Vol. 51‎ > ‎


Deliberate Deception Revealed

Cortes, the Spanish, and the Expansion of Old World Cosmology

Marianne Kupin[1]

Duquesne University


This text illustrates the attempt of the Spanish to categorize the Amerindians of the New World.  The work of Anthony Pagden, and others, shows that the categorization process went through a variety of steps: from general equation, to Aristotelian logic, and finally to the expansion of European cosmology and, thus, the re-categorization of the new peoples to fit within said cosmology.  Cortes within his Five Letters to the Emperor shows that during this process of categorization there were those who deliberately utilized the equation process in order to justify their actions within the New World.  His improper correlation of the Amerindians with the Moors of Granada allowed him to do as he pleased with full support from the monarchy.  The work of Bartolome de Las Casas and others from the Salamanca School, however, prevented this permanent equation and allowed for the re-categorization process to move forward.  

[1] Marianne Kupin is a recent graduate of Duquesne University with an MA in historical studies. Her fields of study include religious coexistence during the late Medieval / early Ottoman period, frontier studies and the expansion of world ethos during the Age of Exploration. Currently she is an adjunct professor of history at the Community College of Allegheny County.   Email- kupinm@duq.edu

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