Wednesday, February 20, 2013

El Requerimiento 1513


[Ficción jurídica: Texto completo]
Monarquía Española
Redactado por Juan López de Palacios*

Nota preliminary:

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.

Requerimiento

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.

FIN

* 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.

Historical context

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.
Legal justification

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[citation needed]. 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.”
           

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