All of the new found lands in the rapidly growing empire were administered by the State through the Casa de la Contratacion in Seville and the Consejo Real de Indias in Madrid. Thus, it is natural to assume, as was indeed the case, that scientists derived their livelihood on being commissioned to fulfill roles that met the specific administrative and political objectives of these establishments. The chain of power led upwards, and ultimately to the king himself.

Of the scientific disciplines, cosmography seems to embody the spirit of this epoch. As Ursula Lamb states

[Cosmographers]...were in greatest demand when the New World was new, and they were called upon literally to take its measure, fix its image, and to comprehend and explain its nature. Their numbers were always small. When eventually institutionalized, their disciplines were astronomy, mathematics, applied physics, the technology of shipbuilding, naval armament and war, cartography and textual description.

Alonso de Santa Cruz, a distinguished cosmographer of the Sixteen Century describes his practice as a "painting"of the world "because phia is the same as painting and cosmos is worlds."

This painting, or description of the world created through the use of a diverse set of instrument and techniques, is utilized to support the communications and exchange network between the two continents.