Villavicencio Around the World

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As I was researching on the internet for the origins of the name Villavicencio, I was  surprised to discover that I share the same surname with more than a thousand people  belonging to different nationalities across the globe. My curiosity on who these people  are led to new revelations which further stimulated my interest in the historical  background of our surname. I share this information to enable my relatives and  namesakes to learn about their kinship even in the absence of a biological link  between  many of us. 

The Historical Background.

The original users of the name Villavicencio descended from the noble family  of Miguel Fernandez, Lord of Villavicencio during the time of Lord VIII  Alonso(Alfonso), King of Leon and Castille. The knights of his lineage battled the Moors and defeated the powerful Almohad Dynasty in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212. They were part of the  Reconquista (Spain re-conquering the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslims) that expelled the Muslim authority from Portugal in 1249. The Knights of the Banda Villavicencio also won against the last Muslim stronghold in Granada in 1492 and as a result, Granada was incorporated into the unified Spain under the Catholic Monarchy of Queen Isabella I of Castille and King Ferdinand II of  Aragon.

During the reign of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, the monarchy sent exploration voyages across the oceans. This was the start of the Age of Exploration which created the Spanish Empire as the largest empire in the history of the world. The exploration to the western hemisphere across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492 under Christopher Columbus lead to the discovery of the Americas and the colonization of the New World. Earlier in 1402, Castille had also colonized the Canary Islands during the time of Henry III.

In the 16th century, Spain had conquered the Caribbean islands, the Aztec and Incan empires. Spain circumnavigated the world into the Far East under the expedition of Ferdinand Magellan which led to the discovery of the Philippines on March 16, 1521 and the colonization of the PhilippinesGuam and other islands. By the 17th century, the Spanish empire included the NetherlandsLuxembourgBelgium and parts of ItalyGermany and France. Spain had also reached the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, Canada, Alaska, Sahara, Morocco and many others locations in Africa, Asia and Oceania.

The reconquistadors became conquistadors. These Spanish conquerors and colonizers included the descendants of the Villavicencio knights who joined the naval expeditions as ship captains and sailors while others were assigned higher administrative responsibilities in the newly colonized territories.

As trade across the Atlantic between Spain and the New World became very profitable, a new trade route across the Pacific was established. This gave birth to the Manila-Acapuldo Galleon Trade which lasted for 250 years. Products traded from East Asia sailed on the galleons from Manila and was brought to Acapulco. From there the cargo was transported by land to Vera Cruz, loaded again on ships en route to Spain and then traded in Europe.

With the numerous territories under the Spanish Empire, the monarchy designated a “viceroy” to run the affairs of its “viceroyalty” (colonies or territories). The viceroyalty includes the following:

●Viceroyalty of New Spain which governed from its capital based in Mexico CityMexico was also the capital of the Aztec Empire before it was conquered by Spain in 1321. The territories that were included here were parts of North America, most of the United States lying west of the Mississippi River and southern Canada namely: CaliforniaNevadaNew MexicoTexasLouisianaFloridaVancouver. It included all of Mexico – Baja CaliforniaBaja California Sur, Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico, Coahuila.

The Viceroyalty of New Spain also included Central America – Nueva Extremadura (Chile) but excluding Panama; the Spanish East Indies – Philippines, Guam, Caroline Islands, Taiwan, Sabah and parts of the Moluccas or Spice Islands (Indonesia); the Spanish West Indies – Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Trinidad, Bay Islands (Honduras). The ViceRoyalty of the East Indies was governed by the viceroyal in Manila.

●Viceroyalty of Peru was established in 1542 and governed most of the South American territories except Venezuela from the capital based in LimaPeruPeru was once the Inca Empire. The territories that were included here were PeruChileColombiaPanamaEcuadorBoliviaParaguayUruguayArgentina. This Viceroyalty was later abolished.

●Viceroyalty of New Granada was established in 1717 and governed from the capital based in Bogotá. The territories included were ColombiaEcuadorPanamaVenezuelaGuyana, parts of northwestern BrazilNorthern PeruCosta Rica and Nicaragua.

●Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata was created in 1776 with Buenos Aires as the capital and included territories near the Rio de la Plata basin namely: ArgentinaBoliviaParaguayUruguay.

There are also other Viceroyalties in the European colonies, Africa as well as in New France (Canada).

As a consequence of the exploration and occupation of the new territories, the Spanish conquistadors  migrated and settled in the new colonies. Thus, one would encounter the surname Villavicencio existing in many of the former Spanish territories mentioned above especially in Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Cuba, New Orleans, the Philippines as well as in Spain. The descendants of the original Villavicencio traveled to the New Spain and the other new territories as colonizers, sometimes inter-marrying with the natives and producing offsprings in their new native land. From Mexico, the galleons brought new settlers across the world as far as the Philippines

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