The Huffington Post has report on events that pertain to the extra-territorial or jurisdictional powers of lands colonized under the laws of Christendom. The Christian Doctrine of Discovery commanded the enslavement and conversion of indigenous peoples, their property and land. In the 1606 First Charter of Virginia and the 1620 Charter to the Council of New England, James I granted his colonists property rights in America because the lands were ‘not now actually possessed by any Christian Prince or People’ and ‘there is no other subjects of any Christian King or State…actually in Possession…whereby any Right, Claim, Interest, or Title, may…by that Means accrue.’ English monarchs also invoked other elements of Discovery when they granted colonial charters in America because they ordered their colonists to take Christianity and civilization to American Indians for the purpose of ‘propagating Christian Religion to those [who] as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God, and [to] bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those Parts, to human civility, and to a settled and quiet Government…’. King James also recognized the contiguity element of Discovery, the extent of land that could be claimed by actual possession, when he granted the Virginia colonists the right to own the lands, woods, and rivers within 100 English miles around sites where they actually built settlements.
Discovering Indigenous Lands: The Doctrine of Discovery in the English Colonies pg. 19. In 1823, the Doctrine of Discovery was written into U.S. law as a way to deny land rights to Native Americans in the Supreme Court case, Johnson v. McIntosh. It is ironic that the case did not directly involve any Native Americans since the decision stripped them of all rights to their independence. In 1775, Thomas Johnson and a group of British investors bought a tract of land from the Piankeshaw Indians. During the Revolutionary War, this land was taken from the British and became part of the U.S. in the “County of Illinois.” In 1818, the U.S. government sold part of the land to William McIntosh, a citizen of Illinois. This prompted Joshua Johnson, the heir to one of the original buyers, to claim the land through a lawsuit (which he later lost). In a unanimous decision, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that the Christian European nations had assumed complete control over the lands of America during the “Age of Discovery.” Upon winning independence in 1776, he noted, the U.S. inherited authority over these lands from Great Britain, “notwithstanding the occupancy of the natives, who were heathens…” According to the ruling, American Indians did not have any rights as independent nations, but only as tenants or residents of U.S. land. For Joshua Johnson, this meant that the original sale of land by the Piankeshaws was invalid because they were not the lawful owners. For Native Americans, this decision foreshadowed the Trail of Tears and a hundred years of forced removal and violence. Despite recent efforts to have the case repealed as a symbol of good will, Johnson v. McIntosh has never been overruled and remains good law.
L’Huffington Post posted an article By Guilia Belardelli on or baout 12/02/2014 4:16 pm EST Updated: 12/03/2014 1:59 am EST which stated: