Commentary No. 008
Date: 1504, February 15. Medina del Campo, Spain.
Theme: Order by the Catholic Kings refusing to allow the free importation of slaves into La Española
Source: PARES, Portal de Archivos Españoles, Archivo General de Indias,INDIFERENTE,418,L.1 – Imágenes Núm: 249/378, 250/ 378
This document seems to show that in early 1504 the Spanish Crown was heeding governor Nicolás de Ovando’s request submitted to them prior to March of 1503 to have the sending of enslaved Blacks to La Española stopped.
In response to a prior petition from the colony’s settlers, the Crown granted them permission to freely import into La Española for ten years an array of supplies and commodities for their own consumption and sustenance, except for slaves and precious metals, provided that only Christian individuals residing in the colony could enjoy the concession and that the merchandises were transported in ships owned by Spaniards.
An explicit warning was given again by the monarchs against allowing “the ones prohibited by us that cannot be denizens of the said islands”. Thus, the interruption of the slave trade, as we will see, was short lived.