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New Spain - Bibliography

by Anne M. DeLong

Columbus, Christopher.  The Diario of Christopher Columbus's First Voyage to America 1492-1493.  Abs. Bartolomé de Las Casas.  Trans. Oliver Dunn and James E. Kelley, Jr.  Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1989.
Columbus's account of his first voyage to the New World includes a description of the natives he encounters there as submissive and peaceful.  He emphasizes their well-made bodies, their simplicity regarding matters of material wealth, and their servile eagerness to deify their conquerors.  This volume includes a transcription of Las Casas's abstraction written in Spanish with English translation on facing pages covering Columbus's voyage from Saturday, August 4, 1492 through Friday, March 15, 1493.
Greenblatt, Stephen.  "Marvelous Possessions."   Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World.  Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1991.  52-85.
This chapter has a "marvelous" reading of the Columbus October 12, 1492, journal entry describing the ritual of taking possession: "his actions are performed entirely for a world elsewhere."
Hamilton, Bernice.  Political Thought in Sixteenth-Century Spain: A Study of the Political Ideas of Vitoria, DeSoto, Suárez, and Molina.  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963.
This examination of Thomist natural-law theory focuses on the writings of four major 16th century Spanish theologians: the Dominicans Francisco de Vitoria and Domingo de Soto and the Jesuits Luis de Molina and Francisco Suárez.  Hamilton's analysis of these theorists considers the relative power of the institutions of church and state, the application of the Law of Nations (Jus Gentium), and the justification of New World conquest and war against Native Americans.  Includes short biographies of the four theorists.
Hanke, Lewis.  All Mankind Is One: A Study of the Disputation between Bartolomé de Las Casas and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda in 1550 on the Intellectual and Religious Capacity of the American Indians.  DeKalb: Northern Illinois UP, 1974.
This study traces the skirmishings among Spanish scholars during the first half of the 16th century regarding the humanity and intelligence of the Native American, culminating in the 1550 Las Casas/Sepúlveda debate at Valladolid.  Among the hotly contested issues were alleged accounts of Indian barbarity, idolatry, and sins against natural law.  The climate that produced the debate, the debate itself, and its aftermath are analyzed in terms of Spanish policy, treatment, and conversion of New World natives.  The debate concerns Sepúlveda's justification of war against and enslavement of natives vs. Las Casas's arguments for their peaceful conversion and education.
---.  Aristotle and the American Indians: A Study in Race Prejudice in the Modern World.  Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1959.
This study examines the Aristotelian doctrine of natural slavery as applied to the American Indians through the rhetoric of the 1550 Valladolid debate between Sepúlveda and Las Casas.  Hanke returns to the subject of his earlier studies through the specific lens of Aristotle's theory, concentrating on the hotly debated question of whether Indians could and should be properly considered and treated as barbarians.  Hanke extends his analysis of the debate to consider the 1573 law redefining conquest as "pacification" and its implications for subsequent theories of race relations.
---.  The First Social Experiments in America: A Study in the Development of Spanish Indian Policy in the Sixteenth Century.  Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1935.
This study traces the development and decline of social experiments in the New World designed to investigate Indian capacity.  Prompted by the insistence of Las Casas and other Dominican scholars, Charles V permitted New World missionaries to organize free communities of Indians for the purpose of facilitating conversion to Christianity and of ascertaining Indian capacity to fulfill European expectations.  Hanke analyzes the two poles of Spanish conceptions of Indians (i.e. "the noble savage" vs. "the dirty dog"), the Jeronymite inquiry into native capacity, the experiments of Rodrigo de Figueroa in Hispaniola, and the "experiencia" ["experience"] in Cuba.
The Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Conquest of America.  Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1949.
In this analysis of the theory and practice of Spanish New World colonization, Hanke attempts to trace an objective path between the extremes of "Black Legend" promulgators who attack Spanish policy and Spanish "revisionists" who defend Spanish theory and practice.  This comprehensive study addresses the sermons of Friar Antonio de Montesinos, the Laws of Burgos, the Requerimiento [Requirement], various 16th century social experiments in peaceful conversion, and the encomienda system and its partial abolishment through the New Laws.  Hanke's argument also includes a brief examination of the 1550 Valladolid debate and its aftermath, specifically here the Peruvian conquest of the Incan empire.
Las Casas, Bartolomé de.  The Devastation of the Indies: A Brief Account.  Trans. Herma Briffault.  Baltimore, Johns Hopkins UP, 1974.
A translation of Las Casas's Brevíssima Relación de la Destrucción de las Indias, this catalogue of atrocities committed against Native Americans by the Spanish formed the basis for the Black Legend against the Spanish conquistadors that was used by England and other European countries to de-legitimize Spanish hegemony in the New World.  Organized geographically, the accounts include graphic descriptions of atrocities allegedly committed throughout the Caribbean and on the mainland.
---.  In Defense of the Indians.  Ed. & Trans. Stafford Poole.  DeKalb: Northern Illinois UP, 1974.
Responding to the argument of Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda justifying war against the American Indians as a means to their salvation, Las Casas argues passionately and eloquently for the humane treatment and conversion of natives.  Las Casas's thorough and lengthy treatise includes a distinction of different kinds of barbarians, a clarification of the lack of Church jurisdiction over unbelievers, an examination of charges of idolatry, human sacrifice, and cannibalism, and a refutation of Sepúlveda's interpretations of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, among others.  Stafford Poole's English translation of Las Casas's Defense is prefaced in this volume by a summary of Sepúlveda's position.
---.  The Only Way.  Ed. Helen Rand Parish.  Trans. Francis Patrick Sullivan.  New York: Paulist Press, 1992.
This text of Las Casas's treatise entitled "The Only Way to Draw All People to a Living Faith" [Latin title: De unico vocationis modo omnium gentium ad veram religionem; Spanish title: Del único modo de atraer a todos los pueblos a la verdadera religion] is prefaced by a biographical introduction highlighting Las Casas's personal spiritual crisis regarding treatment of Native Americans by his fellow Christian Spaniards.  In this work Las Casas relies heavily on Biblical authority to argue for peaceful conversion of conquered subjects, also chastising those who practice what he calls "false evangelization."  His argument culminates in a request for Spanish restitution to "restore" the Indian victims of Spanish brutality.  This text also includes the following biographical addenda: Las Casas's Account of His Prophetic Call, Las Casas' Portrait of Pedro de Córdoba, and Las Casas's Condemnation of African Slavery.
Losada, Angel.  Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda a través de su "Epistolario" y Nuevos Documentos.  Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1949.
Written in Spanish, this work contains a biography of Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda and a lengthy, expanded, annotated bibliography of his works.  The English translation of the title is "Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda through his 'Collected Letters' and New Documents."
Muldoon, James.  The Americas in the Spanish World Order: The Justification for Conquest in the Seventeenth Century.  Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1994.
This analysis of the work of Juan de Solórzano Pereira (1575-1654), specifically of his De Indiarum Jure, examines 17th century Spanish justification of the conquest of the New World.  A defender of Catholicism and of Spanish political policy, Solórzano Pereira rejects all titles to New World dominium apart from the authority of the papal grants.  As a response to the Mare Liberum (The Freedom of the Seas) of Hugo Grotius, Solórzano Pereira's work aims to justify the conquest on moral as well as economic grounds.  Muldoon's analysis extends the relevance of this work to current issues concerning the rights and moral obligations of developed states to impose universal standards of behavior on developing nations.
Pagden, Anthony.  Spanish Imperialism and the Political Imagination: Studies in European and Spanish-American Social and Political Theory 1513-1830.  New Haven: Yale UP, 1990.
Beginning with an examination of property rights in Spanish America, this argument traces Spanish imperialist thought through its New World manifestations in the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.  Pagden reexamines Tommaso Campanella's project advocating a universal Spanish monarchy, complicating its context as an imperialist vision.  Examining the mid-18th century invention of a criollo [Creole] nationalist identity among Spanish-Indians which utilizes European "noble savage" discourse, Pagden analyzes the ways in which previous Spanish imperialist discourse contributes to Simón Bolívar's 19th century project in South America.
Parry, John H., and Robert G. Keith, eds.  New Iberian World: A Documentary History of the Discovery and Settlement of Latin America to the Early 17th Century.  New York: Times Books, 1984.
An extensive collection of English translations of primary documents of justification literature is available in this five-volume set.  "Volume I: The Conquerors and the Conquered" includes the texts of the papal bull Inter Caetera (1493), the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), the Requerimiento [Requirement] (1510), the Laws of Burgos (1512-13), the papal bull Sublimus Deus (1537), and the New Laws [Leyes Nuevas] (1542), among many others.  "Volume II: The Caribbean" includes Bartolomé de las Casas's account of the Advent sermon of Fray Antonio Montesinos (1511), letters of royal instruction to Columbus, and grants of encomiendas.
Scott, James Brown.  The Spanish Origin of International Law: Francisco de Vitoria and His Law of Nations.  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934.
This comprehensive analysis of the work of Vitoria is given a historical context in introductory chapters on the era of discovery and on the historical background of the Spanish school.  Scott pays most extensive attention to analyzing the three sections of De Indis Noviter Inventis [On the Indians Recently Discovered] but also includes analyses of Vitoria's statements on the law of nations and the scholastic doctrines of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas discussed in Vitoria's De Ivre Belli [On the Law of War], as well as an assessment of Vitoria's contribution to international law.
Seed, Patricia.  Ceremonies of Possession in Europe’s Conquest of the New World, 1492-1640.  New York: Cambridge UP. 1995.
Chapter 3, entitled "The Requirement: A Protocol for Conquest," discusses the text and context of the Requerimiento, an injunction to submission delivered to Native Americans by Spanish conquerors.  Articulating the uniqueness of the Spanish practice in the New World of formally "requiring" indigenous people, Seed locates the cultural roots of this ritual of possession among Iberian Islamic jihadic practices of Muslim conquest.  This exploration of the Requirement as a descendent of the Islamic "summons" reveals several similarities in the two conquest practices: the requirement for the conquered to submit (but not necessarily to convert) to a conquering religious authority, the threat of war for non-compliance, and the exaction of tribute, in the form of personal taxes or labor, from those who submit to conquest but resist conversion.
Sepúlveda, Juan Ginés de.  Apology for the Book On the Just Causes of War.  Trans. and Ed. Lewis D. Epstein.  Bowdoin College, 1973.
Thus unpublished translation of Sepúlveda's Defense in English is from the Latin.  The translated text consists of the seven objections to Spanish New World conquest, Sepúlveda's four principal points arguing for the justification of New World conquest, and his response to the seven objections.  Sepúlveda's arguments are based on Aristotelian theories of natural slavery, the notion that Native Americans commit crimes against natural laws, and the justification of religious conversion by force.
---.  Demócrates Segundo o De Las Justas Causas de La Guerra Contra los Indios.  Trans. Angel Losada.  Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Instituto Francisco de Vitoria, 1951.
The English translation of the title is "Demócrates II or On the Just Causes of War Against the Indians."  A continuation of arguments expressed in his Demócrates Alter [Demócrates I], Demócrates Segundo takes the form of a dialogue between two characters, Leopoldo, who questions just war against the Indians, and Demócrates, who defends this practice.  Sepúlveda's contribution to the 1550 debate at Valladolid was a summary of this work.
Sepúlveda, Juan Ginés de, and Bartolomé de Las Casas.  Apología.  [Defense.]  Trans. Angel Losada.  Madrid: Editora Nacional, 1975.
A comprehensive introduction summarizing the main points of both sides in the 1550 Valladolid debate prefaces this Spanish translation of the Defenses of both Sepúlveda and Las Casas.  Sepúlveda's own summary of his longer work Demócrates Segundo, the first Apología [Defense] is the text that was available to Las Casas and to which he responded in the 1550 Valladolid debate.  Losada's Spanish translation of the Latin text contains Sepúlveda's four principal arguments justifying war against Native Americans: the barbarous nature of the Indian people, their sins against natural law, the Christian duty to protect the innocent victims of the barbarous Indians, and the necessity of converting infidels even against their will.  Las Casas's Apología [Defense] responds to Sepúlveda's argument by questioning Spanish practices in the New World and advocating peaceful conversion.
Sullivan, Francis Patrick.  Indian Freedom: The Cause of Bartolomé de Las Casas 1484-1566: A Reader.  Kansas City: Sheed & Ward, 1995.
This collection of excerpts from the writings of Las Casas focuses on his Historia de las Indias [History of the Indies] as it traces his transformation from an encomendero to the "Apostle of the Indians."  Sullivan's reader provides introductory notes contextualizing the excerpts, which are also drawn from "Twenty Reasons Against Encomienda" (1542) included in Las Casas's Tratados, and from De único modo [The Only Way], among other works.  This volume also includes selections from the New Laws of 1542 as resulting in part from Las Casas's efforts.
Vitoria, Francisco de.  De Indis et de Ivre Belli Relectiones.  Ed. Ernest Nys.  Trans. John Pawley Bate.  Washington: Carnegie Institute, 1917.
This volume includes a transcription of the Latin texts and Spanish and English translations of two of Vitoria's lecture series: De Indis [On the American Indians] and De Ivre Belli [On the Law of War], preceded by a comprehensive introduction by Ernest Nys.  In De Indis Vitoria evaluates Indian capacity for dominium(ownership of property) based on human and divine law, concluding that Indians possess the powers of reason necessary to govern themselves.  In De Ivre Belli Vitoria examines reasons for and causes of just war, arguing that war is only justified to avenge wrongs inflicted by an enemy. De Ivre Belli also establishes rules governing behavior in just war, including the illegality of the killing of innocents and the degrees of legality involved in appropriating the spoils of war (land, captives, tributes, etc.).
---.  Political Writings.  Ed. Anthony Pagden and Jeremy Lawrance.  Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991.
This anthology of Vitoria's lectures includes five of the thirteen extant Relectiones theologicae [Theological Lectures]: De potestate civili [On Civil Power] (1528), De potestate ecclesiae Prior [On the Power of the Church I] (1532), De potestate ecclesiastica altera [On the Power of the Church II] (1533), De Indis [On the American Indians] (1537-8), and De Indis Relectio Posterior, sive de iure belli [On the Law of War] (1539).  Also included are three articles from De usu ciborum, sive temperantia [On Dietary Laws, or Self-Restraint] (1537) and extracts from De lege [On Law] (1533-4), Victoria's lecture-cycle on Aquinas's Summa theologica.  Dates here refer to delivery of the lectures, as all texts are gleaned from mostly verbatim notes taken down by Vitoria's students at the University of Salamanca.
Williams, Robert A., Jr.  The American Indian in Western Legal Thought: The Discourses of Conquest.  New York: Oxford UP, 1990.
Chapter Two, entitled "The Perfect Instrument of Empire: The Colonizing Discourse of Renaissance Spain," begins with a discussion of the events surrounding the Lithuanian/Polish controversy, the Council of Constance of 1414, and the Portuguese conquest of African lands that led to the papal response Romanus Pontifex.  The rest of this chapter details the rights of conquest obtained by Columbus from the Spanish Crown and the practice of conquest by the Spanish.  Discussions of the encomienda system, the Requerimiento, and the Laws of Burgos establish the brutal cruelty of Spanish conquest of Native American land and people.  This chapter also presents the dissenting voices of the Spanish Dominicans in the New World and Francisco de Vitoria in the Old World to establish the nature of the controversy surrounding the treatment of the victims of conquest.