Archivo de Indias de Sevilla – Discover the archives of Spain

The Archivo General de Indias is a beautiful Renaissance palace, which now serves as the National Archives of Spain.

The Archivo General de Indias is a beautiful Renaissance palace, which now serves as the National Archives of Spain.

It houses the largest repository of colonial records in the Americas and now also houses the Museum of the Inquisition.

24 de May de 2022

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The reason for the creation of the Archivo de Indias

A beautiful Renaissance palace, the Archives of the Indies in Seville were created in 1785 at the request of King Carlos III to centralize in one place the documentation relating to the Spanish overseas territories , which until then had been dispersed in various archives: Simancas, Cádiz and Seville.

The General Archive of the Indies in Seville houses invaluable archive documents that illustrate the history of the Spanish Empire in America and the Philippines.

The project was led by José de Gálvez y Gallardo, Secretary of India, and its execution was in charge of the academic and historian Juan Bautista Muñoz, a great Indian cosmographer. Juan de Minjares and Alonso de Vandelviva were the builders of the building.

There are two main reasons for founding the General Archives of India. On the one hand, the lack of space in the Archivo General de Simancas, the central archive of the Spanish Crown. On the other hand, in the spirit of the Enlightenment, the desire to write a history of Spanish conquest and colonization that responds to foreign writings that have dealt with the subject.

In October 1785, the first documents began to arrive at the Archives. Since then, and in various transfers of funds, the funds of the main institutions linked to India have been incorporated until the Archives became the main documentary repository for the study of the Spanish administration in the New World and the Philippines.

Important fact: at the time of the constitution of the archives, the year 1760 was considered as the date of division between the administrative date and the historical date, so the documents prior to this date had to be sent to the Archives of the India, leaving the documentation after this date in the service of the organizations that had produced the documents.



Location of the General Archive of the Indies

The General Archive of India is located in the Casa Lonja building , located near the Avenida de la Constitución and the Alcázar next to the Cathedral of Seville.

It is a square building with two floors and a large central courtyard , which combines red bricks and stone elements on the outside, a combination that will be followed in the construction of different Sevillian buildings.

Inside is the central patio, built in stone and of great proportions, with arches attached to the pillars with half columns.

Behind the patio windows are large galleries. Those on the upper floor are covered with vaults decorated with cassettes and geometric reliefs , very typical of the Renaissance and sober, of great decorative value, separated by semicircular arches.

The current main staircase of the building, designed by Lucas Cintora, is distinguished by its construction at the end of the 18th century and its decoration with marble veneers. A lantern dome opens up on the stairs.

80 million pages and 8,000 maps are preserved in the Archivo de Indias

The General Archives of India holds some 43,000 files, including 80 million pages and 8,000 maps and drawings. The archives occupy more than 9 linear kilometers. It also keeps the autographs of the great maritime explorers and conquerors: Christopher Columbus, Magellan, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Pizarro and Cortés.

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Video by Toma Barnès

Decoration of the landing of the staircase of the General Archive of the Indies.

The quality of the building is evidenced in the marbles with covered surfaces, marbles of different colors , sculpted with decorative shapes on the walls and surfaces of the stairs, precisely cut and combined on the floor of the different rooms and areas in which they are divided. the galleries.

On the sides of the galleries there are high shelves carved in noble wood , raised above the ground on a continuous red marble bench, which are made for archival purposes, where a large number of valuable documents are kept.

The Archive of the Indies in Seville is a World Heritage Site

These archives have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO with the Cathedral and the Reales Alcázares de Sevilla . Currently the Archive of the Indies in Seville is the most important archive that exists on the exercise of Spain in America and the Philippines. They contain information about the political and social, financial, religious, artistic and geographical past of the territories. It is very valuable information and the reason why they have become a World Heritage site .

80 million pages and 8,000 maps are preserved in the Archivo de Indias

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CONTACT

  • Address: Avda. of the Constitution, s / n
  • Phone: 954211234 – 954500528
  • Research hours: Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Website: Archives of the Indies of Seville