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(625 words)

Author(s): Melià, Bartomeu
1. Caribbean and Central America As early as 1503 a law was passed for the gathering of Indians in Latin America into settlements called reductions, with the aim of introducing them to a “political and human life” as the precondition of their true Christianizing. A Spanish edict of 1578 describes the purpose as follows: “In order that, as the rational beings they are, they may be able to be truly Christian and political, it is essential that they be gathered and brought into settlements and not live scattered lives on the mountains and in forests.” We may distinguish three phases in the h…