Commentary No. 004
Date: 1501, September 5. Granada, Spain.
Theme: Agreement between the Crown and citizen Luis de Arriaga to lead settler expedition into La Española. The agreement prohibited the residence in the colony of individuals "banished" from the Spanish kingdoms and those who had been "Jews or Moors or Reconciled"
Source: PARES, Portal de Archivos Españoles, Archivo General de Indias,INDIFERENTE,418,L.1 - 59 – Imagen Núm: 58 / 378, fol. 34v.
In the text of this capitulación or agreement between the Spanish Crown and a Luis de Arriaga of Seville authorizing the latter to organize a settlers’ expedition, in this case to populate the island of La Española with two hundred denizens or more and their wives at the beginning of the sixteenth century, it is declared that, aside from the settlers being obliged to launch war against anyone of any social background engaged in disobeying the Crown’s orders or rebelling against serving the Crown, “no person or persons from among the ones that were banished from these our kingdoms or had been Jews or Moors or Reconciled may be allowed to live or reside in any of the said villages or places that may have been settled by the above mentioned ones, in respect for said denizens.”
The Spanish Crown was thus expressing a concern and establishing a prohibition about the potential arrival into its new colonies, such as La Española, of the non-Christian or non-Catholic, religiously differentiated ethnic groups mentioned. It is a concern rather similar to the one it expressed eleven days later in another, much better-known document also issued from Granada, but in which an explicit reference was made to those of Black race for the first time, indicating that enslaved Blacks could be allowed into La Española provided they were Christianized.