The International Law of Discovery, Indigenous Peoples, and Chile
Robert J. Miller
Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
Lisa M. Lesage
Lewis & Clark Law School
Sebastian Lopez Escarcena
Pontifical Catholic University of Chile - Law Faculty
August 27, 2010
Nebraska Law Review, Forthcoming
Lewis & Clark Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-24
The Doctrine of Discovery, viewed through the lens of six hundred years of international law, has shaped Chile’s legal history, from Diego de Almagro’s first footprint in the north to its later claim to part of Patagonia and Antarctica. A comparative law examination of the Doctrine’s long history in Latin America demonstrates that the European acquisition of Chile was founded on what can be considered today to be feudal, religious, racial, and ethnocentric justifications. The adaptation of many of the Doctrine’s elements into the Chilean government’s own domestic policies over the past two hundred years has had profound implications for its Indigenous peoples. Chile’s attempts to create a more positive and equal future for its citizens, just as the efforts of settler societies such as Spain, Portugal, England, and the United States, must begin with an enlightened recognition of this history. Only then can serious efforts to eradicate the vestiges of this doctrine from international law provide resolution of deeply-rooted issues in a place of justice and healing.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 117
Keywords: international law, Doctrine of Discovery, colonization, settler societies, Spainworking papers series
Date posted: August 30, 2010 ; Last revised: October 13, 2010
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