Viceroyalty of Peru
The Viceroyalty of Peru was established in 1543 and had as its capital the city of Lima, also known as “City of the Kings”. It initially covered most of all South America, with the exception of the Brazilian coast that belonged to Portugal. It later lost jurisdiction with the creation of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in 1739, extending over Colombia, Venezuela, Panama and Ecuador; and with the creation of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata in 1776, extending over Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia. Spain chose the city of Lima as the capital due to its centralized and strategic location, which made Lima a very powerful city at the time. Lima became the main port for the exportation of products, since everything, including silver and precious metals, had to pass through its port in order to get shipped to Panama and later to Spain. The Viceroyalty was governed by a Viceroy, who was directly appointed by the King of Spain, and whose mission was to represent the King, enforce his supreme laws, and collect the tribute from the colony. The first Viceroy ever appointed in Peru was Blasco Nuñez Vela, who ruled from 1544 until 1546 and was appointed by King Charles I. Along with the Viceroy, audiencias, conformed of 6 to 10 members, were created in order to help the Viceroy administer justice and act as court and legal enforcer. They also possessed legal and political power since they assessed the Viceroy with most of his decisions. Lower level political entities, but important as well, were also created in order to govern the colony. Corregimientos, intendencias and cabildos, or local governments, were installed with the purpose of administering the local communities. They were given authority by the viceroy to enforce laws, collect taxes, provide security and keep the peace and control over the population. One of their main responsibilities was to protect the natives from abuses and extortions, to which in many cases the...
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