In the context of the Spanish colonial empire, a peninsular (Spanish pronunciation: [peninsuˈlaɾ], pl. peninsulares) was a Spaniard born in Spain residing in the New World, Spanish East Indies, or Spanish Guinea. Nowadays, the word peninsulares makes reference to Peninsular Spain and in contrast to the "islanders" (isleños), from the Balearic or Canary Islands or the territories of Ceuta and Melilla.
|Regions with significant populations|
|Colonial Spanish America, Spanish East Indies, and Spanish Guinea|
Spaniards born in the Spanish Philippines are called insulares.
Higher offices in Spanish America and the Spanish Philippines were held by peninsulares. Apart from the distinction of peninsulares from criollos (individuals of wholly European Spanish descent, but born in the New World), the castas system distinguished also mestizos of mixed Spanish and Amerindian ancestry in the Americas, and mixed Spanish and native Filipino (Spanish Filipino), or Chinese in the Philippines, mulatos (of mixed Spanish and black ancestry), indios, zambos (mixed Amerindian and black ancestry) and finally negros. In some places and times, such as during the wars of independence, peninsulares or members of conservative parties were called deprecatively godos (meaning Goths, referring to the "Visigoths", who had ruled Spain and were considered the origin of Spanish aristocracy) or, in Mexico, gachupines. Godos is still used pejoratively in the Canary Islands for the peninsular Spanish, and in Chile for Spaniards.
Colonial officials at the highest levels arrived from Spain to fulfill their duty to govern Spanish colonies in Latin America and the Philippines. They defended Cádiz's monopoly on trade, upsetting the criollos, who turned to contraband with British and French colonies, especially in areas away from the main ports of call for the Flota de Indias. They worked to preserve centralized imperial power and sometimes acted as agents of patrol.