Guide To The Archive Of The Indies In Seville

Archive Of The Indies (Archivo General de Indias) on Triumph square, Seville, Spain

In this article, you’ll find the full details of one of the many places in Seville you will have to see when you are here. This magnificent Archive of the Indies was created in 1785 to house documents and administration regarding the Spanish territories beyond Europe.

Practical information about the Archive of the Indies in Seville

Today, the Archive of the Indies contains 43,000 files with approximately 80,000,000 pages and more than 8,000 maps from organizations that managed the overseas territories.

Seville’s Cathedral and the Real Alcazar were designated World Heritage Sites in 1987. Seville is a city full of monuments, so don’t miss out on seeing this one during a day there.

Opening hours of the Archivo de Indias

Here are the opening hours of the Archivo de Indias building. It is located at Avenida de la Constitución, s/n, 41004 Seville. 

You can get there by bus (C5), Tram T1 (Archivo de Indias), Metro L1 (Puerta Jerez), and Train (San Bernardo).

  • Closed on Monday.
  • Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 to 17:00 (The last access time is 16:30).
  • Saturdays from 9:30 to 20:00.
  • Sundays and holidays from 10:00 to 14:00 (The last access time is 13:30).

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Prices and tickets of the Archive of the Indies

Admission to the Archive of the Indies is free.

Let’s start with the numbers: if the Archives of the Indies had a single shelf with all the documents, the distance would exceed 9 kilometers. It would take a hundred lifetimes to read everything inside.

It is the largest archive on the history of Spain in America, with documents of Christopher Columbus, Magellan, Hernán Cortés, or Pizarro. 

It is called Archivo de Indias because Christopher Columbus thought that India was his destination. He was unaware of a whole continent between Europe and Asia, between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Today, there are several galleries with many temporary exhibitions. Our last stop, the official website of the Archivo de Indias, has its program. We went to see the exhibition of “The Longest Voyage” by Magellan, and we were amazed.

By the way, to conclude this section of curiosities about the Archivo de Indias, be sure to visit the roof. It has beautiful views of the Plaza del Triunfo and the Cathedral of Seville.

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A brief history of the Archive of the Indies in Seville

The city of Seville was the exclusive port of commerce for all the goods traded in America. Here all the merchants carried out their activities and often gathered on the steps of the Cathedral.

The merchants didn’t hesitate to complete their business inside the Gothic temple in foul weather or when there were many people in that area. 

This made the Cathedral Chapter look for a solution and turn to King Philip II. He decided to find a location in America where his merchant activities could be developed.

The construction lasted from 1584 to 1598 using plans by Juan de Herrera in a building that would become the General Archive of the Indies two centuries later.

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3 Tips for visiting the General Archive of the Indies

Usually, the Archivo de Indias is quite crowded, especially at peak hours and on holidays or weekends. We recommend getting up early to be among the first to enter without waiting in line.

When we went to see the exhibition on Magellan, we went straight in, but when we left, around noon, we saw a queue that could well exceed half an hour.

We also recommend that you research and look for all the info because it can be overwhelming to have so many things to see in such a short time. You can sign up for the daily guided tours.

Please bring some homework from home and study the moment’s perspective in the centuries that contemplated this wonder.

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