This work concentrates on the first three audiencia judges in Santo Domingo—Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón, Juan Ortiz de Matienzo, and Marcelo de Villalobos—and the residenda conducted in 1517-19 by Licenciado Alonso de Zuazo, but ranges more broadly. Diego Colón’s suit with the crown and the subsequent reduction of his authority by the establishment of the Audiencia of Santo Domingo, that court’s responsibilities and procedures, the conflict between Colón and the audiencia, and the Cisnerian reform and use of Jeronymite friars occupy the book’s first part. Part Two provides extensive background on the residencia, the authority given to Zuazo, secret and public charges against the three judges, and the defense they offered. Appendixes provide some of the residencia material that is discussed point by point in the text.
The author relied heavily upon published documentation and secondary works, but also employed documents located in the Justicia section of the Archivo General de Indias. The study provides a limited amount of archival material, but offers no major new insights into early Santo Domingo. The exegetic approach repeatedly employed makes for tedious reading. Specialists in early Santo Domingo alone will labor through this volume.