Arcanum 1780: A New World
New Spain is one of the largest nations in the post-Event world, stretching from Baja California to Terra Del Fuego, into the Caribbean and across the Pacific to the Philippines. As New Britain’s closest neighbor, it has also become its biggest rival. Even when the two nations are nominally at peace, as presently, espionage is ever-present, as are minor skirmishes at sea or in the air.
The current Emperor of New Spain is Sebastian II, son of Sebastián de Eslava who was Viceroy of New Granada at the date of the Event. The elder Sebastian swiftly established himself as the senior noble and most respected general of the Spanish colonies in the Americas and in 1748 was crowned Emperor of all of New Spain. Sebastian I preserved the Viceroyalty structure but streamlined it into only two major Provinces. The Viceroyalty of Mexico comprises every part of New Spain north of Panama as well as its Caribbean and Philippine island territories, the Viceroyalty of New Grenada comprises every part of the South American territories mainland south of Panama -essentially Columbia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Peru. Both are overseen by provincial nobles, by Audiencias (appellate courts) and by officers of the Holy Inquisition. The population of the Empire at the present time is in the order of 20 million souls. Society is ruled by the white nobility and clergy, while a strict system of socio-racial discrimination called “Las Castas” keeps it that way. New Spain still practises slavery and women of all colors have few rights. The only approved religion is Catholic, any other form of worship being viewed as dangerous heresy and subject to the predations of the Inquisition.
In 1750, Sebastian I ordered the re-establishment of the Holy See in the New World, and set about building the Vatican Secundum complex at his capital in Mexico City by extending the Cathedral of The Assumption, built on the most sacred soil of the Aztecs using stone from the pyramid temple of their war god. His choice for the appointment was Juan Antonio Vizarrón y Eguiarreta, who was Viceroy of New Spain at the time of the Event as well as Archbishop of Mexico. The new Pope took the name Benedict XIV, and was succeeded after his death in 1757 by the current Pope Benedict XV.
Although New Spain has larger armies, a larger seagoing navy and far more resources than its rival new Britain, the orthodox Catholic Church’s reaction to the Event was to blame it at largely on heathens, witchcraft, Satan and the new sciences challenge to God’s power. Accordingly, it lags in the realm of techno-magic and magical applications, and it was only by a papal Edict ten years ago that certain Jesuit scholars, under strict Inquisition supervision, were allowed to explore these areas. New Spain also suffers a deficit in Skyship design, and in modern technology of all kinds, in relation to its smaller neighbor. That has, so far at least, been enough to preserve the balance.