Don Luis de Velasco the Younger and the Northern Frontier, 1583–95

Sunday, January 8, 2012: 9:10 AM
Chicago Ballroom B (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
John F. Schwaller, Potsdam (State University of New York)
Don Luis de Velasco, the younger, was the son of the second viceroy of Mexico.  Unique among viceroys of Mexico, he served twice in that office himself (1589-1595, 1607-1611).   He also governed as viceroy of Peru (1595-1603) and ended his career as President of the Council of the Indies (1611- 1617).  Also unique among viceroys, Velasco lived in New Spain for many years as a private citizen prior to his appointment as viceroy.  He arrived in Mexico in 1560, when he was about 21 years old, and lived in the viceregal palace with his father until the latter’s death.  Because of his own extraordinary service to the crown in the discovery of the CortÚs Conspiracy, Velasco was rewarded with unprecedented grants from the crown, making him one of the wealthiest men in New Spain.  While living in Mexico, the high court of Mexico, the audiencia real, appointed him as captain general of the northern frontier, a post he served in 1583-1584.  Consequently, he is the only early colonial viceroy with actual field experience in that region of turmoil and upheaval.  This paper will explore Velasco’s experiences as commander of the forces in the north and see how that experience affected his policy regarding the northern frontier once he became viceroy and later President of the Council of the Indies, setting policy for the whole of the Spanish New World.
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