In This Article Papacy and the Atlantic World

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Reference Works
  • Archival Catalogs and Guides
  • The Catholic Reformation
  • European Sovereignty in the Atlantic World
  • Indigenous Peoples and the Christianization of the Americas
  • Iberian Expansion, the Catholic Church, and the Patronato Real
  • The Inquisition
  • Propaganda Fide and the Conversion of Non-Christians
  • Protestant Expansion
  • The Catholic Church in Africa
  • The Atlantic Slave Trade

Atlantic History Papacy and the Atlantic World
by
Shona Johnston
  • LAST MODIFIED: 19 December 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199730414-0150

Introduction

The early modern papacy (c. 1500–1800) constituted a vast bureaucracy (sometimes called the Holy See or the Vatican) inherited from the medieval church and dedicated to asserting papal authority throughout the Catholic world. The pope dictated Catholic religious orthodoxy and oversaw a network of church offices that controlled the activities of theologians, the clergy, European monarchs, and individual believers. The discovery of the New World and the opening of sub-Saharan Africa to European traders in the 15th century rapidly expanded the boundaries of the Christian world and brought with it new political and religious challenges for the papacy. Papal officials disseminated information on new discoveries in the Atlantic, provided a theoretical framework to justify conquest and colonization, and ensured that the promotion of the Catholic faith lay at the heart of Spanish and Portuguese expansion. Key colonial institutions—such as the patronato real and the Inquisition—firmly bound temporal authority in the Atlantic world to the spiritual authority of the papacy. Under the leadership of Gregory XIII (1572–1585), the papacy instituted a series of reforms that sought to strengthen Vatican control of the church and revitalize the Catholic faith. Based on the findings of the Council of Trent (1545–1563), these new reforms standardized Catholic practices, reigned in the abuses of the clergy, and promoted missionary endeavors across the globe. The Catholic Church had long viewed the conversion of non-Christian peoples as an essential aspect of the church’s civilizing mission. By the late 16th and 17th centuries, revitalized missionary orders, sponsored and supported by the papacy, targeted Catholic, Protestant, and non-Christian populations in an attempt to expand the Catholic faith and ensure the political and cultural dominance of Catholicism. Papal attempts to coordinate and control this international program of missionary expansion culminated in the creation, in 1622, of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, or Propaganda Fide. The increasing emphasis placed on missionary activities and the civilizing mission of the early modern church placed the papacy at the center of key European debates over the justification of conquest, the treatment of colonized peoples, and the enslavement of non-Christians in the Atlantic world.

General Overviews

Two recent synthetic articles, Armstrong 2007 and Greer and Mills 2007, offer general readers, students, and scholars alike an excellent introduction to the topic of the papacy and the Atlantic world. Together, these works provide a broad geographic overview of Catholic activity in the region, survey the current historiography, and suggest key areas for scholarly research. Readers should also consult the works cited in the Oxford Bibliographies articles on Catholicism, Religion, and Missionaries. For readers unfamiliar with the broader history of the papacy, there are a number of well-written general histories by leading scholars in the field that survey the topic from the period of the early Christian Church through the modern day. Originally conceived as an accompaniment to a televised history of the papacy, Duffy 2006 provides a comprehensive and accessible narrative of the subject that stresses the significance of the institution of the papacy to world history. O’Malley 2010 focuses on the pivotal role played by individual popes in shaping the institution of the papacy and the Catholic Church as a whole. Norwich 2011 approaches the history of the papacy from the perspective of the institution’s long entanglement with European and global politics.

  • Armstrong, Megan. “Transatlantic Catholicism: Rethinking the Nature of the Catholic Tradition in the Early Modern Period.” History Compass 5.6 (2007): 1942–1966.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1478-0542.2007.00483.xE-mail Citation »

    Stresses the global nature of Catholic expansion in the early modern period. Argues for more comparative study of Catholic tradition and its influence on cultural development throughout the Atlantic world.

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    • Duffy, Eamon. Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes. 3d ed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006.

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      A well-balanced narrative history of the papacy. The first half of this text is devoted to the medieval period and the second to developments from 1500 onwards. This new edition contains additional chapters on recent papal history. Includes color illustrations.

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      • Greer, Allan, and Kenneth Mills. “A Catholic Atlantic.” In The Atlantic in Global History, 1500–2000. Edited by Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra and Erik R. Seeman, 3–19. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007.

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        Surveys the growing historiography on the expansion of the Catholic Church and Catholic Christianity in the Atlantic world. Suggests the importance of an Atlantic approach to understanding the development of religious traditions in the Americas.

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        • Norwich, John Julius. Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy. New York: Random House, 2011.

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          A popular history focused on the diplomatic and political aspects of papal history. Highly critical of the modern Catholic Church’s social and cultural politics.

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          • O’Malley, John W. A History of the Popes: From Peter to the Present. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010.

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            A clear and concise survey of papal history focused on the individual contributions of several popes who played a critical role in the development of the Catholic Church. Designed for use by undergraduate students and non-Catholic readers.

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            Reference Works

            The intricacies of papal bureaucracy and the complexities of papal politics can be difficult to untangle for scholars unfamiliar with the history of the papacy. A clear understanding of the workings of the Catholic Church in Rome is key to contextualizing the activities of the papacy in the Atlantic world. The standard reference work for scholars interested in the history of the Catholic Church is the second edition of the New Catholic Encyclopedia (Carson 2003). Accessible to general readers as well as advanced scholars, this encyclopedia includes articles on the history, theology, philosophy, and culture of the Catholic Church throughout history. Kelly and Walsh 2010 contains comprehensive biographies of every pope officially sanctioned by the Vatican from the earliest popes to Benedict XVI. It also contains entries on papal usurpers and the antipopes. Levillian 2002 provides descriptive entries on every aspect of the history and traditions of the papacy. It is an invaluable reference tool for any scholar studying the activities of the papacy or the Catholic Church.

            • Carson, Thomas, ed. New Catholic Encyclopedia. 2d ed. 15 vols. Detroit: Gale, 2003.

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              Contains over 12,000 articles discussing the history, theology, and philosophy of the Catholic Church. Includes entries on the activities of the papacy and the Catholic Church in the Atlantic world. Available as a published reference work or online, through subscription, from Gale Cengage Learning.

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              • Kelly, J. N. D., and Michael Walsh, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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                Provides biographical details on popes throughout the history of the Catholic Church. Includes notes on further reading. Also available online via premium subscription to Oxford Reference.

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                • Levillian, Philippe, ed. The Papacy: An Encyclopedia. 3 vols. English language edition edited by John W. O’Malley. Translated by Deborah Blaz, et al. New York: Routledge, 2002.

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                  Updated English edition of Dictionnaire historique de la papauté, first published in 1994 (Paris: Fayard). Contains entries on the offices of the papacy, the bureaucratic structure of the Holy See, papal biographies, papal traditions, and many other themes relating to the historical activities of the pope.

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                  Archival Catalogs and Guides

                  For scholars interested in pursuing research on the papacy and the Atlantic world, there are a number of published works that provide guidance on navigating the vast source collections held by the Vatican archives. Although most of these guides provide English abstracts or summaries, Latin reading skills are a prerequisite for any serious and extensive research using Vatican sources. Blouin 1998 and Blouin 2003 present an overview of the documentation held by the Vatican archives and guidance on how to locate relevant materials. Of particular interest for scholars interested in Catholic missionary activity, Kowalski and Metzler 1983 focuses on the archival holdings of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. Several works offer guidance on source material relating to specific areas of the Atlantic world. Keneally 1966–2002 provides a multivolume calendar of Propaganda Fide documents concerned with Catholic missions in the territories of the United States. The bulk of material is drawn from the 19th-century holdings of Propaganda Fide, but the collection also includes documents on missionary activity in colonial British, French, and Spanish North America. Codignola 1991 provides a similar introduction to archival holdings on the French and British colonies prior to 1800. The early period of Spanish and Portuguese America is the subject of Metzler 1991–1995. The three-volume work offers access to key papal documents discussing the administration and management of the church in the Americas previously only available in the Vatican archives. Volumes 1 and 2 cover the first one hundred years of Iberian expansion to 1592. Volume 3 documents the period from 1592 to 1644. The accessibility and value of Metzler 1991–1995, however, is greatly limited by the use of Latin throughout.

                  • Blouin, Francis X., ed. Vatican Archives: An Inventory and Guide to Historical Documents of the Holy See. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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                    A descriptive guide to the Vatican archives, organized according to papal bureaucratic structure. Particularly relevant for scholars working on the postmedieval church. Also includes descriptions of related archives, such as those belonging to the religious orders, confraternities, or private collections.

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                    • Blouin, Francis X., ed. Vatican Archives: An Inventory and Guide to Historical Documents of the Holy See; Supplement 1. Ann Arbor: Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, 2003.

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                      A complementary guide to Blouin 1998. Describes archival holdings produced by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, including sources relating to the Inquisition.

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                      • Codignola, Luca. Guide to the Documents Relating to French and British North America in the Archives of the Sacred Congregation “de Propaganda Fide” in Rome, 1622–1799. Ottawa: National Archives of Canada, 1991.

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                        A descriptive guide to Propaganda Fide documents concerning the French and British colonies. Contains information on the purpose and construction of Propaganda Fide, the organization of the archives, and an overview of previous research.

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                        • Keneally, Finbar, ed. United States Documents in the Propaganda Fide Archives: A Calendar. 12 vols. Washington, DC: Academy of American Franciscan History, 1966–2002.

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                          Guide to archival holdings relating to the territory of the United States from the colonial period through the 19th century. Each entry contains an abstract, in English, of the original document, as well as information on origin, authorship, and archival location. A separate index is available for Volumes 1–7.

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                          • Kowalski, Nikolaus, and Josef Metzler. Inventory of the Historical Archives of the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples or “de Propaganda Fide.” New enl. ed. Rome: Pontificia Universitas Urbaniana, 1983.

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                            An overview of the archival holdings of Propaganda Fide, including information on the organization and contents of source material. The archive contains documentation relating to Catholic missionary efforts across the globe from the 17th century to the present.

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                            • Metzler, Josef, ed. America Pontificia: Documenta Pontificia ex Registris et Minutis Praesertim in Archivo Secreto Vaticano Existentibus. 3 vols. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1991–1995.

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                              An edited collection of papal documents drawn from the Vatican archives and relating to the first century and a half of Iberian activity in the Americas. Topics covered include church administration, pastoral concerns, the treatment of the Indians, and the justification of Spanish colonization. Published in Latin.

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                              The Catholic Reformation

                              Scholars of the Reformation era have recently sought to revise the traditional view of the Council of Trent as simply a reactionary response to the threat posed by the Protestant Church and instead interpret Catholic reform initiatives in the early modern period as an ongoing attempt to refashion and renew the Catholic faith. Three recent works guide readers through the changing historical interpretations of the Catholic Reformation. Originally published in 1998, Hsia 2005 is the standard text on the history of Catholicism in the two centuries following the Council of Trent. Its synthetic approach offers general readers and advanced researchers alike a concise study of the methods employed to reform Catholicism in the 16th century and the consequences of such reform for the future of the faith in Europe and the wider world. Bireley 1999 places the Catholic reform in a broader, early modern context and argues that the reshaping of Catholicism in the late 16th century stemmed from a variety of social, political, and cultural transformations sweeping across Europe in this period. O’Malley 2000 focuses on the terminology used by historians to write about the Reformation period and provides an entertaining and concise review of the historiography that situates the history of Catholic reform firmly in an early modern context. The Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation provides access to the vast literature produced by Catholic reformers as they sought to reshape and renew Catholicism in the 16th and 17th century. The online interface makes this database equally useful for students and researchers. The role of the papacy in shaping Catholic reform in the early modern period is the subject of Wright 2000. Burke 2002 evaluates the centrality of Rome to Catholic culture in the Reformation period and suggests the importance of papal communication networks in gathering and redisseminating information throughout the Catholic world.

                              • Bireley, Robert. The Refashioning of Catholicism, 1450–1700: A Reassessment of the Counter-Reformation. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1999.

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                                Argues that late-16th-century reform of the Catholic Church was not simply a response to the Protestant Reformation, but the result of a variety of social, political, and cultural transformations reshaping European society in the early modern period.

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                                • Burke, Peter. “Rome as Center of Information and Communication for the Catholic World, 1550–1650.” In From Rome to Eternity: Catholicism and the Arts in Italy, ca. 1550–1650. Edited by Pamela M. Jones and Thomas Worcester, 253–269. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2002.

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                                  A study of how papal communication and information networks, centered in Rome, gathered, processed, and disseminated cultural knowledge from across the globe in the early modern period.

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                                  • The Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation.

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                                    Contains over eight hundred digitized documents pertaining to the Catholic Church in the 16th and 17th centuries. Documents in English, French, and Latin. Online database from Alexander Street Press, accessible through institutional or individual subscription.

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                                    • Hsia, R. Po-Chia. The World of Catholic Renewal, 1540–1770. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

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                                      A synthetic overview of recent scholarship on post-Reformation Catholicism. Considers the role of the papacy in reforming Catholicism, the effect of Tridentine reforms on the politics and culture of Catholicism, and the expansion of Catholicism in Asia and the Americas. This new edition includes an updated bibliography.

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                                      • O’Malley, John W. Trent and All That: Renaming Catholicism in the Early Modern Era. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.

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                                        A historiographical review of scholarship on the Reformation period from the 19th century to the end of the 20th century. Argues that current terminology, such as Counter-Reformation or Catholic Reformation, obscures the early modern context of Catholic reform in the 16th and 17th centuries.

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                                        • Wright, A. D. The Early Modern Papacy: From the Council of Trent to the French Revolution, 1564–1789. Longman History of the Papacy. New York and Harlow, UK: Longman, 2000.

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                                          Challenges the traditional view that the papacy declined in influence after the Council of Trent. Argues the papacy played an active role in transforming early modern Catholicism and, as a result, revitalized the authority of the Holy See. Part of the Longman series on the history of the papacy.

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                                          European Sovereignty in the Atlantic World

                                          From the first Portuguese explorations along the West African coast in the mid-15th century onwards, the papacy played a pivotal role in legitimating European discoveries and conquests in the Atlantic world and establishing European sovereignty in the region. Muldoon 1979 stresses the medieval origins of the political theories employed by the papacy and Catholic monarchs to justify Spanish and Portuguese territorial claims in the Atlantic. Papal officials also drew their theories about European sovereignty from firsthand accounts of European encounters with indigenous peoples in the Americas. Symcox 2001 contains a selection of documents detailing the reaction of papal officials and Italians to the information contained in early accounts of the New World. The critical involvement of Alexander VI and papal diplomats in negotiating and codifying the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494, which divided the Atlantic into Spanish and Portuguese zones of influence, is narrated in Linden 1916. Hoffman 1973 suggests that the diplomatic wrangling over sovereignty in the Americas did not end with Tordesillas and explores the ongoing role of 16th-century papal and royal diplomats in shaping the legal and political parameters of the Atlantic. The two discursive essays in Green and Dickason 1988 stress how the legal precedents established in the first decades of Iberian expansion shaped the social and cultural development of the Atlantic world, as well as its political boundaries. Of particular interest to Green and Dickason are the consequences of legal justifications used to legitimate the European conquest and subjugation of indigenous populations in the Americas.

                                          • Green, L. C., and Olive P. Dickason. The Law of Nations and the New World. Edmonton, Canada: University of Alberta Press, 1988.

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                                            Explores the evolution of European ideas about the legal, theological, and philosophical justification of colonization and evaluates the response of the colonized to European conquest.

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                                            • Hoffman, Paul E. “Diplomacy and the Papal Donation, 1493–1585.” The Americas 30.2 (October 1973): 151–183.

                                              DOI: 10.2307/980555E-mail Citation »

                                              An assessment of the ongoing diplomatic debates in the 16th century concerning the substance and enforcement of the Treaty of Tordesillas.

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                                              • Linden, H. Vander. “Alexander VI and the Demarcation of the Maritime and Colonial Domains of Spain and Portugal, 1493–1494.” American Historical Review 22.1 (October 1916): 1–20.

                                                DOI: 10.2307/1836192E-mail Citation »

                                                A narrative history of the Treaty of Tordesillas and its influence on the framing and shaping of future Iberian expansion in the Atlantic world.

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                                                • Muldoon, James. Popes, Lawyers, and Infidels: The Church and the Non-Christian World, 1250–1550. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1979.

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                                                  An excellent overview of the medieval origins of the European diplomatic and political concepts used to define and legitimate European sovereignty in the Americas in the early 16th century.

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                                                  • Symcox, Geoffrey, ed. Italian Reports on America, 1493–1522: Letters, Dispatches and Papal Bulls. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2001.

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                                                    An edited volume of Italian and Latin documents relating to the discovery and colonization of the Americas. Documents translated into English.

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                                                    Indigenous Peoples and the Christianization of the Americas

                                                    The discovery, conquest, and colonization of the Americas presented new philosophical questions to European monarchies—where did the indigenous population fit in these new Atlantic empires, and how should they be treated? Sixteenth-century Catholic theologians grappled to define the nature and humanity of the American peoples and establish whether these colonized populations possessed the capacity for Christianization. There are several comprehensive histories that explore the response of European intellectuals to the conquest and colonization of the New World. Focused on the critical papal bulls of Paul III, Hanke 1937 provides a narrative introduction to the role of the papacy in establishing and defending the humanity of the American peoples. Zavala 1947 and Pagden 1986 offer excellent and extensive overviews of the competing intellectual ideas that shaped Spanish and Catholic responses to the conquest of the Americas in the 16th century. Seed 1993 presents an updated synthesis of the intellectual debates sweeping Europe in the 16th century and places them within the context of rival colonial groups vying for political and religious jurisdiction in Spanish America. The life and works of Bartolomé de Las Casas dominate scholarly study of the treatment of indigenous peoples in the Americas. Written as an undergraduate textbook, Clayton 2011 is an accessible introduction to Las Casas, his writings, and his influence on European ideas about conquest. Hanke 1974 describes the context, content, and consequences of the famous debate between Bartolomé de Las Casas and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda on the capacity and humanity of indigenous peoples. Castro 2007 offers a revisionist take on Las Casas and suggests that his reputation as a defender of indigenous rights must be understood within the context of 16th-century ideas about the civilizing mission of the church and the purpose of empire. The evolving stance of the Catholic Church toward the treatment of non-Christian peoples is further explored in the works cited under Propaganda Fide and the Conversion of Non-Christians.

                                                    • Castro, Daniel. Another Face of Empire: Bartolomé de Las Casas, Indigenous Rights, and Ecclesiastical Imperialism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007.

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                                                      A revisionist treatment of Las Casas’s life and defense of the indigenous population. Argues Las Casas did not reject the idea of imperialism but instead promoted a more paternalistic and ecclesiastical form of empire that championed the civilizing mission of the Catholic Church.

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                                                      • Clayton, Lawrence. Bartolomé de Las Casas and the Conquest of the Americas. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

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                                                        Uses the writings of Bartolomé de Las Casas to examine key themes in the history of the conquest of the Americas. Topics covered include the humanity of the indigenous population and the justification of slavery.

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                                                        • Hanke, Lewis. “Pope Paul III and the American Indians.” Harvard Theological Review 30.2 (April 1937): 65–102.

                                                          DOI: 10.1017/S0017816000022161E-mail Citation »

                                                          Charts the evolving position of the papacy on the question of the political and moral rights of the indigenous population of the Americas. Examines the related roles of the Catholic Church and the Spanish Crown in the processes of conquest, colonization, and Christianization.

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                                                          • Hanke, Lewis. All Mankind Is One: A Study of the Disputation between Bartolomé de Las Casas and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda in 1550 on the Intellectual and Religious Capacity of the American Indians. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1974.

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                                                            A detailed analysis of Las Casas’s arguments defending the indigenous peoples of the Americas and asserting their capacity to understand Christian teachings without resort to force or coercion. Written as an introductory text to Stafford Poole’s 1974 translation of Las Casas’s In Defense of the Indians (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press).

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                                                            • Pagden, Anthony. The Fall of Natural Man: The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

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                                                              Explores how Catholic theologians and philosophers adapted classical ideas about natural slavery, barbarism, and civilization, and how missionaries and colonists applied these ideas in the Americas. Focuses on the writings of Bartolomé de Las Casas, Francisco Vitoria, José de Acosta, and François Lafitau.

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                                                              • Seed, Patricia. “‘Are These Not Also Men?’: The Indians’ Humanity and Capacity for Spanish Civilisation.” Journal of Latin American Studies 25.3 (October 1993): 629–652.

                                                                DOI: 10.1017/S0022216X00006696E-mail Citation »

                                                                Surveys the political context underpinning European debates about the humanity of the American population. Argues that the social and political interests of those missionaries who claimed to defend the indigenous population must be considered alongside the economic interests of their political opponents.

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                                                                • Zavala, Silvio. La filosofía política en la conquista de América. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1947.

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                                                                  An intellectual history of the European conquest of the America. Charts the competition between three competing philosophical schools of thought: the medieval idea of Christians and infidels, the Aristotelian concept of civilization and barbarism, and the civilizing mission of the Christian Church.

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                                                                  Iberian Expansion, the Catholic Church, and the Patronato Real

                                                                  The establishment of the Catholic Church in the Iberian colonies created the potential for clashes between religious authority, imperial control, and local culture. The presence of the Catholic Church legitimated Spanish and Portuguese claims to Christian sovereignty, but the papacy relied upon state power to ensure Catholic dominance of colonial territories. Boxer 1978 remains the classic and definitive account of the role of church and state in fostering and sustaining Iberian expansion in this period. The institution of the patronato real, whereby the pope granted control of the colonial church to the Spanish and Portuguese monarchies, dominated church and state relationships in the 16th-century Iberian Atlantic. Sheils 1961 offers an old but comprehensive narrative of the medieval origins and early modern development of this patronage system in the Americas. The effect of 16th-century Catholic reforms on the relationship between church and state in the Iberian colonies is the subject of Silva 1969 and Poole 2011. Silva 1969 explores how Tridentine demands for stronger regulation of the clergy effected the organization and administration of missions controlled by the Portuguese crown. Poole 2011 uses the career of the Catholic reformer Pedro Moya de Contreras to explore the tensions between church and state that lay at the heart of the patronage system in New Spain.

                                                                  • Boxer, Charles R. The Church Militant and Iberian Expansion, 1440–1770. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978.

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                                                                    A global overview of the role of the Catholic Church, and Catholic missionaries in particular, in early modern Iberian expansion. Examines the relationship between church and state, conflicts between missionaries and secular clergy, papal attitudes to slavery and conversion, and the power of the Inquisition.

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                                                                    • Poole, Stafford. Pedro Moya de Contreras: Catholic Reform and Royal Power in New Spain, 1571–1591. 2d ed. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2011.

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                                                                      Having served as both a church and public official in New Spain, the career of Moya de Contreras aptly demonstrates the complex entanglement of church and state interests in the Spanish colonies. This updated edition contains additional material on Moya de Contreras’s inquisitional career, drawn from recently released Vatican documents.

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                                                                      • Sheils, William E. King and Church: The Rise and Fall of the Patronato Real. Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1961.

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                                                                        An institutional history of the patronato real focused on its origins, growth, and development in the Spanish colonies. Includes English translations of relevant papal and Spanish documents relating to the administration of the patronato.

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                                                                        • Silva, António da. Trent’s Impact on the Portuguese Patronage Missions. Translated by Joaquim da Silva Godinho. Lisbon, Portugal: Centro de Estudos Históricos Ultramarinos, 1969.

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                                                                          Examines how Tridentine reforms concerning the clergy affected missions under the control of the Portuguese monarchy in Brazil.

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                                                                          The Inquisition

                                                                          Designed to enforce doctrinal and cultural uniformity through the orthodox teachings of the papacy, the Inquisition became a site for the negotiation of political and cultural power in the Spanish colonies. There is a rich tradition of scholarship on the history of the Inquisition in both the Portuguese and the Spanish world. In addition to the works cited in this section, readers should also consult the works on the Inquisition listed in the separate Oxford Bibliographies article on Catholicism. The first study to compare the Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese Inquisitions, Bethencourt 2009 provides an excellent introduction to the activities of the Inquisition and its influence on the religious, cultural, and political development of the early modern world. Kamen 1998 remains the standard introductory text on the Inquisition in the Spanish world. Kamen 1998 presents an updated version of the author’s classic 1965 work on the subject and incorporates new scholarship and research. Recent scholarship on the Spanish Inquisition has sought to explore further the social and cultural consequences of inquisitorial power in both Spain and the New World. The essays contained in Perry and Cruz 1991 investigate the role of the Inquisition in both asserting Spanish imperial control and enabling cultural persistence among religious and ethnic minorities. Giles 1998 explores how the Inquisition monitored and controlled female religious activities in Spain and the colonies. Nesvig 2009 focuses on the act of censorship as an essential means by which the Inquisition imposed religious and social authority. The establishment of the Portuguese Inquisition in the Americas is explored in Wadsworth 2007, which provides an excellent introduction to the organization and activities of the Inquisition in Brazil. Feitler 2003 focuses on the identification and persecution of Jews—a key area of inquisitorial activity in both the Spanish and Portuguese world.

                                                                          • Bethencourt, Francisco. The Inquisition: A Global History, 1478–1834. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

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                                                                            Revised English edition of L’Inquisition à l’époque moderne (Paris: Fayard, 1995). A comparative study of the activities of the Inquisition in the early modern world. Provides a detailed overview of the origins of the Inquisition, the organization of inquisitorial institutions, and the relationship of inquisitors to local elites.

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                                                                            • Feitler, Bruno. Inquisition, Juifs et Nouveaux-Chrétiens au Brésil: Le Nordeste XVIIème et XVIIIème siècles. Louvain, Belgium: Presses Universitaires de Louvain, 2003.

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                                                                              A study of the Jewish and converso population of Brazil under Dutch and Portuguese rule. Examines the preservation of Jewish religious practice and cultural identities as a response to inquisitorial attempts to impose Catholic orthodoxy on the colonial population.

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                                                                              • Giles, Mary, ed. Women in the Inquisition: Spain and the New World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                Collection of fourteen essays examining the stories of individual women investigated by the Spanish Inquisition. The essays explore the religious crimes alleged to have been committed by the accused, the methods employed by inquisitors to impose religious orthodoxy, and the role of women in subverting religious and social authority.

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                                                                                • Kamen, Henry. The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                  Classic revisionist text on the activities of the Inquisition in early modern Spain. This new version includes reworked chapters that synthesize new historical interpretations and adapt Kamen’s original argument to the ongoing historiographical debate. Also contains an updated bibliography.

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                                                                                  • Nesvig, Martin Austin. Ideology and Inquisition: The World of the Censors in Early Mexico. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009.

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                                                                                    A focused study of the ideology, practice, and purpose of censorship in the Spanish colony. Shows how the Inquisition controlled the production and dissemination of religious ideas through the censorship of written texts.

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                                                                                    • Perry, Mary Elizabeth, and Anne J. Cruz, eds. Cultural Encounters: The Impact of the Inquisition in Spain and the New World. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

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                                                                                      A collection of essays emphasizing the value of inquisitorial records for the study of early modern society and culture. Includes historiographical essays on the role of the Inquisition in early modern Spain and the Americas.

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                                                                                      • Wadsworth, James E. Agents of Orthodoxy: Honor, Status, and the Inquisition in Colonial Pernambuco. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007.

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                                                                                        A detailed institutional history of the Inquisition in Brazil, focused on the sugar-producing region of Pernambuco. Argues that the Inquisition acted simultaneously as both an assertion of Portuguese imperial power and an important local institution that promoted social mobility.

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                                                                                        Propaganda Fide and the Conversion of Non-Christians

                                                                                        Following its creation in 1622, Propaganda Fide took control of Catholic missionary initiatives in the Atlantic world. The scholarly essays collected in Metzler 1971–1975 provide a comprehensive overview of the history and activities of Propaganda Fide from its foundation to the 1970s. Volume 1 covers the 17th century, Volume 2 the long 18th century to 1815, and Volume 3 concerns the 19th and 20th centuries. The archival guides cited under Archival Catalogs and Guides provide further information on the organization and structure of Propaganda Fide. The philosophical origins of Propaganda Fide is the subject of Hedler 1995, which focuses on how European knowledge about the Americas shaped intellectual and philosophical debates on the treatment and evangelization of non-Christian peoples. Regions of the Atlantic world outside the immediate control of Catholic authorities rapidly became the focus of Vatican missionary enterprises. Codignola 1995 and Codignola 2008 evaluate the success of papal initiatives to centralize conversion efforts in North America. Codignola 1995 draws a comparison between the successful Jesuit enterprise in French America and the more scattered activities of missionaries in British America appointed and controlled by Propaganda Fide. Codignola 2008 argues that, by the time of the American Revolution, Propaganda Fide personnel had grown in experience and missionary enterprises proved much more successful.

                                                                                        • Codignola, Luca. “The Holy See and the Conversion of the Indians in French and British North America, 1486–1760.” In America in European Consciousness, 1493–1750. Edited by Karen Ordahl Kupperman, 195–242. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

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                                                                                          A detailed assessment of missionary activity in colonial North America based on extensive research in Vatican archives. Argues that despite the creation of Propaganda Fide, the papacy struggled to achieve its goal of converting the continent and, by the 1660s, focused missionary attention on sustaining the faith, not on conversion.

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                                                                                          • Codignola, Luca. “The Holy See and the Conversion of Aboriginal Peoples in North America, 1760–1830.” In Ethnographies and Exchanges: Native Americans, Moravians, and Catholics in Early North America. Edited by A. G. Roeber, 77–96. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                            A companion article to Codignola 1995. Examines the activities of Propaganda Fide in Revolutionary North America.

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                                                                                            • Hedler, John M. “Campanella, America and World Evangelization.” In America in European Consciousness, 1493–1750. Edited by Karen Ordahl Kupperman, 243–271. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

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                                                                                              Examines the European intellectual climate that fostered the establishment of Propaganda Fide.

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                                                                                              • Metzler, Josef, ed. Sacrae Congregationis de Propaganda Fide Memoria Rerum. 3 vols. Rome: Herder, 1971–1975.

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                                                                                                Collection of essays and sources on the topic of Propaganda Fide, including scholarship on its philosophical origins, its bureaucratic structure, and the missionary enterprises it sponsored in the Atlantic world. Articles published in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, or Spanish, with English summaries.

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                                                                                                Protestant Expansion

                                                                                                The beginnings of extensive Protestant expansion into the Atlantic world in the late 16th and early 17th centuries proved of grave concern to the Catholic world. As the dominant representative of the Catholic Church in the Americas, the Spanish crown closely monitored early English ventures in Virginia through diplomatic reports from England and the eyewitness accounts of Spanish mariners and colonial officials. A selection of these documents are carefully reproduced and annotated in Wright 1920. Scholarship since Wright has widely accepted that Spain and the Catholic world feared that English settlements in Virginia represented a dangerous threat to Catholic dominance in the Americas. Goldman 2011 offers a revised interpretation of Spanish attitudes toward the founding of Virginia and suggests that internal divisions within the Spanish government over the best approach to securing Catholic hegemony in the Americas saved the fledgling colony from destruction. After 1622 the response of the Catholic Church to the spiritual threat posed by the expansion of Protestantism fell under the jurisdiction of Propaganda Fide, whose bureaucrats took a keen interest in English settlements in the Americas. Often unable to commission their own investigative reports, the offices of Propaganda Fide in Rome became a clearinghouse for correspondence from missionaries, church officials, and colonists claiming to be familiar with the English colonies. One such report, preserved in Vatican archives, is reproduced in Bond, et al. 2002. Codignola 1988 offers further insight as to how and why papal officials sought information on North America, how they evaluated this information, and the actions they took as a result. Codignola 1993 addresses the ongoing interest of the papacy in the fate of Catholic populations in British North America during the Revolutionary period.

                                                                                                • Bond, Edward L., Jan L. Perkowski, and Alison P. Weber, eds. “Father Gregorio Bolivar’s 1625 Report: A Vatican Source for the History of Early Virginia.” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 110.1 (2002): 69–86.

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                                                                                                  Demonstrates the interest Vatican officials took in English initiatives in North America, and evaluates such Vatican reports as a source of information on the history of Protestant expansion in the Americas. Includes an introductory essay explaining the historical context of the document and its significance for Atlantic history.

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                                                                                                  • Codignola, Luca. The Coldest Harbour in the Land: Simon Stock and Lord Baltimore’s Colony in Newfoundland, 1621–1649. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1988.

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                                                                                                    Uses correspondence between Vatican officers and Capuchin missionaries on the subject of English settlements in Newfoundland to explore the workings of Propaganda Fide and assess the success of early papal initiatives to halt the Protestant advance in America. Includes text of the surviving letters located in the Vatican archives.

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                                                                                                    • Codignola, Luca. “The Policy of Rome towards the English-Speaking Catholics in British North America, 1750–1830.” In Creed and Culture: The Place of English-Speaking Catholics in Canadian Society, 1750–1930. Edited by Terrence Murphy and Gerald John Stortz, 100–125. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1993.

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                                                                                                      Documents papal initiatives to centralize clerical and missionary activity in British North America in the period after the Seven Year’s War and the ceding of French territory in Canada to the British.

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                                                                                                      • Goldman, William S. “Spain and the Founding of Jamestown.” William and Mary Quarterly 68.3 (July 2011): 427–450.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.5309/willmaryquar.68.3.0427E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        Examines the political debates within the Spanish Council of State that shaped the Spanish response to the English settlement of Jamestown in 1607.

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                                                                                                        • Wright, Irene A. “Spanish Policy toward Virginia, 1606–1612: Jamestown, Ecija, and John Clark of the Mayflower.” American Historical Review 25.3 (April 1920): 448–479.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.2307/1836882E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          Transcription of Spanish documents concerning early English settlements in Virginia. Includes an introductory essay explaining the historical context of the documents. Text reproduced in Spanish and English.

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                                                                                                          The Catholic Church in Africa

                                                                                                          The papacy played an active role in the development of the Catholic Church in Africa. Papal diplomats recognized local control of African Catholic churches and negotiated the entrance of European traders and missionaries to the region. Brásio 1952–1988 is an indispensable tool for any scholar interested in the history of the Catholic Church in Africa. Its fifteen volumes contain an array of source material on the development of African Catholicism and the relationship between African elites and the papacy. Scholarship on the Catholic Church in Africa during the early modern period is dominated by John Thornton’s extensive research on the Catholic kingdom of Kongo. The standard work on the topic is Thornton 1984, which argues that an independent Kongolese Catholic Church, recognized by the papacy but controlled by local elites, existed by the early 16th century. By the late 17th century, however, European missionaries, Kongolese church officials, and local parishioners frequently clashed over the substance and teachings of Kongolese Catholicism. Using the case of Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita, Thornton 1998 explores the complex entanglement of local cultural traditions, Kongolese political identities, and Catholic ideology at work in late-17th-century Kongo. Gray 1990 complements the work of Thornton and uses the historical development of Catholicism in Kongo to evaluate modern Christian traditions in Africa. Law 1991 supplies a much-needed survey of the activities of Catholic missionaries in West Africa and, like Gray 1990 and Thornton 1984, attempts to shed light on how the indigenous population responded to Catholicism.

                                                                                                          • Brásio, António, ed. Monumenta Missionaria Africana. 15 vols. Lisbon, Portugal: Agência Geral do Ultra-Mar, 1952–1988.

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                                                                                                            An extensive collection of documents relating to the activities of the Catholic Church in Africa. Includes published and manuscript accounts of African religious traditions, correspondence between African elites and the pope, and the accounts of European missionaries in the region. Most entries are in Portuguese.

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                                                                                                            • Gray, Richard. Black Christians and White Missionaries. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990.

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                                                                                                              Examines how the adoption of Christianity in Africa has transformed the Christian faith. Begins with a reassessment of the spread of Catholicism in 17th-century Kongo and concludes with reflection on the modern Christian missions in Africa.

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                                                                                                              • Law, Robin. “Religion, Trade and Politics on the ‘Slave Coast’: Roman Catholic Missions in Allada and Whydah in the Seventeenth Century.” Journal of Religion in Africa 21.1 (1991): 42–77.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1163/157006691X00140E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                An overview of attempts by the papacy, the Portuguese, the Spanish, and the French to establish a missionary presence on the West African coast. Jurisdictional conflicts among Catholics, hostility from Protestant interlopers, and a general lack of interest on the part of Africans contributed to the failure of the missions.

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                                                                                                                • Thornton, John. “The Development of an African Catholic Church in the Kingdom of Kongo, 1491–1750.” Journal of African History 25.2 (1984): 147–167.

                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1017/S0021853700022830E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  Charts the development of a local and independent Kongolese Catholic Church in the 16th and 17th centuries. Argues that European missionaries and the papacy accepted Kongolese Catholicism as orthodox despite the dominance of local syncretic traditions.

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                                                                                                                  • Thornton, John. The Kongolese Saint Anthony: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511572791E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    A biographical treatment of the intersection between political identity and religious belief in late-17th-century Kongo. Situates the conflicts that ravaged the Catholic kingdom during this period within the global context of European and African participation in the Atlantic slave trade.

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                                                                                                                    The Atlantic Slave Trade

                                                                                                                    Despite a long tradition of debate on the subject of slavery within the Catholic Church and early papal proclamations denouncing the enslavement of indigenous peoples in the Americas, scholars have sharply criticized the failure of the early modern papacy to restrict or denounce the involvement of Catholics in the enslavement, transportation, and sale of Africans. Maxwell 1975 surveys the evolution of Catholic teaching on the subject of slavery from the early church through to the Second Vatican Council in 1965. The absence of a permanent and decisive papal denouncement of the Atlantic slave trade did not, however, equate to a lack of debate on the morality of slavery. Gray 1987 and Sandoval 2008 show how individuals within the church petitioned for papal action against the slave trade, even though such actions met with little success. As Gray 1987 demonstrates, such petitions failed due to the political, economic, and cultural arguments leveled against early antislavery proponents. Russell-Wood 1978 charts the emergence and development of Portuguese attitudes toward slavery as European traders became enmeshed in new African and Atlantic trade networks. Gray 1984 illustrates the response of African elites to attempts by the papacy to restrict the sale of slaves in Catholic regions.

                                                                                                                    • Gray, Richard. “Fra Girolamo Merolla da Sorrento, the Congregation of Propaganda Fide and the Atlantic Slave Trade.” In La conoscenza dell’Asia e dell’Africa in Italia nei secoli XVIII e XIX. Vol. 2. Edited by Ugo Marazzi, 803–811. Naples, Italy: Istituto Universitario Orientale, 1984.

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                                                                                                                      Examines the response of African elites and European missionaries to attempts by Propaganda Fide to outlaw Catholic involvement in the slave trade.

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                                                                                                                      • Gray, Richard. “The Papacy and the Atlantic Slave Trade: Lourenço da Silva, the Capuchins and the Decisions of the Holy Office.” Past & Present 115.1 (May 1987): 52–68.

                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1093/past/115.1.52E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        Counters the traditional view that the early modern papacy did little to denounce, reform, or prohibit Catholic involvement in the slave trade. Explores attitudes toward the slave trade and examines why opposition to slavery within the Catholic Church failed to gain momentum in the late 17th century.

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                                                                                                                        • Maxwell, John Francis. Slavery and the Catholic Church: The History of Catholic Teaching Concerning the Moral Legitimacy of the Institution of Slavery. London: Barry Rose, 1975.

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                                                                                                                          A concise introduction to the position of the Catholic Church on the subject of slavery. Charts the evolution of Catholic teaching from the early church, through the era of the Atlantic slave trade, and into the 20th century.

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                                                                                                                          • Russell-Wood, A. J. R. “Iberian Expansion and the Issue of Black Slavery: Changing Portuguese Attitudes, 1440–1770.” American Historical Review 83.1 (February 1978): 16–42.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/1865901E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Explores how the Portuguese encounter with Africa in the 15th century transformed existing Portuguese ideas concerning the institution of slavery and ultimately established the economic, political, and cultural patterns of the Atlantic slave trade.

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                                                                                                                            • Sandoval, Alonso de. Treatise on Slavery: Selections from De instauranda Aethiopum salute. Edited and translated by Nicole von Germeten. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2008.

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                                                                                                                              The first English translation of Sandoval’s 17th-century account of African slavery in the Americas. With his vivid description of the horrors of slavery, Sandoval attempted to overturn the widely held belief throughout the Catholic world that the benefits of Christianity and civilization outweighed the human costs of enslavement.

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