It has long been an axiom of Latin American history that the Spanish imperial administration systematically excluded creoles, or American-born whites, from positions of power and responsibility. Much of the rivalry between creoles and Spaniards was imagined to be the direct result of this policy. Recent research, however, seems to demonstrate that by the eighteenth century at least, and probably earlier, the exclusion of creoles operated only at the viceregal level. In fact, American-born whites not only participated in, but sometimes dominated, many spheres of endeavor, including the Spanish American church, army and civil governments.1

The exclusionary myth has been perpetuated by travellers’ accounts of antipathy existing between creoles and peninsulares, or European-born Spaniards, in America. The Spanish naval lieutenants Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa, for example, in 1741 described Lima as “a theatre of discord and perpetual wrangling” between creoles and peninsulares, which surpassed in intensity the hostility between two nations at war.2 That this antipathy existed is irrefutable. The Spanish crown’s policy of “divide and conquer” privately encouraged such hostility, which assured the loyalty of both groups. Nevertheless, because several avenues of dignified and responsible employment for creoles existed within the Spanish imperial bureaucracy of Peru and other regions, it is simplistic to attribute the rivalry to exclusionist policies alone.

In the Peruvian church many ecclesiastical offices rotated periodically between Spaniards and creoles during the seventeenth century by means of a system known as the alternativa. Although its purpose was to protect the rights of the Spanish minority against a creole majority, the effect was still to allow creoles access to office. Moreover, the Peruvian clergy was overwhelmingly creole by birth, many from aristocratic limeño families, who sought power and prestige from their positions.3 In 1780, a contemporary Peruvian observer, Gregorio Cangas, attempting to prove the illustrious nature of Americans in general, noted that 105 bishops and eleven archbishops were Peruvians by birth.4 By the middle of the eighteenth century, creoles at times occupied the prestigious bishoprics of Cuzco, Lima and Arequipa.

The situation was equally favorable for creoles in the military. During the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) the creole nobility of Lima, by agreeing to outfit companies of militia in exchange for commissions, came to dominate that branch’s officer corps.5 Moreover, creoles held important ranks in the regular army as well. Gregorio Cangas, himself a colonel, noted that by 1780, four captains-general of the army, five lieutenant generals, and seven field marshals were limeños by birth.6 So thorough was creole domination of the veteran infantry regiment “Real de Lima” that the viceroy in 1787 questioned its loyalty to the crown.7

Nowhere was creole participation in affairs of state more evident than within the civil government of Lima. Traditionally creoles had controlled the cabildos or town councils of the viceroyalty, as well as the provincial governments. When the corregimientos were abolished and replaced by intendancies after 1784, creoles kept on serving as sub-delegates, and occasionally as intendants, thus retaining much of their former authority.8 Creoles were also heavily represented in the viceregal bureaucracy of Lima, holding, among others, the positions of majordomo of the royal palace, auditor of the royal tobacco monopoly, treasurer of the royal mint, rector of the Royal and Pontifical University of San Marcos, senior inquisitor of the tribunal of the Inquisition, dean of the cathedral chapter, and captain of the viceroy’s halberdier guard.9

Above all, creoles had penetrated into the royal audiencias. By 1780, limeños had at one time or another held the presidencies of eight of the ten high courts in Spanish America.10 On the Audiencia of Lima, creoles held a majority of seats at least by the beginning of the eighteenth century.11 By 1777, creoles held seven of the eight civil judgeships of the Lima tribunal, and three of the four criminal judgeships. More than this, five of the civil judges were natives of Lima itself, the others being from Chile and Panama. Only one peninsular served on the court.12

The Audiencia of Lima was, along with that of Mexico City, one of the two most prestigious political institutions in Spanish America.13 Although it was foremost a court of law, hearing civil and criminal appeals from lower courts throughout the kingdom as well as exercising first-hand jurisdiction in certain other cases, it also held additional powers.14 Upon the death of a viceroy, the audiencia assumed his functions. Moreover, the system of checks and balances promoted by the crown, in leaving the jurisdictional limits between a viceroy and the audiencia unclear, meant that when an administrator was weak, the court could appropriate much of his power. Finally, the fact that judges received lifetime appointments gave the high court corporate continuity unmatched by the viceroys, who served for shorter periods.

In principle, the audiencia could hear appeals against the viceroy’s executive decisions. By requiring the viceroy to convene a tribunal de acuerdo or consultation on matters of general importance, it could function as an advisory council. For this reason, the Marqués de Montesclaros, a seventeenth-century Viceroy of Peru, compared his position to that of a “bronze giant with feet of clay.”15 In addition, the audiencia sat as a junta de hacienda to supervise the operations of the royal treasury. Finally, the audiencia had broad, if undefined, legislative powers and the judges, as masters of the intricacies of Spanish law, might legislate on behalf of special interest groups if they so desired. Juan and Ulloa observed that the judges of the Lima court frequently held up the sale of merchandise until their friends and relatives, who controlled the monopolies on the sale of such goods, could sell off their present inventories.16 Such powers caused a frustrated office seeker of the time to complain that the judges, rather than the viceroy, actually ruled in Peru.17

Since appointment to the Lima tribunal represented the apex of a judicial career, the judges of the audiencia occupied a position only slightly less prestigious than the viceroy himself. Merchants would close their shops out of respect when a judge was seen on the street, and one devout matron in Chuquisaca provided in her will for the robes of an oidor to be placed upon the Holy Sacrament in the cathedral so that it might receive as much reverence as the audiencia judges.18 Judges enjoyed preferential seating in church and at all public functions, as well as many other privileges. They exercised their prerogatives to the fullest, sometimes refusing to kneel during services, and arriving late for ceremonies, confident that nothing could begin without them.19

The presence of limeños on the audiencia of that city violated the Laws of the Indies, which forbade a judge from serving in the district of his birth. In addition, judges were prohibited from marrying, possessing real property, holding encomiendas, or engaging in trade within their judicial districts. They were not to accept gifts or fees, attend marriages, baptisms, first communions, bullfights or other public amusements, in order to reduce the conflicts of interest which might arise from their friendships with the local nobility. Even their dress was prescribed, and they were to secure viceregal permission before leaving the city of their residence.20

Nevertheless, as early as the sixteenth century it was impossible to force compliance with these ordinances.21 First peninsular officials were granted permission to marry local women. Then later, the financial exigencies of a series of European wars induced the Spanish crown to allow wealthy creoles to purchase seats on the courts in their home districts. To secure these appointments, creoles travelled to Spain, paid immense beneficios or donations, and secured the support of persons close to the king who furthered their candidacies. Creole appointees were often supernumerary, attached to an audiencia at partial salary until a regular position was vacated.

The crushing defeat of Spain by Great Britain in the Seven Years’ War marked the beginning of a change for the worse in the relationship between the creole officeholders of Lima and the crown of Spain. The postwar program of reform instituted by King Charles III had as its purposes the increase of American revenues and the defense of the colonies against future attacks by Great Britain.22 In an effort to end administrative corruption, high-ranking creoles were removed from positions in the imperial administration.

The principal architect of the anti-creole movement was José de Gálvez, the Minister of the Indies, who had been sent to New Spain as Visitor General in 1765, and there had seen first-hand what he believed to be the pernicious results of creole administration. By 1768, this prejudice became evident when a junta in Spain recommended that creoles be sent to the peninsula for training while European Spaniards be retained in the principal offices in America. By 1771 this new policy drew the wrath of the town council of Mexico City, which asked the King to grant Americans a monopoly of government positions as their birthright. In 1776, the year Gálvez was appointed Minister of the Indies, it was announced that creoles were to be limited to no more than one-third of all positions in the audiencias and cathedral chapters of America, with Europeans holding the balance.23

In Peru, the policies of Gálvez were only slowly realized. The ironhanded viceroy, Manuel de Amat y Junient, despised the creole nobility of Lima and scandalized it by openly consorting with a mestiza actress, Micaela Villegas, the beautiful and famous “Perricholi.” Yet he was forced into an uneasy alliance of necessity with the creoles during the Seven Years’ War, since only with their financial aid could he arm and equip the disciplined militia which Peru had lacked to that time. Such a situation obviously displeased the haughty Catalan. When the audiencia raised a company of 106 militiamen, Amat petulantly neglected to acknowledge it in his memoir.

By 1762 Amat notified the crown that the creole audiencia was “the source and origin of all the political ills of the country,” due to its “ignorant and venal” magistracy. Complaining that the judges not only were members of the creole nobility of Lima but legislated on its behalf, he cited the example of José de Tagle Bracho, the Marqués de Torretagle, a retired judge who had been appointed paymaster and commissar of war at the port of Callao outside Lima. Amat alleged that Torretagle defrauded the soldiers in the presidio “Real Felipe” and met periodically with the other creole justices at the fortress to plot new means of self-enrichment.24 Yet apart from suspending the dean of the court, Pedro Bravo de Rivero, after the Ministry of the Indies had accused him of illegal business transactions in 1764, Amat took no further actions to control the audiencia.

In April, 1777, a visitation, or general inspection of Peru, under the command of Visitor General José Antonio de Areche, arrived in Callao. Areche had served Gálvez loyally as fiscal of the Audiencia of Mexico during the latter’s visitation, and owed his position to him. Accordingly, he adopted Gálvez’ view that limeños were “superficial and unreliable in judgment, even though remarkably presumptuous.”25 Somewhat later he elaborated upon the differences which he observed between Mexicans and Peruvians. In a report to the crown Areche noted that Mexicans were content to obey unjust laws until they were changed, whereas Peruvians were disobedient by nature, and disregarded even just laws as a matter of course. As a result, he alleged that Mexico and Peru were “poles apart” in terms of governability.26 He stated in another report that the crown could never have dreamed of the extent to which corruption flourished in Lima.27

The arrival of Areche in Lima on June 14 followed shortly behind that of the new viceroy, Manuel de Guirior, who had replaced Amat. Inevitably, hostility erupted between the two men.28 Although rivalry between officials was commonplace, in this instance it developed into virtual warfare, as a result of Gálvez’ intent to reduce viceregal powers in general.29 Further inflamed by their different personalities and backgrounds, a struggle between the two men developed over their views of the creole nobility of Lima.

Guirior was the opposite of Areche in every respect. Whereas Areche was of decent but modest parentage, Guirior was of the titled nobility of Navarre. Areche possessed an irascible temperament which won him few friends, while the viceroy had the relaxed manner and graciousness of a born aristocrat. In short, Guirior symbolized to Areche the creole decadence which the visitor felt it his mission to end. Not only was Guirior married to Doña María Ventura, a creole lady of Bogotá where he had formerly served as viceroy of New Granada, but his five closest political advisors were wealthy members of the creole elite of Lima, several of them judges of the audiencia.30

Areche advised the king that Lima was a “Babylon,” presided over by the viceroy and his wife and run by the creole aristocracy, who kept Guirior a virtual captive. The creole nobility had tried unsuccessfully to seduce Areche himself with presents and flattery upon his arrival, he claimed, but when this failed, they changed their tactics and began to make every effort to destroy the visitation. Viceroy Guirior, by rejecting the request of Areche to dismiss his advisors and end the corruption within the government, became the champion of both the creole nobility and the limeño bureaucracy, which aided him with donations and support against Areche, whom they considered a tyrant.31

Unable to recreate the traditional distrust between a Spanish viceroy and his creole subjects, Areche turned his attention towards reducing creole influence on the audiencia. In a report to the crown, Areche noted that the judges, themselves creoles, were affiliated by birth or marriage with families which comprised “almost all the nobility of the city and the highest placed persons of the kingdom.” Because of the distance and expense of taking an appeal of the court’s decision to Spain, he held that it was practically autonomous in Peru.32 Having determined the audiencia to be the center of creole political power in the kingdom, Areche realized that without reducing its power substantially, the success of the visitation could not be assured.

The visitor spent considerable time reviewing transcripts of decisions handed down by the Lima court, privately hearing complaints against the judges and trying to compile sufficient evidence to secure their deposition on grounds of malfeasance or incompetence, but his efforts were frustrated by the fact that no witnesses dared testify on his behalf, fearing reprisals once the visitation left Peru. Reluctantly, Areche concluded that any overt actions on his part to oust the judges would provoke a strong reaction on the part of the creole nobility whose interests they protected.33

Alternatively, Areche drew up a detailed questionnaire and sent it to the eight oidores on the court. In it he requested that the judges note their place of birth and that of their wives and children; the length of time they had served on the court; the amounts they had donated to the king in connection with their candidacies; the real property they possessed; the types of business they were engaged in; their relatives in Peru; the commissions which they had or were fulfilling within the imperial bureaucracy; their absences from Lima; and the names of any enemies and/or litigation which they were involved in. In this way, the visitor hoped to compile enough evidence of the ties which the justices had through marriage, kinship, or business with the creole nobility of Lima, to convince the crown that a conflict of interest existed and assure their ouster or transfer.34

The judges replied not without frankness and in considerable detail. (See  Appendix) Their responses constitute an excellent preliminary survey of the social-economic characteristics of the membership of a major audiencia, and lay bare its relationship to the creole nobility of the capital, while suggesting something of the position of both groups in the social structure of the viceroyalty. Although no single document can give a definitive picture of either the audiencia or of creole society, combined with available genealogical data it can provide an inkling of the close interrelation of the social and official aspects of the audiencia’s history, a subject virtually untreated in older studies of the colonial high courts.35 As a glimpse of magistracy and society in late colonial Peru, it can both settle some questions and suggest profitable avenues for further research.

To begin with, the replies to the questionnaire clearly indicate that creoles had dominated the audiencia since at least the first third of the eighteenth century. By 1774 their domination was practically complete, eleven of the twelve judges being creoles, and at least seven of them natives of Lima itself. Often audiencia service was a family affair. The father of one of the judges, Don Gaspar de Urquizu Ibanez, had served as an alcalde del crimen and civil judge for forty years prior to his son. Another judge, Don Antonio Hermengildo de Querejazu, claimed a first cousin who had formerly served as a judge, while his father-in-law, the Marqués de Santiago Concha, and his brother-in-law, Don Melchor de Santiago Concha, were also eminent justices of the court. The only Spaniard among the eight, Don Alfonso Carrión, was related through marriage to the prestigious house of Torretagle, various members of which had served or were serving on the Lima court.38

Secondly, the replies indicate that almost all of the judges had received supernumerary appointments in their home districts after having made donations to the crown of sums up to 30,000 pesos. Not only did these payments give them the privilege of serving, marrying, and owning property within their judicial districts, but the positions, once granted, became virtually proprietary in nature. Unlike other royal officials, who were moved about periodically, the Lima judges were ordinarily not subject to transfer and the ensuing loss of seniority.

Third, the replies indicate that the creole judges were men of some learning. Although the judges’ answers are vague regarding their formal education, an appointee to a major audiencia almost always had to be a professional lawyer with degree of either Licenciate or Doctor in Laws. Carrión refers to himself as Doctor, a title presumably earned in Spain, while the senior judge, or dean, Don Pedro Bravo de Rivero, and Don Antonio Hermengildo de Querejazu earned their doctorates in law at the University of San Marcos in Lima. Presumably the remaining judges were also letrados. Thus although Areche dismissed several of the judges as “men of little learning,” one cannot uncritically accept his judgment, considering his opinion of creoles in general.37

Fourth, the replies indicate that all but one of the judges, a native of Panama who had married in his home district, were married into the creole nobility of Lima. Apparently the right of judges to marry in Lima had existed for over a century.38 These marriages were advantageous to both sides, and for this reason were highly regarded. On the one hand, a fortunate marriage increased a judge’s social and financial resources. In keeping with the Spanish tradition of underpaying their officials, judges earned salaries of less than 5,000 pesos.39 And a donation of 2,000 pesos to the crown, such as that made by the wife of Don Pedro Bravo de Rivero in support of her husband’s candidacy, could be a welcome boost.

Most of the judges, however, had been themselves born to wealth, and for them the social assets to be gained from a marriage outweighed the financial benefits. Since the members of the creole nobility were closely interrelated, marriage into any one of a number of important families extended the connections of the judges throughout the entire elite group of Peru. Equally important, these marriages afforded wealthy local families direct access to the Spanish imperial bureaucracy.

Judging by the replies, these unions between creole judges and local women were notably fecund. In certain cases, this created a several-generation tradition of family association with the audiencia, as outlined above in the cases of the Torretagle, Santiago Concha, and Urquizu Ibáñez families, whose service on the court spanned over half a century.40 Bravo de Rivero, the dean of the court who had been appointed in 1733, for example, had nine children, one of whom was serving on the same tribunal in 1814. As late as 1806, Don José de Santiago Concha was appointed to the Lima court from a similar post in Chile.

Relatively little research has been done concerning the nature and composition of the creole elite in eighteenth century Peru, which was so closely aligned with the members of the Spanish imperial administration. In 1721, an informed observer estimated at 200 the number of noble families in Peru.41 In 1776, a creole viceregal secretary stated that the Peruvian titled nobility was the largest in Spanish America, including a duke who was a grandee in Spain, fifty-eight marquises, forty-five counts, a viscount, and 135 knights of the Order of Santiago.42 To an observer from the Río de la Plata, the limeño nobility constituted a true “feudal aristocracy” because of its holdings in land and slaves.43 Yet by the eighteenth century there was no longer a strict separation between the landed nobility and wealthy merchants.44

Whatever the source of the wealth of the creole nobility of Lima, the fact of it emerges clearly. The fifth son of a wealthy miner during this period, for example, was able to purchase a marquisate for 140,000 pesos.45 In 1702, the creole Conde de San Juan de Lurigancho was able to purchase the post of treasurer of the royal mint, the most prestigious position exclusive of viceregal patronage, for 80,000 pesos.46 By the middle of the eighteenth century, Viceroy José Manso de Velasco noted that fortunes of between 50,000 and almost a million pesos were not uncommon in Lima.47

A few examples of the linkages between the judges of the audiencia and the creole nobility can give an idea of their character and extent.48 To name one, the Spaniard Carrión was linked through marriage with Doña Josefa Tagle y Bracho, a daughter of the Marqués de Torretagle, to an established creole house whose members were well represented in both the civil and ecclesiastical bureaucracies. His brother-in-law, Don Pedro de Tagle Bracho, was an alcalde del crimen on the Lima court, while another brother-in-law was archdeacon of the cathedral of Lima. Carrión’s paternal uncle was a former archbishop of Lima.

Similarly, the wife of Querejazu, Doña María Josefa de Concha y Errasquín, was a daughter of the wealthy Marqués de Casa Concha, himself a former judge of the audiencia. Through marriage he enjoyed kinship ties with the rector of San Marcos, a cathedral canon, and various other judges and military officials. His brother-in-law, Don Melchor de Santiago Concha, was appointed to the Lima court in 1779. Querejazu’s own family was of equal distinction. His father had served as a judge in Charcas, and his brothers were in the church. His son was serving as a colonel in the fijo (permanent) Regiment of Guadalajara in the Viceroyalty of New Spain, while a daughter was married to the treasurer of the royal mint in Lima.

The Bravo de Rivero family was perhaps the best-connected of all the creole magistrates, having ties of kinship with the senior inquisitor of the tribunal of the Inquisition, the auditor of the royal tobacco monopoly, the president of the Audiencia of Charcas, the bishop of Arequipa, and the majordomo of the royal palace of Viceroy Guirior, in addition to two marquises, a count, a captain of infantry, and various letrados, all of whom were creoles.

Moreover, the judges themselves were closely related. Urquizu Ibáñez and the Marqués de Corpa were cousins, while Carrión and Pedro de Tagle were brothers-in-law. By 1779, two other cousins, Melchor de Santiago Concha and Antonio Hermengildo de Querejazu, were serving on the court. One of Querejazu’s sons, married to the sister-in-law of Corpa, was a wealthy merchant closely aligned with the Concha family in business.49

The combined replies indicate that the judges were wealthy men, born into the aristocracia de tierra of Lima. For example, besides his residence and seven business establishments in Lima, which provided an annual rent of 12,000 ducats, Bravo de Rivero possessed a finca in the Carabaillo Valley outside Lima, and two haciendas in Pisco which produced wheat and grapes. Hermengildo was the owner of an estancia in Tarma where he raised cattle, as well as haciendas in Pisco and Cañete, and six houses in Lima. The other judges possessed similar landed wealth: Mansilla owned properties in Tarma, Moquegua and Lurigancho in addition to his residence in Lima, while the Marqués de Corpa possessed properties in Tarma and Huamalíes as well as his house in Lima. The sole exception to the rule seems to have been Carrión, who asserted that he owned no property and that his salary was his only resource. He lamented that because of this he had not been able to provide dowries for his spinster sisters, and had been forced to put his daughter in a convent as a charity case.

Whether this was true or not, none of the creole justices could have voiced such complaints. Not only had they inherited family wealth, they had shrewdly invested in businesses as well, although a majority denied this.50 Nevertheless, most of their money seems to have been in land and slaves. Areche estimated that each of the judges owned between ten and forty slaves, each worth about 500 pesos. Not infrequently, as in the case of the Torretagle family, judges and their wives would inherit the mayorazgos or entailed rights of several related families. The value of such assets thus might exceed by at least four times a judge’s annual salary, indicating that the creole magistrates were men of considerable means.

Finally, the questionnaire indicates that the commissions bestowed upon the judges as a form of patronage by the viceroys greatly extended the range of influence stemming from their lands and family connections. Certain of these assignments were salaried, but even those which were not were lucrative and prestigious. Judges served as auditor of war, assessor of the tribunal of accounts (with the power to audit all public accounts), and as administrators of the properties of the expelled Company of Jesus, of hospitals, coliseums, water districts, pension funds, royal monopolies, and public works of all kinds. In addition, they were delegated to inspect troops or Indian communities, conduct censuses, residencias, or investigations, to study subjects such as the mails, taxation, the slave trade, and to execute a variety of property divisions. Through these commissions, the creole magistracy constituted a virtual interlocking directorate which influenced and controlled the operation of the city of Lima, and indeed of the entire viceroyalty. Virtually no aspect of colonial economic life escaped their authority.

One of the important questions raised by the judges’ disclosures is the degree to which interlocking relationships with the nobility may have affected the decisions made by the audiencia, changing it from an independent judiciary into a vehicle of creole interests. It is a difficult question to answer. To begin with, it is impossible to determine whether the Lima tribunal was ever as independent of local interests as the crown had desired; the fact that magistrates for centuries had been married into the local elite implies that it was not. Secondly, it is difficult to ascertain the validity of the allegations of creole corruption. For example, Areche contended that the judges, as hacendados in the Rimac Valley where Lima was situated, could use their control over water legislation to divert the limited water supply to their own properties, thereby cornering the alfalfa market, upon which the economy of the capital was so dependent.51 There is no evidence of any intent on the part of the judges to do such a thing; yet the possibility does underscore the power of their positions.

Nevertheless, there are other indications that conflicts of interest occurred with some regularity. For example, it seems clear that the friends and relatives of the judges served them both as counsellors and creditors.52 The extent of the practice is not known, but it tends to make their administration of justice suspect. Certain of the justices admitted as much. Sierrabella, for example, as a partial explanation for one of his listed enemies, noted that he had failed to disqualify himself in a case involving his wife’s aunt, regarding the division of an estate. During the course of his interviews with unsuccessful petitioners before the court, Areche found that many of the judges had been similarly involved in cases concerning relatives and friends. It is certain that the judges had more enemies than those listed. Few persons were willing to oppose the judiciary, at least in public.

Other evidence of collusion, although unverifiable, also exists. Certain of the judges admitted that they had refused to accept deeds to inherited properties in order to avoid the payment of property taxes. Areche alleged that at least one judge, Pedro de Tagle, had been successful in removing his name from the tax rolls. Similarly, the visitor held that the judges, in league with the creole hacendados of Lima, had defeated his efforts to collect a tax upon arable land, and to raise sales taxes from four to six per cent.53

In February 1778 Areche forwarded to Gálvez the judges’ replies to the questionnaire, along with his own evaluations. He concluded that the judges were both incompetent and partial to the creole nobility, and that the Audiencia of Lima was one of the most discredited in the Indies. Specifically, Areche urged the removal of Bravo de Rivero, who he alleged had used his position as dean to help the church evade taxes, and who was a “perennial troublemaker.”54

In addition, Areche sought the ouster of Sierrabella, a trusted advisor of Guirior, whom he termed Bravo de Rivero’s “puppet.” He recommended that the loyal Carrión, who was in ill health and over age, also be retired. Although he did not seek his removal, Areche noted that he was keeping Pedro de Tagle “under the most scrupulous observation.” In general, Gálvez received these recommendations affirmatively, and several changes in the court were made in the following year.55 Subsequently Areche suspended a fiscal, Don Juan Joaquín Galdeano, who had openly criticized his actions regarding the court. Although Galdeano was later reinstated, Areche’s actions indicate a new confidence in his abilities to challenge the hegemony of the creole establishment.56

The violent rebellion led by José Gabriel Condorcanqui, or Túpac Amaru, which broke out near Cuzco in November 1780, put a temporary halt to investigation of the Lima tribunal. Yet the revolt served the purposes of the peninsulares, allowing them to place the creole establishment in an unfavorable light in the eyes of the king. In a secret report to the crown, the senior royalist military commander in Lima, Demetrio Egan, asserted that the uprising had been planned by the creoles of Lima and Cuzco, who had come under the spell cast by the British colonies of North America. He went on to say that the creoles spoke boldly of Peru being governed by its own “crowned head” in lieu of Spain. Egan held Viceroy Agustín de Jáuregui, who replaced Guirior in 1780, to be no improvement over his predecessor, since the same group of wealthy creoles controlled them both.57

Apparently the complicity of the creoles in the Túpac Amaru revolt was accepted by Gálvez, although it could never be proved. In a highly secret report sent in 1783 to the incoming viceroy, Teodoro de Croix, Gálvez asserted that the creoles had plotted the rebellion as early as 1776 to coincide with the arrival of the visitation, hoping that Areche’s reform measures would serve to focus discontent against the crown and provide additional support for the revolt. He alleged that during the rebellion creoles worked assiduously to avoid taxes and frustrate the goals of the visitation, and that they were aided by Viceroys Guirior and Jáuregui, who complied with their every wish and let themselves be persuaded to respond moderately to the uprisings. Gálvez asked rhetorically why the Audiencia of Lima had failed to act decisively to end the revolt when it first began, answering that it was either because the judges were weaklings, unfamiliar with the law, or because they privately sought advantage from the chaos which the rebellion produced.58

Gálvez’ allegations regarding the conduct of the judiciary during the period prior to the conclusion of the Indian rebellions in 1784 were echoed by other officials as well. In 1778, Areche noted that prominent creoles transferred as part of the reform program from other audiencias to fill vacancies on the Lima court had developed a network of relationships equal to the other members of the tribunal.59 Furthermore, the regent asserted that the recently retired judges still worked with the remaining creoles on the court to run the government and control the viceroy as they had his predecessor.60

During the period after 1783, creole representation on the Audiencia of Lima steadily declined. Although creoles retained a majority of seats until 1796, never again did they dominate the tribunal so thoroughly as before. As early as 1781 Melchor de Paz, a viceregal secretary, noted the trend when he observed that the members of the high court were increasingly being drawn from among the “relatives, favorites, and dependents of Gálvez.”61 Although several prominent creoles were appointed during the period prior to 1796, the normal turnover through death and retirement eventually acted to end their domination of the court.62 When the distinguished creole Don José Baquijano y Carillo was named an alcalde in 1797, he became the third creole judge on the court. By the time he was promoted to oidor in 1806, creoles held only four seats on the court which they had formerly controlled.63

Similarly, creoles were kept from holding the intendancies created in 1784, or from serving as judges on the Audiencia of Cuzco which was created three years later.64 During this period, it became exceedingly difficult for wealthy creoles to purchase appointments on the court, and judgeships were granted instead to experienced peninsular bureaucrats.65 In Mexico, efforts were made to restrict the audiencia to the performance of its judicial duties exclusively, and it might be inferred that the same occurred in Peru.66 Apparently the creation of the Cuzco tribunal slightly reduced both the size and the sphere of influence of the Audiencia of Lima.67

Our overview of the Audiencia of Lima during the late eighteenth century leads to the conclusion that during much of the colonial period creoles were not denied access to the upper reaches of the Spanish imperial administration. Moreover, for better than a century, numerous ties of patronage, marriage, godparentage, property ownership, and friendship bound the creole bureaucrats to the creole nobility of Lima, of which they were indeed members from birth.

Future investigation can doubtless do much to fill in the picture. To illustrate, for Chile, Jacques Barbier has discovered that the incidence of marriages between creole women and bureaucrats actually increased following the end of the visitation in 1785, due to the wide range of new positions created by the reforms. He concludes that, as a result, creole influence on the government of Chile continued unimpeded until independence.68 Similar studies might be done for Peru to determine the full extent of linkages between the bureaucrats and the creole nobility during this later period, the degree to which the latter were able to retain their former influence, and the precise impact which the visitation had upon the situation.

Acting in league with their numerous relatives and friends among the creole nobility, the judges of the Audiencia of Lima functioned as a colonial establishment during much of the late colonial period, running the city of Lima and even managing to manipulate certain of the Spanish viceroys. Holding positions of power and responsibility in virtually every sphere of colonial affairs, they were consequently able to exercise influence and shape policy at every level. As J. R. Fisher has pointed out, Spanish administrators tended to merge into this power structure rather than to challenge it.69 When they did challenge it, as occurred during the Areche visitation, powerful opposition could be brought to bear.70

Thus while it appears that office holding was a source of creole discontent at the time of independence, the process was far more complex than once imagined. The creole aristocrats in Peru were no powerless political ingenues. Rather they had built up an extremely strong position combining local wealth and social prominence with high administrative and judicial office. By the last quarter of the eighteenth century their dominance was so thorough as to alarm Spanish officialdom, causing strong action to reduce the creoles’ role in government.

There can be no doubt that the limeños chafed at their new exclusion from the audiencia and from other administrative positions which they regarded as their birthright. To this exclusion they reacted in turn, but they did so as an establishment defending a position of power, not as a deprived group who had been consistently excluded from office, or now made demands for the first time. The demand of the Peruvian deputy to the Junta Central in Spain in 1809 that creoles receive one-half of all tire positions in the government indicates a desire to return to their former influential situation within the viceroyalty.71 Probably even the granting of this demand would never have satisfied creole aspirations. In 1771 Mexican creoles had rejected the idea of parity with peninsulares, demanding instead a monopoly of all governmental offices, and Peruvian creoles had similar ambitions. The issue of exclusion from office was thus neither at the beginning nor at the end of creole resentment. By this time that resentment was directed at the concept of empire itself.

Survey of Career Data, Connections and Property of the Judges of the Audiencia of Lima, 1777a

Dr. Pedro BRAVO DE RIVERO. Born in Lima Feb. 4, 1701, graduate of San Felipe and San Marcos, Lima. 1) Appointed to Lima, 1733, assumed office, 1736; paid benefice of 30,000 pesos. Removed from the tribunal, 1764; reinstated 1776; retired 1778. 2) real property: residence in Lima, seven commercial houses in Lima, finca in Carabaillo valley, two haciendas in Pisco. 3) Relatives: Doña Petronila Zavala de Velasco, wife, born in Lima April 22, 1722; seven children; Juan Bravo de Rivero, bishop of Arequipa, brother; Francisco Matienzo Bravo, senior inquisitor, tribunal of the Inquisition, nephew; Juan Bravo de Rivero, doctor in canon and civil law, San Marcos, and lawyer for the audiencia, son; Pedro Tadeo Bravo de Rivero, doctor in law, San Marcos, lawyer for audiencia, member, city council of Lima, son; Andrés Bravo de Rivero, prebendary, cathedral of Lima, son; Diego Miguel Bravo de Rivero, captain, veteran infantry regiment “Real de Lima,” member, Audiencia of Lima, son; Conde de Montesclaros, majordomo of viceroy, son-in-law; Marqués de Rocafuerte, president, Audiencia of Charcas, stepson; Marqués de San Lorenzo, son-in-law; Manuel Saenz de Alaya, auditor, royal tobacco monopoly, cousin. 4) Commissions held: judge, councils on fraud, census, intestacies, temporalities, tobacco; auditor of war; dean of audiencia. 5) Absences from Lima: none. 6) Litigation: removed from court, 1764-1776.

Gaspar de URQUIZU IBÁÑEZ. Born in Lima, educated there. Travelled to Spain, 1730s. 1) Appointed fiscal, Audiencia of Charcas; appointed judge in Lima, 1740; assumed office, 1744; benefice of 28,000 pesos paid for initial appointment. 2) Real property: residence in Lima. 3) Relatives: wife born in Lima, deceased; no children; Juan Peréz de Urquizu, judge of Audiencia of Lima, father; Marqués de Corpa, judge of Audiencia of Lima, uncle; Mariano Valdivieso, lawyer of audiencia; Marqués de Villahermana; Francisco de Ulaortua, rector, San Marcelo church, Lima; Condesa de Torreblanca, aunt; Joaquín de Torres, Marqués de Casa Torres; José Gallangos, Captain, Presidio of Callao, 4) Commissions held: protector fiscal de indios, Audiencia of Charcas, 1738-1740; judge, councils on stamped paper, tobacco, temporalities, applications, mails, widows and military dependents, hospitals; auditor of war; assessor, tribunal of accounts; dean, Audiencia of Lima, 1764-1776. 5) Absences from Lima: twice, distance of fifteen miles. 6) Litigation and enemies: José de Tagle y Bracho; Antonio Sancho Dávila; Antonio Boza; Marqués de Santiago; Ántonio Álvarez de Ron; senior notary, Audiencia of Lima.

Dr. Antonio Hermengildo de QUEREJAZU Y MOLLINEDO. Born in Lima, June 13, 1711, graduate in law, San Felipe and San Marcos, Lima, died, Jan. 17, 1796. 1) Appointed to Audiencia of Lima, 1744; assumed office, 1746, no benefice paid. 2) Real property: residence and six businesses in Lima, estancia in Tarma, hacienda in Pisco, hacienda in Cañete. 3) Relatives: Married Doña María Josefa de Santiago Concha, born in Lima, May 8, 1717, on August 17, 1733; five children. Antonio de Querejazu y Iriarte, president, Audiencia of Charcas, father; Marqués de Santiago Concha, member, Order of Calatrava and judge, Audiencia of Lima, father-in-law; Francisco Arias de Saavedra, Marqués de Moscoso, former judge, Audiencia of Lima; Dr. Tomás de Querejazu y Mollinedo, Order of Santiago, canon, cathedral of Lima, rector of San Marcos, brother; Matías de Querejazu, prebendary, cathedral of Lima, brother; Augustín de Querejazu, interim treasurer, royal mint of Lima, son; Antonio José de Querejazu, lt. col. infantry regiment of Guadalajara, son; Marqués de Villafuerte, son-in-law; Conde de Lurigancho, treasurer of the royal mint, son-in-law; Melchor de Concha y Errasquín, judge, Audiencias of Charcas, Chile, and Lima, brother-in-law; José Antonio de Villalta, alcalde del crimen, Audiencia of Lima; José Miguel Villalta y Concha, rector, San Marcos. 4) Commissions: Judge, councils on census, intestacies, tobacco, corregidores, temporalities, royal treasury, frauds; Society of Friends of the Country; Order of Santiago; dean, Audiencia of Lima, 1778-1785; honorary member, Council of the Indies. 5) Absences from Lima: none. 6) Enemies and litigation: unspecified.

Juan José de la Puente, Marqués de CORPA, born in Lima Feb. 22, 1724. 1) Appointed supernumerary alcalde del crimen in Lima, 1747; served, 1749-1777; appointed civil judge, 1777; died, 1796. Paid benefice of unstated amount to royal treasury, Madrid. 2) Real property: residence in Lima, hacienda in Lima, estancia in Tarma, estancia in Huamalíes. 3) Relatives: Doña Constanza de la Puente y Castro, his cousin, whom he later married, a native of Lima; two children, one of them at the court in Madrid; Gaspar de Urquizu Ibáñez, judge, Audiencia of Lima; Lorenzo de la Puente y Querejazu, Marqués de Villafuerte; Pedro José Bravo de Lagunas Castilla y Zavala, Marqués de Torreblanca; Antonio Sancho Dávila. 4) Commissions held: judge, councils on comedies, widows and children, snow; led expedition to Huamachuco. 5) Absences from Lima: none. 6) Enemies and litigation: none.b

Pedro de ECHEVERZ Y SUBIZA, born in Panama. 1) appointed to Lima, 1750; assumed office, 1753; paid no benefice. Office granted as a favor for services of grandfather, Antonio Echeverz, who had armed and equipped at personal expense five galleons lost in the Bahama Channel, and who later served as president of the Audiencia of Guatemala. 2) Real property: none. 3) Relatives: Doña María de la Concepción Tambino, born in Panama, wife; no children; two brothers, both priests in the sierra of Pern, and a spinster sister in Lima. 4) Commissions held: judge, runaway slaves, intestacies, wheat, tobacco, stamped paper, comedies, hospitals, water, temporalities. 5) Absences from Lima: outskirts of Lima, 1761, Ica, 1768. 6) Enemies: Sebastián Valdivieso, Francisco Calderón Ibáñez.

Cristóbal Mésia y Munive, Conde de SIERRABELLA, born in Santiago, Chile. 1) Appointed supernumerary judge, Lima, 1755; took office, 1757, purchasing his seat from another supernumerary, Pedro Bravo de Castilla. Retired, 1778. 2) Real property: residence in Lima, valued at 14,900 pesos. 3) Relatives: Doña María Josefa de Aliaga y Colmenares, born in Lima, who died, January, 1770; two children; Andrés de Munive, archdeacon, cathedral of Lima, brother; Francisco Munive y Garavito, Marqués de Valdelirios, a member of the Council of the Indies, cousin; Marqués de Feria, corregidor of Siscasica; Jerónimo de Taboada y Valenzuela, Marqués de Otero; Condesa de Palentinos; Marqués de Celada de la Fuente; houses of Aliaga and Oyaque. 4) Commissions held: Judge, councils on tobacco, frauds, census, cockfights, comedies, mail, temporalities, cathedral of Lima, sales tax; municipal constmction projects; visita of Huancavelica mercury mine (1762); director, Hospital San Bartolomé. 5) Absences from Lima: once, to Huancavelica, 1762. 6) Enemies and litigation: Sebastian de Valdivieso, Antonio Álvarez de Ron.

Manuel MANSILLA ARIAS DE SAAVEDRA, Born Lima, died 1803. 1) Appointed alcalde del crimen supernumerary in 1750 in exchange for payment of a benefice of 35,400 pesos. Paid 15,000 pesos in Madrid but was unable to pay the rest. Office finally granted to him in 1770 when king waived the balance owing. 2) Real property: chacra in Lurigancho, estancia in Tarma, hacienda in Moquegua, residence in Lima. 3) Relatives: Doña Marcela Arias de Saavedra, wife, born in Lima, who died in 1776; five children; Condesa de las Torres, cousin and sister-in-law; Marqués de Casa Boza, legal advisor to Viceroy Superunda; Pablo Vásquez, official of the Audiencia of Lima; Manuel Sáenz de Alaya, auditor of the royal tobacco monopoly and principal minister, royal treasury of Lima, son-in-law; Conde de las Lagunas; Conde de Velayos. 4) Commissions held: alcalde del crimen supernumerary, 1750-1770; judge, councils on comedies, Indians, temporalities, tribunal of accounts, applications, bullrings, census; director, Hospital Santa Ana de Lima. 5) Absences from Lima: Tarma, 1756. 6) Enemies and litigation:c “all those who administer justice have enemies.”

Dr. Alfonso CARRIÓN, Born in La Mancha, Spain. 1) Appointed alcalde del crimen in Lima, 1729; assumed office, 1731: Appointed oidor, 1776; retired, 1778. Reported no benefice, but attributed office to his uncle, Diego Morcillo Rubio, former archbishop of Lima and viceroy of Peru. 2) Real property: residence in Lima. 3) Relatives in Lima: Doña Josefa Tagle y Bracho, wife, born in Lima; Tadeo José Tagle y Bracho, the Marqués de Torretagle, former dean, Audiencia of Lima, paymaster and commissar general of war and marine at Callao; ten children; José de Tagle y Bracho,d subdean, Audiencia of Lima, and former judge, Audiencia of Charcas, brother-in-law; Pedro de Tagle Bracho, alcalde del crimen, Audiencia of Lima, former judge, Audiencia of Charcas, brother-in-law; Dr. Francisco de Tagle Bracho, archdeacon, cathedral of Lima and rector of San Marcos, brother-in-law; Pedro Matías de Tagle Isasaga, captain, regiment of infantry “Real de Lima,” brother-in-law; Fray Ramón Tagle, Dominican, brother-in-law; Doña Serafina Tagle, the Condesa de Torrevelarde, sister-in-law. 4) Commissions held: inspection of haciendas, valley of Lurín; review of Indians, province of Lampa; review of presidio troops, Callao; construction of Callao-Lima roadway. 5) Absences from Lima: several times. 6) Litigation: none admitted. 7) Enemies: “numerous.”


The information in the appendix is extracted from the Plan mentioned in footnote 12 and the Respuestas of the judges set out in footnote 36, along with Areche’s letter to the king, no. 31, which accompanied it. In addition, the author has compiled certain genealogical information about the judges from works by Vargas Ugarte and Lohmann Villena (footnote 48). The “Don” habitually accorded to all the men is omitted here for convenience. The judges are listed in the order of their initial supernumerary appointments as they are in the Plan.


Viceroy Gil in 1795 described Corpa as a rich man, feared by litigants for his influence.


Areche stated that Mansilla was an experienced lawyer. Gil praised him but noted that he was closely related to the creole nobility and disliked by the public.


José de Tagle y Bracho served as an oidor of the Audiencia of Charcas and Lima, but was separated from his position in 1776, which explains his omission in the questionnaire. He was reinstated in 1783 and served as dean of the court until his death in 1795. The Charcas court seems to have been somewhat of a stepping stone to an appointment in Lima. (Mendiburu, op. cit., X, p. 277.).


The older view is expressed by C. H. Haring, The Spanish Empire in America (New York, 1949), p. 136, and Bailey W. Diffie, Latin American Civilization: Colonial Period (Harrisburg, Pa., 1945), p. 488. The first to revise this idea was the Chilean historian Jaime Eyzaguirre, Ideario y ruta de la emancipatión chilena (Santiago, 1957), p. 56, who found evidence of creole involvement in many sectors of the Chilean bureaucracy during the eighteenth century and earlier. D. A. Brading, Miners and Merchants in Bourbon Mexico, 1763-1810 (Cambridge, Eng., 1971), pp. 40-42, has documented heavy creole participation on the Audiencia of Mexico during the same period, while Stuart B. Schwartz, “Family, Friends and Empire: Magistracy and Society in Colonial Brazil,” HAHR, 50:4 (Nov. 1970), pp. 715-730, has reached similar conclusions for Brazil. I am indebted to the above for making their findings available to me in advance of publication.


Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa, Noticias secretas de América, (2 vols., London, 1826), II, 415. For another description of this phenomenon, see the anonymous “Estado político del reino del Perú en el año de 1742,” Revista Peruana, 4 (Lima, 1880), 183-187.


Antonine Tibesar, O.F.M., “The Alternativa: A Study of Spanish-Creole Relations in Seventeenth Century Peru,” The Americas, 11:3 (January 1955), 229-282; Tibesar, “The Background of the Lima Clergy,” paper presented at the American Historical Association Meeting, Boston, December 28, 1970.


See the edition of Cangas’ observations by Carlos Deustua Pimentel, “Compendio Histórico, Geográfico, Genealógico y Político de el Rno. del Perú,” La causa de la emancipación del Perú (Lima, 1960), pp. 307-308.


Leon G. Campbell, “The Military Reform in the Viceroyalty of Peru, 1762-1800.” Unpublished doctoral dissertation (University of Florida, 1970), pp. 41-42. For a similar study of creoles in the militia of New Spain, see L. N. McAlister, The “Fuero Militar” in New Spain, 1764-1800 (Gainesville, Fla., 1957).


Cangas, “Compendio,” p. 270.


Archivo General de Indias: Audiencia de Lima (hereafter AGI:AL), Legajo 673. Teodoro de Croix to the Marqués de Sonora, Lima, March 16, 1787, ff. 1-3.


John R. Fisher, Government and Society in Colonial Peru. The Intendant System, 1784-1814 (London, 1970), especially pp. 82, 219, 240-250. or criminal judges, and two fiscales or royal attorneys who served as public


For a more complete list of Peruvian creoles in high office during the colony, see Manuel de Mendiburu, Diccionario histórico-biográfico del Perú (2nd. ed., Lima, 1933), VI, 439-451.


Cangas, “Compendio,” p. 270.


Jorge Tovar de Velarde, “La audiencia de Lima (1705-1707); dos años de gobierno criollo en el Perú,” Revista Histórica, 23 (Lima, 1957-1958), 338-348.


Plan del tiempo de servicio que tiene cada uno de los señores Ministros de esta Real Audiencia . . . Lima, February 20, 1778. AGI:AL 1082. Three years earlier, creole domination of the court had been even more complete: all eight oidores and three alcaldes del crimen being creoles; seven, and possibly eight of these were limeños. I am grateful to Professor Mark A. Burkholder of the University of Missouri, St. Louis, for this information. Burkholder is engaged in a study of changing royal appointment policies in the Audiencia of Lima during the late colonial period, and a related article will appear in a future issue of the HAHR.


Because of the amount of litigation which they handled, the Audiencias of Lima and Mexico City were considered superior courts, and were larger than their provincial, or inferior, counterparts. The viceroy, sitting ex-officio, presided over the tribunal, although he had no vote. By the eighteenth century the Lima court consisted of eight oidores or civil judges, four alcaldes del crimen, or criminal judges, and two fiscales or royal attorneys who served as public prosecutors on behalf of the royal treasury, as well as a host of lesser officials. In 1776 the crown provided the audiencias with a regent, who was to serve as a buffer between the judges and the viceroy. Although the number of judges in Lima was subsequently increased from fourteen to eighteen, the creation of new tribunals and recurring vacancies kept its size around fifteen during the balance of the colonial period. For a description of the courts and their functions, see C. H. Haring, The Spanish Empire, pp. 120-127.


For the jurisdictional limits of audiencias, see J. H. Parry, The Audiencia of New Galicia in the Sixteenth Century (Cambridge, Eng., 1948), especially p. 37.


Cited in Vicente Rodríguez Casado (ed.), Memoria de Gobierno de José Fernando Abascal de Sousa (Seville, 1944), p. lxi.


Juan and Ulloa, Noticias secretas, II, 410.


“Verdadera situación del Reyno del Perú desde el año de 1777 hasta el de 1786,” Mercurio Peruano, no. 324 (Lima, 1954), p. 110. The author was Mariano Loredo, a Spanish merchant of Lima.

The same idea has been expressed by J. H. Parry, who noted “There were many things, including some necessary things, which the audiencia failed to do, or had no power to do; but it had ample power to prevent anybody else from doing them. In this sense the authority which it wielded under the Crown in its province may be called supreme.” The Audiencia of New Galicia, p. 184.


Charles Arnade, The Emergence of the Republic of Bolivia (Gainesville, Fla., 1957), pp. 2-3.


Concolorcorvo (Alonso Carrió de la Vandera), El Lazarillo: A Guide for Inexperienced Travellers Between Buenos Aires and Lima, 1773, translated by Walter D. Kline (Bloomington, Ind., 1965), p. 175.


Recopilación de leyes de los reynos de las Indias. (4 vols., Madrid, 1680), libro II, títulos, xvi, xvii, passim.


Parry, Audiencia of New Galicia, p. 72.


Arthur S. Alton, “Spanish Colonial Reorganization under the Family Compact,” HAHR, 12:3 (August 1932), 269-280.


Brading, Miners and Merchants, p. 37.


“El virrey del Perú, Manuel de Amat, informa al Rey del estado de las audiencias del virreinato y en especial de la de Lima. . .,” Lima, January 13, 1762, Revista de la Biblioteca Nacional, 24 (Buenos Aires, 1942), 345-350.


Brading, Miners and Merchants, p. 38.


AGI:AL 1040, Areche to Gálvez, Cuzco, March 20, 1780, f. 10.


Eunice Joiner Gates, “Don José Antonio de Areche: His Own Defense,” HAHR, 8:1 (February 1928), 20-21. The article is a translation of Areche’s testimony in defense of his conduct concerning Viceroy Manuel de Guirior.


The story of the conflict is set out in Vicente Palacio Atard, Areche y Guirior. Observaciones sobre el fracaso de una visita al Perú (Seville, 1946).


Gálvez transferred the superintendancy of the royal treasury from the viceroy to the visitor general, and attempted to restrict the former to his political and military functions. Brading, Miners and Merchants, p. 45.


AGI:AL 645b, Areche to the king (incomplete, no date), ff. 1-2; Gates, “Areche,” p. 23; Palacio Atard, Areche y Guirior, pp. 23-24. The five advisors were the Conde de Sierrabella, José Antonio Borda, the Marqués de Celada, the Marqués de Casa Boza, and the Marqués de Sotoflorido. Borda was a rich hacendado and colonel of militia in Carabaillo; Celada, according to Areche, was “the richest and blindest man in the kingdom;” Sierrabella was an influential judge on the audiencia; Sotoflorido served Guirior as his legal advisor; Boza was a large hacendado who had at times served as a judge on the audiencia, assessor of the consulado or merchants’ guild, and rector of San Marcos.


Bribery of viceroys was relatively common according to Juan and Ulloa, Noticias secretas, II, 462. Areche alleged that the tribunal of the consulado of Lima had contributed 12,000 pesos to Guirior’s account, as well as 6,000 to his wife and 2,000 to his secretary, in an effort to secure favorable treatment. Gates, “Areche,” pp. 24-27.


AGI:AL 1082. Report from Areche to the king, no. 31, Lima, February 20, 1778, f. 12, which accompanies the “Plan del tiempo de servicio.”


Ibid., ff. 16-18, 41.


The questionnaire was not sent to the regent, Don Melchor Jacot Ortíz de Rojano, a Spaniard, or to the alcaldes del crimen, probably because the latter had only recently arrived in Lima and had not developed any ties which would have strengthened the visitor’s case.


There is no study of the Audiencia of Lima during the entire colonial period. Older studies, such as Parry, The Audiencia of New Galicia, and C. H. Cunningham, The Audiencia in the Spanish Colonies as Illustrated by the Audiencia of Manila, 1583-1800 (Berkeley, 1919) are concerned primarily with the official functions of the court, and fail to discuss creole participation. Parry (pp. 196-197) concludes that the audiencias were controlled by peninsulars throughout the colonial period.


AGI:AL 1082. Respuestas de los Ministres de la Real Audiencia de Lima, included with Areche’s report to the king, no. 31, cited above. The information below is largely taken from the following: Bravo de Rivero to Areche, Lima, No. 3, 1777, ff. 1-7; Urquizu Ibáñez to Areche, Lima, Nov. 13, 1777, ff. 1-20; Hermengildo de Querejazu to Areche, Nov. 3, 1777, ff. 1-9; Echeverz to Areche, Lima, Nov. 3, 1777, ff. 2-5; Mansilla to Areche, Lima, Nov. 6, 1777, ff. 1-10; Corpa to Areche, Lima, Oct. 31, 1777, ff. 1-5; Carrión to Areche, Lima, Nov. 14, 1777, ff. 1-6; and Sierrabella to Areche, Lima, Nov. 3, 1777, ff. 1-9.


AGI:AL 1082. Areche to the king, no. 31, ff. 37-38.


Manuel Moreyra y Paz Soldán, Biografías de oidores del siglo XVII y otros estudios (Lima, 1957); Pedro Rodríguez Crespo, “Parentescos de los oidores de Lima con grupos superiores de la sociedad colonial,” Anales del III Congreso Nacional de la História del Perú (Lima, 1965), pp. 232-237.


Judges and fiscales of the audiencia earned salaries of 4,860 pesos, compared to the viceroy’s salary of 64,500 pesos. Cangas, “Compendio,” p. 258.


José de Tagle y Bracho was appointed an oidor of the Audiencia of Chuquisaca in the 1740s and subsequently transferred to Lima. As a result of his misconduct while serving as paymaster at the port of Callao he was separated from the court. By 1783 he had won reinstatement and held the deanship until his death in 1795. Don Melchor de Santiago Concha, a son of a former judge, the Marqués de Santiago Concha, was appointed to the court in 1779 and served until 1795.


Conde Bertrando del Balzo (ed.), “Familias nobles y destacadas del Perú en los informes secretos de un virrey neapolitano, 1715-1725,” Revista del Instituto Peruano de Investigaciones Genealógicos, no. 14 (Lima, Dec. 1965), pp. 107-133. The commentator was the Príncipe de Santo Buono, Don Carmine Nicolo Caracciolo, twenty-sixth viceroy of Peru, 1716-1720.


José Morales de Aramburu, “Noticia del verdadero ventajoso estado político del Perú vajo la governación del Excellentisimo Señor Don Manuel de Amat y Junient,” Fénix, 5 (Lima, 1948), 335-336.


Richard Konetzke (ed.), Descripción de la Provincia del Río de la Plata (Buenos Aires, 1947), p. 144.


Carlos Deustua Pimentel, “Sobre la burguesía peruana en el siglo XVIII,” Anales del III Congreso Nacional de Historia del Perú (Lima, 1965), pp. 275-282. Deustua notes that the Dutch traveller Tadeo Haenke estimated there were around 300 noble houses in early eighteenth-century Lima, but that they varied in rank, with the descendants of the conquerors and settlers of Lima ranking first, followed by royal officials and peninsulares, and finally, wealthy merchants.


Carlos Weisse, Apuntes de historia crítica del Perú, época colonial (2nd. ed., Lima, 1949), pp. 48-49.


C. H. Haring, The Spanish Empire, p. 290.


Cited in Guillermo Céspedes del Castillo, Lima y Buenos Aires (Seville, 1947), p. 6.


For a more complete understanding of the membership of the creole elite of Lima and its interrelationships, see Guillermo Lohmann Villena, Los americanos en las órdenes nobiliarias, 1529-1900 (2 vols., Madrid, 1950). The listings of witnesses present at the baptismal, marriage, and funeral services of the titled nobility are a good indication of a family’s closest associates. Luís de Izcue, La nobleza titulada en el Perú colonial (Lima, 1929) and Rubén Vargas Ugarte, S. J. Títulos nobiliarias en el Perú (Lima, 1948) are also instructive in this regard.


Letter from Melchor Jacot to Gálvez, 1780, cited in Deustua Pimentel, “La burguesía peruana,” pp. 281-282.


Ibid.; AGI:AL 1082, Areche to the king, no. 31, ff. 53-55.


Palacio Atard, Areche y Guirior, pp. 29-30.


See note 49 above.


Palacio Atard, Areche y Guirior, pp. 27, 33-34.


Bravo de Rivero, who had been suspended by Amat in 1764, used his vast fortune to win reinstatement to the deanship in 1777 following his rival’s departure. Bravo also won in 1786 a judgment of 33,550 pesos for wrongful removal against the heirs of Amat. This is an indication of the resources which could be brought to bear by the creole establishment. Areche’s allegations regarding Bravo are unverifiable, although his family was closely involved in the affairs of the expelled Jesuits. Palacio Atard, Areche y Guirior, p. 103; Rubén Vargas Ugarte, S. J., Historia del Perú, Virreinato (siglo XVIII), 1700-1790 (Lima, 1956), pp. 350-351.


Carrión, who had served as an alcalde until 1777, when he was appointed a civil judge to fill a vacancy, was retired along with Bravo de Rivero and Sierrabella. Echeverz and Pedro de Tagle were either retired or transferred, it seems, since their names do not appear on audiencia lists after that date.


Vargas Ugarte, Historia del Perú, p. 382.


AGI: AL 1493. Relación del Coronel Don Demetrio Egan de los alborotos del Perú al Sr. José de Gálvez, Lima, February 20, 1781, f. 5.


AGI:AL 640. Secret report from Gálvez to Teodoro de Croix, El Pardo, March 28, 1783, ff. 1-4.


AGI:AL 1082, Areche to the king, no. 31, f. 23; Palacio Atard, Areche y Guirior, p. 21. Areche was referring to Don Juan Antonio Verdugo and Don Domingo Martínez Aldunate from the Audiencia of Chile, and Don Ramón Rivera from the Audiencia of Chuquisaca, who had married women in Lima following their appointments as alcaldes. They had formerly been oidores, and their transfer and demotion was in keeping with Gálvez’ purge of the high courts.


Jacot, cited in Deustua Pimentel, “Burguesía peruana,” pp. 281-282.


Melchor de Paz, Guerra separatista. Rebeliones de indios en Sur América: la sublevación de Túpac Amaru. Ed. by Luis Antonio Eguiguren (2 vols., Lima, 1952), II, 131.


David Brading, Miners and Merchants, p. 42, notes that by the late 1780s the same phenomenon occurred in Mexico. Whereas before that time creoles had dominated the court, by the 1780s there were only three creoles among eleven judges. The same situation has been reported in Chile by Jacques Barbier, “The Restoration of the Chilean Elite and the Bourbon Reforms,” paper presented to the American Historical Association Meeting, Boston, December 28, 1970, pp. 23-26. A revised version of this article will appear in a future issue of the HAHR.

During this period, Don Melchor de Santiago Concha, Don Jose de Tagle Bracho and Don Nicholas Vélez de Guevara joined Querejazu, Mansilla, and Don Juan José de la Puente Ibáñez, the Marqués de Corpa, to give creoles six of the civil judgeships on the court. With the death of Torretagle, Vélez de Guevara, and Querejazu, and the presumed transfer of Santiago Concha in 1795, their number was reduced to two. Carlos Deustua Pimentel (ed.), “El informe secreto del Virrey Gil de Taboada sobre la audiencia de Lima,” Revista Histórica, 21 (Lima, 1954), 274-287. For an idea of the changing composition of the court, see’the Guía política, eclesiástica, y militar del virreynato del Perú para el año de 1793 (Lima, 1793), pp. 5-6, and subsequent annual editions.


Letter to the author from Mark A. Burkholder, April 6, 1971.


Only one creole, Nicholas Manrique de Lara, was initially appointed an intendant, although subsequently creoles were named to some of these positions. Manrique was quickly recalled by the viceroy when he became engaged in a dispute with the Spanish bishop of Huamanga. All of the initial judges appointed to the Audiencia of Cuzco were Spaniards. Fisher, Government and Society, pp. 37-43. All of the judges appointed to the Audiencia of Cuzco were Spaniards. Horacio Villanueva Urteaga, “La Audiencia del Cuzco,” Anales del III Congreso National de História del Perú, pp. 424-430.


A look at the careers of the Spanish judges on the Audiencia of Lima in 1795 indicates this trend. Don Tomás González Calderón, a native of Mexico, had a long career as a judge in Guatemala before receiving an appointment in Lima. Don Juan del Pino Manrique had served as an alcalde in Charcas and as governor of Potosí before coming to Lima as an alcalde in 1789. Don Manuel García de la Plata was a Castilian who served in Chuquisaca and as an alcalde in Lima before receiving a civil judgeship. Don Juan Rodríguez Ballesteros, an Andalusian, was an experienced lawyer who served in Chile prior to coming to Peru. Carlos Deustua Pimentel (ed.), “El informe secreto del Virrey Gil.” Brading notes that the same system of appointing peninsular alcaldes and promoting them eventually to oidores was also employed in Mexico by this time; see Miners and Merchants, p. 70.


Brading, Miners and Merchants, pp. 43-44.


In 1791 an official of the Lima court asked for an increase in salary due to the fact that reduced litigation was decreasing his profit margin substantially. Fisher, Government and Society, pp. 47-48.


Barbier, “The Restoration of the Chilean Elite,” p. 26. I am grateful to the author for sending me his study in advance of publication.


Fisher, Government and Society, p. 9.


In 1781 Areche was recalled and replaced by Jorge de Escobedo, his subdelegate in Potosí. For the story of Areche’s struggle to clear his name, see Palacio Atard, Areche y Guirior, pp. 66-80.


Fisher, Government and Society, p. 199.

Author notes


Leon G. Campbell is Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Riverside.