(image source: CUP)
Over the course of the sixteenth century, Europeans writing about the ius gentium went from treating indigenous American rulers as the juridical equals of Europe's princes to depicting them as little more than savage brutes, incapable of bearing dominium and ineligible for the protections of the law of peoples. This essay examines the writings of Francisco de Vitoria and Alberico Gentili to show how this transformation in European perceptions of Native Americans resulted from fundamental changes in European society. The emergence of a novel conception of sovereignty amid the upheavals of the Protestant Reformation was central to this shift and provided a new foundation for Europe's continued imperial expansion into the Americas.
Read more with CUP, DOI 10.1017/rqx.2019.255.