Spanish and Portuguese
Colonial Possessions


After Columbus showed that you could get somewhere by sailing across the Atlantic (1492-1493) and Vasco da Gama sailed around the Cape of Good Hope all the way to India (1497-1498), it was clear that European sailing technology was ready to go anywhere in the world. In 1493, Spain and Portugal got Pope Alexander VI to literally divide the world between them, a settlement adjusted slightly in the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494. This basically gave the Western Hemisphere to Spain and the Eastern to Portugal. For the next century, this is pretty much how things operated, and both Spanish and Portuguese denied that other European powers had the right to have ships in "their" waters. The English, French, Dutch, etc. ran of the risk of being treated like pirates, even when they weren't.

Portuguese Possessions
  • Madeira Islands (1419-present)
  • Azores (1431-present)
  • Portuguese Guinea (1446/1879-1974)
  • Cape Verde Islands (1462-1975)
  • São Tomé and Príncipe (1485-1975)
  • Brazil (1500-1822)
    • Captaincy of Rio de Janeiro
    • Captaincy of Minas Gerais
    • Captaincy of São Paolo
    • Captaincy of Santa Catarina
    • Captaincy of Rio Grande
      do Sul
    • Captaincy of Espirito Santo
    • Captaincy of Goiaz
    • Captaincy of Baía
    • Captaincy of Sergipe
    • Captaincy of Pernambuco
    • Captaincy of Piaui
    • Captaincy of Maranhão
    • Captaincy of Rio Negro
    • Captaincy of Para
    • Captaincy of Mato Grosso
  • Mozambique (1505-1975)
  • Socotra (1506-1511)
  • Portuguese India
    • Cochin (1502-1669)
    • Goa (1510-1961)
    • Calicut (1510-1616)
    • Bombay (1530-1664)
    • Diu (1535-1961)
    • Hooghly (1537-1640)
    • Surat (1540-1615)
    • Damão/Daman (1558-1961)
    • Bhatkal (1560-1637)
    • Masulipatam (1570-1605)
  • Malacca (1512-1641)
  • Moluccas (1512-1621)
  • Ceylon (1518-1658)
  • Portuguese Timor (1520-1975)
  • Java (1522-1596)
  • Portuguese China
    • Ning-po (1533-1545)
    • Fu-chou (1547-1549)
    • Macao (1557-1974/1999)
  • Ormuz (1515-1622)
  • Bahrain (1515-1622)
  • Muscat (1550-1650)
  • Angola (1574-1975)
Captains-major of Macao
Francisco Martins1557-1558
Lionel de Sousa1558-1559
Rui Barreto1559-1560
Manuel de Mendonça1560-1561
Fernão de Sousa1561-1562
Pero Barreto Rolim1562-1563
Diogo Pereira1563-1565
João Pedro Pereira1565-1566
Simão de Mendonça1566-1567,
1574-1575
Tristão Vaz da Veiga1567-1568,
1571-1572
António de Sousa1568-1569
Manuel Travassos1569-1571
João de Almeida1572-1573,
1582-1583
António de Vilhena1573-1574
Vasco Pereira1575-1576
Domingos Monteiro1576-1579,
1586-1587,
1592-1593
Lionel Brito1579-1570
Miguel da Gama1580-1581
Inácio de Lima1581-1582
Aires Gonçalves de Miranda1583-1585
Francisco Pais1585-1586
Jerónimo Pereira1587-1589
--1589-1590
Anrique da Costa1590-1591
Roque de Melo Pereira1591-1592
Gaspar Pinto da Rocha1593-1594
--1594-1595
Manuel de Miranda1595-1596
Rui Mendes de Figuieredo1596-1597
--1597-1598
Nunho de Mendonça1598-1599
Paulo de Portugal1599-1603
Gonçalo Rodrigues de Sousa1603-1604
João Caiado de Gambôa1604-1605
Diogo de Vasconcelos de Meneses1605-1607
André Pessôa1607-1609
--1609-1611
Pedro Martin Gaio1611-1612
Miguel de Sousa Pimentel1612-1614
João Serrão da Cunha1614-1615
Martim da Cunha1615-1616
Francisco Lopes Carrasco1616-1617
Lopo Sarmento de Carvalho1617-1618,
1621-1622
António de Oliveira de Morias1618-1619
Jerónimo de Macedo de Carvalho1619-1620
Governors of Macao
Francisco Mascarenhas1623-1626
Filipe Lôbo1626-1629
Jerónimo da Silveira1630-1631
Manuel da Câmara de Noronha1631-1636
Domingos da Câmara de Noronha1636-1638
Sebastião Lôbo da Silveira1638-1644
Luís de Carvalho de Sousa1645-1646
Diogo Coutinho Doçem1646
João Pereira1647-1650
João de Sousa Pereira1650-1654
Manuel Tavares Bocarro1654-1664
Manuel Coelho da Silva1664-1666
Álvaro da Silva1667-1670
Manuel Borges da Silva1670-1672
António Barbosa Lôbo1672-1677
António de Castro Sande1678-1679
Luís de Melo Sampaio1679-1682
Belchior do Amaral de Meneses1682-1685
António de Mesquita Pimentel1685-1688
André Coelho Vieira1688-1691
Francisco da Costa1691-1693
António da Silva e Melo1693-1694
Gil Vaz Lôbo Freire1694-1697
Cosme Rodrigues de Carvalho e Sousa1697-1697
Chamber Senate1697-1698
Pedro Vaz de Sequeira1698-1700,
1702-1703
Diogo de Melo Sampaio1700-1702
José da Gama Machado1703-1706
Diogo do Pinho Teixeira1706-1710
Francisco de Melo e Castro1710-1711
António de Sequeira de Noronha1711-1714
Francisco de Alarcão de Souto-Maior1714-1718
António de Albuquerque Coelho1718-1719
António da Silva Telo e Meneses1719-1722
Cristóvão de Severim Manuel1722-1724
António Carneiro de Alcáçova1724-1727
António Moniz Barreto1727-1732
António do Amaral Meneses1732-1735
João do Casal1735
Cosme Damião Pinto Pereira1735-1738,
1743-1747
Manuel Pereira Coutinho1738-1743
António José Teles de Meneses1747-1749
João Manuel de Melo1749-1752
Rodrigo de Castro1752-1755,
1770-1771
Francisco António Pereira Coutinho1755-1758
Diogo Pereira1758-1761
António de Mendonça Corte-Real1761-1764
José PlÁcido de Matos Saraiva1764-1767
Diogo Fernandes Salema e Saldanha1767-1770,
1771-1777
Alexandre da Silva Pedrosa Guimarães1777-1778
João Vicente da Silveira e Meneses1778-1780
António José da Costa1780-1781
Francisco de Castro1781-1783
Bernardo Aleixo de Lemos e Faria1783-1788,
1806-1808,
1810-1814
Francisco Xavier de Mendonça Corte-Real1788-1789
Lázaro da Silva Ferreira1789-1790
Vasco Luís Carneiro de Sousa e Faro1790-1793
José Manuel Pinto1793-1797,
1800-1803
Cristóvão Pereira de Castro1797-1800
Caetano de Sousa Pereira1803-1806
British Occupation
William O'Brien Drury1808
Lucas José de Alvarenga1808-1810,
1814-1817
José Onório de Castro e Albuquerque1817-1822
Paulino da Silva Barbosa1822-1823
Government Council, 1822-1825
Joaquim Mourão Garcês Palha1825-1827
Government Council, 1827-1830
João Cabral de Estefique1830-1833
Bernardo José de Sousa Soares de Andrea1833-1837
Adrião Acácio da Silveira Pinto1837-1843
José Gregório Pegado1843-1846
João Maria Ferreira do Amaral1846-1849
Government Council, 1849-1850
Pedro Alexandrino da Cunha1850-1850
Government Council, 1850-1851
Francisco António Gonçalves Cardoso1851-1851
Isidoro Francisco Guimarães1851-1863
José Rodrigues Coelho do Amaral1863-1866
José Maria da Ponte e Horta1866-1868
António Sérgio de Sousa1868-1872
Januário Correia de Almeida1872-1874
José Maria Lôbo de Ávila1874-1876
Carlos Eugénio Correia da Silva1876-1879
Joaquim José da Graça1879-1883
Tomás de Sousa Rósa1883-1886
Firmino José da Costa1886-1888
Francisco Teixeira da Silva1889-1890
Custódio Miguel de Borja1890-1894
José Maria de Sousa Horta e Costa1894-1897,
1900-1902
Eduardo Augusto Rodrigues Galhardo1897-1900
Arnaldo de Novaes Guedes Rebelo1902-1903
Martinho Pinto de Quierós Montenegro1904-1907
Pedro de Azevedo Coutinho1907-1908
José Augusto Alves Roçadas1908-1909
Eduardo Augusto Marquês1909-1910
Álvaro de Melo Machado1910-1912
Aníbal Augusto Sanches de Miranda1912-1914
José Carlos da Maia1914-1916
Manuel Ferreira da Rocha1916-1917
Fernando Augusto Vieira de Matos1917
Artur Tamagnini de Sousa Barbosa1918-1919,
1926-1930,
1937-1940
Henrique Monteiro Correia da Silva1919-1922
Luís Antonio de Magalhães Correiaacting,
1922-1923
Rodrigo José Rodrigues1923-1924
Joaquim Augusto dos Santosacting,
1924-1925
Manuel Firmino de Almeida Maia Magalhães1925-1926
Hugo Carvalho Lacerda Castelo Brancoacting,
1926-1926
João Pereira de Magalhãesacting,
1930-1931,
1931-1932
Joaquim Anselmo da Mata e Oliveira1931-1931
António José Bernardes de Miranda1932-1935
João Pereira Barbosa1935-1936
António Joaquim Ferreira da Silva Jϊnior1936-1937
José Rodrigues Moutinhoacting,
1940
Gabriel Maurício Teixeira1940-1946
Albano Rodrigues de Oliveira1947-1951
Joaquim Marquês Esparteiro1951-1957
Pedro Correia Barros1957-1958
Manuel Peixoto Nunes1958-1959
Jaime Silvério Marques1959-1962
António Adriano Faria Lopes dos Santos1962-1966
José Manuel de Sousa e Faria Nobre de Carvalho1966-1974
José Garcia Leandro1974-1979
Melo Egídio1979-1981
José Carlos Moreira Camposacting,
1981
Vasco Almeida e Costa1981-1986
Joaquim Pinto Machado1986-1987
Carlos Melancia1987-1990
Francisco Murteira Naboacting,
1990-1991
Vasco Rocha Vieira1991-1999
20 December 1999, Returned to China
The Portuguese had many more small possessions than are shown or listed (yet), but the Portuguese empire fell on hard times when Philip II seized the Portuguese throne in 1580. Portuguese interests got neglected, and when the Dutch and English, especially, got energetic at the beginning of the 17th century, Portuguese holdings withered considerably. Even renewed Portuguese independence in 1640 did not make possible a comeback. Ironically, a British foothold in India began with the dowry of Catharine of
Braganza, daughter of James IV, when she was betrothed to Charles II of England in 1661 -- Bombay, which soon became the base of British trade in India. Portuguese Eastern Hemisphere holdings then remained more or less static until the overthrow of the Fascist government inspired Portugal to shed its possessions in 1975. Exceptions to that were Goa and the other two Portuguese cities in India, which the Republic of India took by force in 1961, and Macao, which the Chinese had Portugal administer until 1999. Otherwise, the greatest Portuguse colonial possession was actually in the Western Hemisphere, namely Brazil, which became independent in its own unique way. The heir to the throne of Portugal itself followed the precedent of the other newly independent South American countries, and made himself Emperor of Brazil in 1822. Even today, Brazil is the largest Portuguese speaking country in the world. The Portuguese heritage in India is still conspicuous in the Portuguese names (e.g. D'Souza) of many Indian Catholics.

Although not the first or the most important of the possessions of Portugal or Spain, Macao does end up being, not only the longest lasting, but the last of them all, missing the 21st century by a few days. Macao acquired a claim to fame before it was even properly founded, since St. Francis Xavier died nearby in 1552, after carrying his Jesuit mission all the way to Japan. His reportedly incorruptible body, however, was transported back to Goa, where it remains -- and is displayed periodically. After Napoleon occupied Portugal itself in 1807, there was a brief British occupation of Macao (1808); but then the Portuguese government itself relocated to Brazil, as an ally of Britain, so no durable British presence resulted. In World War II, the Japanese completely surrounded Macao, and their troops entered the city several times; but since Portugal not only was neutral in the War but was under a Fascist dictatorship friendly to Germany, Japan had good reason to avoid any more aggressive actions. With the establishment of democracy in 1974, Portugal intended to divest itself of all its colonies. Curiously, the Chinese didn't exactly want Macao back. Like Hong Kong, the colony was a Chinese window on the larger world and a good source of foreign currency. In 1979, there was an agreement that Macao was simply a Chinese territory administered by Portugal. Then in 1987 it was agreed that the Portuguese would leave in 1999, two years after Hong Kong would revert to China. By then, China had opened itself directly to the larger world, embraced capitalism, and no longer needed the colonial intermediaries. So at long last the day of European colonies in East Asia passed.

Portuguese trade with China had one curious and durable result, contributing the word for a fruit, the sweet orange, to many languages. This is discussed, appropriately, under the Princes of Orange.

The list of Governors of Macao is from a page at the World Statesmen site.

Spanish Possessions
  • Canary Islands (1404-1420, 1479-present)
  • Melilla (1497-present)
  • Viceroyalty of New Spain (1521-1821)
  • Mariana Islands (1521/1668-1898)
  • Caroline Islands (1527-1899)
  • Marshall Islands (1529-1898)
  • Viceroyalty of Peru (1533-1824)
    • Presidency (Audiencia) of Cuzco
    • Audiencia of Lima
    • Captaincy General (Audiencia) of Chile
  • Galapagos Islands (1535)
  • Juan Fernández Islands (1563)
  • Philippines (1570-1898)
  • Ceuta (1580-present)
  • Viceroyalty of New Granada (1739-1819)
    • Captaincy General of Caracas
    • Audiencia of Santa Fé
    • Captaincy General (Audiencia) of
      Guatemala
    • Presidency (Audiencia) of Quito
  • Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata (1776-1816)
    • Audiencia of Bueno Aires
    • Presidency (Audiencia) of Charcas
  • Spanish Guinea (1778-1827, 1884-1968)
    • Río Muni
    • Fernando Póo
    • Annobón
  • Spanish Sahara (1509-1524, 1860-1976)
  • Ifni (1476-1524, 1860-1970)
  • Easter Island (1770)
  • Spanish Morroco (1912-1956)

The Spanish Conquistadores, fresh from the Reconquista, not only conquered many new lands, they were in the unique position to overthrow a couple of entire civilizations, those of the Aztecs in Mexico and of the Incas in Peru. That someone would deliberately do this now seems unbelievably criminal and horrifying. There are some things to keep in mind about it, however.
Aztec Tlatoani
Acamapichtlic.1372-
c.1391
Huitzilihuitlc.1391-
c.1416
Chimalpopocac.1416-
1427
Itzcóatl1427-1440
Moctezuma I1440-1469
Axayacoatl1469-1481
Tizoc1481-1486
Ahuitzotl1486-1502
Moctezuma II1502-1519
Cuitlahuac1519-1520
Cuauhtémoc1520-1521
Spanish Conquest, 1521
The Spanish of the 16th century are now nearly as remote and exotic as the Aztecs and Incas themselves. Conquering Granada and converting the Moors was of a piece with conquering America and converting the Indians. That there was moral objection and dissent over this in Spain itself, and in the Church, does give us some hint of the values of liberal modernity, but the entire terms of the debate were still foreign. To the Spanish ariving in Mexico, the religion and the culture there were works of the Devil. The Aztec priesthood, without exception, was massacred, for this tatooed and bloody hierarchy consisted of conscious agents of Satan. And, to tell the truth, even now one might wonder, given the practices of Aztec religion, whose daily sacrament was human sacrifice, and whose priests often dressed in the flayed skins of victims. What was normal and customary in Aztec religion now would only be represented in the most disturbing of horror films, as acts perpetrated by maniacs or, indeed, by those in the supernatural grip of evil. Nor was this all simply accepted in the context of Mexico itself. The Aztecs were not loved, and their "empire" was a collection of subjugated tributary states, much of whose tribute was human. Several of them went over to the Spanish and provided essential aid in the overthrow of the Aztecs. The Aztec leader, the Tlatoani, which means something like "Speaker," was an elected and very nearly secular official. The list of the traditional Tlatoani is given above. Unlike the Aztec state, the domain of the Incas was a tightly centralized monarchy, with a divine and hereditary ruler, the Inca.
The Incas
Manco Capac Ic.1200
Sinchi Roca
Lloque Yupanqui
Mayta Capac
Capac Yupanqui
Inca Roca
Yahuar Huacac
Viracocha
Pachacuti Yupanqui1438-1471
Topa Yupanqui1471-1493
Huayna Capac1493-1525
Huáscarcivil war,
1525-1532
Atahuallpa1525-1533
Spanish Conquest, 1533
Manco Capac II1533-1544
Sayri Tupac1544-1561
Titu Cusi1560-1571
Tupac Amaru I1571
Tupac Amaru IIrebellion,
1780-1781

Besides the incommensurable moral paradigms at the time, the Aztecs and the Incas were in an extraordinarily vulnerable position. For all the centuries that civilizations had existed in Central and South America, they were still neolithic cultures. In their isolation they had progressed at a very slow rate technologically. The wonder of their gold and silver work distracts from but cannot conceal the fact that the tools of industry and war were all stone. The Aztecs fought, not with swords, but with clubs studded with obsidian blades. With no pack animals, except the llama in the Andes, neither culture had the wheel (except, curiously, on toys). Similarly, the sine qua non of the Old World civilizations, writing, didn't even exist among the Incas, and was still a very imperfect instrument in Central America. Only now, indeed, is the writing of the Mayans becoming better understood, but its level of development never got much beyond what the Egyptians had in the Archaic Period. After the Maya mysteriously abandoned their cities, no further progress was made at all, and the system the Aztecs inherited was less sophisticated. We only know as much as we do about the history of the Aztecs and Incas because of the living memories that could be recorded after the arrival of the Spanish -- though, of course, the many Maya and Aztec codices burned by the Spanish would have been a help.

For all the hopelessness of the encounters, what would one not give to have been with Cortés when he first entered the Valley of Mexico and saw the extraordinary sights there? Later, there would be much fiction and romance about "lost" civilizations, but this was the real thing, an entire world hidden from Ptolemy, Marco Polo, and Admiral He alike. And so, naturally, the Spanish destroyed it, usually with a treachery and ruthlessness nearly as appalling as the practices of Aztec religion. Both Moctezuma (or Montezuma) and the Inca Atahuallpa were treacherously seized. Moctezuma died after being stoned by his own people. Atahuallpa was held to ransom by Pizarro, and then murdered when the ransom was paid -- and the sacred virgins of the Inca all raped. After the debacle with Moctezuma, and needing to fight their way out of Tenochtitlán, Cortés and his men, with their many Indian allies, then attacked and destroyed the Aztec state. At first, the Spanish hoped that a puppet Inca, converted to Christianity, would be a good means of Spanish rule. But the chosen instrument, Manco Capac II, soon rebelled, and resistance continued for many years, until the last of the imperial family was hunted down, captured, and killed (1571). This all leaves a curious heritage. Few Mexicans or Peruvians want to adopt Nahuatl or Quechua as their language, or revive the old religions, but the manner in which the Spanish language and the Catholic religion arrived and were imposed still can rankle. Indeed, the remaining Marxist ideology of revolution in Mexico (and elsewhere) has tended to focus on the poverty and plight of unassimilated Indians. Sadly, since the solution offered for their plight is collectivism and command economics (i.e. the paradigm of Cuba), they can be sure of remaining in poverty.

Both the Aztecs and the Incas were heirs to much older civilizations, which are largely known only from archaeology. In South America there was no written language at all, not even by the time of the Incas. In Central America, there was indeed a written language, originated by perhaps the greatest civilization of the Americas, that of the Maya.

Spanish possessions endured rather better through the 17th and 18th centuries than the Portuguese did. The annual voyages of the treasure fleets from Vera Cruz to Spain and from Acapulco to the Philippines were the lifeblood of Spanish finances and the perennial temptation of enemies and pirates. They also established the silver Spanish dollar not only as the common currency of trade in the New World (adopted by the young United States), but in the Far East as well. Both the Japanese Yen and Chinese Yuán were originally versions of the Mexican dollars brought to the Philippines.

Governors (Captains General)
of Cuba, in Havana
Diego VelázquezDeputy,
1510-1524
Juan AltamiranoDeputy,
1524-1525
Gonzalo de GuzmánDeputy,
1525-1528
Juan de VadilloDeputy,
1528-1531
Manuel de RojasDeputy,
1531-1535
[vacant?]
1535-1537
Hernando de Soto1537-1542
Juanes de Avilainterim,
1543-1546
Antonio de Chaves1547-1548
Gonzalo Pérez de Angulo1548-1553
Carasa1553-1555
Diego de Mazariegos1555-1564
García Osorio1564-1567
Pedro Menéndez de Avilés1567-1574
Gabriel de Montalvo1574-1577
Francisco Carreño1577-1579
Gaspar de Torres1579-1580
Gabriel de Luján1580-1588
Juan de Tejada1588-1593
Juan Maldonado Barnuevo1593-1600
Pedro de Valdés1600-1608
Gaspar Ruiz de Pereda1608-1616
Sancho de Alquiza1616-1619
Jerónimo de Querointerim,
1619-1620,
military
Diego de Vallejointerim,
1619-1620,
civil
Francisco de Venegas1620-1624
Juan de Esquivel Saavedrainterim,
1624-1626
Cristóbal de Aranda
Damián Velázquez de Contreras
Juan Alonso Fernández
Lorenzo de Cabrera y Corbera1626-1630
Juan Bitrián de Beamonte y Navarra1630-1634
Francisco de Riaño y Gamboa1634-1639
Alvaro de Luna Sarmiento1639-1647
Diego de Villalba y Toledo1647-1653
Francisco Jelder1653-1654
Juan de Montaño Blázquez1654-1657
Juan de Salamanca1657-1662
Rodrigo Flores de Aldana1662-1663
Francisco de Avila Orejón y Gastón1663-1670
Francisco Rodríguez de Ledesma1670-1680
Luis Fern ndez de Córdova1680-1685
Diego Antonio de Viana Hinojosa1685-1689
Severino Manzaneda Salinas y Rozasinterim,
1689-1694
Diego de Córdova Lasso de la Vega,
Marquis of the Bao del Maestre
1694-1702
Pedro Benítez de Lugo1702
Luis Chacóninterim,
1702-1706,
1706-1708
military
Nicolás Chirinointerim,
1702-1706,
1706-1708
civil
Pedro Alvarez Villarín1706
Laureano de Torres y Ayala,
Marquis of Casatorre
1708-1711,
1713-1716
Luis Chacón and Pablo Cavero1711-1713
Vicente de Raja1716-1717
Gómez de Maraverinterim?,
1717-1718
Gregorio Guazo y Calderón1718-1724
Dioniso Martínez de la Vega1724-1734
Juan Francisco Güemes Orcasitas1734-1746
Juan Antonio Tineo y Fuertes1746
Diego Peñalosainterim,
1746-1747
Francisco Cagijal de la Vega1747-1760
Pedro de Alonso1760-1761
Juan de Prado Portocarrero1761-1762
Ambrosio de Funes Villalpando,
Count of Ricla
1763-1765
Diego Antonio Manrique1765
Pascual Jiménez de Cisneros1765-1766
Antonio María Bucarelli y Ursúa1766-1771
Felipe Fondesviela,
Marquis of la Torre
1771-1777
Diego José Navarro García Valdés1777-1781
Juan Manuel de Cajigal1782-1783
Luis de Urizaga1783-1785
José de Gálvez,
Count of Gálvez
1785
Bernardo de Troncoso1785
José de Ezpeleta y Galdeano1785-1788
Domingo Cabello1788-1790
Luis de las Casas1790-1796
Juan Procopio Basecourt,
Count of Santa Clara
1796-1799
Salvador de Muro y Salazar,
Marquis of Someruelos
1799-1812
Juan Ruiz de Apodaca1812-1816
José Cienfuegos Jovellanos1816-1819
Juan Manuel de Cajigal1819-1821
Nicolás Mahy 1821-1822
Sebastián Kindeláninterim,
1822-1823
Francisco Dionisio Vives1823-1832
Mariano Ricafort1832-1834
Miguel Tacón Rosique1834-1837
Joaquín Ezpeleta1834-1840
[?] Príncipe de Anglona1840-1841
Jerónimo Valdés1841-1843
Francisco Javier Ulloa1843
Leopoldo O'Donell1843-1848
Federico Roncali,
Count of Alcoy
1848-1850
José Gutiérrez de la Concha,
Marquis of La Habana
1850-1852,
1874-1875
Valentín Cañedo1852-1853
Juan de la Pezuela1853-1854
José Gerónimo de la Concha1854-1859
Francisco Serrano1859-1862
Domingo Dulce1862-1866,
1869
Francisco Lersundi1866,
1867-1869
Joaquín Manzano1866-1867
Blas de Villate,
Count of Valmaseda
1867,
1870-1872,
1875-1876
Antonio Caballero de Rodas1869-1870
Francisco de Ceballosinterim,
1872-1873
Cándido Pieltain1873
Joaquín Jovellar1873
Arsenio Martínez Campos1876-1879,
1895-1896
Ramón Blanco1879-1881,
1897-1898
Luis de Prendergast1881-1885
Ramón Fajardo1885-1887
Sabas Marín1887-1889,
1896
Manuel Salamanca1889-1890
Chinchilla1890
Camilo Polavieja1890-1892
Emilio Callejas1892-1895
Valeriano Weiler y Nicolau1896-1897
Spanish-American War, 1898
Cuba, whose governors are at right, was one of the earliest Spanish colonies, and one of the last. The visit of the United States battleship
Maine to Havana in 1898 was meant to show some U.S. disapproval of the measures that Spain was taking to suppress discontent and revolt against Spanish rule. When the Maine blew up and sank, probably from an internal explosion, Spain was immediately blamed and war was urged by many in the United States hungering for foreign adventure, imperialism, or something. The war was duly joined, and Spanish forces were crushed in Cuba and the Philippines. This was the end of a Spanish presence in the New World, 406 years since Columbus had landed.

What followed was a kind of love-hate relationship between Cuba and the United States. Cuba today represents the relationship as pure hate, with the country suffering under the most durable dictator of the 20th century, Fidel Castro. After being one of the most prosperous countries in Latin Ameria in the 1950's, Cuba now has been reduced to a per capita annual gross domestic product (GDP), adjusted for purchasing power, of $1700, only 5% of that of the United States [The Economist Pocket World in Figures, 2003 edition, Profile Books, 2002]. This is better than most Sub-Saharan African counties, where Tanzania, for instance, only has 1.5% of GDP of the United States ($520), but it is at the bottom of the list for Latin American states. It barely beats out Haiti ($1470). Meanwhile, Mexico has an adjusted per capita GDP of $8,790, 25.8% of the United States. Cubans have told foreign reporters that just to make a living, everything they do breaks the law.

Despite this miserable record of poverty, Castro is still nevetheless the darling of international "progressives," and is regularly visited by fawning celebrities, most recently (late 2002) Steven Spielberg -- the sort of people who wouldn't give the time of day to the despised former dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet. The modern Left has different ways of rationalizing this love affair. Since the promise of Communism to produce wealth has failed, this now can be interpreted as a virtue and Cuban poverty (except for Castro's own comfortable lifestyle, of course) construed as a noble ecotopia -- i.e. an ecological utopia. This is, indeed, the most progressive approach, since enlightened leftist opinion now regards the abundance of commercial cultures, and the consumer choice of market democracies, as the Rape of the Planet. Since most people don't buy the idea that poverty is good and that we should go backing to living at a neolithic, or paleolithic, level of culture, it always helps to have another rationalization ready. Thus, the American economic boycott of Cuba can be blamed for its poverty. There are two problems with that explanation. One is that it doesn't follow from Castro's own ideology. Communist and "progressive" economics have long recommended economic self-sufficiency and autarchy. They simply don't know why trade is necessary, and now would tend to regard it as an evil, not just because it will be based on market prices, which are evils in themselves, but because, like Plato, it is seen as the engine of "unnecessary desires," which stimulate overconsumption and so the Rape of the Planet. The other problem with blaming the boycott is that the United States is the only major country boycotting Cuba. If Americans want Cuban cigars, all they have to do is drive to Canada or Mexico.

The United States has a very large economy, 31% of world GDP, but that leaves 69% of the world economy, including Europe and Japan, to help out Cuba. It doesn't help for one simple reason:  Cuba is a Communist country. There is no private property and most productive economic acitivities are illegal. Since leftist opinion still doesn't understand what was wrong with Communism, it still can't accept that Cuba's problems are self-inflicted, or Fidel-inflicted. They seem to have a sort of Cargo Cult notion of economics, that wealth consists of "resources," which need to be divided up in equal shares for all (or not divided up at all, since they shouldn't be used, since this results in the Rape of the Planet).
Viceroys of New Spain, Nueva España
Hernán Cortés1519-1524
Alonso de Estradaco-governor,
1524-1526
Rodrigo de Albornozco-governor,
1524-1526
Alonso de Zuazo co-governor,
1524-1526
Luis Ponce de León1526
Marcos de Aguilar1526-1527
Government by the Audiencia,
under Nuño de Guzmán
1528-1530
Government by the Audiencia,
under Sebastián Ramírez de Fuenleal
1530-1535
Antonio de MendozaViceroy,
1535-1550
Luis de Velasco y Alarcón1550-1564
Government by the Audiencia,
under the licenciate Francisco de Ceynos
1564-1566
Gastón de Peralta,
Marquis of Falces and of Peralta,
Count of Santisteban de Larín
1566-1567
Luis Carrillo and Alonso Muñozinterim,
1567-1568
Martín Enríquez de Almansa1568-1580
Lorenzo Suárez de Mendoza,
Count of La Coruña
1580-1583
Pedro Moya de Contrerasinterim,
1584-1585
Álvaro Manrique de Zúñiga,
Marquis of Villamanrique
1585-1590
Luis de Velasco y de Castilla1590-1595,
1607-1611
Gaspar de Zúñiga y Acevedo,
Count of Monterrey,
Señor of Viedma and of Ulloa
1595-1603
Juan Manuel de Mendoza y Luna,
Marquis of Montes Claros
1603-1607
Francisco García Guerrainterim,
1611-1612
Diego Fernández de Córdoba
y Melgarejo de las Roelas,
Marquis of Guadalcázar
1612-1621
Diego Pimentel y Enríquez de Guzmán1621-1624
Rodrigo Pacheco y Osorio,
Marquis of Cerralbo
1624-1635
Lope Díez de Aux y Armendáriz,
Marquis of Cadereyta
1635-1640
Diego López Pacheco Cabrera y Bobadilla,
Grande de España
1640-1642
Juan de Palafox y Mendozainterim,
1642
García Sarmiento de Sotomayor
y Enríquez de Luna,
Count of Salvatierra
1642-1648
Marcos Torres y Ruedainterim,
1648-1649
Government by the Audiencia,
under Matías de Peralta
1649-1650
Luis Enríquez de Guzmán,
Count of Alba de Liste and of Villaflor
1650-1653
Francisco Fernández de la Cueva y Enríquez,
Duke of Alburquerque
1653-1660,
1702-1711
Juan de la Cerda de la Lama
y de la Cueva de Leiva,
Marquis of Ladrada
1660-1664
Diego Osorio de Escobar y Lamasinterim,
1664
Antonio Sebastián de Toledo Molina y Salazar,
Marquis of Mancera
1664-1673
Pedro Nuño Colón de Portugal,
Duke of Veragua
1673
Payo Enríquez de Riverainterim,
1673-1680
Tomás Antonio de la Cerda y Aragón,
Count of Paredes, Marquis of La Laguna
1680-1686
Melchor Portocarrero y Lasso de la Vega,
Count of Monclova
1686-1688
Gaspar de la Cerda Sandoval Silva y Mendoza,
Count of Galve
1688-1696
Juan de Ortega y Montañésinterim,
1696
José Sarmiento y Valladares1696-1701
Fernando de Láncaster Noroña y Silva,
Duke of Linares
1711-1716
Baltasar de Zúñiga y Guzmán,
Duke of Arión
1716-1722
Juan de Acuña y Bejarano,
Marquis of Casa Fuerte
1722-1734
Juan Antonio de Vizarrón y Eguiarrietainterim,
1734-1740
Pedro de Castro Figueroa y Salazar,
Duke of the Conquista
1740-1741
Government by the Audiencia,
under Pedro Malo de Villavicencio
1741-1742
Pedro Cebrián y Agustín,
Count of Fuenclara
1742-1746
Juan Francisco de Güemes
y Horcasitas Gordón Sáenz de Villamolinedo
1746-1755
Agustín de Ahumada y Villalón,
Marquis of las Amarillas
1755-1760
Government by the Audiencia,
under Francisco Cagigal de la Vega
1760
Joaquín de Monserrat y Ciurana,
Marquis of Cruïlles
1760-1766
Carlos Francisco de Croix,
Marquis of Croix
1766-1771
Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa1771-1779
Martín Díaz de Mayorgainterim,
1779-1783
Matías de Gálvezinterim,
then full,
1783-1784
Government by the Audiencia,
under Eusebio Beleño
1784-1785
Bernardo de Gálvez,
Clunt of Gálvez
1785-1786
Government by the Audiencia,
under Eusebio beleño
1786-1787
Alonso Núñez de Haro y Peraltainterim,
1787
Manuel Antonio Flórez Martínez
de Angulo Maldonado y Bodquín
1787-1789
Juan Vicente Güemes Pacheco
de Padilla y Horcasitas,
Count of Revilladiego
1789-1794
Miguel de la Grúa Talamanca,
Marquis of Branciforte
1794-1798
Miguel José de Azana1798-1800
Félix Berenguer de Marquina y Fitz-Gerald1800-1803
José Joaquín Vicente de Iturrigaray1803-1808
Pedro de Garibayinterim,
1808-1809
Francisco Javier Lizana y Beaumont1809-1810
Government by the Audiencia,
under the licenciate Pedro Catani
1810
Francisco Javier Venegas de Saavedra1810-1813
Félix María Calleja del Rey1813-1816
Juan José Ruiz de Apodaca1816-1821
Pedro Francisco Novellainterim,
1821
Juan O'Donojú y O'Rian1821
Independence of Mexico, 1821
This isn't even good
Marxism, since Marxist theory holds that value is created by labor and so does not pre-exist in "resources." What emerges from all this confusion is simply the conviction that Castro must be a good guy and Cuba's poverty has got to be someone else's fault -- unless, of course, it is good in itself. The best of both worlds then would be to embrace both, that poverty is good and that it is the fault of the United States.

Unfortunately for fans of Castro, they may have helped elect George W. Bush President of the United States. In 1999 little Elián González, after his mother died at sea, fleeing Cuba, was brought ashore and placed with his relatives in Florida. However, in 2000, he was seized by Federal agents and sent back to his father in Cuba -- actually, of course, to slavery and brainwashing. Cuban-Americans in Florida, a generation of refugees from Cuba, were (like any sensible people), outraged that the Clinton Administration and Attorney General Janet Reno would do something like that. In the close Presidential election of 2000, when the vote in Florida decided the outcome, it is doubtful that Democrat Al Gore received many Cuban votes. Janet Reno then tried running for Governor of Florida and was easily defeated by George Bush's brother Jeb. George Bush carried Florida again in 2004 without difficulty. Those who have ever since bewailed Gore's loss of Florida in 2000 should congratulate themselves -- and they may just have Elián González to thank for it.


New Spain begins with the Conquest of Mexico by Hernán Cortés in 1519-1521. It is made a Viceroyalty in 1535, and so was promoted in status beyond the earlier Spanish outposts of Hispañola and Cuba.

The Audiencia (or Audenica) was a governing court that consisted of judges, prosecutor, and other officials, under the Viceroy, a Captain General, or a President. Where "Government by the Audiencia" is indicated, it is under a President who is not a formally appointed Viceroy or governor. Government by the Audiencia in this way, or by acting or interim Viceroys is indicated where it occurs.

The racial hierarchy in Spanish America is noteworthy. At the top are European born Spaniards, the "peninsulars," gachupines (now generally used derogatorily). Next come pure blooded Spaniards who nevertheless have been born in America. These are the criollos. This can be translated "Creoles"; but that is a little bit misleading. Creoles in French colonies could be of mixed blood, but in Spanish America those would be mestizos, not criollos. Mestizos were then a major cut in social status below both the peninsulas and criollos -- although intermarriage was approved in 1514, the rights of mestizos were officially curtailed in 1549 and 1576. Below them all, of course, were pure Indians and African slaves. Mixed marriages with Africans produced mulatos (from mulo, "mule"), a word simply borrowed into English with the same sense ("mulattoes"). Runaway slaves became cimarrones.

New Spain included all Spanish America north of Panama, but it broke up when Mexico became independent. That began with the revolt of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in 1810. Independence was achieved by Augustín de Itúrbide in 1821. Itúrbide ruled as Emperor for a couple of years and then was overthrown. A Republic was declared in 1824, although its history would be marked by several episodes of dictatorship.

At independence, the population of New Spain was 1,230,000 peninsulars and creoles, 1,860,000 mestizos, and 3,700,00 Indians.

Mexico, with one of the wealthiest and largest economies in Latin American, with reasonable (but not great) growth and economic freedom, nevertheless must endure comparisons, with only 25% of income purchasing power parity, with its gigantic neighbor, the United States. Those benefiting the least from Mexico's economy often cross the border, illegally, into the United States. While many political interests in the United States favor this immigration, rendering the major parties both unable to really do anything about it, either to legalize or prevent it, a political preference for legality is rarely stated in the proper terms of free trade and free immigration. Instead the dynamic created is a grave danger to American politics. This is true for at least three reasons:  (1) the Democratic Party wishes to maintain or legalize the illegal immigration to curry favor with a Hispanic ethnic constituency both to inflate the population of already Democratic electoral districts, giving them greater representation for smaller numbers of actual voters, or to actually steal elections through fraudulently registering illegal voters. The election laws are now loose enough that this is quite possible, and may have just occurred on a large scale in the election of the Governor of the State of Washington in 2004.

Since Democratic policies are statist and socialist, ideas otherwise being discredited in American politics, this is all a dangerous tendency. (2) Hispanic immigrants have often been politicized in their own homelands, whether in Mexico or Central America, with leftist and communist indoctrination (Cubans, of course, are immune to this).
Viceroys of Perú
Francisco Pizarrogovernor and
captain general
of Nueva Castilla,
1533-1541
Diego de Almagro "el mozo"self-proclaimed
governor,
1541-1542
Cristóbal Vaca de Castrogovernor of Perú,
1542-1544
Blasco Núñez de VelaViceroy,
1544-1546
Government by the Audiencia,
under Diego Cepeda
1544
Gonzalo Pizarronominated,
1544-1548
Pedro de la GascaPresident,
nominated,
1546-1550
Government by the Audiencia1550-1551
Antonio de Mendoza1551-1552
Government by the Audiencia1552-1556
Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza
y Fernández de Bobadilla,
Marquis of Cañete
1556-1561
Diego López de Zúñiga y Velasco,
Count of Nieva
1561-1564
Government by the Audiencia1564
Lope García de Castrointerim,
1564-1569
Francisco de Toledo1569-1581
Martín Enríquez de Almansa1581-1583
Government by the Audiencia1583-1585
Fernando Torres Portugal y Mesía,
Count of Villa don Pardo
1585-1590
Andrés García Hurtado
de Mendoza y Manrique,
Marquis of Cañete
1590-1596
Luis de Velasco1596-1604
Gaspar de Zúñiga Acevedo y Fonseca,
Count of Monterrey
1604-1606
Government by the Audiencia1606-1607
Juan Manuel de Mendoza y Luna,
Marquis of Montes Claros
1607-1615
Francisco de Borja y Aragón,
Count of Mayalde y de Ficalho
1615-1621
Government by the Audiencia,
under Juan Jiménez de Montalvo
1621-1622
Diego Fern ndez de Córdoba
y Melgarejo de las Roelas,
Marquis of Guadalcázar
1622-1629
Luis Fernández de Cabrera
Bobadilla de la Cerda,
Count of Chinchón
1629-1639
Pedro de Toledo y Leyva,
Marquis of Mancera
1639-1648
García Sarmiento de Sotomayor
y Enríquez de Luna,
Count of Salvatierra
1648-1655
Luis Enríquez de Guzmán,
Count of Alba de Liste, Grande de España
1655-1661
Diego de Benavides y de la Cueva,
Count of Santiesteban del Puerto
1661-1666
Government by the Audiencia,
under Bernardo Iturrizarra
1666-1667
Pedro Antonio Fernández
de Castro Andrade y Portugal,
Duke of Taurizano
1667-1672
Government by the Audiencia1672-1674
Baltasar de la Cueva y Enríquez1674-1678
Melchor de Liñán y Cisnerosinterim,
1678-1681
Melchor de Navarra y Rocafull,
Duke of la Palata
1681-1689
Melchor Portocarrero Lasso de la Vega,
Count of la Monclova
1689-1705
Government by the Audiencia1705-1707
Manuel de Sentmenat-Oms
de Santa Pau,
Marquis of Castell-Dos-Rius
1707-1710
Government by the Audiencia1710
Diego Ladrón de Guevarainterim,
1710-1716
Government by the Audiencia1716
Diego Morcillo y Rubio de Auñóninterim, 1716;
1720-1724
Carmine Nicola Caracciolo,
Prince of Santo Buono
1716-1720
José de Armendáriz,
Marquis of Castelfuerte
1724-1736
José Antonio de Mendoza
Caamaño y Sotomayor,
Marquis of Villagarcía
1736-1745
José Antonio Manso de Velasco
y Sánchez Samaniego,
Count of Superunda
1745-1761
Felipe Manuel Cayetano Amat
y Junyent Planella y Vergós
1761-1776
Manuel de Guiror y Portal de Huarte,
Count of Guiror
1776-1780
Agustín de Jáuregui y Aldecoainterim,
1780-1784
Francisco Teodoro de Croix,
Count of Croix
1784-1790
Francisco Gil de Taboada
Lemos y Villamarín
1790-1796
Ambrosio O'Higgins,
Marquis of Osorno
1796-1801
Gabriel de Avilés y del Fierro,
Marquis of Avilés
1801-1806
José Fernando de Abascal y Sousa,
Marquis of la Concordia
1806-1816
Joaquín de la Pezuela Griñán
y Sánchez Muñoz de Velasco,
Marquis of Viluma
1816-1821
José de la Serna y Martínez de Hinojosa1821-1824
Independence of Chile, 1818;
Independence of Peru, 1820-1824
Legal or illegal, if they become politically active, they thus tend to be drawn to movements of the most leftist and anti-American cast. And (3) no movement is more dangerous for them or America than a simple Mexican nationalism which wants to take over the Southwestern States and perhaps reunite them with Mexico. Why anyone would flee the poverty and corruption of Mexico and then want to turn their refuge into Mexico is perplexing, but then the people involved in such a movement exhibit irrationality to high degree -- not to mention a lunatic fringe leftism that passes over into the kind of fascism and racism that, as leftists, they love to accuse their opponents (i.e. mainstream American politicians and citizens) of practicing. In the contemporary world, when the lunatic fringe left has allied itself with
Islamic terrorism, this is a dangerous development indeed. Although their rhetoric is emerging in Democratic Party politics, what such people and their allies really want is violence, war, and slaughter, i.e. Marxist revolution -- nothing short of that, indeed, is liable to detach the Southwest from the United States. There is little that is honest or revealing said about this in American politics or the news media.

These lists of Viceroys, with some other governors of Spanish America, were sent to me by Daniel Ruiz-Castillo Galán. I have reproduced the Viceroys of the four Viceroyalties and the Governors of Cuba (since they start early and last all the way to 1898). Mr. Ruiz-Castillo Galán lists his sources as Crónica de América, Guillem Burrel y Floriá (director) [Plaza & Janés Editores, SA (1990), Barcelona, pp. 702-717] and Los virreyes españoles en América; Relación de virreinatos y biografía de los virreyes españoles en América, José Montoro [Editorial Mitre, SA (?), Barcelona]. I have left out some detail from Mr. Ruiz-Castillo Galán's information, like Viceroys who declined the office or died before taking it up.


Spanish Peru was established with the Conquest of the Incas by Francisco Pizarro. It initially consisted of all Spanish territories in South America, except for parts of Venezuela, which belonged to New Spain. Peru became a Viceroyalty (the second) in 1543. New Granada (1739) and the Río de la Plata (1776) were later detached from it.

Independence began when José de San Martín defeated the Spanish at the battle of Chacabuco in 1817. Chile then became independent under Bernardo O'Higgins in 1818. San Martín captured Lima in 1821. The Viceroy was finally defeated by Antonio José de Sucre at the battle of Ayacucho in 1824.

At independence, the population of Peru and Chile consisted of 465,000 persons of European blood (peninsulars and creoles), 853,000 mestizos, and 1,030,000 Indians.

The Economist of December 14th-20th 2002 reported that the economy of Peru had grown by 7.3% from a year earlier, with 1.5% inflation. This was the best economic performance in Latin America. If all that Peru did was follow the advice of their brilliant home grown economist, Hernando de Soto (cf. The Other Path, the Economic Answer to Terrorism, Basic Books, 1989), the future would have been secure. Of course, whether such advice would continue to be followed depended on other political factors. Chile had been on a similar track, but it only showed 1.8% growth, with 3.0% inflation, a performance not markedly superior to several other Latin American countries.

In 2003, The Economist of July 26th-August 1st now reports Peru with only 1.8% growth from a year ago, and 2.2% inflation. Things thus seem to have begun to go wrong, with even a revival of the Maoist terrorists of the Sendaro Luminoso, the "Shining Path." I await Professor de Soto's report on what the problems have been. Meanwhile, Chile is reported to have 3.8% growth and 3.6% inflation, a more promising performance.

Viceroys of New Granada,
Nueva Granada
Government by the Audiencia1550-1564
Antonio Díaz Venero de Leivacaptain general,
1564-1574
Gedeón de Hinojosa1574
Francisco Briceño1574-1575
Government by the Audiencia1575-1577
Lope Díez Aux de Armendáriz1578-1580
Juan Bautista Monzóninterim?
1580-1582
Juan Prieto de Orellana1582-1585
Guillén Chaparrointerim?
1585-1590
Antonio González1590-1597
Francisco de Sande1597-1602
Government by the Audiencia,
under Nuño Núñez de Villavicencio
1603-1605
Juan de Borja1605-1628
Government by the Audiencia1628-1630
Sancho Girón,
Marquis of Sofraga
1630-1637
Martín de Saavedra y Guzmán1637-1644
Juan Fernández de Córdoba y Coalla,
Marquis of Miranda de Auta
1645-1653
Dionisio Pérez Manrique,
Marquis of Santiago
1654-1659,
1660-1662
Juan Cornejo1659-1660
Diego Egües Beaumont1662-1664
Government by the Audiencia1664-1666
Diego del Corro y Carrascal1666-1667
Diego de Villalba y Toledo1667-1671
Melchor de Liñán y Cisneros interim?
1671-1674
Government by the Audiencia1674-1678
Francisco del Castillo y Concha1678-1685
Sebastián de Velasco1685-1686
Giláde Cabrera y Dávalos1686-1703
Government by the Audiencia1703-1708
Diego de Córdoba y Lasso de la Vega 1708-1711
Francisco Cossío y Otero interim?
1711
Government by the Audiencia1711-1713
Francisco de Meneses de
Saravia y Bravo
1713-1715
Government by the Audiencia1715-1717
Nicolás Infante de Venegasinterim?
1717
Francisco del Rincóninterim?
1717-1718
Antonio de la Pedroza y Guerrero1718-1719
Jorge de VillalongaViceroy,
1719-1723,
Governor,
1723-1724
Antonio Manso y Maldonado1724-1731
Government by the Audiencia1731-1733
Rafael de Eslava1733-1737
Government by the Audiencia1737-1738
Antonio González Manrique1738
Government by the Audiencia1738-1739
Francisco Gonz lez Manrique1739-1740
Sebastián de Eslava
Alzaga Berrio y Eguiarreta
Viceroy,
1740-1749
Juan Alfonso Pizarro,
Marquis of Villar
1749-1753
José Manuel de Solís
y Folch de Cardona
1753-1761
Pedro Messía de la Cerda,
Marquis of la Vega de Armijo
1761-1772
Manuel de Guirior y Portal de Huarte1772-1775
Manuel Antonio Flórez Martínez
de Angulo Maldonado y Bodquín
1776-1782
Juan de Torresar y Díaz Pimientainterim,
1782
Juan Francisco Gutiérrez de Piñeresinterim,
military and
the Audiencia,
1782
Antonio Caballero y Góngorainterim,
then confirmed,
1782-1789
Francisco Gil de Taboada
Lemos y Villamarín
1789
José de Ezpeleta
y Galdeano Dicastrillo y Prado,
Señor de Beire
1789-1797
Pedro de Mendinueta y Muzquiz1797-1803
Antonio Amar y Borbón
Arguedas y Vallejo de Santa Cruz
1803-1810
United Provinces of New Granada, 1810-1816
Benito Pérez de Valdelomarcapital in
Panama,
1810-1812
Francisco Montalvocapitan general,
in Santa Marta
and Cartagena,
1812-1818
Juan de Sámano1818-1819
Juan de la Cruz Mourgeóncapitan general,
1820-1822
Independence of Colombia,
Venezuela, and Ecuador as Gran Columbia, 1823


New Granda, previously part of Peru, was permanently made a Viceroyalty, the third, in 1740, consisting of what now are Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, and Ecuador. Simón Bolívar ended Spanish rule in 1823, and a Republic of Gran Colombia was established. Venezuela and Ecuador separated in 1830. Panama became independent in 1903 with the help of the United States, and at the price of ceding the Canal Zone for the United States to build and run the Panama Canal, which was opened in 1914.

The population at independence of Colombia and Venezuela was 642,000 peninsulars and creoles, 1,256,000 mestizos, and 720,000 Indians.

The Economist of December 14th-20th 2002 reported that the economy of Venezuela had shrunk by 5.5% from a year earlier, with 30.7% inflation. This was pretty bad, and was the characteristic effect of the actions of the Castroite President Hugo Chávez. At the time, as it happened, the opposition, which had tried overthrowing Chávez and, in lieu of a coup, had been calling for early elections, had been trying to maintain a general strike with constant demonstrations. It remained to be seen how this was all going to play out.

In 2003, The Economist of July 26th-August 1st, reported that the Venezuelan economy shrank by 29% from the previous year, with 34.2% inflation. Chávez has ridden out the general strike and has begun to assassinate opponents. A Castroite Venezuela will have more money, from oil revenues, to favor the politically reliable than Cuba does; but Chávez is also apparently appointing politically reliable people to run the oil industry, and they don't know what they are doing. Thus, oil production is down, and since Chávez is favoring Cuba with some of the production, the pie is going to get smaller and smaller for the impoverished Venezuelans who foolishly provide Chávez with such mass support as he commands. Where things are headed is indicated by the waves of worshipful political pilgrims from the diehard anti-globalization Left who are beginning to journey thither (making Venezuela the "new Nicaragua"). Perhaps South Americans should be warned that such people worship the virtuous poverty ("ecotopia") achieved by Castro in Cuba. Do Venezuelans really want prostitution to be one of their principal cash industries, as in Cuba?

By 2005, the Venezuelan economy has rebounded, but inflation remains very high and Chávez's love affair with Castro continues. This particular tragedy thus may take some time yet to resolve itself.

Early in 2006 Chávez has made friends with Iran and has apparently turned against the Jews. There may not be a lot of Jews in Venezuela, but they are being harassed, verbally and legally. The Anti-Semitism of Islamic Fascism was already obvious, but Chávez seems to have decided that it is all of a piece with the international anti-imperialist (i.e. anti-American) movement. Meanwhile, a Chávez protégé, Evo Morales, leader of a coca growers union, has been elected President of Boliva. It is hard not to smile at his intention to protect coca, the source of cocaine, from the eradication that drug warriors desire. This will get their goat. On the other hand, his muddled leftism -- he praised Che and denounced "neo-liberalism" in his inaugural address -- may produce many years of pointless misery for Bolivia.
Viceroys of the Río de la Plata
Pedro de Mendozacaptain general,
1534-1537
Juan de Ayolas 1537-1539
Domingo Martínez de Irala1539-1541,
1544-1556
Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca1541-1544
Gonzalo de Mendoza1556-1558
Francisco Ortiz de Vergara1558-1569
Juan Ortiz de Zárate1569-1576
Juan de GarayDeputy,
1576-1587?
Juan Torres de Vera y Aragón1577-1591,
effective
from 1587
Hernando Arias de Saavedra1601-1609,
1614-1618
Diego de Góngora1618-1623
Francisco de Céspedes1623-1631
Pedro Esteban Dávila1631-1637
Mendo de la Cueva y Benavídez1637-1641
Andrés de Sandovalinterim,
1641
Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera1641-1645
Jacinto Lariz1645-1653
Pedro Baigorri Ruiz1653-1660
Alonso Mercado y Villacorta1660-1663
Juan Martínez de Salazar1663-1674
Andrés de Robles1674-1678
José de Garro1678-1682
José de Herrera y Sotomayor1682-1691
Agustín de Robles1691-1698
Manuel de Prado y Maldonado1698-1701
Antonio Juan de Valdés e Inclán1701-1707
Manuel de Velasco y Tejada1708
Juan José de Mutiloa interim?
Alonso de Arce y Soria1714
José Bermúdez de Castrointerim,
1714-1715
Baltasar García Ros1715-1717
Bruno de Zavala1717-1734
Miguel de Salcedo y Sierraalta1734-1742
Domingo Ortiz de Rozas1742-1745
José de Andonaegui 1745-1756
Pedro Antonio de Ceballos
Cortés y Calderón
1756-1766,
Viceroy,
1777-1778
Francisco de Paula Bucarelli y Ursúa1766-1770
Juan José de Vértiz y Salcedo1770-1777,
Viceroy,
1778-1784
Nicol s del Campo Maestre
Cuesta de Saavedra,
Marquis of Loreto
1784-1789
Nicolás Antonio de Arredondo1789-1795
Pedro Melo de Portugal y Villena1795-1797
Antonio Olaguer y Feliúinterim,
1797-1799
Gabriel de Avilés y Fierro,
Marquis of Avilés
1799-1801
Joaquín del Pino y Rozas1801-1805
Rafael de Sobremonteintermim,
then confirmed,
1805-1807
Santiago de Liniers y de Bremondinterim,
then cponfirmed,
1807-1809
Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros1809-1810
Francisco Javier de Elío y Olóndriz1811
Gaspar Vigodetcapitan general,
1811-1814
Independence of United Provinces, 1810-1816; separation from Argentina of Paraguay, 1814, Bolivia, 1825, and Uruguay, 1828
Thus, it is noteworthy that the impotent
ideologues of American universities, who give legitimacy to this kind of thing, cause real harm in the world, however meaningless (or not, unfortunately) their rants in the United States itself.

As of 2013, Chávez has managed to survive politically, at great cost to Venezuela, but the Fates have had different ideas. It now appears that the man will die of cancer. For a while, it looked like he had beaten it, thanks to Spanish doctors flown into Cuba, but all the might of Cuban medicine has apparently availed him not. What will come of Venezuela in the aftermath is anyone's guess.

The high drama and tragedy of the Chávez regime also has its farcical moments. The Venezuelan actress, María Conchita Alonso (b.1957), is an outspoken critic of Chávez and has vainly tried to alert Americans to the program of the Democrats in taking the United States down the same socialist and fascist road. In December 2011, she encountered actor Sean Penn at Los Angeles International Airport. Penn, a faithful Red Diaper Baby, has disgraced himself with public support and friendship for Chávez. Penn's roots and preference became clear when he said that critics should not be allowed to tell "lies" about Chávez. Uncle Joe Stalin would have been proud. Alonso told Penn that he was a communist, and he responded that she was a "pig." Perhaps he was flustered and forgot that the expression is "capitalist running dog."


The Río de la Plata, previously part of Peru, was made a separate Viceroyalty in 1776 -- the last of the Viceroyalties to be created. The Viceroyalty came under local control in 1810, under General Manuel Belgrano. In 1816, he declared complete independence. Paraguay had already broken away in 1814. Subsequently, Bolivia seceded in 1825 and Uruguay in 1828. Paraguay lost considerable territory to Argentina and Brazil in the War of the Tripple Alliance, 1865-1870, which killed something like half its population.

The population at independence of the Río de la Plata was 320,000 peninsulars and creoles, 742,000 mestizos, and 1,200,000 Indians. Later, in Argentina the local Indians were virtually exterminated. With the Indians gone and a large European immigrant population, Argentina for long seemed hardly like a South American country at all, and it was widely expected to compete economically with European countries. These expectations went very bad under the dictatorship of Juan Perón (1945-1955 and 1973-1974). Fascist politics and socialist economics spelled the end of both political freedom and economic growth. Perón was overthrown in 1955, but what Argentina had lost was simply never made good. Perón's return in 1973 was a bit of desperate nostalgia. Meanwhile, the rot of leftist politics provoked responses of military dictatorship and repression even in what had hitherto been the model democracy of Uraguay. In 2002, with the Argentine economy collapsing again, many descendants of the European immigrants were beginning to plan to return to their ancestral Italy, etc.

What went wrong with the Argentine economy is of serious interest. When the Argentine currency was pegged to the dollar, this was regarded as evidence of serious liberalization and responsibility in the economy. Unfortunately, such a policy means that the country loses control over inflation and deflation, since the money supply can only be manipulated to maintain the peg, not to maintain price stablity. At the same time, no control was exercised over public spending, which requires inflationary money creation, even as the central bank must withdraw money to maintain the peg. These contradictory pressures could not be juggled indefinitely, but the response of the government simply made things worse, by prohibiting bank withdrawls and such measures as to destroy the value of savings and of any confidence that people might have had in the economic system. With a Castroite radical now as President of Venezuela, a similarly radical leftist (at least in rhetoric) in Brazil, and the pseudo-"liberalization" discredited in Argentina, it looks like we may be headed for more miserable experiments in socialism and dictatorship in South America.

The Economist of December 14th-20th 2002 reported that the Argentine economy had shrunk by 13.6% from a year earlier, with 40.5% inflation. Pretty bad. Now in 2003, however, The Economist of July 26th-August 1st, reports that the economy has grown by 5.1% from a year ago, with 10.2% inflation. This looks much better, and 5.1% growth is excellent for the area, or for anywhere. This is encouraging, but I understand that the institutional arrangements are still adverse to entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, this is better news than from the continuing train wreck in Venezuela.

As of 2013, the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, riding the tide of anti-liberal fascism that has been plaguing even the United States, has been nationalizing companies and otherwise thumbing her nose at the European and other creditors that have been keeping the Argentine economy afloat. The economic doldrums of the American and much of the European economy, leaves Argentine, like the Southern tier of Europe (from Spain to Greece), in yet worse shape. It is a time when elites seem to have learned only stupidity from the examples of history. Certainly, Say's Law might as well be a kind of Occult Scripture, known only to some hidden ranks of unfortunately ineffective Illuminati.

The election of the Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis I in 2013 was a matter of considerable interest. However, Francis seems to have absorbed and retained all the evil anti-capitalist and fascist ideas of Peronism, which he has been expressing freely, to the delight of the enemies of freedom worldwide. While Francis thinks that these ideas are for the benefit of the poor, he apparently has been paying no attention to their actual effects in Argentina. But ignoring outcomes and clinging to exploded but fanatical ideology is characteristic of the modern political Left.

The Maya and the Kings of Tikal

The Pillars of Hercules

Philosophy of History

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Copyright (c) 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2014 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved

The Pillars of Hercules

The arms of Spain, which have sometimes appeared on the flag of Spain, are supported by pillars on each side, the left one wrapped in a banner inscribed "PLVS," the right one wrapped in a banner inscribed "VLTRA."

These represent the "Pillars of Hercules," the mountains that the Greeks thought of as flanking the Strait of Gibraltar (Latin Fretum Herculeum, "Herculean Strait"). The mountain on the north side was called Kálpê (Latin Calpe), on the south side, Abýlê (Latin Abyla). The idea was that these were originally either adjacent or connected by a ridge, closing the Mediterranean from the Atlantic. Hercules either pushed the mountains apart or broke through the ridge, opening the Strait. The Phoenicians certainly got to the Strait before the Greeks, and the story of a hero creating the channel may be a Phoenician one, with the god Melqart as the agent.

The idea that the Strait of Gibraltar got opened up at some time turns out to be true. The tectonic plates of Europe and Africa have pushed up against each other and pulled apart at different geological times.
Gibraltar captured from Spain by Anglo-Dutch force, 4 August 1704
Governors of Gilbraltar,
held for Archduke Charles
Sir George Rooke1704
Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt1704
Henry Nugent, Count of Valdesoto1704
John Shrimpton1704-1707
Roger Elliott1707-1711
Thomas Stanwix1711-1713
Ceded to Britain, 1713
Thomas Stanwix1713
The Earl of Portmore1713-1720
Richard Kane1720-1727
Jasper Clayton1727-1730
Joseph Sabine1730-1739
Francis Columbine1739-1740
William Hargrave1740-1749
Humphrey Bland1749-1754
Thomas Fowke1754-1756
Lord Tyrawley1756-1757
The Earl of Home1757-1761
John Tooveyacting, 1761
John Parslowacting, 1761
Edward Cornwallis1761-1776
John Irwinacting, 1765-1767
Robert Boydacting, 1776-1777
George Augustus Eliott1777-1787
Lord Heathfield1787-1790
Sir Robert Boydacting, 1790
1790-1794
Henry Clinton1794–1795
Charles Rainsford1794-1795
Charles O'Hara1795-1802
Charles Barnett1802
The Duke of Kent1802-1820
Sir Thomas Triggeacting, 1803-1804
Henry Edward Foxacting, 1804-1806
James Drummondacting, 1806
Sir Hew Dalrympleacting, 1806-1808
James Drummondacting, 1808-1809
Sir John Francis Cradockacting, 1809
John Smithacting, 1809
Alex McKenzie Fraseracting, 1809
Colin Campbellacting, 1809-1814
Sir George Donacting, 1814-1821
The Earl of Chatham1820-1835
Sir George Donacting, 1825-1830
Crown Colony
Sir George Donacting, 1830-1831
Sir William Houstonacting, 1831-1835
Sir Alexander Woodford1835-1842
Sir Robert Thomas Wilson1842-1848
Sir Robert William Gardiner1848-1855
Sir James Fergusson1855-1859
Sir William Codrington1859-1865
Sir Richard Airey1865-1870
Sir William Williams1870-1876
Lord Napier of Magdala1876-1883
Sir John Miller Adye1883-1886
Sir Arthur Hardinge1886-1890
Sir Leicester Smyth1890-1891
H.R.L. Newdigateacting, 1891
Sir Lothian Nicholson1891-1893
G.J. Smartacting, 1893
Sir Robert Biddulph1893-1900
Sir George Stuart White1900-1905
Sir Frederick Forestier-Walker1905-1910
Sir Archibald Hunter1910-1913
Sir Herbert Miles1913-1918
Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien1918-1923
Sir Charles Monro1923-1928
Sir Alexander Godley1928-1933
Sir Charles Harington Harington1933-1938
Sir Edmund Ironside1938-1939
Sir Clive Gerard Liddell1939-1941
The Viscount Gort1941-1942
Sir Noel Mason-Macfarlane1942-1944
Sir Ralph Eastwood1944-1947
Sir Kenneth Arthur Noel Anderson1947-1952
Sir Gordon MacMillan1952-1955
Sir Harold Redman1955-1958
Sir Charles Keightley1958-1962
Sir Alfred Ward1962-1965
Sir Gerald Lathbury1965-1969
Sir Varyl Begg1969-1973
Sir John Grandy1973-1978
Sir William Jackson1978-1981
British Dependent Territory
Sir William Jackson1981-1982
Sir David Williams1982-1985
Sir Peter Terry1985-1989
Sir Derek Reffell1989-1993
Sir John Chapple1993-1995
Sir Hugo White1995-1997
Sir Richard Luce1997-2000
David Durie2000-2002
British Overseas Territory
Sir David Durie2002-2003
David Bluntacting, 2003
Sir Francis Richards2003-2006
Philip Bartonacting, 2006
Sir Robert Fulton2006-2009
Leslie Pallettacting, 2009
Sir Adrian Johns2009-present
When they have pushed together, the Mediterranean basin, which geologically as well as geographically separates the continents, i.e. it is oceanic crust, has become separated from the oceans and has even dried up into a salt desert. The salt deposits are still at the bottom of the Sea. When the plates pulled apart, the crust thinned and the connecting ridge at Gibraltar dropped. At some point, the Atlantic found a way to break through, filling up the Mediterrean basin in a great waterfall that could have lasted for a century. This happened more than once and must have been among the more spectacular events of geological history.

I had always assumed that the famous view of the Rock as shown in this painting was from the South-East, approaching the Strait. However, it is actually from the North, coming down the coast. This is also evident in the photograph below.

Mount Calpe (which I've also seen called "Capi") is certainly to be identified with the Rock of Gibraltar, which is a limestone mass, 1408 feet high, covering about two square miles. It is a feature of considerable majesty, presenting both a symbol and the substance of great strength. Gibraltar gets its modern name as a result of the Islâmic Conquest of Spain. The forces of the Omayyad Caliph al-Wâlid, commanded by T.âriq ibn Ziyâd, landed in 711 at the mountain that henceforce was known by the commander's name, the Jabal T.âriq, "Mountain of T.âriq." Gibraltar is today a British possession.

The Rock was captured by British and Dutch forces, under the command of Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt, on 4 August 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession. Until the end of the War, it was held in the name of the Archduke Charles, the Pretender to Spain, who in 1711 became the Emperor Charles VI -- which is why Prince George was in command and is listed as one of the first Governors of Gibraltar. Once Charles was Emperor, however, even his allies did not want to see him unite the thrones of Spain and Austria, as Charles V had done. Britain reconsidered its war aims and, with some duplicity, made a separate Peace with France and Spain. Under the terms of this Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, Gibraltar was ceded to Britain in perpetuity.

One of the British admirals leading the capture of Gibraltar had the extraordinary name of "Clowdisley Shovell." Shovell did not live to see the end of the war. On October 22, 1707 (on the Julian calendar), Shovell's fleet ran aground in the fog on the Scilly Islands. Four of five ships were lost. A story is told that Shovell himself was one of only two men from the four ships who reached shore alive, but he was then murdered by a local woman, combing the beach, who wanted his ring. This supposedly became known in a deathbed confession years later, when the woman produced the ring as evidence. There is reason, however, to doubt this story, since the ring never did reappear. There is also a story that right before the disaster Shovell had a sailor hanged who breached discipline by daring to suggest that the navigators had made a mistake about their location and that the fleet was in danger of grounding in the Scillies! However, there is apparently no contemporary evidence for this story, which appeared later in suspiciously different versions.

I do know that there is a pub called "The Ship and Shovell" near Charing Cross Station in London (1-3 Craven Passage, Charing Cross, WC2N 5PH). I have eaten lunch there.

Gibraltar was besieged by Spain from 1779 to 1783, during the American Revolutionary War, but it held out. This is now called the "Great Siege," reminiscent of the Great Sieges of Malta, one of which also had the British defending. At this time galleries were excavated in the Rock so that guns could be placed at elevation firing north to the Spanish lines. This was done successfully and now the "Great Siege Tunnels" are a tourist attraction. Below we see "The Siege and Relief of Gibraltar, 13 September 1782," by John Singleton Copley (1738-1815).

The last great strategic role of Gibraltar was in World War II, when the Strait was guarded with increasing effectiveness against the transit of German submarines. We see a fictionalized example of this in the 1981 movie Das Boot, when the submarine is almost sunk trying to pass by Gibraltar. To entice Spain into World War II, Hitler told Francisco Franco that German troops would take Gibraltar and then turn it over to Spain. Franco, advised by Hitler's own envoy, Admiral Canaris, that Germany would probably lose the War, declined to get involved.


The identification of Mount Abyla is less certain. This is either Mount Acha (or Hacho), just east of Ceuta, or the Jabal Mûsâ (Apes' Hill or Sierra Zimiera), west of Ceuta. Ceuta itself is today a Spanish possession, which Morocco would like to recover, just as Spain would like to recover Gibraltar. Mûsâ is Arabic for Moses, but it also was the name of Mûsâ ibn Nus.ayr, who effected the Islâmic conquest of Morocco.

T.âriq ibn Ziyâd was Mûsâ's freedman and lieutenant. T.âriq's successes in Spain exceeded his orders, and Mûsâ, jealous and angry, hurried after him with his army. T.âriq was rebuked and Mûsâ completed the conquest of Spain. As it happened, by doing this Mûsâ himself had left his post without the permission of the Caliph, and he was recalled to Damascus. Mûsâ and T.âriq arrived there early in 715, laden with the spoil of Spain and accompanied by captured Visigoth nobility. T.âriq made sure that he was not overlooked by the Caliph. Unfortunately for Mûsâ, although his insubordination was forgiven by al-Wâlid, the Caliph now died, and Mûsâ was not forgiven by the new Caliph, Sulaymân, who had instructed Mûsâ to delay his arrival in Damascus until after the Succession. Mûsâ was dismissed and disgraced, and his son 'Abdul-'Azîz, left as Governor of Spain, was executed.

The name of Jabal Mûsâ thus may reflect the judgment of the Arabs that this was Mount Abyla, and it was named (not, to be sure, by Sulaymân) as a companion to the Jabal T.âriq, with both commemorating the two conquerors of Spain and Morocco.


Ne plus ultra (often rendered non plus ultra) was the Latin motto for the Pillars of Hercules:  "No more beyond." The Ocean beyond was thought to be so vast as to be practically infinite -- or actually infinite, before the Greeks understood that the Earth was round. Either way, no ship would be able to make it across and around the world to Asia.

Even with a finite Earth, the distance was too great on the basis of an estimate of the size of the earth by Eratosthenes (d.196/195 BC) at 250,000 stadia in circumference. Depending on which stadium Eratosthenes was using, this either made the Earth about 20% too large or very nearly the accurate value (40,000 km). In the Middle Ages, however, an Arab attempt to measure a degree of latitude produced a much smaller value, small enough that Christopher Columbus figured that it had become possible, with current sailing technology, to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to Japan. With the patronage of Ferdinand and Isabella, in 1492 this is what he did, arriving, however, after the expected passage, not in Japan, but in the Bahamas.

The modern representation of the Pillars of Hercules is the doing of the Emperor Charles V, who was also King Charles (Carlos) I of Spain. In line with his titles, the right pillar is topped by a Royal Crown, the left by the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire.

After the Conquests of Mexico (1521) and Peru (1533) effected during his reign, Charles could hardly overlook the fact that there was plenty beyond the Pillars of Hercules. The motto on the Pillars is thus no longer ne plus ultra but now PLUS ULTRA, "More Beyond." What had been an empty window to the Classical world was now an open door to the Modern.

While other major European colonial powers, Portugal, the Netherlands, England, and France fronted directly on the Atlantic, Spain, although with its own Atlantic coast, derived its seapower principally from Aragón, which had been a maritime power in the Mediterranean since the 13th century, when King James I conquered Majorca (1231) and Peter III acquired Sicily (1282). Since the previous European maritime powers had been Italian states, like Venice, Pisa, and Genoa, Spain embodies the transition from ancient Mediterranean power to modern Atlantic power. The Mediterranean soon became a backwater; and Cadiz, the most remote Phoenician colony of Gades, became Spain's own Atlantic entrepôt -- unfortunately for Spain largely to receive the treasure fleets from the New World, not to be a source of commerce and manufacture like the ports of later Atlantic powers.

Above right I have been showing the list of British Governors of Gibraltar. This has been going on for 300 years now. Spain has always wanted Gibraltar back, and sometimes has been, at least, nasty about it. Gibraltarians have voted in 1967 and 2002 to reject both Spanish sovereignty and a sort of British-Spanish condominium. In 1969 Francisco Franco retaliated by closing the border, which was not fully reopened until 1985. Now Spain has begun claiming that Gibraltar possesses no territorial waters and that all the sea around is Spanish. This will probably end up adjudicated by the European Union. Meanwhile, the Rock has become a popular vacation destination. I picked up a map at a Gibraltar tourism office in London.

Above is a photograph of part of the American Great White Fleet in Gibraltar Harbor in 1909, after sailing most of the way around the world. The white hulls of the American ships are in stark contrast to the dark colors of the British. The southern section of the breakwater in the background orients us in relation to the map of Gibraltar above. At this point, naval fleets are still mostly Pre-Dreadnoughts, which gives the scene here a sort of Jurassic Park feel in comparison to what would become familar in World War I and II.

Philosophy of History

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Copyright (c) 2001, 2002, 2011, 2012 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved

The Maya and
the Kings of Tikal

The Maya have been called the Greeks of the New World, not just for their own achievements but apparently in contrast to the subsequently more Roman-like, i.e. imperial, Toltecs and Aztecs in Mexico. The Maya, like the Greeks, were divided into rival city states. Unlike the Greeks, the Maya were not conquered by the subsequent states. Instead, the Mayan civilization of the Classic Period (250-909 AD), in the south of the Yucatan (largely now in Guatemala), myseriously collapsed. Debate continues about this. One favored explanation, suspiciously similar to cautions in our own time, is that the population overburdened the ecology of the land, and agriculture suddenly and catastrophically failed. More recently, the suggestion is that there was simply a rare but devastating drought -- or not so rare, since it can have been part of what is now called the "Dark Ages Cooling," a manifestation of a regular, 1500-year cycle of climatic change in Earth history, between the "Roman Warming" and "Mediaeval Warming." Unlike centers of civilization in the Old World, none of the New World civilizations were in river valleys. The greatest rivers of the Americas, like the Amazon or the Mississippi, are not in the kinds of environments, arid or semi-arid, where the Old World civilizations began (Tigris-Euphrates, Nile, Indus, Huang He). Where a great American river is in an arid environment, as with the Colorado, it cuts down through a hard plateau and does not spread out on a floodplain like the Old World rivers. There is thus little room for the deposit of sediment or for agriculture. American civilizations began elsewhere. Although the Mayan cities were in jungle ("rain forest"), there is actually a lengthy dry season; and when the rain fails altogether, there is no other source of water. Not even wells were helpful, since water drained deep down through limestone formations. The Maya were careful about drainage and about storing rainwater in cisterns, but extended drought would put them in a grave situation.
Kings of Tikal
FounderYax Ehb' Xookc.90 AD
Foliated Jaguar?
Animal Headress?
c.250, drought
11thSiyaj Chan K'awiilc.307
Lady Une' B'alamc.317
13thK'inich Muwaan Jold.359
14thChak Tok Ich'aak I360-378
Yax Nuun Ayiin I379-404?
16thSiyaj Chan K'awiil II411-456
K'an Chitam458-486?
Chak Tok Ich'aak IIc.486-508
Lady of Tikal511->527
Kaloomte' B'alamc.511->527
Bird Claw?
21stWak Chan Ka'awiil537-562
22ndAnimal Skull>593->628
23rd & 24th
c.640
Nuun Ujol Chaak>657->679
Jasaw Chan K'awiil I682-734
27thYik'in chan K'awiil734->746
750, beginning of Dark Ages Cooling drought
28th
>766-768
29thYax Nuun Ayiin II768->794
Nuun Ujol K'inichc.800?
Dark Sunc.810
810, driest drought year
Jewel K'awiilc.849
860, driest drought year
Jasaw Chan K'awiil IIc.869
910, driest drought year
It may have. Unlike what we see in Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, the urban civilization was long gone by the time the Spanish arrived. The eerie abandoned cities of the central Yucatan were only rediscovered by travellers in the 19th century.

The Maya were the only New World civilization with a functionally complete system of writing. About 800 glyphs have been identified, of which 400-500 were commonly used, and 300+ of which have been deciphered. Since the Maya themselves never went away, and their languages still exist, the living languages, like Coptic, could provide clues to decipherment. Until the 1950's the system did defeat decipherment. Then it was discerned that, like Egyptian, Sumerian, and Chinese Characters, Mayan glyphs contained phonetic (in fact syllabic) elements. This opened the doors to much of Mayan history. The result was a little disillusioning, since many people had gotten the idea that the Maya were simply concerned with science, literature, and the spirit. The monumental inscriptions, however, recorded the warlike doings of royalty, just like in the Old World civilizations (and, for that matter, the Greeks). Like Chinese characters, the Mayan phonetic elements were included as part of the glyphs; but, like Egyptian but unlike Chinese writing, the phonetic elements ("phonetic complements" as in Egyptian) can fully represent pronunciation, instead of just provide clues, as in Chinese characters. As in Cuneiform or in the syllabic Minoan and Mycenaean scripts, some conventions were necessary in the use of syllabic elements (as, for instance, where a syllable ends in a consonant). It has been a matter of dispute, perhaps recently resolved, which of the modern Mayan languages is the most closely related to the ancient written language.

The table therefore displays the rulers of one of the principal Mayan cities of the Classic Period, Tikal. This is taken from the Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens by Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube [Thames & Hudson, 2000, pp.24-53]. This is the longest known sequence of Mayan kings, covering nearly the whole of the Classic Period. One of the titles of a king was his number in the succession, but I have given it only when Martin and Grube do, perhaps because it is not attested for them all. Eight early kings are unaccounted for. We do not enter the full light of history, therefore, until the beginning of the 4th century, in the days of Constantine.

After the abandonment of the cities of the southern Yucatan, Mayan civilization continues in somewhat diminished form during the Postclassic Period (909-1697) in the north at Chichen Itza and then at Mayapan until 1441. Not long before the arrival of the Spanish. For a while, the Spanish didn't even notice the Maya, but they began the conquest of the Mayan region in 1524. The Yucatan was not easily subdued. The last organized, resisting polity in the southern Yucatan, Noj Peten (or Taysal), in Lake Peten-Itza, was not taken until 1697. Even now, the religious practice of the Maya, although outwardly orthodox Catholicism, includes many features derived from traditional Mayan religion.

Probably the most remarkable feature of Mayan civilization is its mathematics and astronomy. Uniquely in the world, the Maya counted to the base twenty -- vigesimal counting. They were the only people outside of India to independently originate counting with zero. They devoted more attention to time and to the calendar than any other ancient people. Their "Long Count" chronology is the only absolute count of days from an ancient benchmark until the introduction of Julian Day Numbers. The Long Count is organized in cycles, but these are mostly to the base twenty and so do not differ much from simply giving the absolute number.
The Long Count
Alautun23,040,000,000 days
Kinchiltun1,152,000,000 days
Kalabtun57,600,000
Piktun2,880,000
Bak'tun144,000 days
K'atun7,200 days
Tun360 days
Winal20 days
K'in1 day
The exception is the use of a 360 day period (20 x 18), the Tun. Since this approximates the solar year (besides being the number of degrees into which the Babylonians divided the circle), its use is understandable. Larger cycles are the K'atun, 7,200 days (360 x 20) and the Bak'tun, 144,000 days (360 x 20 x 20). Even larger cycles were used (4 higher ones are shown in the table, out of 19!), but anything larger than the Bak'tun is going to be larger than historical time (the Piktun, 20 x 144,000 = 2,880,000 days > 7885 years). So their uses are only going to be speculative, or astronomical, neither of which daunted the Maya.

It is sometimes said that the Maya conceived the largest units of time in world history. Well, their compatriots in zero, in India, developed very large cycles also. The Life of Brahmâ, although there are different versions, can be as large as 309 trillion years. This is right up there with the extraordinary Mayan temporal vistas.

What is uncertain in this is the actual date of the benchmark and so the correlation to other calendars. Generally accepted now is the Goodman-Martinez-Thompson (GMT) correlation, where the zero day benchmark is Julian Day (JD) 584,283. There remains some uncertainty about this, however, and Martin and Grube prefer a GMT+2 date, JD 584,285. They give the example (p.13) of a stela with the Long Count date 9.10.16.8.14 (five places descending from the Bak'tun down to the individual day, the K'in). This gives a Long Count of 1,373,934 days. Added to the GMT+2 benchmark, that is JD 1,958,219, or 24 April 649 AD, on the Julian Calendar. The GMT benchmark itself (JD 584,283), which the Maya could have literally written 0.0.0.0.0 (no reactionary ordinalists here [note]), corresponds to 6 September 3114, on the Julian Calendar. This is marvelously close to the beginning of the I Dynasty of Egypt, which may comfort the kind of people who think that the civilization of the Americas comes from Egypt. However, if the Egyptians (or any other Old World civilization) had developed anything like the Long Count, ancient chronology would not involve the kind of speculation and frustration that it does. We do not get an absolute chronology for the Old World until Claudius Ptolemy uses the Babylonian Era of Nabonassar with the Egyptian 365 day year and complies the Canon of Kings. If the Maya could only have passed along their sytem to other civilizations, it would have solved many historical headaches. Unfortunately, the only other civilization that benefited from Mayan influence, in Mexico, didn't bother with the Long Count.

18 Months of
the Haab Year
0-19Pohp
0-19Wo
0-19Sip
0-19Sotz'
0-19Sek
0-19Xul
0-19Yaxk'in
0-19Mol
0-19Ch'en
0-19Yax
0-19Zak
0-19Keh
0-19Mak
0-19K'ank'in
0-19Muwan
0-19Pax
0-19K'ayab
0-19Kumk'u
0-4Wayeb
What Mexico did inherit was the other Mayan calendar system, an extraordinary nest of cycles now called the "Calendar Round." This consisted of two year counts, the 260 day sacred year, now called the Tsolk'in, and a 365 day solar year, called the Haab. The Maya were the only ancient people besides the Egyptians who independently adopted a 365 day year. With the Maya, this is sometimes called the "vague" year because 365 days isn't quite right for the solar year (365.24219878, the "tropical" year). But no one bothers being so careful with the Egyptian year, even though the Egyptians, like the Maya, knew that their calendar built up an error against the seasons but, again like the Maya, never introduced any correction.

The Egyptian calendar laps the year in 1460 Julian years (365.25 days) or 1461 Egyptian years. This gets called the "Sothic Cycle," after "Sothis," the Greek version of the Egyptian name for the star Sirius, whose appearance in the morning sky (the heliacal rising) marked the astronomical beginning of the Egyptian year. The date of the Sothic rising changed over the centuries and is substantially different at different latitudes, but a starting point is the statement of the Roman author Censorinus that the Sothic rising and Egyptian New Year corresponded in 139 AD. This would have been on (Julian) July 20. Simply subtracting 1460 moves us back one cycle to 1322 BC and two cycles to 2782 BC. According to Alan Gardiner (Egypt of the Pharaohs, Oxford, 1966, p.65) the former can be astronomically corrected to 1317 and the latter to 2773.
20 Named Days
of the Tzolk'in
1Imix
2Ik'
3Ak'bal
4K'an
5Chikchan
6Kimi
7Manik'
8Lamat
9Muluk
10Ok
11Chuwen
12Eb
13Ben
1Ix
2Men
3Kib
4Kaban
5Etz'nab
6Kawak
7Ahaw
One puts us in the reign of Haremhab, while the other puts us back in the II Dynasty, when we might imagine the calendar was actually formulated. We have some indication in the reign of Seti I that the Egyptians were aware that a cycle had been completed (a "Renewal of Births" era).

I do occasionally come across people saying that the Maya did correct their calendar, but the Mayan year actually could not have been modified as easily as Julius Caesar did the Egyptian year (adding a leap day), because the Haab meshed with the Tsolk'in to produce a larger cycle. After 52 Haab years (or 73 Tsolk'in), 18,980 days, the two cycles commensurate. Mathematically, the factors 73, 13, 5, & 4 are involved. The table below shows how the factors multiply together for the Haab and Tsolk'in years. Mostly, people are not going to be aware that 365 = 73 x 5. What the Egyptians did was to have 12 months of 30 days each (approximating the lunar month), plus five intercalary days at the end. The Maya had 18 months of 20 days each, with five intercalary days at the end. While the Egyptians seem to have had a bit of a holiday on the five days, in the Americas they were regarded as dreadfully unlucky.
73y
x 20dx 13d= 18,980d
x 260d
73
x 5x 4x 13
365d
x 52y
360d
+5d
20dx 18m
The Aztecs put out their cooking fires and huddled for the five days until the proper (human) sacrifices initiated the New Year.

The Tsolk'in year was reckoned in an extraordinary fashion. It consisted of a cycle of 13 numbered days and 20 named days. These passed in sequence independent of each others. There was nothing like a "month." Thus, the year begins on 1 Imix, but then we get 2 Ik', and then 3 Ak'bal. After 13 days, we are up to 1 Ix, and then 2 Men. Since 13 and 20 have no common factors, we don't get back to 1 Imix for 13 x 20 = 260 days. This sort of device is what we see in the Chinese calendar in the 60 year cycle of the 12 Earthly Branches and the 10 Celestial Stems. The Chinese, however, did this with years, while the Maya did it with days.

What gets us up to something like the timespan of the Chinese cycle is the larger cycle, the Calendar Round, already mentioned. The Tsolk'in runs concurrently with the Haab and the pattern of days does not repeat for 52 Haab years. Each day of this 18,980 day cycle has a unique designation with two numbers and two names, the number and name of the Tsolk'in, with the day number and month name of the Haab. This defines enough time that later people, like the Aztecs, didn't bother with any other reckoning. While the Tsolk'in and the Haab together uniquely designate an individual day in 52 years, determining which day is so designated is a little difficult. Several websites enable one to do conversions with Javascript programming. And there are, of course, mathematical formulae that do the same job. I will post such formulae when I can put them in a form that seems the most convient to me.

The extraordinary mechanism of the Calendar Round hardly compares to anything in Old World calendars. The only absolutely regular succession of days in a calendar cycle would be the Egyptian 365 day year or the 7 day week that now is common to the Jewish, Christian, and Islâmic calendars -- which otherwise have months and years of varying lengths. A little 7 day cycle, however, is not quite the same thing as a 18,980 day cycle. On the other hand, while the 7 day week may represent (roughly) a quarter of the lunar month, numbers prefered by the Maya -- 13, 18, 20 -- have no more than ritual, mystical, or abstract mathematical significance. Only the 365 day Haab has a natural reference. This all structures time minutely, but mainly for ritual reaons. But it is not from lack of Mayan interest in natural phenomena, since astronomical cycles of the Moon, Venus, etc. were otherwise carefully tracked. They were simply something extra.

The Mayan cosmology of the directions bears some striking analogies, including the use of the same colors, to the associations that we find with the Chinese elements. Thus, just as the Chinese assign five colors, green (or blue), red, white, black, and yellow, to the four cardinal directions and the "center," the Maya seem to have done the same sort of thing -- except that green is the Center rather than the East; red is now East rather than South; white is North rather than West; black is West rather than North; and yellow is South rather than the Center.

Just as the green of Chinese East is associated with birth and growth, the red of Mayan East, as blood, has a similar association with life. And just as the white of Chinese West is associated with death and the decline of life in the autumn; the black of Mayan West is similarly associated with death. While the red of Chinese South signifies fire and light; the yellow of the Mayan South is the color of the Sun.

While some of these associations can be gleaned from Mayan inscriptions and usage, my impression is that no Mayan text lays out a systematic analysis and that some writers have let their imaginations take over, on analogy with the vast system of associations of the Chinese elements. A case in point may be the color for West, which several on-line sources I have seen say can be black or blue. However, according to my actual published Dictionary of Maya Hieroglyphs [John Montgomery, Hippocrene Books, 2002, 2006], Mayan writes the game glyph for both "green" and "blue" [p.286] and thus is in the same situation as Chinese, where means both colors also. On top of that, Reading the Maya Glyphs [Michael D. Coe & Mark van Stone, Thames & Hudson, 2001, 2005, 2011], which has a section on the directions and their colors [p.123], attests no ambiguity in the black associated with West [p.125], citing the glyphs identified as "black" in the Dictionary [p.88].

Although it is somewhat muddled by this problem, a very intriguing possibility, which I cannot say whether it is attested in Mayan inscriptions or not, is that the colors of the cardinal directions just happen to correspond to the colors of varieties of corn. Indeed, even as "blue" corn is actually a color close to black, I took it to be black the first time I ever saw blue corn tortillas, at The Shed restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the late 1970's. Since then, although I still have not seen blue corn tortillas in a market in Los Angeles (although white and yellow are abundant), blue and red corn tortilla chips are widely available. At the same time, the green of the Mayan Center is the color of the leaves and shuck of corn plants, before they dry out. Green also suggests the World Tree, the Eliadean axis mundi, which figures in Mayan cosmology and is the center-post for the four directions. Even if the Maya did not make all these associations, they should have.

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Copyright (c) 2003, 2006, 2013 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved


The Maya and the Kings of Tikal, Note


In counting Bak'tuns, there is a possibility that the count zeroes out, not at 20, but at 13, so that 0.0.0.0.0 can actually be written 13.0.0.0.0. I have not seen an explanation of why 13 would be preferred over 20; but such a convention, for which there is some evidence (examined at length in An Introduction to the Study of the Maya Hieroglyphs, by Sylvanus Griswold Morley, 1915, Dover, 1975 -- a book very out of date for the actual glyphs but informative enough about calendar basics), certainly provides a terrific playground for numerologists, since we will reach 13.0.0.0.0 in the year 2012. Many, apparently, expect the Apocalypse. This has given rise to a vast literature of Mayan prophecy and number mysticism, reflected in many of the websites on the Mayan calendar.

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Governors of New Mexico,
1598-Present

Spanish Governors of Nuevo Mexico
Juan de Oñate1598–1608
Cristóbal de Oñate (son)1608–1609
Pedro de Peralta1610–1614
Bernadino de Ceballos1614–1618
Juan de Eulate1618–1625
Felipe de Sotelo Osorio1625–1629
Francisco Manuel de Silva Nieto1629–1632
Francisco de la Mora Ceballos1632–1635
Luis de Rosas1635-1641, assassinated
Juan Flores de Sierra y Valdés1641, died
Francisco Gomesacting, 1641–1642
Alonso de Pacheco de Herédia1643
Fernando de Argüello1644–1647
Luis de Guzmán y Figueroa1647–1649
Hernando de Ugarte de la Concha1649–1652
Juan de Samaniego y Xaca1652–1656
Juan Manso de Contreras1656–1659
Bernardo López de Mendizábal1659–1660
Diego Dionisio de Peñalosa Brieceño y Berdugo1661–1664
Tomé Dominguez de Mendozaacting, 1664
Juan Durán de Miranda1664–1665
Fernando de Villanueva1665–1668
Juan de Medrano y Mesía1668–1671
Juan Durán de Miranda1671–1675
Juan Francisco Treviño1675–1679
Antonio de Otermin1679–1680,
titular, 1680-1682
Pueblo Revolt, 1680-1692
El PopéPueblo leader, 1680–1685
Luis Tupatu1685–1692
Domingo Gironza Petriz Cruzatetitlar, 1682–1686
Pedro Reneros de Posadatitular, 1686–1688
Domingo Gironza Petriz Cruzatetitular, 1688
Diego de Vargastitular, 1688–1692,
effective, 1692–1696
Pedro Rodríguez Cubero1696–1703
Diego de Vargas1703–1704
Juan Páez Hurtado1704–1705
Francisco Cuervo y Valdésprovisional,
1705–1707
Jose Chacón Medina Salazar y Villaseñor1707–1712
Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollon1712–1715
Felix Martínezacting, 1715–1716
Antonio Valverde y Cosíoacting, 1716
Juan Páez Hurtadoacting, 1716–1717
Antonio Valverde y Cosíointerim, 1718–1721
Juan Estrada de Austria1721–1723
Juan Domingo de Bustamente1723–1731
Gervasio Cruzat y Gongora1731–1736
Enrique de Olivade y Michelena1736–1738
Gaspar Domingo de Mendoza1739–1743
Joaquín Codallos1743–1749
Tomás Vélez Cachupín1749–1754
Francisco Antonio Marín del Valle1754–1760
Domingo de Mendozaacting, 1760
Manuel Portilla Urrisola1760–1762
Tomás Vélez Cachupín1762–1767
Pedro Fermín de Mendinueta1767–1777
Francisco Trevreacting, 1777
Juan Bautista de Anza1778–1788
Fernando de la Concha1789–1794
Fernando Chacón1794–1804
Joaquín del Real Alencaster1804–1807
Alberto Maynez1807–1808
José Manrique1808–1814
Alberto Maynez1814–1816
Pedro María de Allande1816–1818
Facundo Melgares1818–1822
Mexican Governors of Nuevo Mexico
Francisco Xavier Chávez1822-1823
José Antonio Vizcarra1823-1824
Bartolomé Baca1824-1825
Antonio de Narbona1825
José Antonio Vizcarra1825-1827
Manuel Armijo1827-1829
José Antonio Chávez1828-1831
Santiago Abreu1831-1833
Francisco Sarracino1833-1835
Albino Pérez1835-1837
Manuel Armijo1838-1844
Mariano Martínez de Lejarza1844-1845
Manuel Armijo1845-1846
Juan Bautista Vigil y Alarid1846
Governors of New Mexico Territory
General Stephen Watts KearnyMilitary, 1846
Charles Bent1846-1847, killed
Taos Revolt, 1847
Colonel Sterling PriceMilitary, 1847-1850
James S. Calhoun (Whig)1851-1852
William Carr Lane (W)1852-1853
David Meriwether (D)1853-1857
Abraham Rencher (D)1857-1861
Henry Connelly (R)1861-1866
Robert Byington Mitchell (D)1866-1869
William Anderson Pile (R)1869-1871
Marsh Giddings (R)1871-1875
Samuel Beach Axtell (R)1875-1878
Lew Wallace (R)1878-1881
Lionel Allen Sheldon (R)1881-1885
Edmund G. Ross (D)1885-1889
L. Bradford Prince (R)1889-1893
William Taylor Thornton (D)1893-1897
Miguel A. Otero (R)1897-1906
Herbert James Hagerman (R)1906-1907
George Curry (R)1907-1910
William J. Mills (R)1910-1912
Governors of New Mexico
William C. McDonald (D)1912-1917
Ezequiel C. de Baca (D)1917
Washington E. Lindsey (R)1917-1919
Octaviano Ambrosio Larrazolo (R)1919-1921
Merritt C. Mechem (R)1921-1923
James F. Hinkle (D)1923-1925
Arthur T. Hannett (D)1925-1927
Richard C. Dillon (R)1927-1931
Arthur Seligman (D)1931-1933
Andrew W. Hockenhull (D)1933-1935
Clyde Tingley (D)1935-1939
John E. Miles (D)1939-1943
John J. Dempsey (D)1943-1947
Thomas J. Mabry (D)1947-1951
Edwin L. Mechem (R)1951-1955
John F. Simms (D)1955-1957
Edwin L. Mechem (R)1957-1959
John Burroughs (D)1959-1961
Edwin L. Mechem (R)1961-1962
Tom Bolack (R)1962-1963
Jack M. Campbell (D)1963-1967
David F. Cargo (R)1967-1971
Bruce King (D)1971-1975
Jerry Apodaca (D)1975-1979
Bruce King (D)1979-1983
Toney Anaya (D)1983-1987
Garrey Carruthers (R)1987-1991
Bruce King (D)1991-1995
Gary E. Johnson (R)1995-2003
Bill Richardson (D)2003-2011
Susana Martinez (R)2011-
New Mexico, of all the States of the United States, has about the longest history. Santa Fe, founded in 1609/1610, is the oldest continuous seat of government in the United States. Santa Fe also has the distinctions of being the place where thunder is heard the most days of the year in the United States, and of being the only State Capital without scheduled airline service. Santa Fe was not actually the first capital of New Mexico, that was San Juan Pueblo, from 1598 to 1610.

New Mexico is the fifth largest State, after Alaska, Texas, California, and Montana. At 121,589 square miles, it is larger than the UK (94,525) and Italy (116,305) but smaller than Germany (137,846) and Spain (194,897). Of course, with a population less than two million, it is only the 36th largest State by that measure. There is a great deal of very empty land.

Albuquerque was founded in 1707. Many have found the name of the town amusing, and some locals, feeling disdain for the megalopolis of New Mexico call it the "Big Turkey." Nevertheless, the city is moderate in size, in 2002 still only with a population of 463,874, up from 201,189 in 1962. And the strange name comes from the Duke of Alburquerque (now "Albuquerque"), Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva. This was not an uncommon name, as we see with António de Albuquerque Coelho, the Portuguese Governor of Macao, 1718-1719. For all its relative local size, Albuquerque is smaller than El Paso (577,415), Tuscon (503,151), and, of course, Phoenix (1,371,960). Cities of comparable size are Atlanta (424,868) and New Orleans (473,681, before Katrina) -- and Albuquerque does not have the large suburbs that most of these other cities do have. I do not believe that any of these other cities, however, has as spectacular a backdrop as does Albuquerque, with the 10,000 ft. Sandia Mountains rising precipitously to the east. I don't think I've seen any place that looks quite like that, in majesty and beauty. From a distance, the cliffs look vertical; but there are hiking trails -- I've been up one of them. Fortunately, at Sandia Crest, you can take the Tram back down.

Albuquerque was supposedly featured in a recent movie, Little Miss Sunshine (2006, for which Alan Arkin won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar), with a family driving from there to Los Angeles. It is a good movie. However, I have watched it carefully, and I do not think that a single second of the movie was shot in New Mexico. The scenes in "Albuquerque" look suspiciously like they are in Los Angeles, with the thick haze of LA smog in the background. They didn't even use stock footage establishing shots for Albuquerque. There does seem to be some second unit work in Arizona, but I do not think that the actors ever left California. In the background of the first shots of them driving out of Albuquerque are the familiar forms of Vasquez Rocks, which are off California highway 14, north of Los Angeles. In 2008 we have had another "Sunshine" movie, Sunshine Cleaning, which also features Alan Arkin, that is also supposed to set in Albuquerque. It looks like the entire movie actually was shot in Albuquerque (though Santa Fe is mentioned in the credits also). There are no establishing shots, but the Sandias now and again are seen in the background. The sky, the clouds, the steets, the houses -- it all looks like New Mexico.

A recent movie that was shot entirely in New Mexico is Ron Howard's The Missing (2004), with Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett (produced by Brian Grazer). Since this is a Western, we don't get to see modern Albuquerque or Sante Fe, or much in the way of any other recognizable modern location. Nicholas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), with David Bowie, was shot in New Mexico. One of the most remarkable locations, White Sands, was memorably featured in that movie as the alien planet homeland of Bowie. For that matter, we also have White Sands (1992), with Willem Dafoe, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson, and M. Emmet Walsh -- this also seems to have been shot entirely in New Mexico, including Santa Fe, ending at White Sands National Monument. John Carpenter's Vampires (1998), with James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, and Sheryl Lee (the evocative Laura Palmer of Twin Peaks), also was shot in New Mexico. Going back even further, we have some New Mexico scenes in Easy Rider (1969), where Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper would have been well advised to stay. We see the Taos Pueblo, and some scenery nearby, but then the set for the hippie commune they visit was built in the Santa Monica Mountains of Los Angeles. We also meet Jack Nicholson in the actual old jail of Taos. The exteriors of the jail are in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Nicholson toasts D.H. Lawrence -- Lawrence lived in Taos between, I believe, 1922 and 1925, and his ashes were interred there in 1935. C.G. Jung also visited New Mexico and wrote about it, fascinated, like many, by the Pueblo civilization.

White Sands has a claim to association with the beginning of the Space Age. The White Sands Missile Range, which stretches north and south across the mountains and basins, encompassing White Sands National Monument, north nearly to US 380, is where captured German V-2 rockets were tested after the end of World War II. Eventually the higher profile testing moved elsewhere, but the Range remains active with weaponry. In 1975, I was stopped when the road between Las Cruces and Alamogordo was closed for a test. Even now, if the Space Shuttle can't land in Florida, and if it can't land at Edwards in California, White Sands is still the next backup. That hasn't happened yet, but it is there. At the north end of the range, by the Sierra Oscura, in the Jornada del Muerto, is Trinity Site, where the Nuclear Age certainly began, which is open to civilians twice a year.

Between the facilities at White Sands, the laboratories at Los Alamos (a continuing concern since the first atomic bombs were built there), and then places like Sandia Labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico is said to have the highest number of Ph.D.'s per capita in the United States. This might surprise a lot of people casually driving across the State, thinking that all they were seeing was cowboys and Indians.

Some information about New Mexico first came to the Spanish when Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca crossed the Rio Grande not far north of the later site of El Paso in 1536, not many years after Cortés had conquered Mexico itself. He heard about cities and gold to the north. The led to the expedition of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1540-1541. The Viceroy of New Spain, Antonio de Mendoza (1535-1550), named the area in advance Nuevo Mexico, hoping that it would be as rich as Old Mexico. Coronado investigated the Pueblos and much of the area, all the way to the Grand Canyon, but there was no gold. The "Seven Cities of Cíbola" glowed golden in the sunlight, but this was no more than adobe brick. The expedition was thus considered a failure, and the Indians were, for the time being, left to their own devices.

The "adobe" of the Pueblos means mud brick. Discussed elsewhere, this word entered Spanish from in Arabic, meaning the same thing. But the word is not ultimately from Arabic, but from Coptic. There the word is , "mud brick"; and, as we might expect, the Coptic word is ultimately from the Middle Egyptian word for mud brick, , with a phonogram for db and an ideographic determinative for "brick." Adobes are still popular in New Mexico, and not just at the Pueblos. Expensive houses are built with them, with their thermal insulating properties appreciated in both summer and winter. This would be bad if New Mexico were earthquake country. Such building materials crumble in a good shake. Earthquakes are not unknown, but nowhere as common as in California, where the old Missions regularly endure considerable damage. As of 1964, the surviving Pueblos, with their population and area, were:

PuebloPopu-
lation
Area,
acres
Age,
years
Lan-
guage
Acoma1,674248,0001000Keresan
Cochiti38726,500700Keresan
Isleta1,974210,450400Tiwa
Jemez1,07687,000400Towa
Laguna2,956412,000265Keresan
Nambe13519,000650Tewa
Picuris10015,000760Tiwa
Pojoaque4112,000--Tewa
Sandia12423,000660Tiwa
San Felipe1,06049,000250Keresan
San
Ildefonso
22426,000660Tewa
San Juan, Ohkay Owingeh69013,000660Tewa
Santa Ana36620,000260Keresan
Santa Clara53546,000600Tewa
Santo
Domingo
1,93867,000260Keresan
Taos89647,000260Tiwa
Tesuque14217,000660Tewa
Zia37790,000660Keresan
Zuñi4,861400,000270Zuñian

Languages of the Pueblos fall into three groups: (1) the Tanoan, including Tiwa, Tewa, and Towa; (2) the Keres, and (3) Zuñi. These are unrelated to the nearby Athabaskan languages, like Navajo and Apache. The Pueblos are presumed to be the descendants of the Anasazi, the ancient people who built the cliff dwellings of the Southwest, including the vast ruins at Chaco Canyon. Although climate change is often blamed, why the cliff dwellers abandoned the mountains and moved down into the Rio Grande Valley remains mysterious.

In 1581 a mainly religious expedition arrived in New Mexico, led by a Franciscan monk, Augstín Rodríguez, and a soldier, Francisco Sanchez Chamuscado. Two monks were left as missionaries. A private rancher, Antonio de Espejo, organized an expedition to help the monks in 1582. On the way, he learned that the monks had been killed, but he visited the Pueblos anyway and then returned south. A more official incursion, on local initiative, was carried out by the Lieutenant Governor and Captain General of Nuevo Leon, Gaspar Castáño de Sosa, in 1590-1591. De Sosa's visit came to nothing, but plans were already in the works for an official Spanish occupation of the country.

So in 1598 Juan de Oñate occupied and annexed the Pueblos to Spain. The Acoma Pueblo, high on its mesa, held out the longest. To prevent a repeat of such resistance, Oñate cut off the right foot of every Acoma warrior. With memories of such a beginning, and after new (unmutilated) generations had grown up, Spanish rule suffered a dramatic reversal. In 1680 the Pueblos revolted and successfully expelled the Spaniards from New Mexico. Governor Antonio de Otermin narrowly missed being killed and had to evacuate the territory. After 12 years of independence, the Pueblos were reconquered. In 1980, the Tricentential of the Pueblo Revolt was commemorated in New Mexico, where, of course, many of the Pueblos survive, now with a great deal of autonomy as Indian Reservations under Federal jurisdiction. Old memories die hard, as a statue of Oñate at San Juan was recently vandalized:  its right foot was cut off.

The flag of the State of New Mexico, adopted in 1925, contains a sun symbol of the Zia Pueblo. While the Pueblos were agricultural communities, other Indians of New Mexico were mainly pastoral. These were the Mescalero Apache to the southeast, the Chirichahua Apache to the southwest, the Jicarilla Apache to the north, and the Navajo to the northwest. Agriculture was not unknown to these groups, especially the Navajo, who farmed in the river canyons of the Colorado Plateau. The arrival of horses with the Spanish made possible the development of cultures that were more purely nomadic and devoted to hunting. The New Mexican Apache tribes took this up in a modest way, but the area would suffer principally from the perfection of steppe culture by the Comanches, who roamed the Southern Plains in Texas but raided in force well west of there. This ended up thwarting efforts of the Spaniards to built settlements east of the Rio Grande Valley. Those had to be abandoned under the ferocity of Comanche attacks. Today, impressive ruins are to be seen at Quarai, Abo, and Gran Quivira, which lie north and south of US60, southeast of Abluquerque. These places are now all part of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.

The Territory of New Mexico was created in 1850. In the Compromise of 1850, Texas, which claimed the entire Rio Grande as its border, was given its western limits at the Rio Grande north to 32o N, and then east to 103o W (roughly, the survey of the 103o line was mishandled, and Texas received the benefit of the error, with the boundary about a half mile west of the 103rd meridian). The northern boundary of New Mexico at first was 37o N all the way west to California. This then included all of Arizona (with the Gadsden Purchase of 1853) and what would later (1866) be Clark County, Nevada. At the San Juan Mountains, however, the east end of the border jumped up to 38o N. The land between 37o N and 38o N was ceded to Colorado in 1861. Meanwhile, several proposals had been made about dividing the Territory in two, between a reduced New Mexico and "Arizona." At first it looked like the division would be between north and south, and during the the Civil War a Confederate "Arizona" in the south did exist. In 1863, however, an east/west division, as we see today, was effected.

It is hard to write about New Mexico without including my own history with the place. My association began in 1962, when I took my first airplane flight to El Paso, on the way to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo. This was my uncle Dan Hendrix, who was a test pilot for the F-102 at Holloman and later was stationed at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Of the many spectacular sights in New Mexico, the Tularosa Basin is right up there, with the Sacramento Mountains to the east, and White Sands stretching up the valley to the west. At twelve years old, I found the whole place very magical. White Sands, indeed, holds up quite well in that respect. People see pictures of it and think it is snow. High on the face of the Sacramento Mountains are exposed rock strata from the Permian Period (marked as "P" and "Pz," for Paleozoic, on the geological map). These are formations that have risen to the surface, indeed above the surface, here. In West Texas they are deep underground. Indeed, they give the "Permian Basin" its name. This is not a geographic but a geological Basin (actually, three of them), and it contains much of the West Texas oil that has given that State part of its identity.

Since I originally thought about going into Archaeology, thanks to my love of Egypt, I planned on attending the University of New Mexico, which is the hub for much of the archaeology of the Southwest. I flew into Albuquerque for the Fall Semester of 1967. I got a taxi to my dorm, Oñate Hall, at UNM. The taxi driver, an Anglo, pronounced it "Onâtee." The times I have been back, this building no longer seems to be used as a dormatory. But it was new and pleasant in 1967 -- though it is strange to remember features of life back then, such as no Area Codes or direct dial long distance:  I had to call the operator to make a long distance call back to Los Angeles. It was a great year in Albuquerque, but my interest drifted from archaeology to philosophy, and I transfered the following year to UCLA. The Albuquerque of 1967-1968 was considerably smaller than that of today, and I cannot even recognize the eastern edge of town from what it was like when I was at UNM. Although I did see Santa Fe that year, and walked around a great deal of Albuquerque, I actually didn't visit Old Town until years later.

I would not return to New Mexico until 1975. As detailed elsewhere, this was on a drive from Los Angeles to Austin, by way of Las Vegas, Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Alamogordo, and Carlsbad. I didn't realize at the time that one of my old friends from Beirut, Craig Nettleton, had moved from Minnesota and was living near Albuquerque. But I did have another aunt and uncle who now were living near Alamogordo, actually in a mobile home on five acres of desert not far southeast of Tularosa. This was a great visit, although my first wife and I were having troubles both with our car and with our marriage. My uncle had one of the earliest hand held digital calculators. I couldn't wait to get one, but did wait a couple of years. Now everyone takes this stuff for granted. We did some side trips, like to see where Billy the Kid shot his way out of the Lincoln County jail. Our last stop in New Mexico was Carlsbad. I still haven't been back to the Caverns again, though I've driven through the town several times since.

During the rest of the '70's, I began dropping in on Craig or my aunt and uncle, or both, while flying back and forth from Austin to LA. This began to involve various side trips, like fishing in the Jemez mountains, several visits to Santa Fe, almost getting arrested by the Santa Clara Pueblo Police, and getting picked up at El Paso in a light aircraft that my uncle had learned to fly. Craig's Old Boy Net from Carlton College (in Northfield, Minnesota, where the James Gang made the mistake of trying to rob the bank) included the son of Oliver La Farge, author of the 1930 Pulitzer Prize winning novel Laughing Boy, an early informed and sympathetic portrayal of the Navajo. This meant some visits to the La Farge household in Santa Fe, something that would certainly qualify as the Old Santa Fe, at least in 20th century terms. It was all great stuff. But even more touring followed when I drove back out of Texas in June 1979, then back and forth again late in the year, and finally back from Austin in a new car in 1981, with another round trip that Fall.

Since then I've been back to New Mexico six times. My second wife and I visited my aunt and uncle in the desert in 1989. They had traded in their previous mobile home for a double wide, nearly as big as a house. Later they would move into a real house in Alamogordo, but I never did get back to visit them there, before they moved all the way to Washington State. Our 1989 trip continued on to Santa Fe and finally to stay with Craig and his family in the new house he had built in the hills above I-40, east of the city.

In 1997 I flew back to Albuquerque to drive with Craig down to Trinity Site. In 2003, I drove through in a U-Haul truck taking a load of my possessions on the way to New Jersey. Laying over a day, Craig (again) and his wife drove me up to Santa Fe for lunch, unfortunately on a Sunday, when most of the restaurants are closed. After my retirement, I've been back through the State three times, each time on the driving trips I've taken across country. In June 2009, I only laid over one night in Albuquerque with Craig, but then on the way back, I dropped in on some old friends from Austin who recently had moved to Dixon, just down the road from Taos. In June 2010, I was back for a longer stay, based in Albuquerque but with side trips to Santa Fe and Dixon. Lunch at the Shed, off the Plaza in Santa Fe, was the first meal I had had at one of the restaurants I knew from the 1970's since my wife and I were there in 1989. We had eaten at Josie's, which now seems to only do catering.

Besides friends and the land, I really miss, as with Austin, the food. I had never heard of blue corn tortillas before being served them (at the Shed) in Santa Fe. I thought they had burnt my enchilada. I bought a packet of them at a market before I flew back to Austin. I kept it in my freezer to show people that there were blue corn torillas. Today they are everywhere, if only as corn chips.

Now I hear that it is being considered whether to make "Red or Green?" the official "State Question," i.e. red or green salsa on one's food. And every year I anticipated the newest Tony Hillerman Navajo detective novel -- and of course am still devastated since his death in 2008. I first heard some details about Navajo religion in my Freshman Anthropology class at UNM, but now, perhaps with many people, most of what I know about the Navajo is from Tony Hillerman. Most of the Big Reservation, of course, is in Arizona, and I actually hadn't seen much of it -- not even Monument Valley, which turns up in countless John Ford Westerns, and in Easy Rider. Even in New Mexico, I was out to Chaco Canyon (with the nearby "Checkerboard" reservation) but had not otherwise been to the Navajo cities west and northwest of there. I only saw Shiprock from an airplane. So this was a deficiency in my experience of New Mexico -- now remedied in August 2012 with a long drive through the Big Reservation. This included lunch in the town of Shiprock, a stop at Four Corners, and a route down through Kayenta and Tuba City to Flagstaff. Monument Valley would have required a detour, which will have to wait.

While in Santa Fe in 2010, I bought Tyrannasaur Canyon [2005], by Douglas Preston, in a bookstore in the La Fonda Hotel. They seemed to feature books by New Mexico authors, or books involving New Mexico. Preston apparently has lived and travelled in the area a good deal. Since then, I've read several books by Preston and Lincoln Child that are set in New Mexico or nearby in the Southwest. Preston and Child often fictionize locations, or exaggerate distances, for dramatic effect; but sometimes the ficitonization strikes me as gratuitous or puzzling.

For instance, in Mount Dragon [1996], by Preston and Child, we have a description of Trinity Site:

After an hour of steady driving, Singer pulled the lead Hummer to a halt. "Ground zero," he said to Carson.

"How can you tell?" Carson asked, looking around at the desert. The Sierra Oscura rose to the west: dry, barren desert mountains, run through with jagged sedimentary outcrops. It was a desolate place, but no more desolate than the rest of the Jornada.

Singer pointed to a rusted girder, twisting a few feet out of the ground. "That's what was left of the tower that held the original bomb. If you look carefully, you'll see that we're in a shallow depression scooped out by the blast. Over there -- " Singer pointed to a mound and some ruined bunkers "-- was one of the instrument observation posts." [Tom Doherty Associates Book, New York, p.103]

Actually, Trinity Site has a fence around it, with a pyramidal monument at the center, and military roads all over the place. Nothing is left of the original tower. It was vaporized. The site map proved by the White Sands Missile Range does note a "Footing from 100-ft. Tower," so perhaps this is the "twisted girder"; but I don't remember seeing it. The reader may inspect the Panorama of Trinity Site for any conspicuous evidence of the structure. At the same time, if anything looks "scooped out" at the site, it is because the fused sand ("Trinitite") on the surface was all removed -- except in one small place, where it is protected by a low structure with windows, through which visitors can inspect it. There are other structures and artifacts nearby, including the house where the final assembly of the bomb was done. And, of course, the Sierra Oscura rises to the east, not the west, as readers can tell from Preston and Child's own map [p.xiii].

What is going on here? If Preston and Child have never been to Trinity site, why have they not gotten some accurate information about it? These inaccuracies have nothing to do with the plot. Trinity Site is never visited again or even mentioned in the book. The whole business is completely gratuitous.

I can allow for some poetic license. On page 409 our protagonists are "about forty-five miles north of Mount Dragon," but far from the end of the desert of the Jornada del Muerto. Yet according to Preston and Child's own map [p.xiii again], forty-five miles northwest from their fictional Mount Dragon would already put us in downtown Socorro. So this is a poetic license that isn't even made consistent in their own book.

Meanwhile, Preston and Child never do explain what the Jornada del Murerto is all about. Why would anyone traverse a dangerous desert, the "Journey of the Dead," when they could just follow the Rio Grande River? Well, from the map, anyone can see that there is a bend in the River. The Jornada is a short cut. How dangerous a short cut it could be was learned at great cost by many travelers. Preston and Child can't really assume that everyone will know about the history of the route already, or why people should have chanced it, so they should have explained it.

In the gratuitious category we get something else. When our male protagonist Guy Carson meets his lab assistant Susanna Cabeza de Vaca, he assumes that she is from Mexico. Cabeza de Vaca takes strong exception to this:

"My family," de Vaca interrupted frostily, "came to America with Don Juan de Oñate. In fact Don Alonso Cabeza de Vaca and his wife almost died of thirst crossing this very desert. That was in 1598, which I'm sure was a lot earlier than when your redneck dustbowl family settled in the Bootheel. But I'm deeply touched you had Mexican friends growing up." [p.66]

Now, Preston and Child obviously know that there are old New Mexico families with Spanish surnames who take strong exception to being thought of as Mexicans. What is unbelievable here is that Carson, who is supposed to be a New Mexico native, would not know this. I knew it before I had been a student at UNM more than a couple of months. Now, Preston and Child want Carson and de Vaca to get off on the wrong foot (in the love/hate motif of true love); but to do so in a way that relies on something that is unlikely to impossible is what Siskel and Ebert used to call an "idiot plot" device. If Carson was born and raised in New Mexico, he would have to be an idiot to assume that de Vaca was from Mexico -- especially with a surname famous from New Mexican history.

Preston and Child, however, do end up refering to something that I did not know. They have Carson ask de Vaca where her name, "Head of Cow," came from. Of course, again, as a New Mexico native, Carson should already know about Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca; but she tells him something more:

"If you knew your Spanish history," de Vaca said, "you'd know about the name. In 1212, a soldier in the Spanish army marked a pass with a cow skull, and led a Spanish army to victory over the Moors. That soldier was given a royal title and the right to use the name 'Cabeza de Vaca'." [p.245]

This is about the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa on 16 July 1212, where an alliance of Spanish Christian Kingdoms broke the power of the Almohads and led to the complete Reconquest of Spain -- except for Granada (which fell in 1492). "Moors" is an ethnically meaningless term (Latin Mauri, "North Africans") that was used by Christians to refer to all Muslims, whether they were Berbers, Arabs, black Africans, or Spanish converts. The legend is that Martín Alhaja left a cow's head to mark a pass on the route to the battle. This may have been the Despeñaperros Pass, where the army is supposed to have been led by "a local shepherd." I don't know if that was Alhaja, or whether there are different stories involved here. In any case, soldier or shepherd, Alhaja was ennobled and given the name Cabeza de Vaca. So, despite the strange or gratuitous falsifications of Preston and Child's book, I'm thankful that they brought this detail about Cabeza de Vaca's name to my attention.

The list of governors here is from Wikipedia. Other information on New Mexico history, like the list of Pueblos, comes from the Historical Atlas of New Mexico, by Warren A. Beck and Ynez D. Haase [University of Oklahoma Press, 1969, 1985]. I don't know why a book like that doesn't bother giving a list of the governors, which would take no more than a page or two, but it doesn't.

Spanish and Mexican Governors of Texas (1691-1836)

California, Governors of California (1769-present)

The Kings, President, & Governors of Hawai'i (1795-present)

Sam Houston, Presidents & Governors of Texas (1836-present)

Spanish & Portuguese Colonial Possessions

Philosophy of History

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