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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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.

Crowned nun portraits, an introduction
Crowned nun portraits, an introduction

One of the most famous  types of female portraits in the colonial Spanish Americas are the monjas coronadas, or crowned nuns, so named for the elaborate floral crowns atop their heads.

Mission San Antonio de Valero & the Alamo
Mission San Antonio de Valero & the Alamo

At the Alamo, the representation of patriotic heroism and brave sacrifice eclipses Spain’s earlier colonial presence and the history of the site’s ruination, reconstruction, and reframing. 

Map of Cholula, from the <em>relaciones geográficas</em>
Map of Cholula, from the relaciones geográficas

Learn more about a map from 16th-century Mexico, made by an Indigenous artist to document the town of Cholula, to be sent back to Spain.

From a live webinar: Dr. Elena FitzPatrick Sifford on Casta paintings
From a live webinar: Dr. Elena FitzPatrick Sifford on Casta paintings

From a live webinar: Dr. Elena FitzPatrick Sifford on Casta paintings

<em>The Virgin of the Macana</em> and the Pueblo Revolution of 1680
The Virgin of the Macana and the Pueblo Revolution of 1680

Did you know that the first American Revolution took place in New Mexico?

A Renaissance miniature in wood and feathers
A Renaissance miniature in wood and feathers

A pendant triptych in boxwood and feathers reveals the dynamic global interactions between Europe and the Americas in the 1500s

Hispaniola’s early colonial art, an introduction 
Hispaniola’s early colonial art, an introduction 

The early art of Hispaniola is important because the island was the first point of long-term contact between the cultures of Europe, America, and Africa.

Francisco Clapera, set of sixteen casta paintings
Francisco Clapera, set of sixteen casta paintings

These challenging paintings visually separate Indigenous Americans from the Spanish elite; most were exported.

Remembering the Toxcatl Massacre: The Beginning of the End of Aztec Supremacy
Remembering the Toxcatl Massacre: The Beginning of the End of Aztec Supremacy

A manuscript tells the Indigenous side of a historic battle in Aztec Tenochtitlan.

Selected Contributors