Francisco de Vitoria

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Francisco de Vitoria Francisco vitoria.jpg
Francisco de Vitoria

Francisco de Vitoria OP (c.1483 – 12 August 1546; also known as Francisco de Victoria) was a Spanish Roman Catholic philosopher, theologian, and jurist of Renaissance Spain. He is the founder of the tradition in philosophy known as the School of Salamanca, noted especially for his contributions to the theory of just war and international law. He has in the past been described by some scholars as one of the "fathers of international law", along with Alberico Gentili and Hugo Grotius, though contemporary academics have suggested that such a description is anachronistic, since the concept of international law did not truly develop until much later. [1] [2] American jurist Arthur Nussbaum noted that Vitoria was "the first to set forth the notions (though not the terms) of freedom of commerce and freedom of the seas." [3]

Dominican Order Roman Catholic religious order

The Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominican Order, is a mendicant Catholic religious order founded by the Spanish priest Dominic of Caleruega in France, approved by Pope Innocent III via the Papal bull Religiosam vitam on 22 December 1216. Members of the order, who are referred to as Dominicans, generally carry the letters OP after their names, standing for Ordinis Praedicatorum, meaning of the Order of Preachers. Membership in the order includes friars, nuns, active sisters, and affiliated lay or secular Dominicans.

Philosophy Study of general and fundamental questions

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?

Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also especially with epistemology, and asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.

Contents

Life

Vitoria was born c.1483 in Burgos or Vitoria-Gasteiz [ citation needed ] and was raised in Burgos, the son of Pedro de Vitoria, of Alava, and Catalina de Compludo, both of noble families. [4] As per modern scholarship, he had Jewish ancestry on his maternal side (the Compludos), being related to famous converts like Paul of Burgos and Alfonso de Cartagena. [5] He became a Dominican in 1504, and was educated at the College Saint-Jacques in Paris, where he was influenced by the work of Desiderius Erasmus. He went on to teach theology from 1516 (under the influences of Pierre Crockaert and Thomas Cajetan). In 1522 he returned to Spain to teach theology at the college of Saint Gregory at Valladolid, where many young Dominicans were being trained for missionary work in the New World. In 1524, he was elected to the Chair of theology at the University of Salamanca, where he was instrumental in promoting Thomism (the philosophy and theology of St. Thomas Aquinas). Francisco de Vitoria died on 12 August 1546 [6] in Salamanca.

Burgos Municipality in Castile and León, Spain

Burgos is a city in northern Spain and the historic capital of Castile. It is situated on the confluence of the Arlanzón river tributaries, at the edge of the Iberian central plateau. It has about 180,000 inhabitants in the actual city and another 20,000 in the metropolitan area. It is the capital of the province of Burgos, in the autonomous community of Castile and León. Burgos was once the capital of the Crown of Castile, and the Burgos Laws or Leyes de Burgos which first governed the behaviour of Spaniards towards the natives of the Americas were promulgated here in 1512.

Vitoria-Gasteiz Municipality in Basque Country, Spain

Vitoria-Gasteiz is the seat of government and the capital city of the Basque Country and of the province of Araba/Álava in northern Spain. It holds the autonomous community's House of Parliament, the headquarters of the Government, and the Lehendakari's official residency. The municipality — which comprises not only the city but also the mainly agricultural lands of 63 villages around — is the largest in the Basque Country, with a total area of 276.81 km2, and it has a population of 252,571 people. The dwellers of Vitoria-Gasteiz are called vitorianos or gasteiztarrak, while traditionally they are dubbed babazorros.

Defense of Amerindians

Francisco de Vitoria, Statue before San Esteban, Salamanca Francisco de Vitoria.jpg
Francisco de Vitoria, Statue before San Esteban, Salamanca

A noted scholar, he was publicly consulted by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain. He worked to limit the type of power the Spanish Empire imposed on the Native Peoples. He said, "The upshot of all the preceding is this, then, that the aborigines undoubtedly had true dominion in both public and private matters, just like Christians, and that neither their princes nor private persons could be despoiled of their property on the ground of their not being true owners." [7] Vitoria denied that the native peoples could be understood as slaves by nature in Aristotelian terms. [8] He adopted from Aquinas the Roman law concept of ius gentium ("the law of nations"). His defense of American Indians was based on a Scholastic understanding of the intrinsic dignity of man, a dignity he found being violated by Spain's policies in the New World.

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor 16th-century Holy Roman Emperor

Charles V was Holy Roman Emperor from 1519, King of Spain from 1516, and ruling prince of the Habsburg Netherlands from 1506. Head of the rising House of Habsburg during the first half of the 16th century, his dominions in Europe included the Holy Roman Empire extending from Germany to northern Italy with direct rule over Austria and the Low Countries, and a unified Spain with its southern Italian kingdoms of Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia. Furthermore, his reign encompassed both the long-lasting Spanish and short-lived German colonizations of the Americas. The personal union of the European and American territories of Charles V was the first collection of realms labelled "the empire on which the sun never sets".

In three lectures (relectiones) held between 1537 and 1539 Vitoria concluded that the Indians were rightful owners of their property and that their chiefs validly exercised jurisdiction over their tribes. This had already been the position of Palacios Rubios. Neither the pope nor Charles V had a rightful claim over Indian lives or property. No violent action could be taken against them, nor could their lands or property be seized, unless the Indians had caused harm or injury to the Spanish by violating the latter's lawful rights. [2]

Juan López de Palacios Rubios (1450–1524) was a Spanish jurist whose real name is Juan Lopez de Vivero. Also known as Doctor Palacios Rubios because of the village where he was born: "Palaciosrubios". He is the editor of the famous "requirimiento" that bears his name, read during the conquest of America to the Indians, members, instructing to submit peacefully. In the text they informed the natives that they were vassals of the Castilian monarch and subjects of the "Pope" and, if they oppose they would be subjected by force and turned into slaves.

A supporter of the just war theory, in De iure belli Francisco pointed out that the underlying predicate conditions for a "just war" were "wholly lacking in the Indies". [9] The only area where he saw justification for Spanish intervention in native affairs was to protect victims seized for human sacrifice, and because of the inherent human dignity of the victims themselves—whose rights were being violated and thus in need of defense. [9]

Just war theory is a doctrine, also referred to as a tradition, of military ethics studied by military leaders, theologians, ethicists and policy makers. The purpose of the doctrine is to ensure war is morally justifiable through a series of criteria, all of which must be met for a war to be considered just. The criteria are split into two groups: "right to go to war" and "right conduct in war" . The first concerns the morality of going to war, and the second the moral conduct within war. Recently there have been calls for the inclusion of a third category of just war theory—jus post bellum—dealing with the morality of post-war settlement and reconstruction.

Thomas E. Woods goes on to describe how some wished to argue that the natives lacked reason, but the evidence was against this because the natives had obvious customs, laws, and a form of government. [1]

Thomas Woods American academic

Thomas Ernest Woods Jr. is an American historian, political commentator, author, and podcaster. Woods is a New York Times Best-Selling author and has published twelve books. He has written extensively on subjects including the history of the United States, Catholicism, contemporary politics, and economics. Although not an economist himself, Woods is a proponent of the Austrian School of economics. He hosts two podcasts, The Tom Woods Show and Contra Krugman.

The Spaniards were in the practice of invoking in their American conquests the so-called "Requerimiento", a document read to the Indians before the commencement of any hostilities. The "Requerimiento", declared the universal authority of the Pope, and the authority the Spanish monarchs had received from the Pope over this part of the New World for the purpose of colonizing and evangelizing it. The Indians had to accept the sovereignty of the Spanish monarchs or be compelled to submit by force. Vitoria denied the legitimacy of this document. [4]

His works are known only from his lecture notes, as he has published nothing in his lifetime. Nevertheless, his influence such as that on the Dutch legal philosopher Hugo Grotius was significant. [10] Relectiones XII Theologicae in duo libros distinctae was published posthumously (Antwerp, 1604). [11]

Francisco de Vitoria's writings have been interpreted by various scholars to support contrary policies. [12] Antony Anghie and others argue that Vitoria's humanitarianism legitimized conquest. [13]

Works

Statue of Francisco de Vitoria, in Vitoria-Gasteiz Francisco de vitoria (estatua).jpg
Statue of Francisco de Vitoria, in Vitoria-Gasteiz

Notes of his lectures from 1527 to 1540 were copied by students and published under the following titles:

Critical translations

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Hugo Grotius Dutch philosopher and jurist

Hugo Grotius, also known as Huig de Groot or Hugo de Groot, was a Dutch jurist. Along with the earlier works of Francisco de Vitoria and Alberico Gentili, he laid the foundations for international law, based on natural law. A teenage intellectual prodigy, he was born in Delft and studied at Leiden University. He was imprisoned for his involvement in the intra-Calvinist disputes of the Dutch Republic, but escaped hidden in a chest of books. Grotius wrote most of his major works in exile in France.

University of Salamanca Spanish university

The University of Salamanca is a Spanish higher education institution, located in the city of Salamanca, west of Madrid, in the autonomous community of Castile and León. It was founded in 1134 and given the Royal charter of foundation by King Alfonso IX in 1218. It is the oldest university in the Spanish-speaking world and the third oldest university in the entire world still in operation. The formal title of "University" was granted by King Alfonso X in 1254 and recognized by Pope Alexander IV in 1255.

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School of Salamanca

The School of Salamanca is the Renaissance of thought in diverse intellectual areas by Spanish and Portuguese theologians, rooted in the intellectual and pedagogical work of Francisco de Vitoria. From the beginning of the 16th century the traditional Catholic conception of man and of his relation to God and to the world had been assaulted by the rise of humanism, by the Protestant Reformation and by the new geographical discoveries and their consequences. These new problems were addressed by the School of Salamanca. The name refers to the University of Salamanca, where de Vitoria and other members of the school were based.

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Alberico Gentili was an Italian lawyer, jurist, and a former standing advocate to the Spanish Embassy in London, who served as the Regius professor of civil law at the University of Oxford for 21 years. Recognised as the founder of the science of international law alongside Francisco de Vitoria and Hugo Grotius, Gentili is perhaps one of the most influential people in legal education ever to have lived. He is one of the three men referred to as the "Father of international law". Gentili has been the earliest writer on public international law In 1587, he became the first non-English Regius Professor.

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The Spanish Requirement of 1513 (Requerimiento) was a declaration by the Spanish monarchy, written by the Council of Castile jurist Juan López de Palacios Rubios, of Castile's divinely ordained right to take possession of the territories of the New World and to subjugate, exploit and, when necessary, to fight the native inhabitants.

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References

  1. 1 2 Woods, Thomas E. (Jr.) (2005). How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing. ISBN   0-89526-038-7.
  2. 1 2 Pagden, Anthony (1991). Vitoria: Political Writings (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought). UK: Cambridge University Press. p. xvi. ISBN   0-521-36714-X.
  3. Arthur Nussbaum (1947). A concise history of the law of nations. New York: Macmillan Co. p. 62.
  4. 1 2 Hernandez O.P., Ramon. "The Internationalization of Francisco de Vitoria and Domingo de Soto", translated by Jay J. Aragones, Fordham International Law Journal, Vol. 15, Issue 4, 1991
  5. Carlos G. Noreña, Studies in Spanish Renaissance Thought, Springer Science & Business Media (2012), p. 37
  6. Schroeder, Henry Joseph. "Francis of Vittoria." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 10 Sept. 2014
  7. Francisco de Vitoria, “The Law of War,” in War and Christian Ethics, ed. Author F. Holmes (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1975), 118-119.
  8. "Francisco de Vitoria", Columbia University
  9. 1 2 Salas Jr., Victor M., "Francisco de Vitoria on the Ius Gentium and the American Indios", Ave Maria Law Review, 2012 Archived 2014-09-11 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Borschberg, Peter (2011). Hugo Grotius, the Portuguese and Free Trade in the East Indies. Singapore and Leiden: NUS Press and KITLV Press. ISBN   978-9971-69-467-8.
  11. Ernest Nys, introduction to Francisco de Vitoria, De Indis et Ivre Belli, English translation of a substantial portion of Relectiones XII Theologicae, available online.
  12. Franciso Castilla Urbano, El pensamiento de Francisco de Vitoria. Filosofía, política e indio Americano (Barcelona, Anthropos, 1992) note 5, 317-323]
  13. Koskenniemi, Martti. "Colonization of the ‘Indies’ –the Origin of International Law?, University of Helsinki(presentation at the University of Zaragoza, December 2009)

Sources