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encomienda

[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)
1.
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.
2.
the land or village together with its inhabitants.
Origin
1800-1810
1800-10; < Spanish: charge, commission, recommendation. See en-1, commend
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin and History for encomiendas

encomienda

n.

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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