P R I N T I N G P E R M I S S I O N G R A N T E D B Y
K I N G P H I L I P I I
b e c a u s e w e w e r e i n f o r m e d that you, José de Acosta of the
Society of Jesus, had written a book in the Spanish language entitled Natural
and Moral History of the Indies, into which you had put much labor and care,
and you requested and implored Us, we grant you permission to allow it to
be printed in these Our realms under ecclesiastical privilege for ten years or
for as long as We please or Our pleasure extends.∞
The book having been seen
by the members of Our council, and since by its order investigations of the
present volume were made according to the terms of the pragmatic recently
issued by Us, it was agreed that We should issue this Our license in this
matter, and I gave My agreement. Hence, We give you license and permis-
sion for the period of ten years, counting from the day of the issuance of the
permission, to print and sell in Our realms the aforesaid book of which
mention is made above, from the original, which was examined in Our
1. Acosta was a member of the Society of Jesus, commonly known in English as the Jesuits, an order founded
by the Spaniard Ignatius Loyola in 1534. King Philip II (1527–98) was hesitant to allow the Jesuits to travel
to the New World because he feared conflict with the Dominican, Franciscan, and Augustinian orders, which
were already well established in Mexico and Peru. Moreover, the Spanish Crown was wary of potential
confrontations over jurisdiction with Rome, the home of the Jesuits’ centralized power structure. Despite
these concerns, King Philip granted his approval, and the first five Jesuits went to the New World in 1568 as
missionaries in Peru. In 1571, at the age of thirty-one, Acosta followed these pioneers. The Jesuits are best
known for their establishment of schools in colonial cities and their missionary work with indigenous peoples
in the reducciones of Paraguay. The ouster of the Jesuit order in 1759 from Brazilian territories and 1767 from
the Spanish colonies was grounded in long-standing political conflicts with the Crown and was ushered in by
policy changes of the Bourbon monarchy. On the Jesuits, see the various works of Nicholas Cushner,
including Lords of the Land: Sugar, Wine, and Jesuit Estates of Coastal Peru (Albany: State University of New
York Press, 1980); Herman W. Konrad, A Jesuit Hacienda in Colonial Mexico: Santa Lucia, 1576–1767 (Stan-
ford: Stanford University Press, 1980); and Magnus Morner, ed., The Expulsion of the Jesuits from Latin
America (New York: Knopf, 1965).
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