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capitan general

in colonial Spanish America, the governor of a captaincy general, a division of a viceroyalty. Captaincies general were established districts that were under serious pressures from foreign invasion or Indian attack. Although under the nominal jurisdiction of their viceroys, captains general, because of their special military responsibilities and the considerable distance of their territories from the viceregal capital, became virtual viceroys, having a direct relationship with the king and the Council of the Indies, in Madrid

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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