encomienda

The encomienda system was a trusteeship labor system employed by the Spanish crown during the Spanish colonization of the Americas and the Philippines in order to consolidate their conquests. Conquistadors were granted trusteeship over the indigenous people they conquered, in an expansion of familiar medieval feudal institutions, notably the commendation ceremony, which had been established in New Castile during the Reconquista.

The Pope had granted the land to the Castilian Crown[1] on the condition that it evangelize these new lands. "...By this he allocated everything discovered by Columbus to the Crown of Castile, on the condition that the monarchs set about propagating the Christian faith there, and provided the lands concerned…"[2] Because the ultimate title of the Amerindian's land lay with the Castilian Crown[3], the system in the New World differed in that it did not entail any direct land tenure by the encomendero. Amerindian lands were to remain in their possession, a right that was formally protected by the Crown of Castile's initial title.[4]. These were laws that the Crown attempted to impose in all of the Spanish colonies in the Americas and in the Philippines.

Encomiendas in the New World

The Crown established the first encomienda in the New World on Hispaniola in 1493[5]. The maximum size of an encomienda was three hundred Amerindians, although they were usually much smaller. The encomenderos were similar to feudal lords in that they were entitled to demand tribute from the people under their care in the form of specie, kind, or corvee, but differed in that they were not given juridical authority. In exchange for the right to collect this tribute, the encomenderos were charged with maintaining order through an established military and providing instruction in Catholicism. As European disregard for the Amerindians led to widespread corruption and abuses, the system that was intended to assist in the evangelization of the Natives and the establishment of a stable society became a force for oppression and enslavement. Although the Crown reserved the right to revoke an encomienda from the hands of an unjust encomendero, it rarely did.

However, these distinctions were not easily enforced over great distances, and the encomenderos ruthlessly exploited the people under their ostensible care. Using their influence and power as encomenderos and land owners of the plantations that existed side-by-side with the encomiendas, they increased taxes, seized more lands from the natives, and ultimately forced many Amerindians into a quasi-slavery[6]. They reasoned that riches were wasted on pagans and more properly bestowed upon Christian subjects of the Spanish king. Bernal Diaz concisely summarized his motives as "to serve God and His Majesty, to give light to those who were in darkness, and to grow rich, as all men desire to do."

The conquistadors regarded plunder, slaves, and tribute as the just rewards for men who brought pagans to accept Christianity and Spanish rule. The conquistadors scrupulously[7] adhered to the Spanish law of conquest by reading the Requerimiento, which ordered defiant Indians, in Spanish, to accept Spanish rule and Christian conversion immediately. If the Indians ignored this order, they deserved the harsh punishments of a “just war.” The requerimiento was, therefore, a justification of conquest on account of being denied right of way.

Breakdown of the encomiendas

This exploitation of the indigenous natives and the other negative influences of the European presence of encomenderos were some of the factors that led to the breakdown of the entire encomienda system. Another equally important factor was the scrupulousness of the Spanish laws governing the encomienda system, which made it difficult for mestizos or people with no clear Amerindian lineage to be liable to encomienda service. The breakdown of tribal lineages coupled with European intermarriage undermined the labor pool available.

The downfall of the encomienda system began when Blasco Núñez Vela, the first viceroy of Peru, tried to enforce the New Laws. Many of the encomenderos were unwilling to comply with the New Laws and soon revolted against Núñez Vela.

Other problems of the encomienda system in Peru occurred due to the breaking up of extended families, or ayllus, which brought an end to their economic system of vertical exchanges. Not only this impaired the encomienda system, but so also did the epidemic diseases brought to America by the Europeans. These diseases, such as the plague and smallpox, killed a large percentage of the indigenous population because they had no natural defenses against them.

It must be noted, however, that the breakdown of allyus and geographical relocation of entire communities was a domination practice already put in place by the ruling Inca class in order to control an enormously vast population. The Spanish simply continued the practice. The reality of this system, arbitrary as it was, was complex and never one-sided in terms of ethnicity. Among the principal social actors interested in the continuation of the encomiendas one could usually find the pre-Incaic tribal chiefs or curacas themselves, eager to be assigned encomiendas.

The encomienda system was essential to the Spanish government sustaining their control over North, Central and South America, because it was the first major organizational law instituted on a continent where disease, war and turmoil reigned. The encomienda system was succeeded by the hacienda system as land ownership became more profitable than acquirement of labor force[8] The encomienda'' was abolished in 1791.

The etymology of encomienda and encomendero lies in the Spanish verb encomendar, "to entrust".

See also

References

1. ^ need source
2. ^ Hugh Thomas, Rivers of Gold (New York: Random House, 2004)116.
3. ^ need source
4. ^ [1] Meredith Scott, "The Encomienda system"
5. ^ Need source
6. ^ need source
7. ^ need source
8. ^ America: A NARRATIVE HISTORY, sixth ed. George Brown Tindall & David E. Shi. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., published 1984. pg. 280.
The Law of Wills, Trusts and Inheritance
Part of the common law series
Wills
Wills  · Holographic will
Joint wills and mutual wills  · Will contract
Codicils
Parts of a Will
Attestation clause  · Residuary clause
..... Click the link for more information.
The Spanish colonization of the Americas began with the arrival in the Western Hemisphere of Christopher Columbus in 1492. From early small settlements in the Caribbean, the Spanish Empire gradually expanded over four centuries to include Central America, most of South America,
..... Click the link for more information.
Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism.
If you are prevented from editing this page, and you wish to make a change, please discuss changes on the talk page, request unprotection, log in, or .
..... Click the link for more information.
Conquistador (Spanish: [kon.kis.t̪a'ğ̞oɾ]) (English: Conqueror) was a Spanish soldier, explorer and adventurer who took part in the gradual invasion and conquering of much of the Americas and Asia
..... Click the link for more information.
indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Americas, their descendants, and many ethnic groups who identify with those peoples. They are often also referred to as Native Americans, First Nations
..... Click the link for more information.
Feudalism refers to a general set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility of Europe during the Middle Ages, revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals, and fiefs.
..... Click the link for more information.
commendation ceremony (commendatio) is a formal ceremony that evolved during the Early Medieval period to create a bond between a lord and his fighting man, called his vassal (Latin vassus).
..... Click the link for more information.
New Castile (Spanish: Castilla la Nueva) was the southern part of the Kingdom of Castile in central Spain, taken during the reconquista of the peninsula by Christian kings from Muslim rulers.
..... Click the link for more information.
Reconquista (English: Reconquest) was the seven-and-a-half century long process by which Christians conquered the Iberian peninsula (modern Portugal and Spain) from the Muslim and Moorish states of Al-Ándalus (Arabic الأندلس —
..... Click the link for more information.
Spanish Empire refer to territories formerly colonized by Spain. It was also one of the largest global empire in history.

In the 15th and 16th centuries Spain was in the vanguard of European global exploration and colonial expansion and the opening of trade routes across the
..... Click the link for more information.
Americas are the lands of the Western hemisphere or New World consisting of the continents of North America[1] and South America with their associated islands and regions. The Americas cover 8.3% of the Earth's total surface area (28.
..... Click the link for more information.
Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism.
If you are prevented from editing this page, and you wish to make a change, please discuss changes on the talk page, request unprotection, log in, or .
..... Click the link for more information.
plantation is usually a large farm or estate, especially in a tropical or semitropical country, on which cotton, tobacco, coffee, sugar cane, or trees and the like are cultivated, usually by resident laborers.
..... Click the link for more information.
Slavery is a social-economic system under which certain persons — known as slaves — are deprived of personal freedom and compelled to perform labour or services.
..... Click the link for more information.
Bernal Díaz del Castillo (1496 – 1584) was a conquistador, who wrote an eyewitness account of the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards under Hernán Cortés, himself serving as a rodelero under Cortés.
..... Click the link for more information.
The Requerimiento (Spanish "requirement" as in "demand") was a declaration of sovereignty and war read by Spanish military forces to assert their sovereignty over the Americas.
..... Click the link for more information.
Blasco Núñez Vela (1490 - January 18, 1546) was the first Spanish viceroy of Peru, from May 15, 1544 to January 18, 1546. He was charged by King Charles I with the enforcement of the controversial New Laws, which dealt with the failure of the encomienda system to protect the
..... Click the link for more information.
Created in 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru (in Spanish, Virreinato del Perú) was a Spanish colonial administrative district that originally contained most of Spanish-ruled South America, governed from the capital of Lima.
..... Click the link for more information.
The New Laws (or Leyes Nuevas in Spanish) of 1542 were created to prevent the exploitation of the indigenous people by the encomenderos during the Spanish colonization of the Americas.
..... Click the link for more information.
Ayllu were the basic political unit of pre-Inca and Inca life. These were essentially extended family groups but they could adopt non-related members, giving individual families more variation and security of the land that they farmed.
..... Click the link for more information.
Americas are the lands of the Western hemisphere or New World consisting of the continents of North America[1] and South America with their associated islands and regions. The Americas cover 8.3% of the Earth's total surface area (28.
..... Click the link for more information.
Bubonic Plague
Classification & external resources

Yersinia pestis'' seen at 2000x magnification with a fluorescent label. This bacterium, carried and spread by fleas, is the cause of the various forms of the disease plague.
ICD-10 A 20.
..... Click the link for more information.
Smallpox
Classification & external resources

A child infected with smallpox
ICD-10 B 03.
ICD-9 050

DiseasesDB 12219
MedlinePlus 001356
eMedicine emerg/885  

MeSH D012899
Main characteristics
..... Click the link for more information.


North America is a continent [1] in the Earth's northern hemisphere and (chiefly) western hemisphere. It is bordered on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the east by the North Atlantic Ocean, on the southeast by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west
..... Click the link for more information.


Central America (Spanish: Centroamérica or América Central) is a central geographic region of the Americas. It is variably defined either as the southern portion of North America, which connects with South America on the southeast, or a region of
..... Click the link for more information.


South America is a continent of the Americas, situated entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east by the Atlantic Ocean; North America and the Caribbean Sea lie
..... Click the link for more information.
Hacienda is a Spanish word for an estate, usually, but not always, a vast ranch. Some haciendas were plantations, mines, or even factories. Many haciendas combined these productive activities.
..... Click the link for more information.
The cargo system (also known as the civil-religious hierarchy, fiesta or mayordomía system) is a collection of secular and religious positions held by men or households in rural indigenous communities throughout central and southern Mexico and Central America.
..... Click the link for more information.
Hacienda is a Spanish word for an estate, usually, but not always, a vast ranch. Some haciendas were plantations, mines, or even factories. Many haciendas combined these productive activities.
..... Click the link for more information.
Reductions (known as Reducciones de Indios, or simply Reducciones in Spanish; also Congregacíones) were settlements founded by the Spanish colonizers of the New World with the purpose of assimilating indigenous populations into European
..... Click the link for more information.


This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia.org - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. The text was not checked or edited by anyone on our staff. Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.