Requerimiento – The Choice of No Choice

Conquista de Mesoamérica: Batalla de Cuzcatlán.

Conquest of Mesoamerica: Battle of Cuzcatlán.

June 8, 1524,

Una representacion de la batalla de Cuzcatlán (Kuskatan). En la izquierda se depicta un ejercito de soldados indigenas Tlaxcaltecas. Estos son liderados por Pedro de Alvarado quien se depicta en el centro. Hacia la derecha se depicta un ejercito de soldados indigenas Pipiles quienes son dibujados deliberadamente como bárbaros. Encima de cada ejercito se depicta su escudo respectivo. Debajo de la caja se describe la escena: “Guerra de Cozcatlan”

A representation of the battle of Cuzcatlán (Kuskatan). On the left an army of Tlaxcalan indigenous soldiers is depicted. These are led by Pedro de Alvarado who is pictured in the center. To the right is depicted an army of indigenous Pipil soldiers who are deliberately portrayed as barbarians. Above each army their respective shield is depicted. Under the box the scene is described: “War of Cozcatlan”.

Above each army their respective shield is depicted. Under the box the scene is described: “War of Cozcatlan”


Papal Bulls

Obverse side of the seal of Pope Martin V. Notice the dots in the hair and beard of Saint Peter on the left. University Archives KU Leuven, Archives of the Old University of Leuven

(letters of decree/charter)

Papal Bulls were edits that created the foundation of the Doctrine of Discovery


Expansion of Papal Bulls

The Requerimiento, 1514

Pope Leo X — Pope from 1513-1521 — The Doctrine of Discovery provided a framework for Christian explorers, in the name of their sovereign, to lay claim to territories uninhabited by Christians. If the lands were vacant, then they could be defined as “discovered” and sovereignty claimed.



Requirement: Pronouncement to be read by Spanish Conquerors to defeated Indians

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.