encomienda

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encomienda

(ānkōmyān`dä) [Span. encomendar=to entrust], system of tributory labor established in Spanish America. Developed as a means of securing an adequate and cheap labor supply, the encomienda was first used over the conquered Moors of Spain. Transplanted to the New World, it gave the conquistador control over the native populations by requiring them to pay tribute from their lands, which were "granted" to deserving subjects of the Spanish crown. The natives often rendered personal services as well. In return the grantee was theoretically obligated to protect his wards, to instruct them in the Christian faith, and to defend their right to use the land for their own subsistence. When first applied in the West Indies, this labor system wrought such hardship that the population was soon decimated. This resulted in efforts by the Spanish king and the Dominican order to suppress encomiendas, but the need of the conquerors to reward their supporters led to de facto recognition of the practice. The crown prevented the encomienda from becoming hereditary, and with the New Laws (1542) promulgated by Las CasasLas Casas, Bartolomé de
, 1474–1566, Spanish missionary and historian, called the apostle of the Indies. He went to Hispaniola with his father in 1502, and eight years later he was ordained a priest.
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, the system gradually died out, to be replaced by the repartimientorepartimiento
, in Spanish colonial practice, usually, the distribution of indigenous people for forced labor. In a broader sense it referred to any official distribution of goods, property, services, and the like.
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 and finally debt peonagepeonage
, system of involuntary servitude based on the indebtedness of the laborer (the peon) to his creditor. It was prevalent in Spanish America, especially in Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Peru.
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. Similar systems of land and labor apportionment were adopted by other colonial powers, notably the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the French.

Bibliography

See L. B. Simpson, The Encomienda in New Spain (rev. ed. 1966); J. F. Bannon, Indian Labor in the Spanish Indies (1966).

Encomienda

 

a form of exploitation of the Indian population in the Spanish colonies of America between the 16th and 18th centuries. Indians, who were nominally free, were “entrusted” to the Spanish colonialists, or encomenderos, to whom they were required to render payment in clothing, gold, or food and to perform corvée in the mines and on the estates of the encomenderos. In the 17th and 18th centuries the encomienda existed alongside other forms of colonial exploitation, such as the mita and peonage. The encomienda was officially abolished by royal decrees issued between 1718 and 1791, but in the majority of Spanish colonies it was retained until the early 19th century.

REFERENCES

Al’perovich, M. S. “O kharaktere i formakh ekspluatatsii indeitsev v amerikanskikh koloniakh Ispanii (XVI-XVIII vv.).” Novaia i noveishaia istoriia, 1957, no. 2.
Ivanov, G. I. “Enkom’enda v Meksike i vosstaniia indeitsev v XVI v.” Uchenye zap. Ivanovskogo ped. in-ta, 1964, vol. 35.
References in periodicals archive ?
32) En el caso de esta ultima, importantes Oficiales Reales y encomenderos como Juan Ponce de Leon, Miguel Diaz, Jeronimo de Bruselas, Cristobal de Sotomayor y Juan Ceron, figuraron entre los favorecidos con estas primeras licencias esclavistas.
El visitador comprobo el escaso cumplimiento de las ordenanzas alfarianas; establecio penas para los encomenderos que tenian deudas con sus tributarios y para aquellos que aun se beneficiaban del servicio personal, lo que deja entrever la importante responsabilidad de este sector en la pobreza y desarticulacion de los pueblos de indios.
Con la autoridad moral y la firmeza de espiritu que le caracterizaban, este fraile denuncio el pecado nefando que cometian los espanoles encomenderos.
Los espanoles, indignados, en particular las autoridades y los encomenderos, exigen a fray Pedro de Cordoba que se retracte publicamente de lo dicho por Montesinos.
El conquistador queria ser enterrado en el seno popular y no en el pantenn de la catedral, entre encomenderos y prelados.
El sistema de la encomienda, por tanto, resolvia el problema economico y el de la evangelizacion y beneficiaba a los conquistadores y encomenderos (Zavala, 1973: 16).
Un examen detallado de los veintidos folios que integran el pleito entre los encomenderos Pedro de Molina y Alvaro Botello, "encomendero Pedro de Molina, vecino de Timana, en pleito con Alvaro Botello por la encomienda de los indios de Caluana" (Molina, 1550-1564, fols 569r-590v), revela que los documentos mencionan a la "senora Guatipan" en dos ocasiones en relacion con su gente, los Otongos.
Para otros, como el franciscano Fray Toribio de Benavente, el indigena era bueno, pero inmaduro; por ello, podia ser obligado por la fuerza a convertirse y debia estar bajo el control de los frailes o los encomenderos.
Constituido el matrimonio--institucion de derecho privado--no podia el encomendero violentar la libertad de los indios lesionando el domicilio conyugal; ni separar a la india de su conyuge o hijos, aun cuando estas declararen que lo hacian libremente.
El repartimiento por otra parte establece limites a los encomenderos como es que no pueden tener mas de 300 indigenas, como que el tipo de reparto considera la condicion del colono.
Y jugemos a los encomenderos que / ellos ganan paseando ([730-731]).
Como puede verse, este sistema antillano dejaba intacto poco del derecho indio: eran jueces espanoles, encomenderos y visitadores los que aplicaban el derecho indigena; ademas, en muchas comunidades, los caciques eran mestizos, lo cual introducia mas elementos espanoles en la organizacion aborigen.