Browsing All posts tagged under »Spanish conquest«

What Defeated the Mexica?

May 5, 2013


History of Aboriginal America 14. Disease and the conquest of the Americas, pt. 1 When Cortés entered Tenochtitlan in 1521 with his 200,000 Aboriginal allies, he made acquaintance with the true conqueror of Mexico along that great city’s causeways.  He did not salute it. Bodies lay along all the causeways in great piles, killed by […]

Also at the Conquest

April 5, 2013


History of Aboriginal America 13 The Invisible Allies of the Conquistadors Columbus was notorious for continuing to insist, despite growing evidence to the contrary—and his own encounter with the South American continent on his fourth voyage—that he had found the route to the Indies in 1492.  You could call this insistence peculiar stubbornness (of which […]

A Handful of Myths

March 11, 2013


History of Aboriginal America 11 Cortés, the conquistadors, and the myth of the “handful of adventurers.” When 19th century historian William Prescott wrote about Hernán Cortés’ and his role in the invasion and destruction of the Aztec empire beginning in 1521, he described the event as “the subversion of a great empire by a handful […]

Sublimus Dei, 1537: “that the Indians are truly men”

August 13, 2011


In 1537, Pope Paul III issued the following decree in regard to whether the Aboriginal people in the Americas were entitled to human rights.  He was speaking against a contrary view, advanced by Spanish colonists and others,  that these peoples were mere beasts incapable of being Christianized and suitable only to be enslaved Sublimus Dei […]

Mundus Novus – An apocryphal voyage, an historical forgery

February 13, 2011


  The following narrative (which I have slightly edited for readability) was solemnly released as part of the Harvard Classics series in 1914, entitled Amerigo Vespucci’s Account of His First Voyage (1497).   There is in fact no record outside of this document of any such voyage, and the document itself is a forgery.  That […]

Francisco de Vitoria & the Rights of the Indians, Pt. II – De Indis, cont.

January 7, 2011


Francisco de Vitoria, having concluded in Part I of De Indis that the indigenous people of the Americas were the true owners of their own land with the right to govern themselves, goes on to discuss some of the justifications the Spanish have used to deprive them of these rights.  De Indis, Part II, represents […]

Francisco de Vitoria & the Rights of the Indians, Pt. I: De Indis, 1532

January 7, 2011


The following is an edited and abridged form of the work De Indis attributed to Francisco de Vitoria, but in fact compiled from lecture notes by his students and subsequently published.  Francisco de Vitoria was a professor of sacred theology at the University of Salamanca and presented the following arguments in 1532. The highlights,  section […]