New Spain (Spanish colonies)

New Spain consisted of Mexico, much of Central America, parts of the West Indies, from California to Florida, and the Philippines.

1521 - 1821 C.E.

videos + essays

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The Bug That Had the World Seeing Red
The Bug That Had the World Seeing Red

Once there was a color so valuable that emperors and conquistadors coveted it, and so did kings and cardinals. Artists went wild over it. Pirates ransacked ships for it.

The Medici collect the Americas
The Medici collect the Americas

After Columbus landed on Hispaniola in 1492, items from the Americas were shipped to Europe where they were perceived as exotic items of wonder and fascination.

Mission churches as theaters of conversion in New Spain
Mission churches as theaters of conversion in New Spain

Built by Catholic monks to convert the indigenous population, these spaces combined pre-Hispanic and European forms.

Murals from New Spain, San Agustín de Acolman
Murals from New Spain, San Agustín de Acolman

Why are these murals in the cloister of Acolman painted in only black and white?

<em>Crowned Nun Portrait of Sor María de Guadalupe</em>
Crowned Nun Portrait of Sor María de Guadalupe

The Conceptionists were founded for elite, pure-blooded Spanish women. This nun just took her vows.

The manuscripts of Luis de Carvajal
The manuscripts of Luis de Carvajal

The beguiling—and tragic—story of the Carvajal family of crypto-Jews, is illuminated by the manuscripts Luis made.

Miguel González, <em>The Virgin of Guadalupe</em>
Miguel González, The Virgin of Guadalupe

The original image of the Virgin of Guadalupe was miraculously produced—this mother-of-pearl version was man-made.

Baltasar de Echave Ibía, <em>The Hermits</em>
Baltasar de Echave Ibía, The Hermits

A continuous narrative, this shows three different parts of the story, each in a different part of the landscape.

New Spain, an introduction
New Spain, an introduction

The Spanish reused the stones of pagan temples to build their new capital atop the Aztec city, Tenochtitlan.

Biombo with the Conquest of Mexico and View of Mexico City
Biombo with the Conquest of Mexico and View of Mexico City

This screen offers an idealized bird’s eye view of Mexico City on one side, and depicts the Conquest on the other.

Miguel Cabrera, <em>Virgin of the Apocalypse</em>
Miguel Cabrera, Virgin of the Apocalypse

Cabrera fancied himself the Michelangelo of Mexico, but chose to borrow the format and iconography of Rubens.

Selected Contributors