Religious Conquest of the Americas Essay

Religious Conquest of the Americas Essay

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Before Columbus landed in the West Indies in 1492, The Spanish Inquisition made it known to anyone within Spain’s domain of influence that if a person was not of the Catholic religion, they were to be punished severely and sometimes even fatally. This influence would undoubtedly be brought over to the Americas a century later, as the colonization of the New World would begin by then. While it was very essential for the Spanish (as well as the Portuguese) to improve their economy by using the resources they found in Latin America, it seemed to a number of them as if that was the only reason for being there, or the main reason at the very least. During the Spanish Inquisition and from that point after, it was the Pope’s main goal, to convert everyone to Roman Catholicism; an opportune moment arrived as the Americas were found, along with the Natives who resided there who were waiting to be converted.
Although it may not have seemed fairly difficult in theory, The Pope along with the Crown of Spain set out with the goal to convert the Native Americans. One decisive factor that challenged that decree of conversion was the economic benefits that Spain would receive. This would eventually change the agendas of Spain, and ultimately it would indirectly make those living in the New World choose: Spain or Religion? This was not said in these exact words, but people, especially religious orders would have to choose to fight for what they believed in, or to follow the orders straight from the Spanish Crown.
Two conflicts during this time are seen as significant towards this battle between the interests of the Natives in the Americas. One of which was between two men: Bartolomé Las Casas and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda. Las Casas defends t...

... middle of paper ... While Eduardo Galeano’s poetry may be fiction, he does say one sentence at the end of one of his poems that sounds so very true to this conflict: “The desire to make money, not win souls, is what builds empires.”

Charles III. Expulsion of the Jesuits. Letter. The Spanish Tradition in America. 1767.
Galeano, Eduardo. Genesis: Memory of Fire, Volume 1 (Memory of Fire Trilogy). New York: W.W Norton and Company., 1998.
Joffé, Roland. "The Mission." 1986. DVD
Las Casas, Bartolomé. Cruelties of Spaniards. Essay. The Spanish Tradition in America. Chiapas: 1542.
Las Casas, Bartolomé. Treatise. Treatise. The Spanish Tradition in America. Seville: 1552.
Paul III, Pope. Indians are Men. Letter. The Spanish Tradition in America. Vatican City: 1537.
Sepúlveda, Juan Ginés de. Just War Against Barbarians. Essay. The Spanish Tradition in America. 1544.

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