A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies

By Bartolome De Las Casas; Bartolome De Las Casas; Bartolome de Las Casas
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780140445626, 192pp.)

Publication Date: November 1992

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Description
Bartolome de Las Casas was the first and fiercest critic of Spanish colonialism in the New World. An early traveller to the Americas who sailed on one of Columbus's voyages, Las Casas was so horrified by the wholesale massacre he witnessed that he dedicated his life to protecting the Indian community. He wrote "A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies" in 1542, a shocking catalogue of mass slaughter, torture and slavery, which showed that the evangelizing vision of Columbus had descended under later conquistadors into genocide. Dedicated to Philip II to alert the Castilian Crown to these atrocities and demand that the Indians be entitled to the basic rights of humankind, this passionate work of documentary vividness outraged Europe and contributed to the idea of the Spanish 'Black Legend' that would last for centuries.
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About the Author
Bartolom de las Casas (Sevilla, 1474-Madrid, 1566). Espa a. En 1502 fue a La Espa ola (hoy Rep blica Dominicana) para hacerse cargo de las propiedades de su padre. Diez a os despu 's fue el primer sacerdote ordenado en Am rica. M 's tarde vivi en Cuba y obtuvo numerosas riquezas gracias a los repartimientos y encomiendas. En 1514 regres a Espa a, y renunci a todas sus propiedades. Afectado por su experiencia americana, pretendi imponer un nuevo modelo de evangelizaci n y se convirti en un ferviente defensor de los derechos de los indios. Sin embargo, su actitud provoc la enemistad de obispos, gobernadores y miembros del poderoso e influyente Consejo de Indias. En 1520 volvi a Am rica para poner en pr ctica en Cuman (Venezuela) sus ideas sobre una colonizaci n pac fica. Fracas . A os despu 's predic en tierras de Nicaragua y Guatemala, hasta que en 1540 regres a Espa a, donde fue uno de los m 's destacados impulsores de las Leyes Nuevas (1542). Nombrado obispo en Sevilla, en 1544, tom posesi n de la di cesis de Chiapas (provincia de la capitan a general de Guatemala), all denunci los cr menes de los colonos. Tuvo muchos enemigos. En 1546 pas a M xico y un a o despu 's regres a Espa a. Durante esta poca redact su Historia de las Indias (1552-1561), publicada en 1875. Su defensa de los ind genas le hizo reclamar la presencia de negros africanos para que trabajasen como esclavos en Am rica en lugar de aqu llos.

In 1502, he went to Hispaniola. He became one of the great students and chroniclers of the Americas under the Conquest, and argued for the humane treatment of indigenous peoples.

Bartolome de las Casas, (1484-1566), was a 16th-century Spanish Dominican priest, writer and the first resident Bishop of Chiapas. As a settler in the New World he witnessed, and was driven to oppose, the torture and genocide of the Native Americans by the Spanish colonists and pushed for rights of the natives appealing to the imperial court of Charles V. His stance for African slaves' rights was later than the one for native slavery.
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