The role of Bartolomé de Las Casas in the history of the United States of He served as a soldier and public official at various places in the West Indies and was. Bartolomé de Las Casas was a missionary, Dominican theologian, historian, and Las Casas’s massive History of the Indies, finished in manuscript during. History of the Indies (European perspectives) [Bartolomé de las Casas] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. nothing additional.

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In he saw Christopher Columbus pass through Seville on his return from the first voyage across the Atlantic. Las Casas first traveled to the Western Hemisphere in to manage the land Columbus gave his father. Like other colonists, Las Casas at first gave no thought to the encomienda system of royal land grants that included Indians to work the fields in exchange for educating them in Christianity.

Returning to Europe inLas Casas was ordained histoy priest in Rome. He returned to the West Indies and in — served as chaplain to the invaders during the conquest of Cuba. After that campaign he was awarded additional land.

Upon listening to a sermon by a Dominican father denouncing the treatment of Indians, Las Casas relinquished his holdings to the governor. With the support of the archbishop of Toledo, Las Casas was named priest-procurator of the Indies in He returned to the Western Hemisphere as a member of a commission of dee. During he developed an alternative to the encomienda system in Venezuela with a barolome of farm communities.

After the failure of this idealistic scheme to get Spanish farmers to work alongside free natives, Las Casas joined the Dominican order in Santo Domingo during Over the following decades Las Casas ceaselessly promulgated an ideological position that Indians had the right to their land and that papal grants to Spain were for the conversion of souls, not the appropriation of resources.

Developing into a politically astute lobbyist, he was often able to effect positive change, such as insuring a peaceful entry into Guatemala by Dominican friars.

During he was named bishop of Chiapas in Guatemala to enforce the “New Laws” kndies Emperor Charles V ruled —which prohibited slavery and limited ownership of Indians to a single generation. The settlers objected to any limits, and many clergy would not follow the new bishop’s lead. After the king rescinded the prohibition on inheritance, Las Casas resigned his office in and returned to Spain. This tireless “Defender of the Indians” crossed the Atlantic ten times in all.

After he published his Brief Relation of the Destruction of the Indies in Seville duringa flood of hectoring books followed.

Las Casas appeared at a debate before the Council of Valladolid, where he spoke for five days straight. He influenced the committee not to approve his opponent’s book for publication.

Bartolome De Las Casas |

Las Casas’s massive History of the Indies, finished in manuscript during but unpublished untilincorporates an invaluable abstract of Columbus’s now lost first logbook. The book demonstrates a prophetic intent to reveal to Spain that the injustices of its colonial rule would lead to a terrible punishment at God ‘s hand. Spanish patriots condemned Las Casas for helping create with his tireless propaganda a “Black Legend” that Spaniards were exceptionally cruel.

The English published a translation of the Brief Relation when they were about to seize Jamaica. Another edition was issued by the U. Las Casas has been applauded by proponents of human rights. In all his actions and writings he operated, however, from an unexamined theoretical foundation that maintains that Catholic Christianity is God’s chosen creed for all people, and thus the argument with his opponents was primarily over the means to that conversion. In this sense the Indians were treated by him as wards who were allowed no doctrinal choice.

Enemies in his time and some later scholars have argued that Las Casas shaped the truth as he wished it to be, exaggerating statistics about the loss of life and sometimes writing about places he had never been. Some recent estimates of the population of the mainland and islands argue that the loss of life was originally higher than even Las Casas believed, and so the decline was much steeper than he estimated.

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It has also been shown that some of his remarks about areas outside the scope of his observation were drawn from official reports. He and his writings continue to be controversial, but he remains a key figure in historical scholarship about human rights. The Caribbean ; Toleration. History of the Indies. Edited and translated by George Sanderlin.

In Defense of the Indians: Translated and edited by Stafford Poole. Edited by Nigel Griffin. New York and London, Friede, Juan, and Benjamin Keen, eds. Toward an Understanding of the Man and His Work. Aristotle and the American Indians. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World. Retrieved December 11, from Encyclopedia.

Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. Early Years in the New World. In at the age of eighteen, Las Casas went to the Indies for the first time, and in he became the first priest to be ordained in the New World. He subsequently served as a chaplain on a Spanish military campaign that conquered various regions of the island of Cuba.

Like other members of such expeditions Las Casas received in return for his services a grant of land and Indian slave labor.

Father Bartolome de las Casas

He then began an active campaign of intercession with Spanish authorities on behalf of the rights of conquered Indian populations. In the s he began to publish a series of writings about Spanish massacres of native communities and other atrocities that he claimed to have witnessed.

He aimed his writings squarely at the moral consciences tthe Spanish civic and religious officials, whom he hoped would respond with strict policies preventing mistreatment of New World natives by Spanish settlers. His most famous work, The Devastation of the Indies: A Brief Accountwas published in its definitive form in Seville in In this short book Las Casas portrayed Spanish conquerors tne settlers in the New World as barbaric murderers of gentle and innocent Indians. He supported his case with dozens of dramatic and horrifying tales of Spanish cruelty.

Bartolomé de las Casas

Nonetheless his writings attracted a great deal of attention both inside and outside of Spain, contributing significantly to a growing debate about the proper treatment of conquered populations in the New World.

As early as Charles responded to the pleas of Las Casas and other Native American rights advocates by ordering that New World natives be governed equitably and without force of arms. Half a world away on the other side of the Atlantic, however, the proclamations of kings and popes in Europe meant little.

Spanish settlers in the Americas frequently either disregarded or circumvented such bartklome, and exploitation of New World natives continued into the seventeenth century. Any portrayal of Las Casas as a human rights advocate must be balanced by the recognition that his campaigns for better treatment of conquered Native American populations included calls for increased use of African slave labor to take the place of the Indians.

Although some biographers note that Las Casas also appears to have developed misgivings late in life about the enslavement of Africans, he never publicized such views in print. In addition the image of Spanish cruelty and barbarism fostered ironically by the Spaniard Las Casas continued to shape foreign opinion of Spain well into the twentieth century.

Even as late as U. Johns Hopkins University Press, He was the principal organizer and champion of the 16th-century movement in Spain and Spanish America in defense of the Indians. Apparently he did not graduate from a university, although he studied Latin and the humanities in Seville.

The facts of his life after are well known. In the West Indies he participated in Indian wars, acquired land and slaves, and felt no serious qualms about his actions, although he had been ordained a priest. Not until his fortieth year did Las Casas experience a moral conversion, perhaps the awakening of a dormant sensitivity as a result of the horrors he saw about him. His early efforts at the Spanish court were largely directed at securing approval for the establishment of model colonies in which Spanish farmers would live and labor side by side with Indians in a peaceful coexistence that would gently lead the natives to Christianity and Christian civilization.


The disastrous failure of one such project on the coast of Venezuela caused Las Casas to retire for 10 years to a monastery and to enter the Dominican order. Las Casas appeared to have won a brilliant victory with the promulgation of the New Laws of These laws banned Indian slavery, prohibited Indian forced labor, and provided for gradual abolition of the encomienda system, which held the Indians living on agricultural lands in serfdom.

Faced with revolt by the encomenderos in Peru and the threat of revolt elsewhere, however, the Crown made a partial retreat, repealing the provisions most objectionable to the colonists. The highest point of Las Casas’ argument was an eloquent affirmation of the equality of all races, the essential oneness of mankind. To the end of a long life Las Casas fought passionately for justice for his beloved Indians. As part of his campaign in their defense, he wrote numerous tracts and books.

The world generally knows him best for his flaming indictment of Spanish cruelty to the Indians, Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indiesa work based largely on official reports to the Crown and soon translated into the major European languages. Historians regard most highly his Historia de las Indias, which is indispensable to every student of the first phase of the Spanish conquest. Other studies of Las Casas include Alice J. He went to Hispaniola with his father inand eight years later he was ordained a priest.

In he began to work for the improvement of conditions among the indigenous population, especially for the abolition of their slavery and of the forced labor of the encomienda. He devoted the rest of his life to that cause, going to Spain to urge the government to action, converting uncivilized tribes, and striving to break the power of Spanish landholders over native laborers. He tried unsuccessfully to establish a model colony for people of indigenous descent —21went to Peru with a royal cedula prohibiting native enslavement, worked among the native people of Guatemala, and for a brief time —47 was bishop of Chiapa.

In his concern to help the indigenous people of South America he endorsed the proposal to import African slaves, but repented his action almost immediately. Chiefly through his agency, humanitarian laws, called the New Laws, were adopted to protect the indigenous people in Spanish colonies, although later alterations, notably those of Pedro de la Gascarendered them almost ineffective. The writings of Las Casas contain good anthropological and historical material.

He spent much of his time writing the monumental Historia de las Indias —76 ; for selections in English translation, see Tears of the Indians ed. See biographies by H. Wagnerand J. He went to Hispaniola inand spent his life alleviating the conditions of the Native Americans ; his History of the Indies recounts their persecution by Spanish colonists.

Journey to the New World. The son of a merchant who would accompany Christopher Columbus on his second voyage and a woman who owned a bakery, Bartolome de Las Casas was born in Seville, Spain, probably in He was there in Marchwhen Columbus returned triumphantly from his first voyage.

Las Casas prepared for a career in the church, studying theology and law. Inbecause of his family connections, he accompanied the first governor of the island of Hispaniola to the New World.