The Faithful and Unfaithful to the King

In 1509 Queen Isabella had already died. King Ferdinand, assuming that Diego Columbus would care more about his own interests that those of the crown, put all his trust in Miguel de Pasamonte, as Treasurer in General of the Indies, controlling element of Don Diego in his new administration. Soon the Viceroy would run into conflicts with the small elite of encomienda bureaucrats when he appropriated large extensions of land with mines, cattle, and indigenous people from their owners, while manipulating the new distributions in his favor.

In no time the Spanish would divide into two groups of power: a band surrounding the Treasurer Pasamonte, that called themselves the"King's faithful" and another on Don Diego's side called "the King's unfaithful". Consequently, Miguel de Pasamonte's house, which belonged to the King, was used as shelter for many conquistadors while they organized their voyages to Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, El Darien (present day Panama) and further conquests. The old King would be informed of his governing details and deeds by Pasamonte's faithful.

Another control system set up by King Ferdinand was the formation of an appellate court or Real Audiencia, making the decisions of the Viceroy not absolute, giving Diego Columbus' opposition means to defend their situation. The court was made up of three judges, who were encomenderos or rapidly reached that position, intervening between the demands of the Viceroy and the rest.

The colonial elite was already larger, made up of the powerful encomenderos who controlled the government as councilmen and mayors, the three appellate court judges, the royal seer, the agent, the accountant and most importantly, the treasurer. With this group in place, Viceroy Diego, his Vicereine, Maria de Toledo, and his small court always had limited power, which worsened in 1513 when the King permanently cancelled his right to distribute the indigenous people. In the meantime, the indigenous people continued dying en mass.