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[en-koh-mee-en-duh, -kom-ee-; Spanish eng-kaw-myen-dah] /ɛnˌkoʊ miˈɛn də, -ˌkɒm i-; Spanish ˌɛŋ kɔˈmyɛn dɑ/
noun, plural encomiendas
[en-koh-mee-en-duh z, -kom-ee-; Spanish eng-kaw-myen-dahs] /ɛnˌkoʊ miˈɛn dəz, -ˌkɒm i-; Spanish ˌɛŋ kɔˈmyɛn dɑs/ (Show IPA)
(formerly in Spanish America)
the system, instituted in 1503, under which a Spanish soldier or colonist was granted a tract of land or a village together with its Indian inhabitants.
the land or village together with its inhabitants.
Origin of encomienda
1800-10; < Spanish: charge, commission, recommendation. See en-1, commend Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Contemporary definitions for encomiendas

in the US, a land grant system started in 1503 which gave certain Spaniards an estate or tract of land in America as well as the Native American inhabitants of that land; also, this tract of land and its inhabitants


Encomienda provided for Indian tribute in exchange for protection and Christian instruction.

Usage Note

encomendero n's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for encomiendas



1810, from Spanish, "commission," from encomendar "to commit, charge." Estate granted to a Spaniard in America with powers to tax the Indians.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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