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.

c. 1521–1821 C.E.

Beginner's guide

Columbus's voyage marked an important moment for both Europe and the Americas—expanding the known world on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and ushering in an era of major transformations in the cultures and lives of people across the globe.

videos + essays

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La Casa del Deán in Puebla
La Casa del Deán in Puebla

What remains of the Casa del Deán is an outstanding example of renaissance architecture and murals made in the viceroyalty of New Spain.

Puebla de los Ángeles and the classical architectural tradition
Puebla de los Ángeles and the classical architectural tradition

The importance of classical architecture to Puebla’s 16th- and 17th-century colonial history helps to reframe our understanding of the renaissance as it has been traditionally understood.

<em>Screen with the Siege of Belgrade and Hunting Scene</em> (or <em>Brooklyn Biombo</em>)
Screen with the Siege of Belgrade and Hunting Scene (or Brooklyn Biombo)

Japanese objects came through Mexico on their way to Spain, and had a lasting impact on the arts of the New World.

A shimmering saint, St. John in featherwork
A shimmering saint, St. John in featherwork

After the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, the Indigenous technique of featherworking continued with Christian subject matter.

Sebastián López de Arteaga, <em>Marriage of the Virgin</em>
Sebastián López de Arteaga, Marriage of the Virgin

Learn about Joseph, Mary, and the representation of marriage in New Spain in López de Arteaga's painting

Juan Patricio Morlete Ruiz, <em>Christ Consoled by Angels</em>
Juan Patricio Morlete Ruiz, Christ Consoled by Angels

An 18th-century painting from New Spain visualizes Christ's suffering in New Spain

A new Jerusalem in the Americas—the convento of Acolman
A new Jerusalem in the Americas—the convento of Acolman

San Agustín de Acolman’s style suggests a protective function, and may have referenced the temple of Jerusalem, celebrating Mexico as a “New Jerusalem” where the Christian faith could flourish.

Nativity group, from Guatemala
Nativity group, from Guatemala

A Nativity group made in wood from colonial Guatemala shows why sculptors from this area were renowned in the viceroyalties

The Codex Huexotzinco
The Codex Huexotzinco

The images in the Huexotzinco Codex help us to learn more about tribute, conquest and the conditions of colonialism, Native agency, Nahua writing systems, Indigenous knowledge, the importance of images, early Christianity in the Americas, and legal disputes. 

Church of Santa Prisca and San Sebastian, Taxco, Mexico
Church of Santa Prisca and San Sebastian, Taxco, Mexico

One of the most remarkable churches from 18th-century Mexico has a façade and interior that seem to writhe with life.

Cristóbal de Villalpando, <em>View of the Plaza Mayor of Mexico City</em>
Cristóbal de Villalpando, View of the Plaza Mayor of Mexico City

Merchants brought goods from across oceans to sell to the residents of the city in the Parián of Mexico City—a place that Cristóbal de Villalpando's captures in a painting from 1695

Defensive saints and angels in the Spanish Americas
Defensive saints and angels in the Spanish Americas

Images of angels and saints as protectors were common in the 16th–18th Spanish Americas to symbolize their defense of the Christian faith.

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