in 1512-1513 the Laws of Burgos were passed.  They dealt with native treatment.  Although the laws sounded high-minded for the day, the reality was that they were paternalistic, unenforceable, and laughable when compared to New World reality.  The most famous document from those laws became known as the Requirement, which is partly reproduced at this footnote.[24]  The Requirement epitomized Spanish legalism.  Legalism is a sign of a degenerate system, where form prevails over substance.  Spanish legalism resembled that of the late Western Roman Empire..  Las Casas wrote that he did not know whether to laugh or cry after reading the Requirement. 

The Requirement was usually read to people who did not understand Spanish.  Las Casas, who knew and admired Columbus, recorded that a typical Spanish strategy was to read the Requirement in the night jungle before attacking the villages.  Care was taken so the Requirement would not be read where the natives could hear it, so they would not awaken.[25]  It was sometimes read from ship to the distant shoreline.  For instance, during a 1518 entrada to the Yucatán, the Spaniards went ashore on the island of Cozumel.  The Spaniards’ reputation preceded them, and the local populace fled.  Undeterred, the Spaniards climbed the town pyramid.  They read the Requirement to the sky, and then posted it (unreadable to the natives) to the side of the pyramid.  Duty was fulfilled.[26]



Formal proclamations of taking land in the name of kings and empires was a Spanish tradition, and after 1513, at every new beach and every village or town the Spaniards encountered, the welcoming natives were treated to a reading of the Requirement, or Requerimiento.  An example is when Pizarro made his first excursion to the Incan Empire in 1527.  The first Incan noble he met was told the following:

"I, Francisco Pizarro, servant of the high and mighty kings of Castile and Léon, conquerors of barbarian peoples, and being their messenger and Captain, hereby notify and inform you...that God Our Lord, One and Eternal, created Heaven and Earth and a man and a woman from whom you and I and all the people of the world are descended...Because of the great multitude begotten from these over the past 5000 and some years since the world was made...God placed one called Saint Peter in charge over all these peoples...

"And so I request and require you... to recognize the Church as your mistress and as Governess of the World and Universe, and the High Priest, called the Pope, in Her name, and his Majesty (king of Spain) in Her place, as Ruler and Lord King...

"And if you do not do this...with the help of God I shall come mightily against you, and I shall make a war on you everywhere and in every way that I can, and I shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and His Majesty, and I shall seize your women and children, and I shall make them slaves, to sell and dispose of as his Majesty commands, and I shall do all the evil and damage to you that I am able.  And I insist that the deaths and destruction that result from this will be your fault." …..