Merida state


May 23, 2022

The Mérida State (also called the Bolivarian State of Mérida or simply Mérida) is one of the 23 States that together with the Capital District and the Federal Dependencies form Venezuela. It is located in the Andes region and its capital is the city of Mérida; It limits to the north with Zulia and Trujillo, to the east with Barinas and to the south and west with Táchira, its population is estimated at 1,025,445 inhabitants for the year 2018 according to the I.N.E., and it is characterized by an important agricultural and tourist activity. It is located on the Cordillera de Los Andes and in its territory is located one of the highest peaks of the Andes, Pico Bolívar, reaching 4978 meters above sea level. It is administratively subdivided into 23 municipalities and 86 civil parishes. Its main cities are: Mérida, El Vigía, Tovar, Ejido, Lagunillas and Nueva Bolivia.


Spanish Colonization

In 1558 Juan Rodríguez Suárez founded the city of Mérida, on behalf of the Corregimiento de Tunja, in honor of his hometown of Mérida in Spain. Proceeding with this to the distribution of Indians who inhabited the area (in an estimated number of 1,500 people), as slave labor, respectively together with Juan de Maldonado and Ortún Velasco, which was immediately annulled by the then Governor and Captain General of the New Kingdom of Granada and President of the Royal Royal Audience of Santafé de Bogotá, Dr. Andrés Venero de Leiva; to constitute himself as founder of the Merida encomiendas, governor of the territory, and distributing said encomiendas to his relatives and with it the benefits of the exploitation of indigenous labor; It was a group made up of forty-five people of wealthy origin who settled in Mérida.[10] An elite or timocracy was formed, of families that would dedicate themselves to exploiting indigenous labor, appropriating land and using slave labor hours as currency; maintaining close ties and arranged marriages with each other to ensure hermetically keeping their benefits from the rest of the colonizers of the Kingdom of New Granada; They would immediately gain the power of the Cabildo de Mérida, the highest representative before the Council of the Indies and the Royal Audience of Santafé de Bogotá, until the year 1602, from where they would defend their interests before those of the high-ranking authorities. In 1586 Bartolomé Gil Naranjo was appointed as Population Judge with the order to organize the Indians into towns and Christianize them as was the order of the Spanish Crown, to which the encomenderos flatly refused because this meant a high expense for themselves, without However, it was accepted under threat of a fine. Among the descendants of these most influential encomendero slave families were those with the surnames Reinoso, Monsalve, Bohorquez, Arriete, Avendaño, Gaviria, Aranguren, Vergara, Valero, Osorio, Ledezma and Surbarán; The Bravo, Rueda, Varela, Sanchez, Mercado, Trejo, Marquez, Cerrada, Lopez, Luna, Rojas, Carvajal, Corzo, Esteban, Mendoza, Cáceres, Becerra and Pernia families were also part of this group. In 1602 the Audiencia de Santa Fe commissioned Antonio Beltrán de Guevara to visit the Indians of Mérida, censusing them at 1,129 tributary Indians, a considerable decrease due to deaths caused by exhaustion and diseases brought by the colonizers; he distributed receipts, had a large number of Indians baptized and married, and demanded that the encomenderos fulfill their obligation to ensure the Christian doctrine of their entrusted Indians, which led to disputes between them, lawsuits between both commands, and fines issued by the Court. from Santa Fe.[10] In 1556 part of the territory of the state is integrated into the province of La Grita. In December 1607, Mérida was separated from the Corregimiento de Tunja and united with the governorate of La Grita, forming the Corregimiento de Mérida.