Definition of encomienda in English:



  • A grant by the Spanish Crown to a colonist in America conferring the right to demand tribute and forced labour from the Indian inhabitants of an area.

    • ‘The entire Soconusco area became a Crown encomienda, with small-scale plots worked by individual families.’
    • ‘First, the Franciscans were highly critical of the military conquest of the Indians and of the encomienda system in general.’
    • ‘The encomienda system obliged Indians to work for the Spanish in order to pay a large tax.’
    • ‘On his Third Voyage, confronted with a rebellion among his own men, he instituted a system, later known as encomiendas, under which each Spaniard was granted a large piece of cultivated land and all the natives who lived on it.’
    • ‘The political and economic system they instituted to carry out their aims, called encomienda, granted soldiers and colonists land and mining permits, as well as the slave labor of the natives.’


Spanish, ‘commission, charge’.