Key Documents from the General Archive of Andalusia

Join us on a journey through some of the documentary collections that reveal the diversity of Andalusia's most important regional archive

By Andalusian Archives

Archivo General de Andalucía

Headquarters of the General Archive of Andalusia (1987-1992)Andalusian Archives

The General Archive of Andalusia is a depository and historical archive that handles documents passed to it by the central administrative services of the Regional Government of Andalusia, and by the region's autonomous governing institutions.

It also houses collections of documents from other institutions, and public and private individuals, as well as reproductions of collections and documents that are relevant to the autonomous region of Andalusia.

It has a library specializing in Andalusian archives and history.

All this combines to make the archive the most important held by any of the autonomous regions, and a first-class cultural center.

Writ recognizing the petitioner, Fernando Padilla Dávila, a resident in Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz), as an hidalgo (1558, February, 8)Andalusian Archives

Key Documents

A journey through some of the documentary collections that reveal the diversity of Andalusia's most important regional archive.

Book of the 1440 General Chapter of the Order of Santiago (1450-01-01)Andalusian Archives

Military orders under Spain's Old Regime

Military orders had a great deal of territorial, economic, and political power under Spain's Old Regime

The Order of Santiago was a military religious order originating in the late 12th century, in the kingdom of Leon. Its main objective was to fight the Moors, meaning that its territorial, political, and economic growth was closely tied to the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula.

One of the Order's key figures was Henry of Aragon, son of Ferdinand I of Aragon. At just nine years old, he was proclaimed Grand Master—the Order's highest authority—and held this position until he died.

The most significant legacy of his time as Grand Master was the General Chapter, held in the Monastery of Uclés in 1440. It was there that the statutes that would later govern the institution were established.

The General Archive of Andalusia houses what must be one of the first copies of these statutes. The book originally belonged to Diego Fernández de Córdoba.

Sale by Andrés Calderón to Ferrán Paez de Castillejo of some houses in the parish of Santa María in Córdoba which had been confiscated from Juan Rodríguez de Santa Cruz (1487-03-14)Andalusian Archives

The trials and tribulations of being a convert in 15th-century Spain and finding yourself on the wrong side of politics

Juan Rodríguez de Santa Cruz was a "veinticuatro," or twenty-four, meaning he was a member of Cordoba's municipal council. He was granted several privileges for his loyalty to Henry IV of Castile and enjoyed a high status as "alcalde examinador" (chief examiner) of the city's physicians and surgeons. His job was to judge the suitability of people working in those professions and grant them the appropriate licenses.

With the arrival of the Catholic Monarchs, his circumstances changed. They prohibited him from holding this post and found him guilty of the crime of "heretical depravity" because he was a converted Jew. He was stripped of all his possessions, including some houses in Plaza de Los Paraísos in the parish of Santa María. The Catholic Monarchs gave these houses to Andrés Calderón, "corregidor" (chief magistrate) of Granada. He, in turn, sold them to Ferrán Páez de Castillejo.

Ferrán Páez de Castillejo's grandson, Luis Páez, then converted them and the adjoining houses into a Renaissance palace. For this, he enlisted the help of the stonemason Hernán Ruiz, and his son Hernán Ruiz II. The palace became the property of the Count of Montegil and was later acquired by the State. In 1960, it became the main building of Córdoba's Archaeological Museum.

Royal letters patent by which queen Juana I of Castille sells Luis Zapata land in Las Alpujarras (Granada) left by residents who had gone to Africa Royal letters patent by which queen Juana I of Castille sells Luis Zapata land in Las Alpujarras (Granada) left by residents who had gone to Africa (1505-02-07)Andalusian Archives

The influences of Muslim Spain and the Moriscos can still be seen in contemporary North African culture

This document relates to the prolonged pressure exerted on the Mudejar population living in the Alpujarras, which began almost immediately after the city of Granada was captured. This resulted in the population gradually fleeing, until the Moriscos (Muslims who had been forcibly converted to Catholicism) were permanently expelled in 1609.

This document records the sale that Joanna of Castile made to Luis Zapata of lands abandoned by their inhabitants in Buñol, Lujar, Gualchos, Xolucar, Ubrit, and Alfaz. It is signed by Ferdinand II of Aragon in her name and also authorizes the construction of a castle in Albuñol, which became Zapata's entailed estate.

Papal bull of Pope Pius V approving and confirming the rules established by Juan Vázquez de Molina for the government of the Convent of God's Mother of the Chains in Úbeda (1558-02-06)Andalusian Archives

The Palace of the Chains ("Cadenas")

The Vazquez de Molina Palace or Palace of the Chains ("Cadenas"), in the heart of the historic town of Úbeda, is one of the most archetypal Renaissance buildings in Spain.

Juan Vázquez Molina (1500–70) was Chamber Secretary to the monarchs Charles V and Philip II of Spain, and a member of the nobility in the town of Úbeda. After he died, the palace he built there became the convent for the Dominican nuns of Madre de Dios de las Cadenas, which he had founded.

The statutes were approved by a document known as a papal bull, bearing a leaden seal and issued by Pope Pius V.

Writ recognizing the petitioner, Fernando Padilla Dávila, a resident in Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz), as an hidalgo (1558, February, 8)Andalusian Archives

The importance of being a nobleman in 16th-century Castile

Fernando Padilla Dávila was a member of Jerez de la Frontera's municipal council (known as a "veinticuatro"). In 1557, he took a claim to the Chancellery of Granada (the highest judicial body in the territories of Castile to the south of the Tagus River) against Jerez council's intention to charge him a tax on meat and fish.

In his claim, he requested that his status as a nobleman be legally declared, which would exempt him from paying the tax.

This document is richly decorative, reflecting the applicant's sound financial position. It is a leather-bound booklet containing 46 parchment pages with writing on both sides. The entire document has been written in rounded Gothic lettering, in ocher ink. The initial letters are highlighted, outlined in gold ink and inscribed in blue or crimson squares with fine white leaf patterns.

Report of the services rendered by the knight commander Rodrigo Orozco, mayor of Úbeda, in the Wars of the Communities, during the capture of Toledo in 1522 (1558-04-27)Andalusian Archives

Services rendered by the knight commander Rodrigo Orozco during the capture of Toledo in 1522

Following Charles of Ghent's accession to the throne, there was an uprising in Castile, known as the Revolt of the "Comuneros," or citizens of Castile. They attacked the houses of a number of nobles in Úbeda who were supporters of Charles I, including that of the Orozco family.

Once the revolt had been quelled, Rodrigo Orozco, knight commander of the Order of Santiago, took part in the Siege of Toledo from 1521 until 1522, with troops that he financed himself. The city was the rebels' last stronghold.

This document was written at Rodrigo Orozco's request. It is 28 pages long and testifies to the personal and financial support he gave to the King's cause.

Choirbook (1550-01-01/1589-12-31) by unknow authorAndalusian Archives

Fighting the illegal trade in cultural goods

The vital collaboration by different countries to fight the illegal trade in cultural goods and restore them to their rightful owners

Choir books were large musical manuscripts made of parchment that were used in churches and cathedrals from the Middle Ages until the 19th century. Their size meant that they could be read by all members of the choir at the same time.

This is one of a set of three choir books that were stolen in Seville in 1968 before being recovered and returned by the American authorities to the Spanish consul in San Francisco.
As they form part of Andalusia's documentary heritage, and their exact provenance is unknown, they were given to the General Archive of Andalusia.

The books are illuminated manuscripts with borders and capital letters in watercolors, with Mudejar latticework and plateresque motifs. They are bound in calfskin over wood.

Deed of foundation of monasteries of Barefoot Mercedarians in Castellar and El Viso del Alcor (1603-04-19)Andalusian Archives

Convents founded by the nobility

One of the many convents founded by the nobility between the 16th and early 17th century, as a way of reinforcing their noble status.

Beatriz Ramírez de Mendoza, Countess of Castellar and the widow of Fernando de Saavedra, founded two Recollect convents of the order of Our Lady of Mercy; one in El Viso del Alcor (Seville) and the other in Castellar de la Frontera (Cádiz).

In order to keep everything together, her son, Gaspar Arias de Saavedra, incorporated them into his entailed estate in 1615.

“Andaluzía continens Sevillam et Cordubam” (1635) by Willem Janszoo BlaeuAndalusian Archives

A visual representation of Andalusia as a place with its own identity

The map shown in the image is from a collection of maps of Andalusia produced by a Dutch mapmaker in the 17th century.

It is a version by Willem Janszoon Blaeu which is part of the "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, Sive Atlas Novus," printed in Amsterdam in 1635.

The border between Andalusia and the old kingdom of Granada particularly stands out. Scale: 1:1,150,000.

Report given by Hernando Pérez Barreto, notary public, on a cargo of slaves that left Angola for New Spain (1638-11-22)Andalusian Archives

The slave trade was a lucrative business for smugglers and corrupt officials

In 1631, Captain Juan de Burgos set off from Angola with a cargo of 400 slaves, bound for Veracruz. As required by law, he had registered it with the Casa de Contratación (House of Commerce) in Seville, which was the body responsible for overseeing this type of trade with the New World.

The ship never reached its destination, so Miguel de Neve, one of the cargo owners, reported the incident to the authorities. An investigation was carried out and documented in this report.

The testimonies showed that, following numerous mishaps, the governor of Havana had falsified a sale for his own benefit. He alleged that there were only 120 slaves left, with the others having escaped or died en route.

Although everything was monitored by the Casa de Contratación in theory, the smuggling of slaves, as well as fraud and bribery by royal officials, were very common in trade with the Indies.

Letter from King Philip IV to Luisa Enríquez Manrique de Lara, Countess of Paredes Letter from King Philip IV to Luisa Enríquez Manrique de Lara, Countess of Paredes (1648-07-07) by King Philip IVAndalusian Archives

The private life of a king

This document forms part of a collection of 30 letters, written by the king to the Countess of Paredes in a familiar tone. The Countess was known as Sister Luisa Magdalena de Jesús following her admission as a Carmelite nun into the convent of Malagón, in the province of Ciudad Real.

Letter from King Philip IV to Luisa Enríquez Manrique de Lara, Countess of ParedesAndalusian Archives

In this letter, the monarch expresses his regret over the loss of Ypres in Flanders, and French advances in Catalonia with the Siege of Tortosa. On the other hand, he appears to be encouraged by the gradual return to normality following the Naples Revolt.

On an unrelated matter, he talks to her about a Velázquez portrait and the actor Juan Rana, a comedian who Philip IV of Spain admired greatly.

Jorge de Eguía y Lumbe's title of governor of the castle of San Ildefonso de Arauco (Chile) Jorge de Eguía y Lumbe's title of governor of the castle of San Ildefonso de Arauco (Chile) (1650-06-03)Andalusian Archives

Forts built by the Spanish in the Arauco War in Chile

This document displays one of the forts built by the Spanish in an attempt to suppress the numerous uprisings by the Mapuche people.

During the prolonged Arauco War in Chile between the Spanish and the indigenous Mapuche people, while Francisco López de Zúñiga was governor, Jorge de Eguía was appointed the highest military chief and governor of the fort of San Ildefonso de Arauco.

Jorge de Eguía y Lumbe's title of governor of the castle of San Ildefonso de Arauco (Chile)Andalusian Archives

“Repartimiento” (distribution) by Alfonso XI of the borough of Luque. Justicia de Loja (1674-02-24)Andalusian Archives

"Repartimiento": payment for services rendered and a way of populating a territory

"Repartimiento" (meaning distribution) was a repopulation system used in the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. It consisted of distributing the houses and estates of conquered towns and villages among the individuals who had taken part in the Reconquest.

The original version of this "repartimiento" document recording the distribution of property was lost in a fire, but a copy was kept in a judicial file.

This copy was issued by the legal authorities in Loja at the request of Pedro García de Vida y Quesada. It concerns the "repartimiento" of the town of Luque (Córdoba) by Alfonso XI on August 24, 1385 to the 27 knights who conquered the city of Alcalá de Benzaide. One of those knights was an ancestor of Pedro García de Vida.

A map of the Manor of Cehel, property of the Count of Cifuentes. (1700-01-01)Andalusian Archives

Territorial organization in the Alpujarras region after its Muslim inhabitants had fled

The origins of the Cehel estate lie in the properties that Luis Zapata acquired in the Alpujarras region of Granada. In 1512, he used them to create an entailed estate for his son, the knight commander Francisco Zapata.

The map shown in the image relates to the period when the properties passed to Pedro José Félix de Silva Meneses Zapata, the Count of Cifuentes, after he won legal proceedings to make him beneficiary of the estate.

The Hoces Collection in the General Archive of Andalusia is an essential resource for studying the way in which the land in the Alpujarras was organized by its new settlers.

Map of the Guadalquivir River from La Algaba (Sevilla) to Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz) (1778/1784) by Francisco PizarroAndalusian Archives

The difficulties encountered in navigating the Guadalquivir River

Over the centuries, the difficulties encountered in navigating the Guadalquivir River have led to countless improvement projects.

The decline in trade between Seville and Cádiz over the 17th century, which was reinforced when the Casa de Contratación was moved to Cádiz in 1717, was largely due to the difficulty of navigating the Guadalquivir River.

The map shown in the image is part of the dossier for a prize awarded by Seville's Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País (Economic Society of Friends of the Country) for improving the river's navigability.

The winning proposal was by Francisco Pizarro, mathematics teacher at the Real Colegio Seminario (Royal College) in San Telmo. The project involved removing the river's bends and shallows (which were the main issues) using a system of cut-throughs that would help to reestablish navigation and prevent flooding.

“Royal cipher for 8 inch calibre cannons” (1783-06-24)Andalusian Archives

The emblem of the monarch on cannons as a symbol of power

Abbreviations of one or more letters, which were already seen on buildings, monuments, and carriages belonging to the nobility, also became widespread from the 16th century for other purposes, such as identifying and adorning artillery pieces.

The central motif of the image is the emblem of Charles III of Spain, with an oval border and the Spanish Royal Crown at the top.

The signature of the Count of Lacy (Inspector General of Artillery) appears at the bottom, approving the original design.

Plans of equine traction machines for cutting risers off from castings Plans of equine traction machines for cutting risers off from castings (1800 ca.) by Nicolás GalluzoAndalusian Archives

Seville's industrial infrastructure

The Royal Artillery Factory, together with the Royal Tobacco Factory, were the fundamental pillars of Seville's scant industrial infrastructure for a long time.

In the casting process, the riser is a reservoir in a metal casting mold which compensates shrinkage during solidification, preventing the piece from becoming uneven and porous. The risers are removed after solidification and cooling.

This plan, signed by artillery engineer Nicolás Galluzo, features a machine for cutting risers for the pieces that were cast at the factory.

Plan, sectional view and dimensions of the the 8-Paris-inch Villantrois howitzer (1815-02-28) by Vicente Ferrer Ferrer y Bosch. Fábrica de Artillería.Andalusian Archives

A trace of the Napoleonic occupation of Seville's Royal Artillery Factory

Picture of one of the artillery pieces made for the French army while Seville's Royal Artillery Factory was occupied by Napoleonic troops.

The piece pictured is a Villantrois cannon, made in 1811 for the siege of the city of Cádiz. Watercolor. Scale: four old Castilian feet (just over three and a half feet today).

Plan and sectional view of a reverberatory furnace (1860-01-01/1860-12-31)Andalusian Archives

At the beginning of the 19th century, the factory had five refining furnaces for copper and tin, in addition to the smelting furnaces.

One of the essential processes in the manufacture of artillery pieces was the refinement or purification of copper, to obtain bronze that was suitable for casting.

This process was carried out in several furnaces in the factory's refining workshop, like the one in the image.

Portrait of the composer Francisco Guerrero in the “Book of description of true portraits of illustrious and memorable men”, by Francisco Pacheco (1881/1884)Andalusian Archives

The library of the General Archive of Andalusia

The painter Francisco Pacheco (1564–1644), Velázquez's teacher and father-in-law, painted a series of portraits of distinguished men of the time, each accompanied by a biographical sketch. They were compiled in a manuscript dated 1599, which was never published.

The collection of portraits was broken up after the artist's death, and the first edition facsimile of the manuscript (today owned by the Lázaro Galdiano Foundation) was not published until 1881.

The copy held in the General Archive of Andalusia belonged to the Library of the Royal Artillery Factory in Seville.

In some cases, the extensive bibliographical collections in the General Archive have filled in some of the gaps in the information provided by these documents.

Guests at the opening of the Roman necropolis in Carmona (1885-05-24) by Ramón PinzónAndalusian Archives

The city of Carmona (Seville)

The city of Carmona (Seville) houses one of the most important burial grounds from Roman times.

George Bonsor, together with members of the Sociedad Arqueológica de Carmona (Carmona Archaeological Society), in a tent set up for the opening of an archaeological burial site. The site was a groundbreaking example in Spain, with more than 150 tombs open to the public.

Document on loan from the Mairena del Alcor Town Council.

Alcázar (Moorish fortress) of the Gate of Seville. Carmona (1880-01-01/1890-12-31) by George BonsorAndalusian Archives

Alcázar de Carmona: the vast heritage of a historic city

The Puerta de Sevilla (Seville Gate) in Carmona is formed of a bastion and towers that created an impressive Roman defense system, with some Almohad and Mudejar additions, at the city's most vulnerable point.

The walls conceal the vast heritage of this historic city.

The Philip II Arch, erected in 1578 and demolished in 1895, appears in the foreground.

Document on loan from the Mairena del Alcor Town Council. Albumen print.

Mape of the Lake Lanao (Philippines) (1897/1897) by José Sánchez Corbacho.Andalusian Archives

Documents describing the final years of Spain's presence in the Philippines

José David Sánchez Ibargüen y Corbacho, a naval officer from Montellano (Seville), was sent to the Philippines to suppress the growing indigenous insurrection. In May 1897, he was promoted to the rank of Commander of the Naval Section of Lake Lanao on the island of Mindanao, and posted to Marahui base camp.

In command of a flotilla of four gunboats, three barges, and three warships, he harassed the subversive indigenous settlements and villages in the area over several years. As a result, the area found itself in a permanent state of conflict which was not resolved until Spain's presence in the Philippines came to an end.

There are 84 settlements shown on the map, of which 11 are marked with the symbol for "punished" (10 on the lake and 1 on land) and 13 are considered hostile, for harassing convoys in the area.

Seven "cotta," or indigenous fortifications, are also marked. It also shows four anchored gunboats which are highly likely to be the Lanao, General Blanco, Almonte, and Carguera.

East gate of Baelo Claudia (1919-05-30) by George BonsorAndalusian Archives

Baelo Claudia

At Baelo Claudia in Bolonia Cove (Cádiz), visitors can see one of the most complete Roman urban sites in the whole of Spain.

The excavations of the Roman city of Baelo Claudia were carried out by Pierre Paris and George Bonsor. Bonsor created this floor plan and elevation of the interior facade of the eastern gate, opposite the necropolis which he excavated himself.

The set of drawings of Baelo that are part of the George Bonsor Collection are all the more significant considering that all the documentary material drawn up by the archaeologists working under Pierre Paris was lost. The cause was a fire that broke out in the main buildings of the Escuela de Estudios Superiores Hispánicos (School of Advanced Hispanic Studies) during the fighting in Madrid's Ciudad Universitaria area at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.

Document on loan from the Mairena del Alcor Town Council.

Delta of the ancient Tartessos (1920) by George Bonsor.Andalusian Archives

Bonsor tried to locate the mythical city of Tartessos by using literary sources and studying the geographical environment.

This map was drawn by the Anglo-French archaeologist George Bonsor, who settled in Mairena del Alcor. It was based on one of the investigations he carried out in the Guadalquivir Delta. He undertook the last of these with Adolf Schulten, in search of the mythical city of Tartessos.

The map appeared in the publication "Tartessos," published by the "Real Academia de la Historia" (Spanish Royal Academy of History) in 1921.

Document on loan from the Mairena del Alcor Town Council.

Operators in the workshop of the factory “La Sedera” in Seville (1935-01-01/1940-12-31)Andalusian Archives

The gradual incorporation of women into industry in Andalusia

Seville's textile industry began to expand during the first third of the 20th century, growing from 7 establishments in 1900 to more than 20 in 1930. These were small or medium-sized companies that mainly employed women.

The photograph shows one of the workshops at La Sedera Andaluza, or the Andalusian Silk Factory, which was founded in 1920 with the name "Gutiérrez y Carrión" and eventually employed more than 50 people. Its headquarters were based in Calle María Auxiliadora, to the north of the city, where most of the textile industry was located.

The paintings of Pérez Villalta for the Andalusian Pavilion. Universal Exposition of Seville, 1992 (1992)Andalusian Archives

Traces of the Universal Exposition of Seville (Expo '92) can still be seen in the city

Guillermo Pérez Villalta—one of Spain's most important contemporary figurative artists—was the artist behind the frescoes painted on the dome over the forum of the Andalusia Pavilion at Expo '92, which was held in the city of Seville.

The work is circular, with the cycles of the moon and the Labors of Hercules as the main motifs, arranged around the signs of the Zodiac.

Sculpture of Hercules in the Andalusian Pavilion at the Universal Exposition of Seville 1992 (1992-01-01) by José López-García SeguiriAndalusian Archives

Hercules with the lions

The figure of Hercules with the lions is part of Andalusia's Coat of Arms, symbolizing its age-old history. This is an artwork produced by the Malaga-born artist José López-García Seguiri for the entrance to the Andalusia Pavilion at Seville's Expo '92.

The figures are made from lost-wax cast bronze, and represent the moment when Hercules, flanked by two lions, raises the second column.

This set of sculptures has been located in the gardens of the Andalusian Parliament since 2007.

Credits: Story

Key Documents from the General Archive of Andalusia

Organized by:
Ministry of Culture of the Regional Government of Andalusia

Curator: Mateo Paez García. General Archive of Andalusia
Text: Francisco Trujillo Domenech and Abilio Aguilar Diosdado. General Archive of Andalusia
Photography: Francisco Trujillo Domenech
Digital Exhibition: Charo Andreu Abrio.
Directorate General of Cultural Innovation and Museums.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Google apps