(MEXICAN MANUSCRIPTS.) Isabella of Portugal, Queen of Spain. Royal decree authorizing passage for Cortés as he returned to New Spain. Letter Signed as "Yo la Reyna" (I the Queen). One page, 12 x 8 1/4 inches, with docketing on verso; partial separations and minor wear along horizontal fold. [Spain], 13 December 1529 (docket date)
This royal decree authorizes safe passage for the conquistador Hernán Cortés from Spain through the Caribbean on his return to Mexico. His conquest of Mexico had been controversial in its own time, and was of questionable legality. Allegations regarding the death of his first wife added to his legal troubles, leading to his banishment from New Spain. He then successfully pleaded his case before King Charles V and Queen Isabela. He was granted a new title, used in this document: "Marqués del Valle [de Oaxaca]." The queen allowed him to return to Mexico where he would oversee a massive estate. Knowing that he would need to stop in the Caribbean, Isabela issued this cédula, functioning as a passport of sorts, and bearing her signature. It proclaims that not only would Cortés and his new wife be allowed to stop on the island of Santo Domingo (the Dominican Republic today), "all their needs" would be taken care of during their stay--perhaps the first "all-inclusive" vacation in the New World! An important document from a key turning point in the life of Cortés and the early history of New Spain.
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