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Luis de Velasco

Velasco, Luis de (lwēsˈ ħā vāläsˈkō) [key], d. 1564, Spanish administrator, second viceroy (1550–64) of New Spain (now Mexico), successor to Antonio de Mendoza. His rule was remarkably energetic, humanitarian, and free of corruption. He did much to improve the condition of the natives and thus aroused the opposition of many of the powerful Spaniards in Mexico. In 1553 the Univ. of Mexico was founded. Exploring expeditions were sent out—Francisco de Ibarra conquered Nueva Vizcaya and Miguel López de Legaspi conquered the Philippines. Velasco was beloved by the people of Mexico, especially the indigenous peoples. His son, Luis de Velasco, 1534–1617, was viceroy of New Spain (1590–95, 1607–11) and of Peru (1595–1604). In Mexico he helped to quell the rather obscure conspiracy in which Martín Cortés, the son of the conqueror, was involved. Appointed viceroy after distinguished service in Spain, Velasco continued the work of his father in aiding the indigenous peoples, encouraged weaving and other native industries, beautified Mexico City, strengthened fortifications at Veracruz, and extended the conquest to the north, pacifying the natives. As viceroy of Peru he again worked to improve native conditions, particularly in the mines; he also tried to ward off buccaneer attacks, encouraged education, and reformed postal service. Velasco returned to Mexico but was not allowed to continue long in private life. Viceroy of Mexico a second time, he began the drainage of lakes about Mexico City, put down a black revolt near Orizaba, and sent out Sebastián Vizcaíno on explorations (1611). One of the finest Spanish colonial administrators, Velasco was later president of the Council of the Indies. He was rewarded with the title of marqués de Salinas.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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