Corporate Body - Secretaría de Estado y del Despacho de Marina (España)

Secretaría de Estado y del Despacho de Marina (España)



Corporate Body

Preferred form:

Secretaría de Estado y del Despacho de Marina (España)Other forms

Fechas de Existencia:

from 1714-11-30 to 1851


It was officially created by Royal Decree issued on the 30th November 1714 under the name Universal Secretariat of Marine and the Indies. A year later (R.D issued on the 28th April, 1715), it was abolished and its powers were taken over by the Secretariat of War. The secretariat was reestablished under its former designation in 1721 (R.D. issued on 14th January) and remained functional until 1776 (30th January), when the matters of the Indies were permanently taken over by an independent Secretariat. Following the dissolution of the Secretariat of the Indies in 1790, the maritime military affairs were taken over by the Secretariat of Navy. This Secretariat will remain functional throughout the whole 18th century and enter the 19th century without any remarkable changes at an organizational and functional level. Although the word “minister” was used in the Bayonne Statute (1808) and the Constitution (1837) as a reference to the “secretary”, both terms will be used as synonyms until 1851 (by R.D. issued on the 20th September, whereby the Ministry of Development is established). As soon as the designation “ministry” became official, the secretariat was renamed as Ministry of Overseas Territories. The “plant” did not change in the slightest, except for the number of staff members which increased over time: a secretary, head officials of the departments, clerks, an archivist, a concierge and other assistants. Similar to other secretariats with the same scope, it will take over the matters that originally depended on the Council of War and the Council of the Indies (they will maintain the judicial function) through the “vía reservada*”. Held accountable to anyone but the King, it will also trace the political line to be followed and define the means to accomplish the goals. Overall, its functions consisted in securing the defense policy in the maritime domain, with exclusive powers over the arsenals and shipyards, expeditions, plunders and oversight of maritime commerce, supply of food, ammunitions and equipment, military health services and anything concerning the civil and military personnel. As far as America is concerned, this Secretariat will encompass all matters related to government, war, finance, commerce and navigation of the New World. Such functions used to be developed by the departments. Its competencies covered territorially the peninsula, the Balearic and Canary Islands, and the Presidios in the North of Africa (from 1715 to 1721 and from 1790 to the Imperium of Overseas Territories).

Mandates/Legal Sources


Real Decreto de 30 de noviembre de 1714 por el que se crea la Secretaría de Estado y del Despacho de Marina e Indias

Real Decreto de 14 de enero de 1721 por la que reaparece la Secretaría de Estado y del Despacho de Marina e Indias


PARES: Código Referencia:ES.47161.AGS/2.21//

GÓMEZ GÓMEZ, Margarita. Forma y expedición del documento en la Secretaría de Estado y del Despacho de Indias, Sevilla, 1993.

ESCUDERO, José Antonio. Los Secretarios de Estado y del Despacho (1424-1724), 4 vols. Madrid, 1976.

FRANCO RUBIO, A. Reforma administrativa y nuevas instituciones: las Secretarías de Guerra y Marina en el siglo XVIII, en El mundo hispánico en el siglo de las Luces. I, págs. 643-658.

Related Authorities

Fernández de Navarrete, Martín (1765-1844)  ( It has as a member )

Associative relations :

González de Castejón Salazar, Pedro (1719-1783)  ( It has as a member )

Somodevilla Bengoechea, Zenón de (1702-1781)  ( It is owened by/It has X as beneficiary; Secretario de la Secretaría de Estado y del Despacho de Marina )

External Links

Obras publicadas: