“Life without Empire: Audiencia Ministers after Independence” draws upon sources from Spain’s national, regional, and university archives to examine men with audiencia positions in Spain and in the Indies from the end of the sale of appointments in 1750 to 1821. In 1750 these ministers shared backgrounds of gender and university study of civil law, canon law, or both. They differed in regard to place of birth, the purchase of an initial audiencia appointment, age at first appointment, educational experience and university affiliation, prior government service and university teaching, and the extent of prominent letrado relatives serving audiencias, chancellories, and councils. By 1808 these differences had largely disappeared and a much more homogenous corps of ministers served on the tribunals. The changes in background facilitated the incorporation into the Spanish courts of a substantial number of ministers with American service after independence. Many creole and the few peninsular ministers who remained in the Americas after independence also obtained positions there. Compared to intendants and bishops in the Americas, ministers on New World audiencias proved relatively successful in securing posts after independence. In terms of subsequent offices held, the handful of creole audiencia ministers that emigrated to Spain fared better than the peninsulars that remained in the newly independent states.

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