PRIMARY DOCUMENT

El Requerimiento by Juan López de Palacios Rubios (1513)

SUMMARY

El Requerimiento, meaning “the requirement, or demand,” was drafted in 1513 by Juan López de Palacios Rubios, a member of the Council of Castile, which advised King Ferdinand. The document was designed to be read in Spanish by Spanish explorers to American Indians, introducing them to Christian doctrine. Indians were not compelled to convert, but if they did not, they were immediately subject to Spanish invasion. The following English translation is published by Wikipedia.

FULL TEXT

On the part of the King, Don Fernando, and of Doña Juana I, his daughter, Queen of Castille 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, all the men of the world at the time, were and are descendants, and all those who came after and before us. But, on account of the multitude which has sprung from this man and woman in the five thousand years since the world was created, it was necessary that some men should go one way and some another, and that they should be divided into many kingdoms and provinces, for in one alone they could not be sustained.

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.

And he commanded him to place his seat in Rome, as the spot most fitting to rule the world from; but also he permitted him to have his seat in any other part of the world, and to judge and govern all Christians, Moors, Jews, Gentiles, and all other Sects. This man was called Pope, as if to say, Admirable Great Father and Governor of men. The men who lived in that time obeyed that St. Peter, and took him for Lord, King, and Superior of the universe; so also they have regarded the others who after him have been elected to the pontificate, and so has it been continued even till now, and will continue till the end of the world.

One of these Pontiffs, who succeeded that St. Peter as Lord of the world, in the dignity and seat which I have before mentioned, made donation of these isles and Tierra-firme to the aforesaid King and Queen and to their successors, our lords, with all that there are in these territories, as is contained in certain writings which passed upon the subject as aforesaid, which you can see if you wish.

So their Highnesses are kings and lords of these islands and land of Tierra-firme by virtue of this donation: and some islands, and indeed almost all those to whom this has been notified, have received and served their Highnesses, as lords and kings, in the way that subjects ought to do, with good will, without any resistance, immediately, without delay, when they were informed of the aforesaid facts. And also they received and obeyed the priests whom their Highnesses sent to preach to them and to teach them our Holy Faith; and all these, of their own free will, without any reward or condition, have become Christians, and are so, and their Highnesses have joyfully and benignantly received them, and also have commanded them to be treated as their subjects and vassals; and you too are held and obliged to do the same. 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, and the high priest called Pope, and in his name the King and Queen Doña Juana our lords, in his place, as superiors and lords and kings of these islands and this Tierra-firme by virtue of the said donation, and that you consent and give place that these religious fathers should declare and preach to you the aforesaid.

If you do so, you will do well, and that which you are obliged to do to their Highnesses, and we in their name shall receive you in all love and charity, and shall leave you, your wives, and your children, and your lands, free without servitude, that you may do with them and with yourselves freely that which you like and think best, and they shall not compel you to turn Christians, unless you yourselves, when informed of the truth, should wish to be converted to our Holy Catholic Faith, as almost all the inhabitants of the rest of the islands have done. And, besides this, their Highnesses award you many privileges and exemptions and will grant you many benefits.

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. And that we have said this to you and made this Requisition, we request the notary here present to give us his testimony in writing, and we ask the rest who are present that they should be witnesses of this Requisition.

MAP
TIMELINE
1513
El Requerimiento, meaning "the requirement, or demand," is drafted by Juan López de Palacios Rubios, a member of the Council of Castile, which advises King Ferdinand. The document is designed to be read in Spanish by Spanish explorers to American Indians, introducing them to Christian doctrine.
FURTHER READING

Inter caetera by Pope Alexander VI (May 4, 1493) Mundus novus (1503) “The natives are white men”; an excerpt from De Orbe Novo by Peter Martyr d’Anghiera (1530) The Healers; an excerpt from La Relación by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (1542) The Black Legend; an excerpt from A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Bartolomé de las Casas (1552) The Story of Juan Ortiz; an excerpt from The Discovery and Conquest of Terra Florida by a Gentleman of Elvas (1557) The Story of Marguerite de La Roque; an excerpt from The Heptameron of Margaret, Queen of Navarre by Marguerite de Navarre (1558) The Story of Guillaume Rouffi; an excerpt from Relación e información de los Franceses by Hernando de Manrique de Rojas (July 9, 1564) “The people of America crye oute unto us”; an excerpt from Discourse on Western Planting by Richard Hakluyt (the younger) (1584) John White Returns to Roanoke; an excerpt from “The fift voyage of Master John White into the West Indies and parts of America called Virginia, in the yeere 1590” (1600) Relation of Juan de la Carrera (March 1, 1600) Letters between King Philip III and Don Pedro de Zúñiga (1607–1608) Letters between King Philip III and Don Pedro de Zúñiga (1609–1610) “In wishing him well, he killed him”; excerpt from Relation of Juan Rogel (ca. 1611) Arriving in Virginia; an excerpt from “Observations gathered out of a Discourse of the Plantation of the Southerne Colonie in Virginia” by George Percy (1625)

CITE THIS ENTRY
APA Citation:
de Palacios Rubios, Juan Lopez. El Requerimiento by Juan López de Palacios Rubios (1513). (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/el-requerimiento-by-juan-lopez-de-palacios-rubios-1513.
MLA Citation:
de Palacios Rubios, Juan Lopez. "El Requerimiento by Juan López de Palacios Rubios (1513)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 07 May. 2021
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