29 July 2021, The Tablet

Return of the natives

Return of the  natives

Discovering Viceregal Latin American Treasures
Colnaghi gallery, London

Many of us think our fellow humans unreasonable, but few would deny that they are rational beings. Yet the Spanish conquistadors, when they discovered the New World, questioned whether its inhabitants possessed the power of reason. It took the papal bull Sublimis Deus promulgated by Pope Paul III in 1537 to confirm the humanity of the Amerindians and forbid their treatment “as dumb brutes created for our service”. Any ideas to the contrary, declared the Pope, were the work of “the enemy of the human race”, aka Satan.

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