The Spanish requirement of 1513
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
[Ficción jurídica: Texto completo]
Redactado por Juan López de Palacios*
Durante la conquista de América algunos teólogos pensaron que despojar a los indios de sus tierras, sin aviso ni derecho legal, ponía en peligro la "salvación eterna" de los Reyes de España. La solución a este dilema fue el Requerimiento. Escrito para ser leído frente a los enemigos antes de que comenzara la batalla, el documento les da la oportunidad de someterse pacíficamente a la autoridad de los Reyes de Castilla. Concluye que si los indios no aceptan la autoridad real, entonces serán culpables de "las muertes y daños que de ello se siguiesen".
En muchas ocasiones los españoles cumplieron con la exigencia legal de leer el texto antes de atacar a los indios. Lo hacían desde barcos o desde la cumbre de una colina, a grandes distancias de los indios, a veces en castellano y otras en latín. Luego, un notario certificaba por escrito que los indios habían sido advertidos.
Sobre el Requerimiento dijo fray Bartolomé de las Casas: "Es una burla de la verdad y de la justicia y un gran insulto a nuestra fe cristiana y a la piedad y caridad de Jesucristo, y no tiene ninguna legalidad".
El Requerimiento se usó durante décadas.
De parte del rey, don Fernando, y de su hija, doña Juana, reina de Castilla y León, domadores de pueblos bárbaros, nosotros, sus siervos, os notificamos y os hacemos saber, como mejor podemos, que Dios nuestro Señor, uno y eterno, creó el cielo y la tierra, y un hombre y una mujer, de quien nos y vosotros y todos los hombres del mundo fueron y son descendientes y procreados, y todos los que después de nosotros vinieran. Mas por la muchedumbre de la generación que de éstos ha salido desde hace cinco mil y hasta más años que el mundo fue creado, fue necesario que los unos hombres fuesen por una parte y otros por otra, y se dividiesen por muchos reinos y provincias, que en una sola no se podían sostener y conservar.
De todas estas gentes Dios nuestro Señor dio cargo a uno, que fue llamado san Pedro, para que de todos los hombres del mundo fuese señor y superior a quien todos obedeciesen, y fue cabeza de todo el linaje humano, dondequiera que los hombres viniesen en cualquier ley, secta o creencia; y diole todo el mundo por su Reino y jurisdicción, y como quiera que él mandó poner su silla en Roma, como en lugar más aparejado para regir el mundo, y juzgar y gobernar a todas las gentes, cristianos, moros, judíos, gentiles o de cualquier otra secta o creencia que fueren. A este llamaron Papa, porque quiere decir admirable, padre mayor y gobernador de todos los hombres.
A este san Pedro obedecieron y tomaron por señor, rey y superior del universo los que en aquel tiempo vivían, y así mismo han tenido a todos los otros que después de él fueron elegidos al pontificado, y así se ha continuado hasta ahora, y continuará hasta que el mundo se acabe.
Uno de los Pontífices pasados que en lugar de éste sucedió en aquella dignidad y silla que he dicho, como señor del mundo hizo donación de estas islas y tierra firme del mar Océano a los dichos Rey y Reina y sus sucesores en estos reinos, con todo lo que en ella hay, según se contiene en ciertas escrituras que sobre ello pasaron, según se ha dicho, que podréis ver si quisieseis.
Así que Sus Majestades son reyes y señores de estas islas y tierra firme por virtud de la dicha donación; y como a tales reyes y señores algunas islas más y casi todas a quien esto ha sido notificado, han recibido a Sus Majestades, y los han obedecido y servido y sirven como súbditos lo deben hacer, y con buena voluntad y sin ninguna resistencia y luego sin dilación, como fueron informados de los susodichos, obedecieron y recibieron los varones religiosos que Sus Altezas les enviaban para que les predicasen y enseñasen nuestra Santa Fe y todos ellos de su libre, agradable voluntad, sin premio ni condición alguna, se tornaron cristianos y lo son, y Sus Majestades los recibieron alegre y benignamente, y así los mandaron tratar como a los otros súbditos y vasallos; y vosotros sois tenidos y obligados a hacer lo mismo.
Por ende, como mejor podemos, os rogamos y requerimos que entendáis bien esto que os hemos dicho, y toméis para entenderlo y deliberar sobre ello el tiempo que fuere justo, y reconozcáis a la Iglesia por señora y superiora del universo mundo, y al Sumo Pontífice, llamado Papa, en su nombre, y al Rey y reina doña Juana, nuestros señores, en su lugar, como a superiores y reyes de esas islas y tierra firme, por virtud de la dicha donación y consintáis y deis lugar que estos padres religiosos os declaren y prediquen lo susodicho.
Si así lo hicieseis, haréis bien, y aquello que sois tenidos y obligados, y Sus Altezas y nos en su nombre, os recibiremos con todo amor y caridad, y os dejaremos vuestras mujeres e hijos y haciendas libres y sin servidumbre, para que de ellas y de vosotros hagáis libremente lo que quisieseis y por bien tuvieseis, y no os compelerán a que os tornéis cristianos, salvo si vosotros informados de la verdad os quisieseis convertir a nuestra santa Fe Católica, como lo han hecho casi todos los vecinos de las otras islas, y allende de esto sus Majestades os concederán privilegios y exenciones, y os harán muchas mercedes.
Y si así no lo hicieseis o en ello maliciosamente pusieseis dilación, os certifico que con la ayuda de Dios nosotros entraremos poderosamente contra vosotros, y os haremos guerra por todas las partes y maneras que pudiéramos, y os sujetaremos al yugo y obediencia de la Iglesia y de Sus Majestades, y tomaremos vuestras personas y de vuestras mujeres e hijos y los haremos esclavos, y como tales los venderemos y dispondremos de ellos como Sus Majestades mandaren, y os tomaremos vuestros bienes, y os haremos todos los males y daños que pudiéramos, como a vasallos que no obedecen ni quieren recibir a su señor y le resisten y contradicen; y protestamos que las muertes y daños que de ello se siguiesen sea a vuestra culpa y no de Sus Majestades, ni nuestra, ni de estos caballeros que con nosotros vienen.
Y de como lo decimos y requerimos pedimos al presente escribano que nos lo dé por testimonio signado, y a los presente rogamos que de ello sean testigos.
* Juan López de Palacios: Jurista y consejero real, quien se encargaba de sustentar la justicia de las empresas reales ("sastre jurídico"). Su obra De Justitia et Jure obtentionis ac retentionis regni Navarrae, fue la apología final de la conquista de Navarra. Autor también del Tratado de las Islas (1512), e inspirador de la legislación española para América, recogió ampliamente el concepto de la "inmadurez" de los indígenas, los cuales debían ser protegidos, como tiernos vástagos, hasta de sus propios defectos.
The Spanish Requirement of 1513
The Spanish Requirement of 1513 ("El Requerimiento") was a declaration by the Spanish monarchy of its divinely ordained right to take possession of the territories of the New World and to subjugate, exploit and, when necessary, to fight the native inhabitants. The Requirement was read in Spanish to Native Americans to inform them of Spain’s rights to conquest. Those who subsequently resisted conquest were considered to harbor evil intentions. The Spaniards thus considered those who resisted as defying God’s plan, and so used Catholic theology to justify their conquest.
Throughout the sixteenth century Europeans quickly subjugated native peoples, plundering their lands and wealth. Europeans justified this with the view that natives were not Christian, and, particularly after witnessing the mass human sacrifices conducted by the Aztecs, and lack of traditional civilization by other natives, savage, and not deserving to possess the New World.
In Spain itself in 1492, the Moorish population of Granada had been given the choice by the first Archbishop of Granada, Hernando de Talavera: become Christian, or leave the country. In a letter to his religious brothers, Cardinal Cisneros, Talavera's successor, would celebrate the “peaceful domination” of the Moors of the Albaicin, a neighborhood of Granada, praising converts, lauding killing and extolling plunder. This letter came, however, after centuries of struggle by Christians in Spain to recapture their homeland, which had been under Muslim domination for generations. Thus the war in Iberia, between Christians trying to regain their land and Muslims defending their conquered territories, naturally heightened religious tensions and fervor on both sides.
To the King and Queen of Spain (Ferdinand II of Aragon, 1479–1516 and Isabella I of Castile, 1451–1504) the conquest of indigenous peoples was justified by natural law, embodied in the medieval doctrine of “just wars”, which had historically been a rationale for wars against non-Christians, particularly the Moors, but which would now be applied to Native Americans. Coming shortly after the Reconquest, the realization of a centuries-long dream by Christians in Spain, the discovery and colonization of the New World was directly affected by religious and political conditions in a now-unified Iberian Peninsula.
Concerned that Spain ensure control of the natives in the newly conquered Americas, the “Reyes Católicos”, Ferdinand and Isabella, consulted theologians and jurists for religious and legal justification of Spain’s conquests. The treatment of the Native Americans was at first rationalized on the grounds that they were cannibals; any means of subjugation were acceptable. However, some of Christopher Columbus’s tactics with Native Americans had resulted in uprisings. In 1500, the king and queen again sought advice; the Native Americans were declared to be "free vassals". Despite their elevated status, the Native Americans remained subject to conquest in "just wars".
In 1511, Fra. Montesinos, spokesman for the Dominican Order in Spain, began preaching against the exploitation of the Native Americans as workers (“la mano de obra de los españoles”) while they were also subject to persecution. King Ferdinand offered a new justification. The enslavement of Native Americans was required because they were pagans, but this did not prevent their conversion to Christianity, nor however, in practice, did it mitigate their slaughter.
The Junta of Burgos of 1512 marked the first in a series of ordinances (“Ordenanzas sobre el buen tratamiento de los indios”) with the ostensible goal of protecting the Indians from excessive exploitation; natives could celebrate holidays, be paid for their labor and receive "good treatment". Similar legislation was adopted by the Junta of Valladolid in 1513 and the Junta of Madrid in 1516. However, none of the laws stopped the abuse; few were charged with illegal exploitation, and punishment was rare.
The Role of Religion
The colonization of the New World by European adventurers and the genocide of native populations to that end was "justified" at the time on spiritual and religious grounds. In the conquest of the Americas, the Christian duty to evangelize non-believers took form of (often forced) conversion of Indians and other pagans, at the hands of Roman Catholic priests. Christianity was also used to justify the state’s policy of enslavement of Indians, and the often violent pacification of native communities who resisted.
To the European mind, the lands of the New World belonged to no one, and could therefore be seized. The radical differences in thought and behavior of the Aztec and Mayan states, with their worship of entirely new, fierce gods, human sacrifice, and complete unfamiliarity with European styles of diplomacy, created a sense that conquest was not a war between states but the conquering by a civilized society against a ferocious, barbarous enemy. Moreover, since the native population was non-Christian, Europeans’ Christian religion conferred upon them the right, indeed the obligation, to take possession of the lands and the peoples in the name of God and the throne.
More particularly, Catholic theology held that spiritual salvation took precedence over temporal and civil concerns. The conversion of pagan natives to Christianity was the rationale for and legitimized Spain’s conquests. The Pope, being the recipient of divine authority and having the obligation to propagate the faith, empowered Spain to conquer the New World and convert its peoples. Thus “informed” by the Spanish, the Indians had to accept the supremacy of the Catholic Church and the Spanish Crown. The state was authorized to enforce submission, by war where necessary.
The Spanish requirement of 1513
The European view of the inherent right to conquest and domination in the New World was captured in a declaration addressed to Indian populations known as “El Requerimiento” (The Requirement). The document was prepared by the Spanish jurist Juan López Palacios Rubio, a staunch advocate of the divine right of monarchs and territorial conquest. It was first used in 1513 by Pedrarias Dávila, a Spanish explorer who had fought the Moors in Granada and who was later to become Governor of Nicaragua.
The Spanish Requirement, issued in the names of King Ferdinand and Queen Juana, his daughter, was an a mixture of religious and legal justifications for the confiscation of New World territories and the subjugation of their inhabitants. At the time, it was believed that Native Americans resisted conquest and conversion for one of two reasons: malice or ignorance. The Requirement was putatively meant to eliminate ignorance.
A member of the conquistador’s force would read El Requerimiento in Castilian before a group of Indians on the shore, who, with or without translation, remained uncomprehending. All the region’s inhabitants were thus considered to have been advised of Spain’s religious and legal rights to conquest and forewarned of the consequences of resisting. The true nature of the Spanish Requirement, however, was one of absolution; the symbolic act of reading the document relieved the crown and its agents from legal and moral responsibility for the conquest, enslavement and killing of Native Americans. Readings were often dispensed with prior to planned attacks.
As the Spanish Requirement matter-of-factly sets forth, so brazenly from five centuries’ retrospect, God created heaven and earth, and the first man and woman from whom all are descended. God directed St. Peter to establish the Roman Catholic Church. St. Peter’s descendant, the Pope, lives in Rome. The Pope has given the New World territories to the King of Castile and directed the conversion of the Indians. If they listen carefully, the Indians will understand and accept what is happening as just; if not, Spain will make war on them. Here what the document does is to create an ontology into which these new lands and their peoples fit; it is creating a place for them in the exiting Spanish and European political structure and Christian belief structure.
Text of the document
“On the part of the King, Don Fernando, and of Doña Juana, his daughter, Queen of Castile and León, subduers of the barbarous nations, we their servants notify and make known to you, as best we can, that the Lord our God, living and eternal, created the heaven and the earth, and one man and one woman, of whom you and we, and all the men of the world, were and are all descendants, and all those who come after us.
Of all these nations God our Lord gave charge to one man, called St. Peter, that he should be lord and superior of all the men in the world, that all should obey him, and that he should be the head of the whole human race, wherever men should live, and under whatever law, sect, or belief they should be; and he gave him the world for his kingdom and jurisdiction.
One of these pontiffs, who succeeded St. Peter as lord of the world in the dignity and seat which I have before mentioned, made donation of these isles and Terra-firma to the aforesaid King and Queen and to their successors, our lords, with all that there are in these territories,
Wherefore, as best we can, we ask and require you that you consider what we have said to you, and that you take the time that shall be necessary to understand and deliberate upon it, and that you acknowledge the Church as the ruler and superior of the whole world,
But if you do not do this, and maliciously make delay in it, I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter into your country, and shall make war against you in all ways and manners that we can, and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and of their highnesses; we shall take you, and your wives, and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and as such shall sell and dispose of them as their highnesses may command; and we shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can, as to vassals who do not obey, and refuse to receive their lord, and resist and contradict him: and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault, and not that of their highnesses, or ours, nor of these cavaliers who come with us.”
Friday, February 8, 2013
Communiqué to Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction J. Huppenthal
Nahuacalli Educators Alliance
In Imiuh Tenamaztle
In Imiuh Tenamaztle
In ompa Tlamananalco inic oniquizaco inic onihuallihualoc ca mitl, onimacoc in Inimiuh Tenamaztle, auh yehhuatl ihihyo ixpantzinco, tehhuan tamechnahuatih totlahtol.
March 12, 2012
Superintendent John Huppenthal
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
1535 W. Jefferson Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
1535 W. Jefferson Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Dear Mr. Huppenthal,
The 11th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will convene at UN Headquarters in New York from May 7 -18, 2012. A special theme for discussion at this year’s session will be the “Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery on Indigenous Peoples”, which is the subject of the Preliminary Study on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery submitted to the UNPFII at the 9th Session in 2010. The intent of this letter is to solicit a response from the Arizona Department of Education addressing the impact of the Doctrine of Discovery in terms of past and present educational policies and practices in the State of Arizona.
On September 13, 2007 the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As a standard setting instrument of International Law, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) establishes for the first time in five hundred years that Indigenous Peoples are “Equal to all other peoples….” with corresponding rights as “PEOPLES” in the world community. Of the 46 Articles proclaimed in the UNDRIP, the following are particularly pertinent to our present request:
Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.
1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.
2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for: (a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities; (b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources; (c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights; (d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration; (e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.
2. Indigenous individuals, particularly children, have the right to all levels and forms of education of the State without discrimination.
3. States shall, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, take effective measures, in order for indigenous individuals, particularly children, including those living outside their communities, to have access, when possible, to an education in their own culture and provided in their own language.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information.
2. States shall take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among indigenous peoples and all other segments of society.
The above clarifications become especially significant for the purposes of this letter for the following reasons:
The current Social Studies Standard for American History extracted from the Arizona Department of Education Website for High School level curriculum acknowledge the precept that Indigenous Peoples are recognized as “Peoples” by use of the term in:
Strand 1: Concept 3: Exploration and Colonization
PO 1. Review the reciprocal impact resulting from early European contact with indigenous peoples:
This same strand of study from the social studies curriculum calls for:
PO 2. Describe the reasons for colonization of America (e.g., religious freedom, desire for land, economic opportunity, and a new life).
The recognition of Indigenous Peoples as such in the standards of the Arizona Department of Education is noteworthy, but of greater concern is the perpetuation of policies of prejudice and “ethnic solidarity” in that discriminate favor of “white” pupils in the evaluation systems of the Arizona State Department of Education.
The designation of “white” as a category of evaluation and quantification of pupils in the Arizona State department of Education is not a new phenomenon. In fact, from it’s beginnings on September 9, 1850 with the establishment by the 31st Congress of the Territorial Government for New Mexico, the organic instrument from which the State of Arizona derives its jurisdiction as a State (1912), the legal identity of “white person” has been given preferential “ethnic” treatment with policies of prejudice and “white supremacy” that are derivatives of the Doctrine of Manifest Destiny.
The concept of Manifest Destiny, a regime of ethnic solidarity if there ever was one, prescribes to the Anglo-Saxon “race” historical rights in the territory that supersede all others. Manifest Destiny is itself a meme of caste that by its nature as an ideology of “white supremacy” is a racist relic still embedded in the underlying Doctrine of Discovery, a chapter of the “Masters’ Narrative” that has dictated the rules of dominion by American societies since October 12, 1492. We are speaking of the context of cognition that provides precept and dogma for the ongoing justification of colonization by European-American constituencies in territories to which they have immigrated or invaded as colonizers in this hemisphere.
Colonization is a crime. It is a crime that became so in 1960 with UN GA Resolution 1514 which proclaimed “All peoples have the right to self determination.” With the adoption in 2007 of the UNDRIP, and our recognition as “Peoples, equal to all other peoples….”, the Indigenous Peoples not only of Arizona, not only of the US, not only of the Americas but the Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples of Mother Earth – Nican Tlacah Cemanahuac - are determined to achieve the equilibrium and harmony with the Natural World that will allow Humanity as a whole to mature and realize planetary sustainability.
The perpetuation of doctrine is not education, it is indoctrination. And while the resistance and rebellion against these regimes of “intellectual apartheid” by the Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala [the Americas] to the centuries old regime of white supremacy in the continent did not begin in Arizona, the time has come for us to here and now, as Nican Tlacah, to move deliberately towards collective corrective action in order to address the violations of Civil Rights, Human Rights, and Indigenous Rights that have become exacerbated in terms of public educational services for our community since the passage of AZ HB 2281.
Therefore, we as Nican Tlacah, Indigenous Peoples of Anahuac who reside in the territories of the O’otham Nations also known as the State of Arizona now present the following demands and recommendations in pursuit of realizing the intent of this letter:
In light of the fact that there is absolutely NO REFERENCE in the current Arizona State Curriculum Standards for a track of study on the relevance of the Doctrine of Discovery in terms of Social Studies, History or Public Policy:
We demand that the Preliminary Study on the Doctrine of Discovery, submitted to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues be integrated into the Social Studies Curriculum standards immediately for implementation across the spectrum of services delivered by the Arizona Department of Education at all levels across the state with no exceptions.
We recommend that the State of Arizona:
- Promote and advocate for the continued development of appreciation, knowledge and understanding of the Cultural Diversity of all Arizona residents by supporting educational programs that contribute to this goal;
- Reinforce programs of Cultural Competency to meet this goal, as a legal obligation binding the State of Arizona in terms of Civil Rights, Human Rights, and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
- Promote and advocate for the implementation of a state wide Indigenous Peoples Studies curriculum, that addresses the ignorance and lack of historical perspective in the general public related to outdated public policies that are grounded in the concepts of racial profiling and illegal preferences to constituencies of European-American “white persons” such as “Manifest Destiny”;
In closing, may we affirm the notion that this communiqué is no way to be interpreted as a message of resentment or hatred towards any other peoples, however they may classify themselves. This is not a message of antagonism against white people, but it is a challenge to the social constructs of white supremacy. And at a deeper level, it is a call to our common humanity to strive to collectively correct the injustices committed in the name of “Western Civilization” that make victims of not only the colonized by the colonizer as well.
Where is the homeland of the “White” ethnicity? What are its boundaries? Where are its borders? Who is their leadership? Who benefits from this ideology, and who suffers? Is it not the “white people” themselves who have lost the most, by fomenting ethnic and political identity at the family, community and national levels based on a “melanin deprived” physical characteristic that is unscientific and racist, not to mention horribly dehumanizing?
Not only are we the New World, we are NOW the World in Renewal: We are the Nican Tlacah of Cemanahuac and our proposals in terms of education are hereby respectfully submitted in the spirit of the Prerogative of the Peoples and for the purposes of advancing the Public Services towards the Greater Good, the wela of We the Peoples.
Tupac Enrique Acosta, Yaotachcauh