The Royal Audiencia of Santiago (Spanish: Real Audiencia de Santiago) was an Audiencia Real or royal law court that functioned in Santiago de Chile during the Spanish colonial period. This body heard both civil and criminal cases. It was founded during the 17th century and abolished in 1818.
Law XII (Audiencia y Chancillería Real de Santiago de Chile) of Title XV (De las Audiencias y Chancillerias Reales de las Indias) of Book II of the Recopilación de Leyes de las Indias of 1680--which reproduces Philip IV's decree of February 17, 1609--describes the limits and functions of the Audiencia.
In the city of Santiago de Chile shall reside another Royal Audiencia and Chancellery of ours, with a president-governor-captain general; four judges of civil cases [oidores], who shall also be judges of criminal cases [alcaldes del crimen]; a crown attorney [fiscal]; a bailiff [alguacil mayor]; a lieutenant of the Gran Chancellor; and the other necessary ministers and officials, which will have for district all of said Kingdom of Chile, with the cities, towns, places and lands, which are included in the government of those provinces, including what is now pacified and populated, as well as what shall be subdued, populated and pacified inside and outside the Straits of Magellan and inland to the Cuyo Province, inclusive. And we order that said president-governor-captain general govern and administer its government (gobernación) in all matters and by all means, and that said Audiencia, nor any other minister interfere in this, except our Viceroy of Peru, in the cases, which comply with the laws in this book and as permitted by our orders, and that said president do not intervene in matters of justice, and leave the oidores to decree in them freely, and that all sign that which they decree, sentence or dispatch.
The Audiencia continued to function after the establishment of the First Government Junta of the Kingdom of Chile on September 18, 1810, until the Figueroa mutiny of April 1, 1811. In fact, its Regent, Fernando Márquez de la Plata, was elected as one of the junta's members. The Figueroa uprising provided a reason to dissolve the Audiencia, seen by many as a bastion of royalism, and it was replaced by a Tribunal de Apelaciones or Appeals Court.
With the temporary return of royalists to power after the Battle of Rancagua, the body was reconstituted by the new Governor-Captain General, Mariano Osorio. It functioned until 1818, when it was finally shut down by the independent government of Bernardo O'Higgins, again replaced by a new appeals court, this time called the Cámara de Apelaciones. This was in turn the ancestor of today's Chilean Appeals Court in Santiago.