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The Requerimiento—a Spanish word meaning “requirement” or “demand”—was a document that was read aloud by the Spanish conquistadores of the early sixteenth century to native peoples in the Americas, demanding that they submit themselves to Spanish rule and to Christianity. In 1493 Pope Alexander VI, in the wake of Christopher Columbus's first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, had claimed the authority to grant the Spanish monarchy dominion over the New World. The Spanish jurist Juan López de...