Mendoza, Antonio de (1490–1552)

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Mendoza, Antonio de (1490–1552)

Antonio de Mendoza (b. 1490/94; d. 21 July 1552), count of Tendilla, Spain's ambassador to Hungary, and viceroy of Peru (1551–1552). Mendoza, probably born in Granada, was also the first viceroy of Mexico (1535–1549). Chosen to represent the king and the Council of the Indies as well as to provide a check on the personal power of Hernándo Cortés, he brought to the office the prestige of the high nobility. Mendoza reached New Spain fourteen years after the military conquest of central Mexico had been completed. Typically, Spanish institutions arrived on the scene as the viability of new colonies became obvious and greater crown control seemed necessary. Yet, once in the colony, Mendoza's direct tie to the crown was relatively loose, considering that fleets containing official letters and orders sailed once a year. Mendoza, like other viceroys, occasionally avoided complying with royal pronouncements, such as his delay in enforcing the New Laws of the Indies that sought to limit encomiendas (grants of Indian labor and tribute). (The first viceroy of Peru lost his life in a rebellion following the implementation of the New Laws in that colony.)

Judicial matters and many ecclesiastical ones fell outside Mendoza's domain, but he administered nearly all other social, political, territorial, and economic concerns of the colony. Enhancing revenues through legislation covering taxation, trade, and transportation was probably one of his more pressing goals. Mendoza also supervised matters relating to the indigenous people of the new colony, ironically seeking to protect their rights and to see that they were subjugated and Hispanicized.

See alsoNew Spain, Viceroyalty of .


Arthur Scott Aiton, Antonio de Mendoza: First Viceroy of New Spain (1927; repr. 1967).

Michael C. Meyer and William L. Sherman, The Course of Mexican History, 3d ed. (1987), pp. 144-150.

Additional Bibliography

Ruiz Medrano, Ethelia. Gobierno y sociedad en Nueva España: segunda audiencia y Antonio de Mendoza. Zamora, Mexico: El Colegio de Michoacán; Gobierno del Estado de Michoacán, 1991.

                                          Stephanie Wood

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Mendoza, Antonio de (1490–1552)

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