Encomienda Timeline

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  • 1502
    The encomienda system is first applied to the Americas on the island of Hispaniola.
  • 1503
    The use of the system of encomienda in the Spanish Empire receives approval from the Spanish monarchy.
  • 1512
    The Laws of Burgos set out how indigenous peoples should be treated within the Spanish Empire.
  • 1522
    Bartolomé de Las Casas writes a graphic description of the Spanish colonial encomienda system in his "A Very Brief Recital of the Destruction of the Indies".
  • 1542
    The New Laws unsuccessfully attempt to reduce the application of the encomienda system in the Spanish Empire.
  • 1573
    Philip II of Spain prohibits the application of the encomienda system in any new territories of the Spanish Empire.
  • c. 1700
    The encomienda system goes into decline in most parts of the Spanish Empire.