Just War in Las Casas's Tratado de las Doce dudas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter reviews Bartolomé de las Casas’s main approaches to the doctrine of just war, placing him in the context of sixteenth-century Spanish thought on the matter and with particular emphasis placed on his last major work, the Tratado de las doce dudas. This work elaborates on the causes of just war that the Indians in Peru had against the Spaniards while arguing that the war the latter had inflicted was unjust and tyrannical. Las Casas revealed himself to be an author who stressed the American Indians’ liberty and political agency, and he went to great lengths to defend them. Also, even though he claimed that the legitimacy of Spanish rule in the American lands rested solely on the Spanish monarchs’ duty to spread the Christian faith, Las Casas upheld the Indians’ original right to practice and defend their religion. His formulation of the just war doctrine places him in a transitional position between medieval and modern thought, which suggests paths for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudies in the History of Christian Traditions
Subtitle of host publicationHistory, Philosophy, and Theology in the Age of European Expansion
EditorsDavid Thomas Orique, Rady Roldán-Figueroa
Place of PublicationLeiden
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-36973-3
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameStudies in the History of Christian Traditions
ISSN (Print)1573-5664


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