Monday, June 5, 2023

General Municipal Archive of Puebla, Memory of the World by UNESCO

the city of Puebla It was founded by direct interest of the kingdom of León and Castile that sought to settle the Spaniards who wandered through the New Spain after the Conquestgranting them a suitable place for their future.

On April 16, 1531, the new city of Spaniards was established, which was quickly consolidated thanks to the fact that, immediately, it received the title of “City of Angels” by Queen Isabella of Portugal. To guarantee his success, in 1538, the king charles v he ennobled her by granting her the royal provision with the coat of arms.

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The former City of Angels, today Cultural heritage of Humanitybecame one of the most important capitals of New Spain, concentrating a large part of the economic and cultural wealth of the country.

Today, the memory of five centuries of Puebla’s history is concentrated in the Municipal General Archive of the citywhich keeps its doors open for the consultation of books, files and documents of incalculable historical value for Latin America and the world.


All the important events and decisions taken since the founding of Puebla They were established in council minutes and files that are preserved to date and that, together with the royal certificate and the royal provision of the coat of arms, form part of the historical heritage that protects the General Municipal Archive of Puebla (AGMP).

In the 16th century, this loose documentation was kept in the “box of three keys”, a huge chest with complex locks that was opened with three keys at the same time. When it was insufficient, a special place was made for the historical archive that, since 1618, rests in the current Municipal Palace.

“The historical archive of the city is preserved after 490 years and is one of the main ones in Latin America. It is a primitive place, one of the oldest, because since the conciliar houses (government houses) were built in Puebla, a space was indicated to store the documents that owe origin to the city”, explains María Teresa Cordero Arce, director of the archive .

“The royal certificate and royal provision are original documents that give us identity and together with the first two books of the city they were named a World Heritage Site. In 2015 eight series and two collections of the historical archive were distinguished as Memory of the World by UNESCO. They are jewels that we should show off to the whole world”, she warns.

It refers that the royal certificate is the birth certificate of the city where Queen Isabella of Portugal grants the name of City of Angels and is signed by her. It was made in the year 1532 so we are celebrating 490 years of this appointment.

“As a good city of Spaniards we had to be very important and for that we had to have a coat of arms granted to us by Don Carlos V, the king of the kingdoms of León and Castile at that time. It is the most iconic and representative document of this city”, he points out.

The teacher explains the iconography of the royal provision of the coat of arms: “we can see a very green area with water, an outstanding architecture, two angels who guard the city, the K and the V that mean Carlos V, around a border that says : ´God sent the angels to guard your ways´, which is a part of psalm 90 of the bible. It is written in Old Spanish and is signed by Queen Elizabeth. It is also read that it is granted in the name of the king and Doña Juana, his mother, so all the royalty was in cahoots in favor of the new city of Spaniards”.

The pigments used are natural and form a border with flowers and birds. In the center there is a border that says: Plus Ultra, means “beyond” and refers to the fact that it was a kingdom beyond the sea.

These documents are in the archives of the Municipal Palace and are protected in a special structure that, in case of fire or earthquake, acts as a safe keeping them intact.


In the historical archive there are also two other documents of great value to the city, protected with special structures, as is the case of the royal certificate and the royal provision. One is the designation of UNESCO as cultural heritage and another is the real provision that is considered memory of the world.

Being populated by Spaniards and through miscegenation, Cordero Arce refers that Puebla became a multicultural city that today is an example of outstanding architecture, for which it received the name of Monuments Zone since 1977. From this, the authorities they organized and in 1987 it received the designation of Puebla Cultural Heritage of Humanity, for its Historic Center.

The royal provisions were commonly granted by the king, but there were others that could be given in his name, as is the case of another royal provision that was granted to the City of Angels by the royal audience in the 16th century.

“This document is very important for history and is registered as part of the Memory of the World and of Latin America and the Caribbean. This royal provision was granted by the royal audience of Mexico on January 30, 1567 and later endorsed by the king. It is a transfer from 1532, when the city was founded, and it has the value of an original”, highlights Arturo Córdova Durana, historian analyst of the AGMP and member of the council of the Chronicle of Puebla.

“It states the way in which ordinary aldermen and mayors should be elected, that is, both those who were going to govern and administer the city and those who were going to dispense justice,” he details.

In this commandment it is read that, to elect the first mayors, it should be done among people with moral probity and who were the wealthiest, who were normally the first settlers and conquerors who had been given land to defend the kingdom, but they had to prove that they had defended it through arms.

“This changed in 1591 when the Council of the Indies issued a law where (it is established that) the regidurías were sold to the highest bidder, it was done by auction, and that is when the members of the elites that descend from the first conquerors and settlers of the city ​​take power for years, decades and even centuries, “he says.

He adds that there are families that are found in council acts governing the city during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, and the incredible thing is that some transcended Independence (19th century) and even the Mexican Revolution (20th century).

“They are very well-known families, such as the descendants of Gonzalo Díaz de Vargas who was a conqueror and is the one who was given the royal provision of the coat of arms. Others are the Carmona and Tamariz, the Ramírez de Arellano and the Pérez de Salazar (House of the Dean), who came to settle in Puebla at the beginning of the 17th century and we find them ruling the city for 400 years”, he highlights.

In this regard, the teacher Cordero Arce refers that in the historical archive there is the “book of patronages”, also recognized as memory of the world, in which you can see the renowned surnames with a long historical background of the first inhabitants of the city and in which the drawings of the coats of arms of the main families of that time can be seen.


In the historical archive, minutes of the council are kept from December 5, 1532 to the present. It is an open series and the most complete of the municipal archives of all of Latin America. That is why UNESCO awarded it the recognition of Memory of the World.

“We also have the series of ‘Royal Cédulas’ covered in parchment, in which all the commandments of the viceroys, the royal audience, the Council of the Indies and the king were bound. The series ´Files´, are the decisions that the town council executed when fulfilling the assignments”, says the historian.

Another series recognized as Memory of the World is ´Guilds´, which speaks of the ordinances that existed in the artisan Puebla and that continue to be applied, as in the case of the talavera from Puebla, which has been in force since 1657.

“The series ´Consolidation of royal vouchers´ refers to when the Spanish crown was in urgent need of money at the end of the 18th century and found no other way to tell their kingdoms: ´loan me money and I will give you a voucher and when the situation improves I will I consolidate it, I return it to you with interest’. They are receipts and vouchers from all the people who had to return money that the church had lent them to give it to the king and not only from this city, but also from Veracruz, Tlaxcala and Oaxaca. Puebla sent more than two million, which was a fortune ”, he assures.

The historian relates that during the time of New Spain, the City of Angels was the support of the Spanish crown, of its overseas kingdoms. His wealth was great and constantly growing because his lands were fertile for agricultural production, raising cattle and there were also many mills, so he enjoyed a buoyant industry.

“When the kingdom needed money Puebla contributed large amounts and this was rewarded, first with its name, then as ‘noble City of Angels’, then as ‘very noble City of Angels’. They no longer knew what title to give him as long as he continued to support the Spanish crown. The last one is that of ‘the very noble and very loyal City of Angels’, underlines the researcher.


The General Municipal Archive of Puebla protects books, files, plans, photographs and everything related to the almost five centuries of history of Puebla, so the space allocated for it became insufficient and therefore on January 21, 2014 the Old Cementera Anáhuac, a building located north of the city, became an alternate location for the archive.

“The building was rescued and rehabilitated. It constitutes one of the main examples of industrial architecture in current use. Now we have a better organization in terms of history and the concentration file. That is why after this new headquarters it is called the General Municipal Archive, because we unite the historical archive and the concentration archive”, Cordero narrates.

The building of the old cement factory is surrounded by landscape and its interior tells the story of the vocation for which it was built. It preserves intact the hoppers and silos that gave life to this material that transformed Puebla’s industry.

It details that in the historical archive everything related to the history of the city is preserved and the concentration archive safeguards the documents of the public administration, that is, everything that the officials do during their period of administration to make it known when it is requested. by the citizens.

In this headquarters there is also a specialized library in Puebla that was formed with donations from officials, researchers, universities and city council publications: History, geography, pandemics, tourism, communities, convents, architecture, universities, schools and even municipal, state and local reports. federal, is what can be found.

There is also a collection of statistics and laws and decrees; gray literature that are brochures and leaflets with information that was published only once and a newspaper library of magazines.

The historical archive of Puebla is the most complete and the second oldest in Latin America, only after that of Mexico City.


The archive is open to the public for consultation. To enter it is necessary to carry out a registration process.

It is required to send an application, so that the staff prepares the documents that are required to be consulted.

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If you want to know the property, send your official letter to the director of the General Municipal Archive of Puebla, María Teresa Cordero Arce, to the email: [email protected]. For more information the phone is: 222-224-1014.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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