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Archive of the Indies of Seville

Archive of the Indies of Seville

An essential reference when studying the presence in America of the Spaniards is the General Archive of the Indies of Seville. It is an emblematic building that you can visit in the city of Seville, specifically in the Constitution Avenue, next to the Alcazar and the Cathedral. Within this place we can find the most complete documentation related to the geography and history of Spain in the Philippines and America.

You will be amazed with the 80 million pages in some 43,000 documents along with 8,000 maps covering at least 9 straight kilometers. The Archive of the Indies of Seville has an enormous historical amount: autograph contents of Fernando de Magallanes, Cristóbal Colón, Francisco Pizarro or Vasco Núñez de Balboa. Each year the file receives the visit of international researchers, who analyze and consult these documents.

History of the Archive of the Indies of Seville

During the sixteenth century the American merchants used the stairs of the Cathedral to carry out their transactions. To prevent the excesses committed by the merchants, the Chapter of the Cathedral, which in certain cases used the temple for its business, was responsible for placing surveillance and chains around the Cathedral.

It is in 1584 that King Felipe II decided to build the headquarters of the Lonja, this construction began to take place next to the Cathedral, on the same Avenue.

By the year 1785, King Carlos III created the Archive of the Indies of Seville, to gather documentation related to the transactions of the Spanish colonies in one place. At that time the documents were in separate files in Cádiz, Sevilla and Simancas.

From that date and in different remittances are added the funds of the most important institutions concerning the Indies, to transform the space in the largest documentary repository for the analysis and study of the administration in the New World and the Philippines. part of the Spanish.

The Archive of the Indies of Seville with the Giralda, the Cathedral and Reales Alcázares de Sevilla was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Nowadays, it is considered as one of the general archives belonging to the Spanish State.

Archive of the Indies of Seville, a Herrerian Renaissance building

The Archive of the Indies of Seville is a permanent building on a base of square floor Renaissance style Herreriano, has a large square central courtyard and two floors. It emphasizes the combination of elements in stone and red bricks.

Wide proportions can be seen in its central courtyard, which was erected in stone and chained arches can be seen with half columns in the pillars. The main staircase of the Archive of the Indies of Seville was built at the end of the 18th century. Highlight the stairs because a lantern dome opens.

On two occasions in the building, recovery and maintenance works have been carried out as a modernization of the space, specifically in 1999 and 2005.

Curiosities of the Archive of the Indies of Seville

  • The main reasons why the Archive was created, due to the need for a larger space in the Central Archive of the Crown, Archive of Simancas and to develop a new documentation regarding the history of the Spaniards and colonization.
  • Reddish inscriptions can be seen on the external walls of the Archive of the Indies of Seville, which are cheers to recognize the doctorate of some person or recall celebrations.
  • It receives that name because when Christopher Columbus left in 1942, he was convinced that he would arrive in the Indies.
  • At present, it is considered to be the largest and most important place where the history of Spain in the Americas and the Philippines is concentrated. Unique documents can be found in the Archive of the Indies, which were signed by Francisco Pizarro, Hernán Cortés or Cristóbal Colón.

Rates and schedules

For people wishing to visit this building full of historical documents can go to the Constitution Avenue, from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. In summer the schedule starts at 8:00 am, but until 2:30 pm.

The exhibitions in the Archive of the Indies can be seen at no cost from Monday to Saturday, from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. On Sundays, the schedule starts at 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

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