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The Avila-Cort\'es conspiracy: Creole aspirations and royal interests

Victoria Anne Vincent, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The Avila-Cortes conspiracy was a plot to overthrow Spanish royal authority in New Spain. In the 1560s, the sons of the conquistadors schemed to put Martin Cortes, son of Fernando, on a new throne. The New Laws of 1542 and subsequent attempts at their enforcement changed the nature of New World land control by revoking the encomenderos' right to collect tribute. Doing this not only threatened them financially but it also threatened their way of life.^ The focus of this dissertation is Martin Cortes, the second Marques del Valle de Oaxaca, and his role in the so-called Avila-Cortes conspiracy. This dissertation concentrates on the events of the conspiracy, and the trial evidence both for and against the marques in order to assess his role. Also included is background information on Spanish traditions and history, and their relevance to the encomenderos of New Spain. This information is important to the understanding of the events that followed.^ This dissertation is based on documentation from the Archivo General de Indias (AGI) in Seville that has never been explored. Looking at that documentation has changed what we know about the conspiracy and, as this dissertation will show, examination of the documentation has reenforced what we know of the encomenderos and their motivations, brought to light and clarified many events, and settled controversy about the nature of the conspiracy and its place in Mexican history.^ Chapters One, Two, and Three cover the background information necessary to understanding the motivations for the conspiracy and the Spanish reaction. They deal with the encomienda, the New Laws of 1542, reaction to the New Laws in the New World, and the Spanish attitude toward the New World at mid-century. Chapters Four, Five, and Six deal with the actual events which comprise the conspiracy from the incidents leading up to the Marques del Valle's arrest to the cases of both prosecution and defense. Chapter Seven analyzes the results and draws conclusions. ^

Subject Area

Biography|History, Latin American

Recommended Citation

Vincent, Victoria Anne, "The Avila-Cort\'es conspiracy: Creole aspirations and royal interests" (1993). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9322818.