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López de Cerrato, Alonso (c. 1490–1555)

López de Cerrato, Alonso (c. 1490–1555)

Alonso López de Cerrato (also Cerrato, Alonso López; b. ca. 1490; d. 5 May 1555), president of the Audiencia of Santo Domingo (1543–1547); president of the Audiencia de los Confines, later Guatemala (1548–1555). Of obscure origins but educated and enjoying royal favor, Cerrato was appointed to serve in Santo Domingo and then Guatemala to enforce the New Laws of 1542 and other pro-indigenous legislation. Stern and uncompromising, he freed Indian slaves in both jurisdictions, lowered tributes, and corrected abuses in Central America. Supported by Bartolomé de Las Casas (1474–1566) and other reformers and indifferent to local public opinion, he earned the enmity of Spanish settlers, who accused him of nepotism. He died while serving his residencia.

See alsoLas Casas, Bartolomé de; Residencia.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Lovell, W. George, Christopher H. Lutz, and William R. Swezey. "The Indian Population of Southern Guatemala: An Analysis of López de Cerrato's Tasaciones de Tributos." The Americas 40:4 (April 1984): 459-476.

Rodríguez Becerra, Salvador. Encomienda y conquista: Los inicios de la colonización en Guatemala. Seville: Universidad de Sevilla, 1977.

Sherman, William L. "Indian Slavery and the Cerrato Reforms." Hispanic American Historical Review 51:1 (February 1971): 25-50.

                                    Murdo J. MacLeod

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