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Manuscript rules for entry into the Order, 1588.

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“One should not be black, mixed race, nor any other dishonorable or subversive individual”


Franciscan Order of Friars Minor

[Rules for entry into the Order].

Spain, 1588.


Single sheet of vellum, 18,5 x 26,5 cm. 2 pp. manuscript in Spanish with illuminated margins and initials.


Manuscript rules for entry into the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor in Spain, explicitly stating the exclusion of people based on race and gender. This manuscript was made following the canonization of Didacus of Alcalá in 1588, when a chapter was held to elect new provosts and stewards into the Order. The text clearly stipulates that to enter this holy Order, one could be a man ("hombre") or a woman ("muger") but that one should not be black ("negro"), mixed race ("mulato"), Christian of Muslim origin ("morisco"), nor any other "dishonorable or subversive individual." Any member of the Brotherhood who admits one of these dishonorable people had to pay a fine of two pounds of wax and would be banished for a year. The apparent necessity to explicitly exclude minorities from joining the Order based on race has its origin in the long history of war in Spain between Catholics and the Islamic Moorish Kingdom (Reconquista), which led to racial division.

Condition: ink slightly faded in places, some staining, otherwise in good condition.

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