Vitoria, Salamanca, and the American Indians

  • Carlos G. Noreña
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 82)


Juan Luis Vives and Francisco de Vitoria were, without any doubt, the most outstanding representatives of Spanish intellectual life during the reign of Charles V. The differences between the two men, striking as they are, reveal the inner tension in Spanish thought during the first half of the sixteenth century. Vives the layman, Jewish exile, prolific writer, humanist and pedagogue was, as a good cosmopolitan European, primarily concerned with the cultural crisis of his age. Vitoria the Dominican monk, professor at Salamanca, scholastic theologian, counselor of kings and bishops was, above all, a teacher bent on clarifying the new moral and juridical issues raised by Spain’s European and American politics. In many ways Vives was more European than Spanish; Vitoria, on the other hand, belongs entirely to Castile. Vives had no disciples to speak of, but his insights and premonitions recur with increasing clarity in the leading avenues of modern European philosophy. Vitoria’s name has become inseparably associated with the University of Salamanca and Spanish Renaissance scholasticism, of which he was, in its early stage, the leading exponent and inspiration. In spite of these obvious differences, Vives and Vitoria had much in common. Both men were extraordinarily aware of the problems and challenges brought about by the changing conditions of the day, and tackled the new realities with a novel outlook and method typical of sixteenth century Renaissance.


AMERICAN INDIANS Common Good Sixteenth Century Sovereign State Political Body 
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© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1975

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  • Carlos G. Noreña

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