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Viceroyalty of New Spain

Viceroyalty of New Spain
Virreinato de Nueva España
Viceroyalty of Spain
Flag Coat of arms
Plus Ultra
"Further Beyond"
Marcha Real
"Royal March"
A map of the countries under the supervision and appellate jurisdiction of the Viceroy of New Spain, at the Spanish imperial zenith in 1795
Capital Mexico City
Languages Spanish (Official), French, Nahuatl, Mayan, Indigenous languages, Philippine languages
Religion Roman Catholicism
Government Viceroyalty
 •  1535–1556 Charles I (first)
 •  1813–1821 Ferdinand VII (last)
 •  1535–1550 Antonio de Mendoza (first)
 •  1821 Juan O'Donojú Political chief superior (not viceroy)
Legislature Council of the Indies
Historical era Colonial era
 •  Conquest of Mexico 1519–1521
 •  Viceroyalty created 1521
 •  Venezuela annexed to Viceroyalty of New Granada 27 May 1717
 •  Panama annexed to Viceroyalty of New Granada 1739
 •  Treaty of San Ildefonso 1 October 1800
 •  Adams-Onís Treaty 22 February 1819
 •  Trienio Liberal abolished the viceroyalty of New Spain 31 May 1820
 •  Mexican War of Independence and Central American Independence 1810– 1821
 •  1519 est. 20 million 
 •  1810 est. 5 to 6.5 million 
Currency Spanish colonial real
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Governorate of Cuba
Aztec Triple Alliance
Kingdom of Tzintzuntzan
Maya Civilization
Louisiana (New France)
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
Kingdom of Tondo
Tlaxcala (Nahua state)
Rajahnate of Cebu
Kingdom of Maynila
Confederation of Madja-as
Viceroyalty of New Granada
Spanish West Indies
Spanish East Indies
Louisiana (New France)
Florida Territory
Oregon Country
First Mexican Empire
Today part of

New Spain (Spanish: Nueva España) was a colonial territory of the Spanish Empire, in the New World north of the Isthmus of Panama. It was established following the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1521, and following additional conquests, it was made a viceroyalty (Spanish: virreinato) in 1535. The first of four viceroyalties Spain created in the Americas, it comprised Mexico, Central America, much of the Southwestern and Central United States, and Spanish Florida as well as the Philippines, Guam, Mariana and Caroline Islands.

After 1535 the colony was governed by the Viceroy of New Spain, an appointed minister of the King of Spain, who ruled as monarch over the colony. The capital of New Spain was Mexico City.

New Spain lost parts of its territory to other European powers and independence, but the core area remained under Spanish control until 1821, when it achieved independence as the Mexican Empire— when the latter dissolved, it became modern Mexico and Central America. It developed highly regional divisions, which reflect the impact of climate, topography, the presence or absence of dense indigenous populations, and the presence or absence of mineral resources. The areas of central and southern Mexico had dense indigenous populations with complex social, political, and economic organization. The northern area of Mexico, a region of nomadic and semi-nomadic indigenous populations, was not generally conducive to dense settlements, but the discovery of silver in Zacatecas in the 1540s drew settlement there to exploit the mines. Silver mining not only became the engine of the economy of New Spain, but vastly enriched Spain, and transformed the global economy. New Spain was the New World terminus of the Philippine trade, making the viceroyalty a vital link between Spain's New World empire and its Asian empire.


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