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The Roman pontiff, successor of the key-bearer of the heavenly kingdom and vicar of Jesus Christ, contemplating with a father's mind all the several climes of the world and the characteristics of all the nations dwelling in them and seeking and desiring the salvation of all, wholesomely ordains and disposes upon careful deliberation those things which he sees will be agreeable to the Divine Majesty and by which he may bring the sheep entrusted to him by God into the single divine fold, and may acquire for them the reward of eternal felicity, and obtain pardon for their souls.
From entry dated Thursday 11 October 1492: "All of them go around as naked as their mothers bore them; and the women also, although I did not see more than one quite young girl. And all those that I saw were young people, for none did I see of more than 30 years of age. They are very well formed, with handsome bodies and good faces. Their hair [is] coarse—almost like the tail of a horse—and short. [ . . . ] They do not carry arms nor are they acquainted with them, because I showed them swords and they took them by the edge and through ignorance cut themselves. [ . . . ] They should be good and intelligent servants, for I see that they say very quickly everything that is said to them; and I believe that they would become Christians very easily, for it seemed to me that they had no religion."
Inter caetera divinai and Inter caetera I – establishes rights of discovery and conversion of non-Christians by Christian nations.
Inter caetera II – draws line of demarcation between Spanish and Portuguese "possessions" in New World. Combines and slightly expands content of the first two:
[O]ur beloved son, Christopher Columbus . . . discovered certain very remote islands and even mainlands that hitherto had not been discovered by others; wherein dwell very many peoples living in peace, and, as reported, going unclothed, and not eating flesh. . . .
Wherefore, as becomes Catholic kings and princes, after earnest consideration of all matters, especially of the rise and spread of the Catholic faith, as was the fashion of your ancestors, kings of renowned memory, you have purposed with the favor of divine clemency to bring under your sway the said mainlands and islands with their residents and inhabitants and to bring them to the Catholic faith. Hence, heartily commending in the Lord this your holy and praiseworthy purpose, and desirous that it be duly accomplished, and that the name of our Savior be carried into those regions, we exhort you very earnestly in the Lord and by your reception of holy baptism, whereby you are bound to our apostolic commands, and by the bowels of the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, enjoin strictly, that inasmuch as with eager zeal for the true faith you design to equip and despatch this expedition, you purpose also, as is your duty, to lead the peoples dwelling in those islands and countries to embrace the Christian religion. . . .
And, in order that you may enter upon so great an undertaking with greater readiness and heartiness endowed with the benefit of our apostolic favor, we, of our own accord, not at your instance nor the request of anyone else in your regard, but of our own sole largess and certain knowledge and out of the fullness of our apostolic power, by the authority of Almighty God conferred upon us in blessed Peter and of the vicarship of Jesus Christ, which we hold on earth, do by tenor of these presents, should any of said islands have been found by your envoys and captains, give, grant, and assign to you and your heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon, forever, together with all their dominions, cities, camps, places, and villages, and all rights, jurisdictions, and appurtenances, all islands and mainlands found and to be found, discovered and to be discovered towards the west and south, by drawing and establishing a line from the Arctic pole, namely the north, to the Antarctic pole, namely the south.
Forasmuch as my Lord the King and Myself have ordered . . . that the Indians living on the island of Hispaniola be considered free and not subject to slavery . . . ; since I have now been informed that because of the excessive liberty allowed the said Indians, they run away from the Christians and withdraw from any intercourse and communication with them, . . . I order you, Our Governor, . . . to compel the Indians to have dealings with the Christian settlers on the said island, to work on their buildings, to mine and collect gold and other metals, and to work on their farms and crop fields; and you are to have each one paid for nine days' work the wages and rations you think he should have in accordance with the productivity of the land, the quality of the individual, and the nature of the job he does . . . .
The message [is] that you are all in mortal sin, that you live in it and will die in it, because of the cruelty and oppression with which you treat these innocent people. Tell me, by what right do you hold these Indians in such cruel and horrible servitude? By what authority did you make unprovoked war on these people, living in peace and quiet on their land, and with unheard-of savagery kill and consume so great a number of them? Why do you keep them worn-out and down-trodden, without feeding them or tending their illnesses, so that they die—or rather you kill them—by reason of the heavy labor you lay upon them, to get gold every day? What care do you take to have them taught to know their God and Maker, to be baptized, to hear Mass and keep their Sundays and their holy days?
Whereas, it has become evident through long experience that nothing has sufficed to bring the said chiefs and Indians to a knowledge of our Faith (necessary for their salvation), since by nature they are inclined to idleness and vice, and have no manner of virtue or doctrine . . . the most beneficial thing that could be done at present would be to remove the said chiefs and Indians to the vicinity of the villages and communities of the Spaniards . . . . I command you . . . to have the lodges of the said villages burned, since the Indians will have no further use for them: this is so that they will have no reason to return whence they have been brought.
[W]e ask and require that you . . . acknowledge the Church as the ruler and superior of the whole world and the high priest called Pope and in his name the king and queen . . . our lords, in his place, as superiors and lords and kings of these islands and this mainland . . . , and that you consent and permit that these religious fathers declare and preach to you . . . . [I]f you do not do this or if you maliciously delay in doing it, I certify to you that with the help of God we shall forcefully enter into your country and shall make war against you in all ways and manners that we can, and shall submit you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and of their highnesses . . . , and we shall take away your goods and shall do to you all the harm and damage that we can, . . . and we protest that the deaths and losses that shall accrue from this are your fault . . .
The Indians we speak of, and all other peoples who later come to the knowledge of Christians, outside the faith though they be, are not to be deprived of their liberty or the right to their property. They are to have, to hold, to enjoy both liberty and dominion, freely, lawfully. They must not be enslaved. Should anything different be done, it is void, invalid, of no force, no worth. And those Indians and other peoples are to be invited into the faith of Christ by the preaching of God's word and the example of a good life.
At first sight, it is true, we may readily suppose that, since the affair is in the hands of men both learned and good, everything has been conducted with rectitude and justice. But when we hear subsequently of bloody massacres and of innocent individuals pillaged of their possessions and dominions, there are grounds for doubting the justice of what has been done.
[H]enceforth, for no cause of war nor any other cause whatsoever, though it be under title of rebellion, nor by ransom nor in any other manner can an Indian be made a slave, and we desire that they be treated as of the Crown of Castile, since such they are. . . . Henceforth no encomienda is to be granted to anyone, and when the present holders of encomiendas die, their Indians will revert to the crown.
Sepúlveda's position: Citing Aristotle and St. Augustine among others, Sepúlveda argues in favor of waging war against the Indians to forcefully convert and subjugate them and to punish their infractions against natural law.
Las Casas's position: Las Casas challenges Sepúlveda's charges of the barbarous nature of the Indians and their commission of crimes against natural law. Argues against forceful conversion and punishment of natural law transgressions. Also attacks authority of Sepúlveda's sources.
Texts of the Valladolid Debate:
Sepúlveda - "Apología del libro de las justas causas de la guerra" ["Defense of the book on the just causes of war"] – Sepúlveda's summary of his book Demócrates Segundo [Demócrates II] printed in Rome in 1550. Summary translated to Spanish by Angel Losada in 1974.
From Sepulveda, Demócrates Segundo: "In prudence, talent, virtue, and humanity they [the Indians] are as inferior to the Spaniards as children to adults, women to men, as the wild and cruel to the most meek, as the prodigiously intemperate to the continent and temperate, that I have almost said, as monkeys to men."
Las Casas – In Defense of the Indians – first drafted c. 1548-1550 and presented at Valladolid as the Apología (Defense). Translated to English by Stafford Poole in 1974.
From Las Casas – In Defense of the Indians – first drafted c. 1548-1550 and presented at Valladolid as the Apología (Defense). Translated to English by Stafford Poole in 1974: "[T]hey [the Indians] are of such gentleness and decency that they are, more than the other nations of the entire world, supremely fitted and prepared to abandon the worship of idols and to accept, province by province and people by people, the word of God and the preaching of the truth."