S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) 국제지역연구 국제지역연구 vol.09 (2000)
‘영혼의 정복’ : 신학적-정치적 논쟁의 계보
Othering the American Indians: the Debates in Spain of the 16thC
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 국제지역원
- 국제지역연구, Vol.08 No.4/Vol.09 No.1, pp. 109-134
- This is an article to try to clarify the muliple politico-theological rationales of othering the indians, which were much debated in the Spanish court and academics in the sixteenth century. The Spanish conquest of the Americas made all the social forces concerned subscribe their logic and interest: for the Crown, the exclusive and monopolistic claim to govern the peoples and resources; for the encomenderos, the right to exploit the indigenous people without constraint; for the mendicant orders, the right to spiritual conquest and to curb the brutal exploitation of encomenderos. These arguments and debates are the first endevour to delineate the logics to othering "peoples without history".
The theology of enslavement presented by Gines Sepulveda argued the expediency of enslaving indians for the rapid promotion of Christianity and material development. According the logic, the indians lacks the intelligence to hear the Good News, and is too tepid and lazy to he cultured. The civlized people have to enforce them by more militarized methods to accept their religion and way of life.
But the missionary orders criticized poignantly the brutal exploitation of encomenderos. Rapid diminuition of the indian population in the Carribean islands shocked them to have a very firm attitude in this point. Their visionary dreams to build a utopian community in the new world also strenghthened their criticism against encomenderos. Las Casas, a Dominican friar represented this kind of viewpoint.
To accomodate the mutually conflicting views, the centrist position emerged. Francisco de Vitoria advocated the legitimate right to the newly conquered lands and people in terms of natural right. According to the logic, the indians could not but accept the right to communicate of Spanish people. This line of reasoning rejected the radical elements of "liberation theology at that times" of Las Casas and also satisfied the royal court. Here we can see the most elaborated version of othering the indians by the name of international law.