While reading my Lapham’s Quarterly I came across the “Requerimiento” (Requirement). This was a written declaration of sovereignty and war, read by Spanish military forces to assert their sovereignty over the Americas.
“It was used to justify the assertion that God, through historical Saint Peter and appointed Papal successors, held authority as ruler over the entire Earth; and that the Inter CaeteraPapal Bull, of 4 May 1493 by Pope Alexander VI, conferred title over all the Americas to the Spanish monarchs. The Requerimiento probably had its origins as early as the 8th century in the Dawah messages sent to non-Muslim nations by Arab conquerors, demanding that their recipients submit to Islamic rule (see Aslim Taslam).“
History repeats itself indeed! The ISIS is taking a page from the Conquistadors who most likely took a page from 8th century Arabs! So much for religion being about peace, love and not killing people.
The Christians might say that this was during a more primitive time so it is unfair to compare. My response to that would be another question. Wouldn’t the teachings of the Bible be universal and timeless since it is supposedly the word of God? Therefore, the only answer could be it is man’s understanding of scriptures that have changed. Yes, the Western nations still make war but in all fairness I do not see any “Christian” armies marauding around, trying to take over more land and threatening people to either convert or die. The Christians already went through that phase back with the Inquisition over 200 years ago.
I do however see “Muslim” groups marauding all over the place and killing people. The elite clerics of various countries stress that this is not Islam and these groups should be condemned. It is hard to say this is not a characteristic of Islam when it keeps repeating itself over and over again. Extremist groups are a concentrated version of the overall religion and belief just as condensed milk is an extreme version of cow’s milk. And when I look around I do not see even the extremely concentrated versions of Christianity beheading people.
The Requerimiento document: written in 1513 by jurist Juan López de Palacios Rubios of the Council of Castile:
“On behalf of the King, Don Fernando, and of Doña Juana I, his daughter, Queen of Castille and León, subduers of the barbarous nations, we their servants notify and make known to you, as best we can, that the Lord our God, Living and Eternal, created the Heaven and the Earth, and one man and one woman, of whom you and we, all the men of the world at the time, were and are descendants, and all those who came after and before us. But, on account of the multitude which has sprung from this man and woman in the five thousand years since the world was created, it was necessary that some men should go one way and some another, and that they should be divided into many kingdoms and provinces, for in one alone they could not be sustained.
Of all these nations God our Lord gave charge to one man, called St. Peter, that he should be Lord and Superior of all the men in the world, that all should obey him, and that he should be the head of the whole Human Race, wherever men should live, and under whatever law, sect, or belief they should be; and he gave him the world for his kingdom and jurisdiction.And he commanded him to place his seat in Rome, as the spot most fitting to rule the world from; but also he permitted him to have his seat in any other part of the world, and to judge and govern all Christians, Moors, Jews, Gentiles, and all other Sects. This man was called Pope, as if to say, Admirable Great Father and Governor of men. The men who lived in that time obeyed that St. Peter, and took him for Lord, King, and Superior of the universe; so also they have regarded the others who after him have been elected to the pontificate, and so has it been continued even till now, and will continue till the end of the world.One of these Pontiffs, who succeeded that St. Peter as Lord of the world, in the dignity and seat which I have before mentioned, made donation of these isles and Tierra-firme to the aforesaid King and Queen and to their successors, our lords, with all that there are in these territories, as is contained in certain writings which passed upon the subject as aforesaid, which you can see if you wish.So their Highnesses are kings and lords of these islands and land of Tierra-firme by virtue of this donation: and some islands, and indeed almost all those to whom this has been notified, have received and served their Highnesses, as lords and kings, in the way that subjects ought to do, with good will, without any resistance, immediately, without delay, when they were informed of the aforesaid facts. And also they received and obeyed the priests whom their Highnesses sent to preach to them and to teach them our Holy Faith; and all these, of their ownfree will, without any reward or condition, have become Christians, and are so, and their Highnesses have joyfully and benignantly received them, and also have commanded them to be treated as their subjects and vassals; and you too are held and obliged to do the same. 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.”
——–Update 10.6.2014——————–I always enjoy when after I’ve written a post on some thought or idea, a mainstream publication also writes an article on that same idea. It lets me know that my ideas are not that far off and I’m not completely crazy. AlJazeera posted Confidence men and their masquerade which compares ISIS to the Spanish Inquisition. To be honest, I think my comparison with the conquistadors is more on the mark but the Inquisition and fanaticism of the Conquistadors are one and the same so I won’t split any hairs.