Audiencia de los Confines

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Audiencia de los Confines

The New Laws of 1542 called for the creation of the Audiencia de los Confines, so named because it was to be situated at Comayagua, a village on the border of Guatemala and Honduras, where the court held its first session in May 1544. In May 1548 the second president, Alonso López De Cerrato, arrived. He recommended the court's removal to Santiago de Guatemala (now Antigua), a much larger and more prosperous settlement that was less isolated. Although Gracias a Dios had only a few poverty-stricken residents, the audiencia had remained there for four years because Governor Alonso Maldonado and his colleagues profited illegally from local business affairs. In 1549 Cerrato moved the court to Santiago, where it occupied the bishop's residence.

At first, jurisdiction of the audiencia extended from Panama north to Yucatán and Tabasco, but soon those regions were removed from its district. In the 1560s the Audiencia de los Confines was abolished and a court was reestablished at Panama with administration by the Audiencia of Mexico. However, the audiencia in Guatemala was restored by 1570 with jurisdiction from Chiapas to Costa Rica. As the Audiencia of Guatemala, the court maintained this ar-rangement until the end of the colonial period.

See alsoAudiencia .


For a discussion in Spanish, see Mario Góngora, El estado en el derecho indiano, época de fundación (1492–1570) (1951). Various aspects of the audiencia are dealt with in Ralph Lee Woodward, Jr., Central America: A Nation Divided, 2d ed. (1985); Murdo J. MacLeod, Spanish Central America: A Socioeconomic History, 1520–1720 (1973); and William L. Sherman, Forced Native Labor in Sixteenth-Century Central America (1979).

Additional Bibliography

González Villanueva, Gustavo. Los primeros cristianos de la Audiencia de los Confines. San José, Costa Rica: Promesa, 2003.

Jiménez Núñez, Alfredo. Antropología histórica: La audiencia de Guatemala en el siglo XVI. Sevilla, Spain: Universidad de Sevilla, 1997.

                                     William L. Sherman