Date History and Culture

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History and Culture

Art and Architecture


Isabella I of Castille marries Ferdinand II of Aragon. They become known as Los Reyes Católicos.



Isabella inherits the throne of Castile.



Ferdinand inherits the throne of Aragon. The shared rule of the Catholic Monarchs means that most of Spain is now finally reunited.



Italian navigator and explorer Christopher Columbus arrives in Hispaniola (Dominican Republic/Haiti).



Ferdinand and Isabella secure from Pope Alexander VI, a papal bull stating that all lands west of Tordesillas line (traced 300 miles west of the Cape Verde islands) shall belong exclusively to Spain.



Foundation of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), the first permanent Spanish settlement in the Americas.



The Florentine navigator Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512) explores the northern coast of Brazil.



Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral (1467-1520) led the colonization of Brazil after the Tordesillas treaty was signed.



Administration of Nicolás de Ovando y Cáceres – the founding governor of Hispaniola.



Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) was founded in Seville to oversee the exploration and conquest of the New World.



Isabella I of Castille dies.



Phillip I is crowned King of Castile, initiating the rule of the Habsburgs in Spain.



German scholar Martin Waldseemüller christens the new continent “America” in honor of Amerigo Vespucci.



Dominican friar Antonio de Montesinos begins battle against Amerindian slavery.


ca. 1511

First African slaves are brought to America.



With the conquest of Cuba and the founding of Havana, the islands of the Caribbean are under Spanish control.



Ferdinand II dies and is succeeded by his Habsburg grandson who becomes Charles I of Spain (from 1519, he is also the Holy Roman emperor Charles V).



Martin Luther begins the Protestant Reformation.



Hernán Cortés lands in the Yucatan and first encounters the Aztec empire.



La Noche Triste (June 30) - Hernán Cortés’ army and his native allies engage in battle to scape Tenochtitlan after killing the Aztec king Moctezuma II.



Hernán Cortés conquests the Aztec empire, taking the city of Tenochtitlan is renamed Mexico City and the whole territory is renamed New Spain.



Religious orders (Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians) arrive in New Spain.

Franciscan Friar Pedro de Gante founds the first college of the New World in Texcoco (Mexico).


The Caribbean coastal city of Santa Marta was established as the first Spanish settlement in Colombia.



Portugal establishes the first feudal captaincies in Brazil.  

Virgin of Guadalupe appears in the cloak of the Indian Juan Diego de Cuauhtlatoatzin.


Francisco Pizarro led the conquest of the Inca Empire.



The first attempt at colonizing Brazil is made by King John III of Portugal.



The Viceroyalty of New Spain is established.


The Indians rebel against the abuse of the Spanish invaders and attack Cuzco.



Pope Paul II passes the papal bull Sublimis Deus forbidding the enslavement of indigenous people in the Americas.



The city of Santa Fe (Later renamed Bogotá) was founded by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada (1495-1579).


ca. 1540

King John III of Portugal brings Brazil under direct royal control and appoints a governor general.



Civil war breaks out among Spanish settlers in Peru and Francisco Pizarro is killed.



Founding of the Viceroyalty of Peru, with Lima as its capital. The Viceroyalty encompasses Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and north-central Argentina and Chile.



Establishment of the Council of Trent.



The first governor of Brazil arrives and makes Bahia (Salvador) the capital of Portuguese Brazil until it is replaced by Rio de Janeiro in 1763.


ca. 1550


The Church of San Francisco in Popayán was built but destroyed in 1736 after an earthquake. The church was rebuilt in Baroque-style architecture ca. 1765.


The Spanish soldier Pedro de Cieza de León (1518–1554) writes the first extensive history of the native peoples entitled Crónica del Perú.

The Colegio de San Juan Evangelista, later renamed Colegio de San Andrés was built. This is one of the earliest art schools in Quito.


The University of San Marcos opens in Lima. It is the first university founded in South America.


1557 -1566


Church of San Francisco, the oldest surviving colonial church in Bogotá, was built.



Guilds are established in Lima to organize the production of art, the training of artists, and the setting of quality standards.


Quito (Ecuador) became an Audiencia, first of the Viceroyalty of Peru, and later, in 1719, of the Viceroyalty of New Granada.




Andres de la Concha finishes the altarpiece at the Dominican Convent San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca.


Spain takes the Philippines. The Manila Galleon starts trade between Manila and Acapulco.



Francisco de Toledo (1520–1583) reigns as fifth viceroy of Peru.




Spanish law restricts the art of guild to European masters.


Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa (1532–1592) writes Historia de los Incas.

Viceroy Francisco de Toledo commissioned native artists to paint portraits of the twelve Inca kings in the European style for the king of Spain.


Tupac Amaru I, the last of the Inca royal heirs, is executed on Toledo's order. Inca nobles are exiled from Cuzco.


The Potosí Mita (tribute system to draft Indian labor) was instituted by Viceroy Francisco de Toledo for the working of the silver mines and refineries.




On the site of an Inca ruler's palace in Cuzco, the Jesuits build the Church of Campañía, one of the finest examples of colonial Baroque architecture in the Americas.

ca. 1580

Dominican friars build several missions along the shores of Lake Titicaca.

The History of the Indies of New Spain also known as the Codex Durán, was completed.


The first printing press is set up in Lima. The Jesuits produce dictionaries, grammars, and Bibles in Quechua.



Claudio de Arciniega was named lead architect for the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral.

Simon Pereyns and Pedro de Requena begin their construction of the altarpiece for the Franciscan church of San Miguel, Huejotzingo.



Andres Sanchez Calque paints the Portrait of the Mulatos of Esmeraldas the oldest dated painting in South America.


Caribbean Raid - Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596) invades Cartagena (Colombia).



Runaway slaves in Brazil found the Quilombo dos Palmares, a confederacy ruled according to Central African customs.  



African slaves rebel in Veracruz.



Fray Juan de Torquemada publishes Monarchía Indiana, a description of Mexico based on sixteenth-century texts.

The Peruvian Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala writes El Primer Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno – a historical account of the Andes from the earliest human beings to the Incas and the Spanish Conquest.


The five-year catastrophic flooding of Mexico City spurs a massive evacuation to Puebla and the north.



The Dutch colonize the northeast of Brazil.

Construction of the Fortress of San Felipe. This was Cartagena’s main defense against French, Dutch, and English explorers.  


The Portuguese navigator Pedro Teixeira explores the interior of Brazil and expands its border west of the Tordesillas limit.

Tenure of Bishop Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, who was Puebla’s greatest art patron.

ca. 1641


Dutch artist Albert Eckhout created the eight ethnographic portraits, among them African Man and Tapuya Woman.



Viceroy of New Spain issues ordinance in favor of the new guild of ceramicists in Puebla establishing the Talavera Poblana workshop


The Dutch retreated from Brazil.




Tenure of Bishop Manuel de Mollinedo y Angulo, Cuzco's greatest art patron.



Andean painters accuse Spanish masters of mistreatment and declare intention to form their own guilds, paving the way for the Cuzco School of Painting.



Earliest known Casta paintings are made by Manuel Arellano. These paintings established a prototype for the genre, which became popular in the 18th century.


Confirmation of the Bourbon monarch Philip V after the death of Charles II in 1700 - the last Habsburg king of Spain.



The Audiencia of Quito, Santa Fe and the captaincy of Venezuela were combined into the New Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada to strengthen territorial control.



Portugal establishes the captaincy of Minas Gerais with capital in São Paulo (Brazil).



The Virgin of Guadalupe is proclaimed patroness of Mexico.




Quito’s first guild of painters and Encarnadores is founded.



The Church of São Bento in Olinda, (Pernambuco, Brazil) is built by the architect Francisco Nunes Soares.


Viceroyalty of Brazil is founded.



Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata (Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia) is founded.



Free Trade Edict of the Bourbon Kings permits direct trade with Spain.

Trade with Spain has an enormous impact on the sculpture workshop at Quito and the painting workshop in Cuzco.


The artist Pedro José Diaz (active 1770-1810) painted the Portrait of Doña Mariana Belsunse y Salasar.

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