The Sordid Influence of the Doctrine of Discovery
By T. Lulani Arquette
The Doctrine of Discovery (DOD) was developed by Roman Catholic Popes beginning in 1452 to justify and provide a legal basis for European Christian nations to expand their empires, take the land and resources of non-white civilizations around the world, and destroy those who would not convert to Christianity. The origins of the document can be traced to Nicholas the V’s Papal bull (official charter) which allowed Portugal to claim and conquer lands in West Africa. Alexander the VI extended the right to Spain in 1493 to conquer newly found lands and peoples through his own Papal bull, after Christopher Columbus had already begun his “explorations” in the Americas.
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