The connection between Columbus Day and the School of Salamanca

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[…] Christianity is responsible, not for the enslavement, but for the desire to treat natives with the respect and inherent dignity all human beings deserve. (Due in part to this understanding, the Spanish encouraged intermarriage with natives, unlike, for instance, in North America.) Queen Isabella was so incensed upon learning that Columbus brought slaves back to Spain that on June 20, 1500, she ordered their liberation. In her last will and testament, written just four years later, she instructed her successors: “Do not consent or permit that the Indians living in and inhabiting those said Indies and mainland be persecuted in their persons and in their properties; but instead I order that they be treated well and justly. And if they have received any distress, that it be remedied and corrected.”

However, because of the encomienda system, slavery did not come to an end until the 1800s. One of the most unappreciated blessings of Columbus’ journey was exposing the Americas to the School of Salamanca. These Catholic scholars championed human rights, as well as economic liberty. […]