Translating Solórzano

I am working on a project at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt to produce an authoritative, trilingual edition in Latin, English, and Spanish of the second volume of Juan de Solórzano y Pereira’s De Indiarum Iure, known as De Gubernatione (1639).

De Indiarum Iure is an important source not only for scholars of colonial Latin America but also for researchers working on early-modern colonialism more generally. Despite being an important text for scholars of Latin America and legal historians in particular, this text has been little studied and its content is often better known through Politica Indiana, Solórzano’s Spanish version of the two Latin volumes, which was published in 1647. Although a Spanish translation of the first volume of De Indiarum Iure in Latin and Spanish was published by the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, there is no modern edition or translation of the second volume.

The aim of this project is to make De Gubernatione much more accessible not only by translating it, but also by collaborating with a group of researchers from different backgrounds to produce a study of the text. As the project develops, there will be a colloquium and the resulting collection of essays will accompany the edition. This will help bring Solórzano to a broader range of scholars and stimulate the debate about how this text can be read and used.

My contribution to the project is to translate the text into English and Spanish and also to write two essays about the text: one analysing the Latin of the text, and the other examining how Solórzano uses Classical authors to construct and inform his arguments.

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