Amidst the frenzy to colonize the newly discovered West Indies, a strange Spanish speech ceremony was afoot in and around Caribbean islands. This speech ceremony was delivered unto an audience that had no means to understand the words or the significance of the speech itself. This speech was often read on ships that had not yet beached, mumbled into the air, or read aloud during skirmishes. The speech itself is better known as El Requerimiento [the Requirement], and of all the tools used to assist and justify European colonialism following the discovery of the West Indies the use of El Requerimiento is arguably the most absurd.

While the absurdity that accompanies the creation and use of El Requerimiento is a standard point of departure, this exhibit aims to guide readers on a journey to learn more about this document and the people who employed it. Click on any of the links below to learn more about the history of El Requerimiento, or visit our archival collection to see the first hand evidence. For more scholarship about El Requerimiento, visit this exhibits bibliograhpy.

Works Cited

Juan Lopez Palacios Rubios Coleción de documentos (1971).

Mignolo, Walter D. “The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Colonization and the Discontinuity of the Classical Tradition” Renaissance Quarterly, vol 45, No. 4. (1992).

Taylor, Diana. The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas. Durham: Duke University Press Books, 2003.

Weckmann, Luis The medieval heritage of Mexico. Fordham University Press, New York, 1992.

Secondary Bibliography

Paja Faudree. “Reading the Requerimiento Performatively: Speech Acts and the Conquest of the New World” Colonial Latin American Review, 24:4, 456-478. (2015)

---- “How to Say Thing with Wars: Performativity and Discursive Rupture in the Requerimiento of the Spanish Conquest” Linguistic Anthropology, 22:3, 182-200 (2013)

Lewis Hanke. “The Requerimiento and its Interpreters” Revista de Historia de America. Vol 1. 25-34 (1938)

Muldoon, James. John Wyclif and the rights of the infidels: the requerimiento re-examined. Washington University Press. (1980)