Antonio Fernandez Trevejos, a Havana military engineer opened it in 1770 as the House of the Intendancy and Post Office. It then played a key role as Havana was the center of Spain's connections with its colonies. It is a magnificent sample of the baroque style in Cuban architecture. It became a model for countless constructions which completely changed the outline of Havana's architecture. Its porch as well as its arches of mixed lines, windows and cornices were copied in the design of other constructions. It is supposed to have been one of the first buildings in which iron grills replaced wood. The mirador similar to that of the houses in Cadiz, shows the Spanish architectural influence. The Palace of the Captains General followed its patterns, and both make up a beautiful angle in the Military Parade Square or Arms Square. By the middle of the 19th century it was the headquarters of he General Second Corporal, deputy governor of Cuba.
After independence it became the country's Senate, Supreme Court and seat of several Academies. Currently it is the Head Office of the Cuban Institute of Books.