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General Archive
of Simancas

The General Archive of Simancas: current projects

Conservation projects

  • From 2003, coinciding with the construction of the new repository, the document collections are being completely relocated maintaining their traditional "tied bundle" format. The relocation means the bundles are protected with cardboard sheets, given new identifications and stored in appropriate conservation boxes. These are the first and foremost conservation measures, as well as the main requirements for adapting the space in the current repository.
    This project will affect the bundles of the Estado, Consejo and Juntas de Hacienda, Casa Real, Consejo Real and Secretarías Provinciales sections (approximately fifteen thousand).
  • As part of the aforementioned plan, begun in 2003, the relocation project for the Consejo de la Cámara de Castilla (Council and Chamber of Castile) will commence. It is different to the former project in that the characteristics of the documents require prior descriptive work (pagination, checking with description aids...) parallel to the specific conservation tasks: display, protection, labelling and storing in conservation boxes.

This project will affect up to three thousand reference units.

Archival description projects

  • Sección de Patronato Eclesiástico
    The Secretariat of the Patronato Eclesiástico, part of the Consejo de la Cámara (Council and Chamber), was created by Philip II towards the end of the 16th century for the administration and distribution of ecclesiastic gracia y merced (graces and boons) as well as the important right of patronato regio. Its documents are, therefore, decisive for the social, economic and political analysis of the 16th and 17th centuries.
    Although there is an old inventory, the very nature of the documents, reports and files requires an individual archival description of each document since they are petitions by individuals or legal entities for ecclesiastic concessions and patronato regio. The archival description, carried out according to the ISAD (G) standard and on computer, will affect fifteen thousand reference units approximately.
  • Kingdom of Sicily privilege titles
    In the Consejo de Italia collection, the archival description of the privilege registers for the three secretariats (Naples, Milan and Sicily) have been the subject of special treatment due to their being very complete and of unquestionable research value. The Naples and Milan series have already been catalogued and only the Sicily series is pending.
    The previous inventory is very incomplete, since it does not take the economic concessions into account and suffers from a major lack of identification for posts, persons, institutions and places. Using this information as a reference, the original registers are described according to the ISAD (G) and ISAAR (CPF) standards on digital format. There are approximately six thousand units.
  • The Sello de Corte (Court Seal) Register
    This section contains a copy or registry of documents with wax seals issued by bodies of the court, especially the Consejo Real de Castilla (Royal Council of Castile) and the Consejo de la Cámara (Chamber Council). The historical interest of this section when studying the House of Castile is comparable to that of the Consejo de Estado (Council of State) section for the international area.
    Since they are documents pertaining to various government and judicial bodies, they are not related and therefore can only be accessed by individualised descriptions of each one. Furthermore, there is no inventory, since they were ordered chronologically by the Court, the bundles being separated by month and year. The description has been adapted to the ISAD (G) standard on digital format. Each year's documents number over five thousand units.
  • Military Service Files from the 18th century
    Part of the Secretaría de Guerra (War Secretariat) section, the Hojas de Servicio (Service Files) section is a very useful set of documents for the study of the army of the 18th century. More than one hundred thousand military personnel are identified indicating profession, regiment, age, class (nobility etc.), origin, date of birth, postings and actions. Due to its historical relevance and military interest an agreement has been reached with the Ministry of Defence, through the Instituto de Historia y Cultura Militar (Institute for Military History and Culture), for the correct archival description of the information contained in the Service Files and subsequent digital copying or microfilming.
  • Archivo de Secretaría (Secretariat Archive)
    The Archivo de Secretaría, the true archive of the Archive, features official correspondence, files on building work, movements of funds, investigators' authorisations and other various administrative documents. Started at the same time as the Simancas Archive in 1540, it is of fundamental importance with regard to understanding the internal life of the Archive from the 16th century.

Archival description and organisation has begun on this collection since it is of vital importance for the exhibition projects programmed by the Departamento de Difusión (Promotion Dept.) to view the content of this collection. It currently comprises 600 reference units.

Promotion projects

  • Now that building work is finished, the adjoining building is being equipped for the promotion department to set up an educational office to create activities for different educational levels.
  • Temporary exhibitions are also being planned, using the archive collections. This year an exhibition is planned to mark the 4th Centenary of the expulsion of the Moors.
  • Another project is being planned, for the website, which will show images of Spain from the Archive's collection of maps, plans and drawings. This project will be called "Imago Hispaniae".

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