From the Pope’s Hand to Indigenous Lands

Alexander VI in Spanish Imperialism


Was the Catholic Church responsible for European imperialism? Activists say yes, the Church says no. This book examines the key papal document from 1493. It finds that the Church played no role in English colonization. However, Pope Alexander VI may have intended to bless Spanish imperialism. Either way, over the next 150 years, Spain saw its empire as a gift from him. For many imperialists and many colonial subjects, Spain received its right to rule Indigenous lands straight from the Pope’s hand.

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Matthew P. Cavedon, J.D., M.T.S. (2015), Emory University, is Robert Pool Fellow in Law and Religion at that university's Center for the Study of Law and Religion. His research interests include Catholic legal history and Spanish scholasticism.
 Inter caetera Introduced: Pope Francis Confronts Colonial History in Canada
 1 Inter caetera Remembered: Current Catholic-Indigenous Controversies
 2 Inter caetera Complicated: the Plural Rationales for European Colonization
 3 Inter caetera Situated: Canonical, Historical, and Geopolitical Contexts
 4 Inter caetera Interpreted: Debate across the Atlantic
 5 Inter caetera Inverted: Las Casas (Mid-1500s)
 Inter caetera Assessed: Alexander’s Enduring Role in Spanish Imperialism
Graduate and undergraduate students in law and religion, Latin American history, early modern imperialism (especially Spanish), Catholic history, and the early history of international law.
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