The ‘Gänseliesel’ (Goose Girlis), a historical fountain erected in 1901, represents the most well-known landmark of the city of Goettingen.

"By What Right?": The Contributions of the Peninsular School for Peace to the Basis of the International Law of Indigenous Peoples

Sílvia Maria da Silveira Loureiro



This paper aims to investigate the Peninsular School for Peace’s contributions in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to the establishment of international law for indigenous peoples within a proper collective dimension. The recognition of collective rights of indigenous peoples is part of a phenomenon which occurred in the transition to the twenty-first century and is known as the collectivization of the international law of human rights. The first section of this article will discuss the inadequacy of modern human rights sources to recognize indigenous peoples as subjects of collective rights. This inadequacy stems from the lack of legal mechanisms that are able to reach the collective dimension of claimed international human rights in the context of contemporary indigenous movements. Thus, the second section will defend a pre-Westphalian conception of international law and support the return to its historic origins – in the Jus Gentium condition in an earlier view of the consolidation of the Modern Nation-State – in order to understand how the theorists from the Peninsular School for Peace faced questions of conscience generated by the collision between the Luso-Spanish kingdoms and indigenous sovereignty in the New World. For this purpose, the works of theologians Francisco de Vitória (1492-1546), Luis de Molina (1531-1600), and Francisco Suárez (1548-1617) provide insight. In this context, this paper endeavors to redeem the democratic peninsular doctrine towards a new reasoning for the international law of indigenous peoples.


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