HW 1-28

Assignment 1

During the “Age of Exploration” in the 15th and 16th Centuries, a number of European kingdoms discovered, conquered, and colonized other parts of the world, including the lands of the Americas. The goal of this assignment is to gain some insight into the thinking that Europeans used to rationalize or justify this conquest of distant places and peoples that posed no threat to them.

To do this, you are to read an English translation of the “Bull Romanus Pontifex”, a pronouncement issued by Pope Nicolas V in 1455 in which he gave to the Kingdom of Portugal the exclusive right to conquer and take ownership of parts of the continent of Africa. 

Bull Romanus Pontifex      

This document is only 6 paragraphs long, but its language and writing style make it a challenge to read. You will need to read slowly, carefully, and analytically in order to get an understanding of what this Pope was trying to say, and you will need to look up words that you are unfamiliar with. 

After you have read and analyzed this document, the second part of your assignment is to write a 1-page summary of the reasoning expressed in the Bull. In your explanation, try to capture how the pope built or developed his argument.

Remember: Your job is not to show what you think; it is to accurately explain what the pope thought.

If you wish, you may work in pairs of 2 on this assignment. In this case, your pair will submit one homwork brief and each of you will put you name on the assignment.

You will submit this summary page in our next class, and this will be the 2nd Homework Brief  in our course.

Assignment 2

As the Spanish explorers and conquistadors moved through the Americas in the decades following Christopher Columbus, they encountered many,many groups of Native peoples. While the Spanish hoped that these “Indian” groups would voluntarily submit to Spanish control, they were prepared to wage war against the Indians if they did not do so. 

In 1513, the Spanish government produced a document called the Requerimiento that was intended to explain to the Indian peoples that they would be required to submit to Spanish rule. This document was to be read to each new group of indigenous people that the Spaniards encountered. 

For next class, please read and bring to class the one-page Requerimiento.