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Corregidor

Corregidor

Corregidor, administrator of a territorial unit known as a corregimiento in Peru and some other parts of the Spanish Empire. His judicial, administrative, military, and legislative responsibilities were indistinguishable from those of Alcaldes Mayores in New Spain. There were eighty-eight corregidores in Peru in 1633.

The post of corregidor was introduced in the sixteenth century both to provide sustenance for Spaniards and to expand royal authority from the urban centers into the countryside and over the indigenous population. Most corregidores served a single term of five years or less. The crown preferred men with military, or at least militia, backgrounds.

From the stabilization of the position until 1677, most corregidores were named by viceroys or other regional chief executives. The Crown's decision to sell corregidor appointments in 1677 reduced the viceroys' patronage. In addition, the sales, which continued until at least 1750, forced corregidores to increase their pressure on the native populations of their districts in order to recoup their investment and make a profit.

Working closely with wholesale merchants, corregidores routinely required the natives to purchase animals and merchandise from them (repartimiento de mercancías or bienes) at inflated prices, and in some cases they forced the natives to sell their produce to them at below market prices. These abuses led to repeated local rebellions in the Andes and, in some cases, to the death of the corregidor. The Túpac Amaru II Revolt in Peru (1780–1783) was provoked in part by the exactions of corregidores and one of its objectives was to end the hated repartimiento de mercancías.

To correct the abuses of the corregidores and their lieutenants, the Crown replaced them with intendants in most of the empire during the late eighteenth century.

See alsoIntendancy System .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Fisher, John Robert. Government and Society in Colonial Peru: The Intendant System, 1784–1814 (1970).

Haring, Clarence H. The Spanish Empire in America (1947).

Lohmann Villena, Guillermo. El Corregidor de indios en el Perú bajo los Austrias. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Fondo Editorial, 2001.

Robins, Nicholas A. Priest-Indian Conflict in Upper Peru: The Generation of Rebellion, 1750–1780. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2007.

                                  Mark A. Burkholder

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