Vitoria, Francisco de

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Vitoria, Francisco de

Francisco de Vitoria was a Spanish theologian, teacher, and defender of the rights of the Native Americans who inhabited the newly discovered continents of North and South America.

Vitoria was born circa 1483 in Vitoria, Álava, Spain. He taught at the University of Valladolid from 1523 until 1526. In that year, he moved to Salamanca, Spain, where he taught theology for the next twenty years.

Vitoria's campaign for the rights of native peoples started in 1532, when he began a series of lectures on that subject. He incorporated the substance of these lectures into a treatise entitled Relecciones De Indis et De iure belli [Readings on the Indians and on the Law of War]. The work not only advocated the case for the Native Americans but also presented basic precepts on the law of nations.

"[Jus gentium] is what natural reason has established among nations."
—Francisco de Vitoria

In his fight for freedom for Native Americans, Vitoria asserted that they owned the territories they inhabited and opposed their compulsory conversion to Christianity. He believed that the Spanish government should establish a ruling system that would benefit, not injure, the native people.

Vitoria believed that an ideal government would receive its authority from the people and would rely on the tenets of Natural Law and reason to enact laws beneficial to all.

Further readings

Anghie, Antony. 1996. "Francisco de Vitoria and the Colonial Origins of International Law." Social & Legal Studies 5 (September).

Hernandez, Ramon. 1992. "The Internationalization of Francisco de Vitoria and Domingo de Soto." Fordham International Law Journal 15 (summer).

Kennedy, David. 1986. "Primitive Legal Scholarship." Harvard International Law Journal 27 (winter).

Scott, James Brown. 1934. The Spanish Origin of International Law: Francisco de Vitoria and His Law of Nations. Reprint, 2000. Union, N.J.: Lawbook Exchange.


Native American Rights.

References in periodicals archive ?
It is, he notes, "a strictly theological movement of the sixteenth century, devoted principally to the task of theological renovation and modernisation, and which embraced a broad group spanning across three generations of theologians and professors belonging to the Faculty of Theology of the University of Salamanca, all of whom considered Francisco de Vitoria the main founder of that movement, and who followed the avenues of theological reform initiated by him until the beginning of the seventeenth century.
His work is dedicated to an analysis of the economic thought of the founder of the so-called School of Salamanca, Francisco de Vitoria, OP (1492-1546).
Francisco de Vitoria heeft echter niet (kunnen) voorzien dat de handel in Afrikaanse slaven mede hierdoor kon ontstaan.
39) The two most important writings are FRANCISCO DE VITORIA, On the American Indians, in VITORIA: POLITICAL WRITINGS 154 (1991) and FRANCISCO DE VITORIA, On the Law of War, in VITORIA: POLITICAL WRITINGS 299 (1991), both delivered as lectures in 1539.
On the Spanish side, one can find evidence of our claims by looking at the prophetic and academic action of Francisco de Vitoria.
This ressourcement focuses on two 16th-century Spanish Dominicans, Francisco de Vitoria and Bartolome de Las Casas.
Among the 13 excerpts are Quintilian on the orator as philosopher, Isidor of Seville from the Etymologies, Ibn Rushd on the connection between religion and philosophy, Maimonides on God and creation, Francisco de Vitoria on whether war is ever just, Bartolome on human sacrifice and cannibalism, Francisco Suarez on power and the people, and Miguel de Unamuno's quixotic ethics.
Later, the Catholic scholars Francisco de Vitoria (who, in 1536, argued that the natives of the Americas weren't inferior to Europeans and shouldn't be enslaved), Francisco Suarez (a Jesuit theologian and philosopher), and Hugo Grotius (a humanist, widely considered the father of international law) formalized the theory.
Most of the academic literature that survives from this period was produced by university teachers; the more famous examples include the repetitiones of humanist Antonio de Nebrija from the early 1500s, and those of Dominican theologian Francisco de Vitoria from the 1530s and 1540s.
Her treatment is especially thorough on fourteenth to sixteenth-century authors such as Buridan, Saint Antoninus of Florence, Francisco de Vitoria, Domingo de Soto, and Fernando Vazquez de Menchaca.
1) The other candidate is the sixteenth-century Spanish Dominican philosopher and theologian, Francisco de Vitoria.
The School of Salamanca is a body of theological, philosophical, and economic thought founded by 16th-century Dominican theologian Francisco de Vitoria, who is also celebrated as one of the founders of international law.
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