Valladolid Debate Summary

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The Valladolid debate (1550–1551) was the first moral debate in European history to discuss the rights and treatment of a colonized people by colonizers and even to discuss whether native Americans should be considered as humans. It was held in the Colegio de San Gregorio, in the Spanish city of Valladolid. It was mainly a moral and theological debate about the colonization of the Americas, its justification for the conversion to Catholicism and more specifically about the relations between the European settlers and the natives of the New World. A number of opposing views were expressed; about the way natives were to be integrated into colonial life, their conversion to Christianity and their rights and obligations. A controversial theologian, Dominican friar and Bishop of Chiapas Bartolomé de las Casas, argued that “the Amerindians were free men in the natural…show more content…
Marcelino Menendez y Pelayo and Manuel Garcia-Pelayo) (1941). Tratado sobre las Justas Causas de la Guerra contra los Indios. Mexico D.F.: Fondo de Cultura Económica. p. 155). The position of De las Casas was supported by Francisco de Vitoria. In three lectures (relectiones) held between 1537 and 1539 Vitoria, just like Palacios Rubios, concluded that the Indians were rightful owners of their property and that their chiefs validly exercised jurisdiction over their tribes. He denied the right of the pope or Charles V to claim over Indian lives or property. He ultimately contended that no violent action could be taken against them, nor could their lands or property be seized, unless they had caused harm or injury to the Spanish by violating the latter’s lawful rights. ( Pagden, Anthony (1991). Vitoria: Political Writings (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought). UK: Cambridge University Press. p. xvi). In De iure belli, Fransico de Vittoria, a supporter of the just war theory, pointed out that the conditions for a "just war" were "wholly lacking in the

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