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Corporate Body - Archivo General de Indias (Sevilla, España)

Archivo General de Indias (Sevilla, España)



Corporate Body

Preferred form:

Archivo General de Indias (Sevilla, España)Other forms

Fechas de Existencia:

from 1785 to existente actualmente


Although damaged and transformed into a tenement house, the former building of the Lonja in Seville would serve a new purpose and become the Headquarters of the General Archive of the Indies in 1781. With the help of the minister José Gálvez, all the Indiano documents would be gathered in the archive at the disposal of Juan Bautista Muñoz, so that he could comply with King Charles’s III request to write the “History of the New World”. Fair enough, since José de Gálvez was aware of the condition of the documents held in the General Archive of Simancas. They were sent to him in order to find the documents, whereby Pope Clement XIV approved the diplomatic work of the Roman ambassador Sir José Miñono throughout the beatification process in the Roman dicasteries. Galvez’s inform refers to the collapse of documents, which were “squeezed together”, “disorganized and confusing”. Thus, once José de Gálvez’s fact-finding mission was accomplished, he returned to the court envisaging an inaccessible archive. Such insight clashed with his vision – that of an expert in facts and rights of the Indies – and he was determined to come up with a realistic solution. The former idea involved an amplification of the Castle of Simancas. However, it was unsuccessful and immediately replaced with the idea of situating the new Archive of the Indies in Seville. The demand for an urgent solution to the collapse of the archives of Simancas was triggered by Jose Galvez’s promotion to the ministry of the Indies, aside from the necessity to formulate an illustrated history, based on sources with original archives, as well as on academic and political convictions, which would also remain faithful to reality of the Spanish Crown. The most distinguished cosmographer of the Indies Juan Bautista Muñoz was in charge of writing the History of the New World. A set of all-important documents were studied in order to gather information and describe this history. It was concluded that the following documents were needed: the documents from the Casa de la Contratación (House of Trade founded by the Real Provisión* of the Catholic Monarchs on the 20th January, 1503 and dissolved in 1790), the Commercial Consulate of Seville (founded by the Real Provisión of Charles I on the 23rd August, 1543), the Consulate of Cádiz (1717), the Cathedral of Seville, among others. José de Gálvez was determined to gather in a single building all the Indiano documents spread across several points in the metropolis (Madrid, Simancas, Cádiz and Seville).

After the building was vacated and restored, Muñoz took on the construction of the shelves and wrote a succinct document, which incorporated technical indications and was regarded as a sort of a modern-day technical requirements section. The appointment of the former archive employees, the superintendent, the archivist and the officials took place on the 29th August. Sir Antonio de Lara y Zúñiga was appointed superintendent. Gregorio Fuentes y Bearert was appointed archivist.

The very first wagons arrived from Simancas on the 14th October 1785, signalling the foundation of the General Archives of the Indies. The documents from Casa de la Contratación were sent in two expeditions in 1786 and in 1791, until its dissolution in 1791. In November 1970, the Council of the Indies sent their documents – labelled as “not frequently consulted” and prior to 1760 – from the Counting House in Madrid. The documents from the government of the Ministry of Perú were sent in 1788, those from the Ministry of New Spain in 1790 and, lastly, those of the Justice of the Notary Chamber.

Antonio Porlier, Secretary of State and of the Department of Grace and Justice of the Indies, planned the ninety-chapter ordinances issued by Charles IV on the 10th January, 1790. The aforementioned ordinances regulated the most crucial aspects of the archive’s functioning, established rules on the organization and treatment of documents, as well as on the preservation, description, access and even incorporated the principle of source.

By Circular Royal Order issued by Isabella II in 1844, the Government documents and the remaining historic archives became subject to public investigation. From thereon, they depended on the Ministry of Public Education and the team of archivists, librarians and archaeologists.

A number of important consignments from the Council of the Indies, the State Departments and the Department of the Indies arrived from Madrid between 1827 and 1863 and completed the corpus of the aforementioned (the papers from the Court of Arribadas and the Department of Taxation had already arrived from Cádiz during the three-year period in Riego). The documents from the Ministry of Overseas Territories arrived between 1864 and 1887, more specifically those regarding the General Direction of the Post Office (along with the documentation concerning the regular naval post between Spain and the Indies, created in 1764 and incorporated to the royal Navy in 1802). The so-called documents from Cuba, Louisiana and Florida, which came from the General Capitancy of Havana, were the only archives developed and generated in the ultramarine colonies that were brought to Spain in 1888-1889. The Under-Secretary of Public Education allowed the archive to detach from its Indiano generality character in order to boost the National Historic Archive, which ended up incorporating the sections of Overseas and Chamber Clerkship.

Last but not least, it is worth mentioning that the archive also comprises documentation obtained through the State’s private purchases, because this documentation is directly linked to the American continent and the Philippines. The following archives stand out: the holdings of Duke of Veragua, the private archives of the Commander Camilo García de Polavieja (Captain-general in Cuba and then in the Philippines), and those of the viceroys Fernando Abascal y de Sousa (Perú) and Miguel José de Azanza (México), on top of the reception of the historic archive from the Royal Factory of Tobacco. All of these bodies and collections encompass more than 43,000 files, which are currently held in three deposits housed on the first store of the Lonja after the restoration and amplification works. The Archive presently counts with the space of the headquarters in Cilla, which allowed for a more suitable reformation and relocation of their facilities.

*The Real Provisión was a legal and administrative provision used in the Kingdom of Castile between the 13th and the 16th centuries. Its main aim was to regulate governance and administrative acts and tackle public issues.



Cilla del Cabildo de Sevilla (España)  Obs.:  Sede institucional

Mandates/Legal Sources


Real Decreto de 23 de febrero de 1853 disponiendo que la planta del Archivo general de Indias en Sevilla conste desde el día 1º de Marzo próximo de un Archivero Jefe de negociado con el sueldo de 16,000 rs. Anuales; un Oficial primero con el de 12,000; y un Oficial segundo con el de 10,000. (Gaceta de Madrid, núm. 58; 1853-02-27).

Legal Statuses


Archivo General de Estado


González García, Pedro. Archivo General de Indias. Coordinador general de la obra, Pedro González García. Madrid: Lunwerg. 328 p. ISBN: 84-7782-365-0.

La Casa Lonja de Sevilla: una casa de ricos tesoros: Archivo General de Indias, Sevilla, del 27 de junio al 28 de diciembre de 2005 [Exposición]. Madrid: Ministerio de Cultura, Subdirección General de Publicaciones, Información y Documentación. 235 p. ISBN: 551-05-055-5.

Peña y Cámara, José María de la. Archivo General de Indias de Sevilla: guía del visitante. [S.l.]: [s.n.]. 1958. 206 p.

Related Authorities

Antillón Marzo, Isidoro (1778-1814)  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

Associative relations :

Arribas Arranz, Filemón (1903-1968)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Bermúdez Plata, Cristóbal (1882-1952)  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

Carr, Helen Salisbury (ca.1905-?)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Cean Bermúdez, Juan Agustín (1749-1829)  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

Chartkoff de Meyer, Edith Paula (ca.1900-?)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Cintora, Lucas (ca. 1732-1800)  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

Clark, Charles Upson (1875-1960)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Cortés Alonso, Vicenta (1925-2021)  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

Flores Moscoso, Ángeles  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Gálvez, José de (1720-1787)  ( It is founded by; José de Gálvez fue el impusor del proyecto de creación del Archivo General de Indias )

Gillmor, Frances (1903-1993)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Hammond, George P. (1896-1993)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Hanke, Lewis (1905-1993)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Heredia Herrera, Antonia (1934-)  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

Hermano Nectario María (1888-1986)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Hernández Rodríguez, Rosaura (1925-)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Herráez Sánchez de Escariche, Julia (1904-?)  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

Higuera, Aniceto de la  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

Higuera Lara, José de la  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

Hill, Roscoe R. (1880-1960)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Howard West, Elisabeth (1873-1948)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Jiménez-Placer, Carlos (1837-1896)  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

Lamb, Úrsula (1914-1996)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Mantecón, José Ignacio (1902-1982)  ( Tiene como empleado a_en; Archivero del Estado. )

Martin, Percy Alvin (1879-1942)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Molner Zamora, Blas (1737-1812)  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

Muñoz, Juan Bautista (1745-1799)  ( It is founded by )

Parsons, James Jerome (1915-1997)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Pastells, Pablo (1846-1932)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Peña y Cámara, José María de la (1897-1994)  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

Ravina Martín, Manuel (1949-)  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

Roa Ursúa, Luis de (1874-1947)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Roche Herrero, Eugenia  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Sarrablo Aguareles, Eugenio (1894-1961)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Monica, Sister (1892-?)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Torre del Cerro, José de la (1876-1959)  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

Torre Revello, José (1839-1964)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Torres Lanzas, Pedro (1858-1935)  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

Valbuena, Manuel de (?-1821)  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

Van Horne, John (1889-1959)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Van Rensselaer Wilbur, Marguerite (1889-?)  ( Tiene como cliente a_en )

Wright, Irene Aloha (1879-1972)  ( Acude como investigadora )

Ysasi-Ysasmendi, Julia (?-1990)  ( Tiene como empleado a_en )

External Links

Directorio de Archivos:

Censo Guía

Catálogo de Autoridades:


Catálogo de Autoridades:



Producer of:

  • Archivo General de Indias  (73)

Related documents:

  • Archivo Histórico de la Nobleza  (1)
  • Archivo Histórico Nacional  (180)
  • Archivo General de Indias  (19382)