Bartolomé de Las Casas Publishes Brief Relation of the Destruction of the Indies (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: Bartolomé de Las Casas publishes Brief Relation of the Destruction of the Indies, describing and criticizing the cruelties visited on the indigenous people of the New World by the Spanish conquistadores during the sixteenth century.
Summary of Event
The Catholic priest Bartolomé de Las Casas arrived in the West Indies during 1502, ten years after Christopher Columbus’ first voyage. Las Casas became a constant critic of Spanish behavior toward native peoples, writing several books on the subject, including Brief Relation of the Destruction of the Indies (1552). While Las Casas’ reports did little to stop the cruelty of the conquest, they did help influence papal declarations that Native Americans were to be regarded as human beings, and not as beasts. Having found them human, Las Casas and other priests also found the native peoples to be eligible for conversion to Christianity.
Las Casas’ writings were part of a broader debate in Spain over the treatment of Native American peoples by the Spanish during the sixteenth century. The Spanish crown was very legalistic, and very concerned that its...
(The entire section is 1621 words.)
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