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New Spain lost parts of its territory to other European powers and independence, but the core area remained under Spanish control until 1821, when it achieved independence as the Mexican Empire – when the latter dissolved, it became modern Mexico and Central America.
New Spain developed highly regional divisions, reflecting the impact of climate, topography, the presence or absence of dense indigenous populations, and the presence or absence of mineral resources.
The Kingdom of New Spain was established following the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1521 as a New World kingdom dependent on the Spanish Crown, since the initial funds for exploration came from Queen Isabella.
The king possessed not only the sovereign right but the property rights; he was the absolute proprietor, the sole political head of his American dominions.
) was a colonial territory of the Spanish Empire in the New World north of the Isthmus of Panama.
The crown created the first mainland high court, or Audiencia, in 1527 to regain control of the administration of New Spain from Cortés, who as the premier conqueror of the Aztec empire, was ruling in the name of the king but without crown oversight or control.
Thus, the creation of the Council of the Indies became another, but extremely important, advisory body to the monarch.
The crown had set up the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) in 1503 to regulate contacts between Spain and its overseas possessions.
An earlier Audiencia had been established in Santo Domingo in 1526 to deal with the Caribbean settlements.
That court, housed in the Casa Reales in Santo Domingo, was charged with encouraging further exploration and settlements with the authority granted it by the crown.