The visita or inspection was an institution which dated back at least to the Egyptians and Persians. Spain, in particular, employed the investigation most efficiently to increase royal authority by acquiring political, economic, social, religious, and other types of information. The Laws of the Indies spelled out the form visitations should take. Visitadores, for example, had to announce their purpose upon arrival. They had to begin their work in the principal city of the area under investigation, check on fiscal conditions, and determine in the course of their inquiry whether crown law had been observed. Moreover, the leyes required the chief political officer of the area to assist the visitador in his examination.
Pearson, Jr., Fred Lamar
"Spanish-Indian Relations in Florida, 1602-1675: Some Aspects of Selected Visitas,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 52:
3, Article 4.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol52/iss3/4