Historical Figures

Francis of Toledo

Francisco de Toledo (1515 -1582) was the 5th Viceroy of Peru and one of the most controversial figures in our colonial history. The trials of those who have studied his governmental work are quite diverse:some praise him as the "supreme organizer" of the viceroyalty (Roberto Levillier), others present him as the "great tyrant" of the Indians (Luis E. Varcárcel). What is historically true is that Don Francisco de Toledo was born in the town of Oropesa, a manor of his family, in July 1515 and died in the town of Escalona, ​​plunged into disappointment, on April 21, 1582. He was the second son of Francisco Álvarez de Toledo y Pacheco and Mrs. María de Figueroa y Toledo. At 18 years of age he entered the service of Charles V, whom he accompanied until the end of his reign in the most varied circumstances, both peace and war:in Germany, Flanders, Italy and North Africa; in diets, boards and councils. It is said that this personal contact with the monarch, from whom he adopted political prudence, "Machiavellianism" and the tendency to seek counterweights among his collaborators, would serve as a useful experience for his subsequent governmental work. In those formative years he was invested with the habit of a knight of the order of Alcántara (1535) and was given the commission of Acebuchar in this corporation.
After the death of Carlos V he served as mayordomo in the house of his son, Felipe II, and attended the provincial council of Toledo in 1565 as royal delegate .

Appointment of Francisco de Toledo as viceroy

León Gómez Rivas, who has devoted a book (1994) to studying Don Francisco's life events before he came to Peru, highlights the decisive support that Cardinal Diego de Espinosa, president of the Royal Council, gave him during the deliberations of the Magna Board of 1568. Among the results of the meeting, where important agreements were made on the administrative organization of the Indies, the appointment of Toledo as Viceroy, Governor and Captain General of Peru (November 30, 1568) arose. He immediately set out for his new assignment and took possession of the command on November 30, 1569. He undertook a vast task of organization and, based on a hard exercise of authority, managed to give the viceroyalty an adequate legal structure. . His work meant the consolidation of important institutions, around which the administration of the country would revolve until the reforms of the 18th century. He assured, in short, the subjection of Peru to the "universal monarchy" of Philip II.

Administration of the Viceroyalty of Francisco de Toledo

From 1570 to 1575 he carried out a general visit to the "upper" provinces, in the jurisdictions of Huamanga, Cuzco, La Paz, Chuquisaca and Arequipa. Supported by the official chroniclers Polo de Ondegardo and Sarmiento de Gamboa, he directed the collection of information on ancient Peru, in order to show the illegitimacy of the Inca lordship. He regulated the mita and the personal services of the Indians and arranged his congregation in reductions or towns with a grid plan. He issued ordinances for the good government of the cities, for the collection of taxes and for the cultivation of coca. He sent forces to the Vilcabamba redoubt with the aim of forcing Tupac Amaru, a legitimate descendant of the Incas, to abandon that remote region, and took him to Cuzco to put him on trial and publicly execute him in the main square (14 November 1572) . Not content with this cruelty, he persecuted the members of the Cuzco imperial family to avoid any hint of Inca claim. He sponsored the establishment of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Lima (1570), as well as the election of the tribunal of the Holy Crusade (1574). He provided for the fortification of the coasts and the increase of the viceregal navy, before the surprise incursion in 1579 of the English pirate Francis Drake. He also ordered the secularization of the University of Lima, placed it under the patronage of San Marcos and approved the drafting of new constitutions for said campus . In this context, the work of the German historian Yacin Hehrlein (1992) is worthy of mention, who has examined the political-religious confrontation that opposed Toledo and the Dominican friars of Lascasian thought; One of the points of contention was precisely the secularization of the university, which was initially housed in the convent of Santo Domingo.

Death of Francisco de Toledo

The long and effective administration of Don Francisco de Toledo, the "Peruvian Solon", came to an end on September 23, 1581, the date of his return trip to Spain . It is famous that when he appeared at the court based in Lisbon, King Felipe II did not give him the recognition he expected, in part because he reproached him for the cruelty with which he had persecuted the Inca family. Disgruntled and old, he retired to live his last months in the town of Escalona.

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