Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

The importance of the Spanish legal tradition, from siete partidas to Inter Caetera

Primary sources
Inter Caetera, Davenport, Francis Gardiner, ed. European Treaties bearing on the History of the United States and its Dependencies to 1648 (Washington, D.C., 1917), pp. 27-32 and 71-78.

Core readings
Scott, James, The Spanish origin of international law, Part 1, Francisco de Vitoria and his law of nations (Oxford, 1934), XIV, Francisco de Vitoria’s Contribution to International Law, pp. 281-.
Weckmann, Luis, The Medieval Heritage of Mexico, trans. F. M. Lopez-Morillas (New York, 1992); 29, Legal Systems, laws, protection, appeal and punishment, pp. 428-442; Medieval Origins of Encomienda and Hacienda, pp. 328-350.
Muldoon, James, ‘Papal responsibility for the infidel: another look at Alexander VI’s Inter caetera’, The Catholic Historical Review Vol. 64, No. 2 (Apr., 1978), pp. 168-184.
Muldoon, James, The Americas in the Spanish World Order (Philadelphia, 1994), Chapter 1, The Law of Christian-Infidel Relations, pp. 15-37 (ebook available).

Further Reading
Herzog, Tamar, Frontiers of Possession (London, 2015).
Muldoon, James, Popes, lawyers, and infidels: the church and the non-Christian world, 1250-1550 (Philadelphia, 1979).

Key Questions
• What was the role of law in the Spanish world?
• How influenced by Islam was Spanish law?
• How important was law in the construction of Spanish empire?

Historiographical theme: legal history