The Encomienda System

By: Anavitarte, E. J.*

The encomienda was a legal institution, typical of medieval Spanish law, which consisted of the award to a knight, of a population over which to maintain dominion, in exchange for personally collecting the tributes and taxes of the place.

This institution would end up being introduced into the Kingdoms of the Indies of the Castilian Crown, since the discovery of the new world coincided with the gradual abandonment of feudal institutions in the Iberian Peninsula.

It worked, like the original institution, by entrusting to a subject of the crown, generally those who had acquired rights of conquest, a village of Indians, to ensure that they were Christianized, and to collect taxes from the crown.

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