any tremendous value. He could possess all the silver in the world, but unless he was somehow able to challenge the Spanish Monarchy at sea, then further resisting the Crown brought more headaches than it solved. Esteban and his junta would formally defer to the Leyes Nuevas in early 1558, officially renouncing the right of encomienda and securing their noble titles against tracts of land. The pill of defeat was sweetened for Esteban and his allies by a total amnesty from the viceroy, although Esteban himself would be kept under close surveillance for the rest of his life, and his vast private domain was divided as thoroughly as possible amongst his 5 mestizo sons and two cousins upon his (rather suspicious) death in 1563. While the Indios that had long since been apportioned to these defunct encomiendas or to ones elsewhere would remain in virtually the same state as they had been in under their former encomenderos, their general social mobility and legal ability to resist being tied to the land or otherwise abused would improve as the justice system under the now fully-functioning Audiencias Reales became more pervasive. As any violation of the abolition of the encomienda carried with it the penalty of property confiscation by the defendant and the local audiencia, the Crown had succeeded in setting up a framework that would extirpate the remaining encomenderos by giving other members of colonial society reason to subvert them.

    Things progressed much more smoothly for the Crown in Nueva Castilla, where easier communications and peculiar internal developments made the enforcement of the Leyes Nuevas much more palatable and resistance of the likes of Esteban Beraza much less likely. At first, the encomenderos of Nueva Castilla were similarly comfortable in their distance from the Crown and also felt they had a good bridle on the incumbent viceroy, Cristóbal Vaca de Castro, and the 1554 fleet was therefore happily received, especially on account of the fact that it carried funds and men-at-arms from Europe. After completing the conquest of the more densely urban center of Mesoamerica, the conquistadores of Nueva Castilla had begun to inch northwards, first enticed by the rich farmlands of the Bajío, then by the newly discovered silver lodes of the Altiplano del Norte (distinct from the Altiplano del Sur in Nueva Vizcaya). Accompanied by hundreds of Spaniards and thousands of Indio allies, Pánfilo de Narváez, Gonzalo de Sandoval, Gaspar de Espinosa, and Cristóbal de Olid all plowed their way through this region, leaving minimal garrisons, clergymen, or governmental infrastructure in their wake. This endless expansion had taken a toll on the fledgling viceroyalty, which struggled with internal unrest as its administrative and military resources were stretched painfully thin.

    When the brutality of the encomenderos sparked a native uprising in 1540, the Spaniards found their numbers insufficient in quelling it, and what started as a single act of Indio retaliation escalated into a full-blown war against a cohesive Indio federation. Unlike the relatively easy subjugation of the sedentary cities to the south, fighting these so called “Chichimecs” - a Nahuatl term for the peoples to the north, roughly corresponding to the term “barbarian” - became a serious quagmire for the Spanish, who struggled to no avail in their efforts to tie down and inflict a resounding defeat on their semi-nomadic enemy. A ceasefire would be made in 1542 with the Caxcanes, the leading tribe of the rebellion, and for a moment it appeared as if the frontier of Nueva Castilla might peacefully stabilize. However, by the mid-16th century the known silver veins of Nueva Castilla were gradually being exhausted, and it seemed that Spanish America’s overall silver yields were in an irreversible decline. As the only available solution was to find new veins to work, it was essential that the mines of the Altiplano del Norte be placed under Spanish control and the peoples of the surrounding countryside subdued. The desire to conquer the Chichimecs and reduce them to encomienda servitude had thus become too accentuated to keep the peace, and, under command of the viceroy, an army of 600 Spaniards and 8,000 Aztec and Tlaxcalan auxiliaries was assembled under Gonzalo de Sandoval in 1544 at the newly-founded city of Valladolid de Xalisco. [6]

    Los españoles y sus aliados tlaxcaltecas luchan contra los chichimecas

    This campaign of “fire and blood” (“fuego y sangre”) produced no results. The Chichimecs were too widely spread out for a field army to do any lasting damage, and by 1554 the viceregal treasury had long been exhausted by the interminable conflict, with the troops in the field either having to support themselves or being supported by private donations. This was something the Crown was able to leverage in its favor by way of a large consignment of royal silver, which it had ironically shipped back to the Americas. The encomenderos of Nueva Castilla certainly had just as many misgivings about the Leyes Nuevas as their compatriots in Nueva Vizcaya, but any fears of the encomienda’s abolition leading to the Indios becoming indolent or rejecting Christian Spanish society of their own volition would turn out to be largely unfounded. It had long become apparent to the less recently conquered native populations that the Spaniards had no serious intention of wiping them off the face of the earth, and that they instead preferred to reward those amongst the conquered that wished to assist in the building up of a new, prosperous society. As distressed as the Indios were at the catastrophic downfall of their old societies, Spanish agricultural knowledge, tools, and working animals were enough to win many of them over, especially amongst the rural classes. The introduction of beasts of burden was nothing short of revolutionary - massively reducing the toil of farming - while items as simple as the pulley or the iron nail were equally delightful additions.

    Transoceanic trade - previously unknown amongst most of the Indios - likewise brought improved prospects of individual enrichment. Indios and mestizos were particularly drawn to the employment opportunities offered in Spanish America’s nascent port facilities, which were chronically understaffed and under-garrisoned, and were also usually located in altitudinal climes that were deadly to pure European settlers. These opportunities were in part due to a proliferation of fueros and forals issued to ports in Castile and Portugal and in their respective colonies since the 1530s, which had greatly augmented the number of towns participating in transatlantic commerce. While all precious metals extracted in the New World still had to be processed through either Sevilla or Lisbon, any ports with a royal or viceregal license were free to trade with one another, only having to pay the flat customs rate known as the almojarifazgo. After 1554, the output of many farms and mines in the Americas dropped, but shipping became more reliable, merchant fleets more consistent, and a great number of much needed coastal fortifications were built.

    The one aspect of Spanish culture that the Indios took to with the most eagerness, however, was Spanish Catholicism. The enormous religious energy that had accumulated in Spain in the 16th century truly bore its most impressive fruits across the Atlantic - thousands upon thousands of Indios accepted the Christian faith every year, with some Franciscans and Dominicans boasting of having baptized as many as 14,000 in a single day. Whatever the myriad reasons for Catholicism’s success amongst the indigenous peoples of the Americas, it would eventually constitute one of the largest and quickest mass conversions in recorded history. It can be argued that it was the receptiveness of the Indios towards Catholicism that decided the debate over their humanity in their favor, and was further instrumental in the sudden change in the approach to colonization taken by the Spanish across the entirety of the Americas. Concurrent with the impasse of the Chichimec war was the development of an alternative colonial mechanism that would gradually replace the model of conquest and encomienda - that of the mission.

    - “Por sus frutos los conoceréis” -

    Missions were not a novel approach to evangelization in Spanish America, with hundreds already established amongst the conquered populations, but using missions as the default means of advancing the colonial frontier was a new development. By the 1540s, the conspicuous lack of success in subduing the resourceful Indios of not only the Altiplano del Norte, but also of Araucanía, the Pampas, the Yucatán peninsula, and of the interior of Portuguese America was vexing enough that even the most bellicose of conquistadors were ready to lay down their arms and consider other options. It was into this opportune moment that a man by the name of Francisco de Javier stepped in.

    Francisco de Javier, el "Apóstol de los Chichimecas"

    Francisco de Javier (born Francisco de Jasso) was a Basque Franciscan who had joined the order in 1523. Caught up in the ecstatic religious atmosphere of 16th century Iberia, Javier was - like some many others - determined to undertake missionary work in the New World, and requested the leave of his superior in 1525 to travel to Castile and from thence sail to Nueva Castilla. Less than a year later, Javier would meet his fellow Franciscan, Bernardino de Sahagún, while in the city of México-Tenochtitlan, where Sahagún was hard at work transcribing texts in the Nahuatl language and petitioning the archbishop to open a university. Javier and Sahagún had much in common, and shared enthusiasm for the value of Indio culture and also frustrations over the surface level conversion efforts of their Franciscan brethren. The restless Javier was not quite as interested in lobbying for higher education as was Sahagún, however, and instead became the peripatetic face of Sahagún’s new religious movement. For more than 20 years, Javier was busy spreading the faith and learning native languages in Brasil, Guatemala, Nueva Andalucía, and elsewhere, as well as tirelessly campaigning in Rome on Sahagún’s behalf for the authorization of a new order, the Gregorians - known as the Catequistas in the Spanish-speaking world.

    By 1548, Javier was undertaking his most influential experiment in Nueva Castilla, where he was assisted by his friend, the Flemish Franciscan Pedro de Gante. Working amongst the Chichimecs (who were, understandably, quite suspicious), Javier argued that the Christianization of the Indios and the taming of their land was much easier, cheaper, and significantly less destructive if done through settling Spanish craftsmen and farmers in walled towns in the midst of unfamiliar or even hostile natives, where they would be accompanied by an armed garrison (which would be quartered in a fortified presidio), Christianized Indios (known as “indios amigos”), and - of course - priests and friars to administer the sacraments and evangelize the locals. This format held precedence in the conquests that had taken place after the fall of Tenochtitlan. More often than not, the Spaniards in the Americas preferred to involve the native populace in the colonization process, and even frequently co-opted friendly tribes to share in further conquests and the founding of new towns. The Tlaxcalans - the earliest allies of the Spaniards in Nueva Castilla - were the outstanding example of this policy, accompanying nearly every military expedition into the Altiplano del Norte or Guatemala and even making up the bulk of the Spanish soldiery in the conflict with the Chichimecs. The phenomenon of the “indios amigos” would be utterly indispensable in these presidio-missions, where they formed a bridge between the two societies and could relate the Christian creed and the benefits of sedentary life to their wild distant cousins.

    Despite a lack of cooperation from his fellow Spaniards and the persistence of raiding behavior from the Chichimecs, Javier’s experiment was a success, and was soon emulated all across the Spanish American frontier - and even overseas, amongst the Berber tribes dwelling in the North African Rif and Atlas Mountains. Javier would be present for the founding of 27 different missions in the Altiplano del Norte, and, by the time of his death in 1564, 7 of these missions had already grown into self-sustaining cities with functioning cabildos. The absence of the encomienda meant that getting the long-desired silver mines of the region up and running was frustratingly slow, but the introduction of the patio process - first developed in the Altiplano del Norte - relaxed these labor shortages. The bitter feud between the Nuevocastellanos and the Chichimecs subsided into a much more peaceful process of slow assimilation. [7]

    Any attempt to prevent the establishment of a landed aristocracy in Spanish America - an express interest of the Crown - had proven to be completely out of the question. So long as blood and sweat were shed in the colonization process and the chivalric mindset of the average conquistador remained unshakeable, the demand for compensation in the form of land and title grants would have to be satisfied. However, the era of the encomendero-conquistador expanding the boundaries of Spanish America por adelantado was over. The garrisoned settler-missions would replace the role of the old conquistador elite, who would settle into their landed roles, passively overseeing their estates or involving themselves in municipal politics. Like Las Casas and Sahagún, Javier would grow into a larger-than-life personage. By the time of his canonization in 1635, he was declared one of the two patron saints of Nueva Castilla, alongside the Virgin of Guadalupe.

    La reorganización de las Nuevas Leyes de la administración colonial de las Indias Occidentales, c. 1552


    [1] OTL Jacksonville, Florida.
    [2] The expedition led by Cortés and co., which was originally intended to reclaim the decimated colony of Puerto Rico de la Vera Cruz (OTL Veracruz) and exact revenge on those responsible for its destruction.
    [3] This is very similar to what transpired IOTL when Charles V attempted to have his New Laws (which also protected the Native Americans and outlawed the encomienda) implemented in the New World. A bonafide civil war erupted in Peru between the royalists and the Pizarro camp (with its lines drawn along the divisions emerging from the numerous previous petty conflicts between the squabbling conquistadors post-conquest), which saw the acting viceroy, Blasco Núñez Vela, killed in battle at Añaquito and posthumously decapitated by his spiteful opponents. The outcome here is much more favorable to the Crown, although the whole matter is resolved later than it was IOTL.
    [4] The OTL discoverer of silver deposits near Zacatecas in Mexico, ITTL he is one of the leaders in the conquest of Chile and the founder of Tolosa de Mapocho (OTL Santiago de Chile).
    [5] One of the OTL governors of Chile.

    [6] OTL Guadalajara, Mexico.
    [7] For those who have not realized what this means - the Chichimeca War of OTL has basically been butterflied. This is an important development. What has happened here is that the Spaniards have opted in favor of the mission-presidio form of settlement by the 1550s, rather than by the 1590s as in OTL - saving them decades of wasteful spending on destructive warfare and avoiding a major roadblock to northwards expansion.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
  9. The Merovingian To whom the Capets aspire.

    Mar 11, 2017
    Austrasia today, Burgundy tomorrow.
    An Update...... But it hasn't been 6 months yet...you spoil us.
  10. Xenophonte Quod natura non dat, Salmantica non præstat.

    Feb 13, 2014
    South America
    Speechless... great and lengthy Update... I like the way how the OTL history has had new, similar but very different in TTL, improved developments that in consequence were beginning to form an, again, similar but new Spanish America.
  11. hitcho11 Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2017
    San Miguel de Culiacán, Nueva España
    Fantastic read. This TL is the gift that keeps on giving.
  12. A_simple_pilgrim your local crusader

    Jun 23, 2018
    Kingdom of Jerusalem
    Wonderful update, and it seems that the Spanish are really getting into proper management of the Americas. This does bring up a question though, why have they neglected Florida unlike in our timeline. The Spanish saw it as strategically valuable to close off the straits of florida and totally dominate the Gulf of Mexico.(Something that would have been useful with those pesky seawolves.)

    In OTL there had been attempts to colonize florida since the 1520s, by Ponce de Leon, though this was quickly pushed out by hostile indians. Then there were several more failed expeditions, which collapsed due to freak storms, bad maps, and incompetent leadership. By the point this timeline has reached 1560, there were several sustainable, if struggling, settlements.

    So this really begs the question, what has driven these even more successful and lucky spaniards to avoid the strategically valuable Florida?

    Besides that I am very excited to see where this timeline goes, specifically with the centralizing HRE and more focused Habsburgs. In particular I wonder if the private dutch colonization efforts would serve as the nucleus of future Imperial colonies. Additionally, seeing how a catholic England develops will be very intriguing, perhaps it would switch the roles of the irish and scots when great britian forms, with the irish helping the english suppress the rebellious religious minority up in Scotland.
  13. Torbald þegn

    Jan 27, 2010
    For those who are interested, I've added footnotes to the last update which will elaborate on some things and specify certain non-OTL place names.

    I would really like to do something like that once we hit the 1600s, although I feel like it would be much easier for me if I had your encyclopedic knowledge :)

    Lol, to be honest I've considered going on sabbatical from this TL for much longer periods than that due to outside world obligations...

    Thank you kindly :) I've always felt that the key to making the butterfly effect believable is realizing how things might radically diverge while still keeping the outcomes on a relatively short leash in regards to OTL history.

    Muchas gracias :)

    Thank you very much. Concerning Florida (or, should I say, La Floride), it really just needs it own update. TTL's Spain still recognizes its strategic value and in many cases has been trying its damnedest to keep it under purely Spanish control, but the French have developed a serious interest in the vicinity. With England and the Netherlands both ruled by Catholics who are on friendly terms with Spain (read: deeply intimidated by Spain's wealth and power), it is the French who are at the forefront of anti-Spanish piracy, which means they also collect the services of all the private individuals from other nations who are also interested in doing a little anti-Spanish privateering. The Spanish and French are going to go back and forth on Florida for perhaps a century (with Spain holding the advantage for most of that time) before the matter is finally resolved by a binding treaty. None of this is to say there are significantly fewer Spanish settlements in Florida than IOTL, but there are certainly not as many and they are much more beleaguered.

    I've spent a long time pondering just what the Dutch (or Imperials) are going to make of the idea of colonization ITTL. The Dutch in OTL were only sporadically interested in full-scale colonization of the Americas, so any Dutch/Imperial colonies might be marginal at best while they invest themselves more in transoceanic shipping, whaling, and trading. But I don't know yet.

    I'm hoping the English will reach a much friendlier arrangement with the Irish, becoming a sort of dual monarchy a la Austria-Hungary as the "United Kingdom of England and Ireland," with separate parliaments in London and Dublin. This probably won't come easy in the face of Scottish intervention (with their Danish and French allies), however, who might try and pry their way into the politics of the Irish petty states with the alluring promise of a more hands-off approach than that practiced by the English. As for the English using the Irish to subdue the Scots after forming Great Britain, well, that would assume that Great Britain will ever get formed ITTL ;)
    mrcubfan415, TimTurner, Tyg and 4 others like this.
  14. hitcho11 Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2017
    San Miguel de Culiacán, Nueva España
    Naming Guadalajara "Valladolid" is going to take away one of the most renowned pieces in Mexican folklore music hahaha
    TimTurner likes this.
  15. Rakhasa Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2008
    The original Guadalajara in Spain remains, to there is a good chance there is/will be some town named Guadalajara somewhere in Mexico.
    TimTurner and Gabingston like this.
  16. Earl Marshal Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2017
    Cavalier Country
    Its really interesting seeing how the rivalry between Spain and France is developing in the New World ITTL. The Spaniards seem to be doing a better job of administrating their colonies and making a better effort at investing into them ITTL, whereas the French are taking a somewhat similar approach to OTL with the entertaining addition of French pirates. I am curious though when the English and Dutch will get involved in the colonial game given the great wealth and prestige it has gained the Spanish in this timeline. England still being Catholic might slow down their OTL colonization schedule in North America and the Dutch being under the control of a more focused House of Hapsburgs might rein in their colonial ventures as well, but I can't say for sure. I'm also looking forward to that looming French Civil War with bated breath as that appears to be a big mess in the making for all involved.

    Anyway great update as always Torbald!
    Xenophonte, Torbald and Gabingston like this.
  17. Torbald þegn

    Jan 27, 2010
    Firstly - what region/countries do y'all think I should cover next? I don't really have anything lined up at the moment so it's entirely up to you guys :)

    OR - I could write up "Valladolid" as a new tune of its own ;) Should we make it a dare?

    Thank you :) I think at this point virtually every potentate in Catholic Europe is lobbying the Pope either overtly or secretly to have him reapportion the Americas. No single Catholic monarchy feels confident enough to challenge Spain's hold on Central and Southern America by themselves, but Spain obviously isn't the omnipresent juggernaut its rulers would like everyone to believe, so planting flags in North America and pecking away at the Caribbean and South America are going to be relatively easy for anyone willing to try.

    The French Civil War is certainly going to be nasty (as all civil wars are, especially religious ones) but France is actually getting off fairly easy ITTL in that it's gotten the inevitable 16th century confrontation with its chief rivals and the similarly inevitable defeat out of the way, and its monarchy will be much more inclined to peacefully cooperate with its neighbors for now. Further, the devastation of the 20 Years War has left the French monarchy even more powerless to combat Protestantism than it was IOTL, which means the civil war will most likely end in an edict of (at least partial) toleration. The French are also able to fill the void in the Atlantic privateering/slave trade that would have been filled by the English and Dutch (the English and Dutch are still involved with both, but not yet as extensively as IOTL), and are investing in the Caribbean and North American Southeast, which are both easier to reach than Canada and will both be more profitable in the long run.

    Spain is certainly doing a better job with nearly everything so far (the wonders of a monarchy that - unlike the Habsburgs - isn't constantly absent or shelling out cash, who would have guessed?), but success doesn't always beget further success. The abolition of the encomienda and the push to implement fairer taxation (particularly the sisa tax) are both inspired at least in part by a legitimate dedication to social justice (as they were IOTL under Charles V and Philip II), but Miguel da Paz and Juan Pelayo's reforms aren't inherently prescient and are primarily motivated by a few fairly uncomplicated ambitions: more money (the sisa promised much better returns than any other tax), fewer challenges to monarchical power (ending the encomienda, liberating the peasantry, and taxing the nobility were merely the culmination of almost two centuries of anti-aristocratic bias by the houses of Avis and Trastamara), internal stability (dissolving the encomienda and abolishing the "evil customs" satisfied the consciences of Spain's intellectual and spiritual elite and also reduced the chances of peasant/Indio uprisings at home or overseas), and - of course - global crusade. The Avis-Trastamaras may have been occasionally touched by the plight of the lower classes or enlightened by the more forward thinking men of the realm, but really all they've consistently wanted is quicker cash, fewer headaches, and the complete eradication of heresy and Islam.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
    mrcubfan415, popoboy, Baggio and 9 others like this.
  18. hitcho11 Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2017
    San Miguel de Culiacán, Nueva España
    I’d like to see more on Poland
  19. The Merovingian To whom the Capets aspire.

    Mar 11, 2017
    Austrasia today, Burgundy tomorrow.
    You've covered the HRE before. I'd like to go back and see what's happened since, or would otherwise like to see how Naples is fairing in more detail. Failing interest in either of those, I'd love to see you go back and deal with relations between Espana and the Kongo, or Abyssinia, maybe touch on the cape colony as well.
  20. The Merovingian To whom the Capets aspire.

    Mar 11, 2017
    Austrasia today, Burgundy tomorrow.
    Oh wait..... Japan! Would love a long comprehensive look at how a unified Spain dealt with Japan. Like did the Japanese understand the the Portuguese were just a part of their kings people's, and maybe see some Japanese travel to and from Spain bringing back fantastic tales of Europe and the gold it's Spanish king had etc.