Moreover, as your aforesaid envoys are of opinion, these very peoples living in the said islands and countries believe in one God, the Creator in heaven, and seem sufficiently disposed to embrace the Catholic faith and be trained in good morals. And it is hoped that, were they instructed, the name of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, would easily be introduced into the said countries and islands.
Also, on one of the chief of these aforesaid islands the said Christopher [Columbus] has already caused to be put together and built a fortress fairly equipped, wherein he has stationed as garrison certain Christians, companions of his, who are to make search for other remote and unknown islands and mainlands. In the islands and countries already discovered are found gold, spices, and very many other precious things of diverse kinds and qualities.
Wherefore, as becomes Catholic kings and princes, after earnest consideration of all matters, especially of the rise and spread of the Catholic faith, as was the fashion of your ancestors, kings of renowned memory, you have purposed with the favor of divine clemency to bring under your sway the said mainlands and islands with their residents and inhabitants and to bring them to the Catholic faith.
Europe finds its legal rationale for the taking of the Americas. Do it in the name of God, almighty. Really, it’s our duty! (The gold, spices and very many precious things don’t hurt, neither).
Today we’d say they all had “Aids”, or “Bird Flu”, and we needed to condomize, spray, spay and neuter them. And so we would try. But then, it was a simpler time, and conversion to the faith was more straightforward.
Spain was awarded the Americas by Pope Alexander VI, (a friend of the family), while Portugal had been awarded Africa by his predecessor (a friend of the Portuguese royal family). So it goes. (Keep friends in high places, I suppose, is the lesson).