Bartolome de las casas the devastation of the indies. Bartolome de las Casas: The Devastation of the Indies 2022-10-28
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Bartolome de Las Casas was a 16th century Spanish colonist and friar who is best known for his tireless advocacy for the rights and fair treatment of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. His most famous work, "The Devastation of the Indies," is a scathing critique of the brutal and inhumane treatment of native peoples by European colonizers, and is considered one of the first works of modern human rights literature.
Las Casas was born in Seville, Spain in 1484 and arrived in the New World in 1502 as a member of the conquistador force that accompanied Christopher Columbus on his fourth voyage to the Americas. Like many of his contemporaries, he was motivated by the prospect of wealth and adventure, and he quickly became involved in the conquest and colonization of the Caribbean and South America.
However, as he witnessed firsthand the atrocities committed against the native peoples of the Americas, Las Casas began to have second thoughts about the nature of the European conquest. He saw the brutal treatment of native peoples, including enslavement, murder, and forced conversion to Christianity, and he was deeply troubled by the impact of these actions on the indigenous societies and cultures.
In response to these horrors, Las Casas became an outspoken critic of the colonial system and an advocate for the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. In 1542, he wrote "The Devastation of the Indies," in which he detailed the brutalities and crimes committed against the native peoples by the Spanish colonizers. He argued that the indigenous peoples were entitled to the same rights and protections as any other human beings, and that their mistreatment was a grave injustice.
Las Casas' work had a profound impact on the way that the Spanish monarchy and the Catholic Church viewed the colonization of the Americas. His arguments helped to lay the foundations for the modern human rights movement, and his legacy continues to be celebrated by advocates for indigenous rights and social justice around the world.
Today, Las Casas is remembered as one of the most important figures in the history of human rights and social justice. His tireless efforts to expose and combat the injustices committed against the indigenous peoples of the Americas continue to inspire people around the world to work towards a more just and equitable world.
Bartolomé de las Casas
Whereupon the Indians desisted from doing any thing more until he had entered into the City. But for all that their chief Lord and Governor carried in a Litter came forth to meet him with Drums and Trumpets, and great joy; attended by many of the Nobles of the City of Utlacan the greatest Mart Town of that Kingdome, where they gave him provisions in abundance, with all that he could desire. And thus let us consider, in what estimation the Indians are among the Spaniards, and how the precept of Charity on which the Law and the Prophets depends is observed among them. Their repasts are such that the food of the holy fathers in the desert can scarcely be more parsimonious, scanty, and poor. Pope Paul III agreed and issued an edict in 1537 banning the enslavement of Native Americans. He gave me this answer, Pray sir be patient, for I was commanded by those that sent me, that those that I could not take by fair means, I should seize by force: yet the said Captain had related to me for certain, that in the Island of the Trinity he found them both fathers and mothers to him, which he spoke to his greater confusion and the aggravation of his crime. The Islands of St.
The Captain of the foresaid Spaniards called to him one of the Noble men of this Country, and commanded him to take these Idols and to distribute them among his people, and bring in exchange an Indian man or woman for every Idol, otherwise threatening to make war upon him; the foresaid Lord out of fear took those Idols, giving every one of them to his subjects, commanding them to worship them, and also to send back in recompense to the Spaniards some of their people to serve them. All his ships he filled with Indians, where they died for hunger and for thirst. Only they tell you slightly, that because such and such a one did ill and handled the Indians so cruelly, that therefore the Treasury of the King was much diminished; and this is all they do toward the suppression of so many heinous actions. Upon which the wretched Indians beating their breasts for grief would now and then burst forth in these words, O perverse men, O cruel Spaniards, What will ye kill helpless women? The encomendero would become their protector and baptize them as Catholics in exchange. Have they not rational souls? For the Spaniards so condemned them I now speak what I have seen without the least untruth that they used them not like beasts, for that would have been tolerable, but looked upon them as if they had been but the dung and filth of the earth, and so little they regarded the health of their souls, that they suffered this great multitude to die without the least light of Religion; neither is this less true then what I have said before and that which those tyrants and hangmen themselves dare not deny, without speaking a notorious falsehood, that the Indians never gave them the least cause to offer them violence, but received them as Angels sent from heaven, till their excessive cruelties, the torments and slaughters of their Countrymen mov'd them to take Arms against the Spaniards. In another Village, whose Inhabitants seem'd to be more vigilant, by reason of the horrid iniquities which, as they heard, the Spaniards were wont to commit, they put all to the sword, young and old, little and great, Lord and subject, sparing none that came in their way. The book's main setting is in the 19th century, during the settlement of New Mexico and Colorado and recalls the journeys that a priest undertook and the hardships overcame in order to meet his and the churches goal of bringing the Catholic faith to Mexicans and native Indians.
Free Essay: Bartolome de Las Casas, the Devastation of the Indies
They by many degrees crueler then the rest of whom we have spoken shewed themselves more fierce and greedy then Tigers, Wolves or Lyons; for having a jurisdiction over the Land, and therefore possessing it more freely, they bestirred themselves with greater fury and covetousness in the heaping up of Gold and Silver, then any of their Predecessors had done before them; laying aside all fear of God, or of the King, and forgetting all humanity. For the present I will rehearse a part of those things which the Bishops of these Provinces wrote to the King our Sovereign Lord. Martha, where they found the Indians in their houses and Cities very peaceably employed about their occasions, where they liv'd a good while at the charges of the inhabitants, the Indians serving them like men in whose power their lives and safeties were, enduring beyond imagination their continual importunities and daily oppressions, which were almost intolerable. They hastened also the death of many of these poor people, by forcing them to carry timber and planks for shipping to the port that was distant about thirty miles from this place; compelling them also to fetch honey and wax from the Mountains, where they were many times devoured by the tigers. This policy was met with revolts and refusal to follow the law. Among the rest, a certain seditious rebel entering into a region bordering upon Guatemala, burnt up their City, killing the Inhabitants, and laying waste all the Country, which he did on purpose, that if he should be pursued by his enemies, they might be liable to the revenge of the Indians as they passed along; which happened accordingly, for there the chief Commander from whose power the foresaid Captain had rebell'd, was slain; but he was succeeded by many other fell tyrants, who with their wonted cruelties and captivity destroyed the people, selling them to those that brought garments and other provision, and by that kind of servitude, which they practiced from the year 1524.
Bartolome de las Casas: The Devastation of the Indies
He made it very clear that the indigenous people were far from deserving of this torturous treatment. Then the Lord Hathvey going on with his speech, quoth he, If we do keep this God till he be taken from us, we shall be surely slain, and therefore I think it expedient for us to cast it into the River; so his counsel being followed, the Chest was cast into the River. This the tyrant himself confessed, writing that this County was more populous then the County of Mexico, as indeed it was. First I am an eyewitness, and do affirm upon my knowledge that the inhabitants of Peru were a Nation very courteous, affable, and loving to the Spaniards; and I have seen Presents of Gold, Silver, and precious Stones, given by those people to the Spaniards in great abundance, besides many other offices of service which they daily did for them. Invest In Our Future The most effective way to secure a freer America with more opportunity for all is through engaging, educating, and empowering our youth.
Why have you burnt our gods, when as they do bring and fell others among us? For these quiet lambs, they drew them by violence out of their houses, carrying them, together with their wives and children into Captivity, afflicting them in those horrid manners as abovesaid, and burning them with the mark of Slaves. Notwithstanding something I shall say of every one of them; though I do seriously protest, that I cannot rehearse one thing of a thousand in respect of all that were done. This Governor went further, having a great desire to see the lower parts of Peru; for which journey he provided an infinite number of Indians, lading them with chains and heavy burdens; and if any of them fainted by the way, because they would not stand to loosen the chains, they cut off their hands and heads, casting the head one way, and the body another, and their burdens were divided and impos'd upon others. It points out the influence of the earliest Spanish missionaries of the 16th century through the latter part of the 19th century involving French missionaries and exposes the corruptness as well as the dedication of the missionaries of the church. The rest saved themselves by flight. And therefore they made a Law among themselves, that all the Indians which they took, of what ever sex or degree, should be thrown into those pits which they had made: Into these pits they threw women big with childe, and all the aged persons that they could light upon, till the pit was full. And they did this for the sole reason that he had fled from those cruel and wicked Christians and had defended himself against them.
A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Bartolomé de las Casas
And because they are so weak and complaisant, they are less able to endure heavy labor and soon die of no matter what malady. But those things for which it is chiefly famous are Honey and Wax, which it afforded to all the Countries of India, which have been hitherto discovered. Are these not men? As for his counterargument, Las Casas called on St Augustine and "international law" to say that the indigenous people didn't meet the standard set by Aristotle. Martha, with a resolution to make a further discovery of the Divine Gold of Peru: But they found that glorious Country so desert, so depopulated, so wasted and destroyed, that they themselves though a crew of blood thirsty Tyrants, were amaz'd and wondered to behold such ruins and depopulations. He blamed the depopulation of the Native American populations on Spanish brutality rather than on the spread of disease.
The devastation of the Indies : a brief account : Casas, Bartolomé de las, 1484
In 1552, after forty years of witnessing—and opposing—countless acts of brutality in the new Spanish colonies, Las Casas returned to Seville, where he published a book that caused a storm of controversy that persists to the present day. And thus, also they carried their Artillery from one place to another, putting them upon their naked shoulders, whereby being oppressed with the monstrous weight of those burdens, they funk down often of them in the way, of which I was many times an eyewitness. And also, those lands are so rich and felicitous, the native peoples so meek and patient, so easy to subject, that our Spaniards have no more consideration for them than beasts. While he was tied to the stake, there came to him a Monk of the Order of St. But the main care was to send the men to work in the Gold Mines, which is an intolerable labor, and to send the women to manure and till the ground; an exercise fit only for the stoutest men. In 1552, Las Casas published a shocking account of Spanish cruelties, A Very Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies.
All this region was more populous then either Toledo, Seville, Valladolid, Augusta Cesarea, or Faventia; nay I may affirm that there is not at this present, neither was there when those places were at the highest of their flourishing estate, so many people as in those parts, which take up the space of above a thousand and eight hundred miles. If an indigenous person had an issue with another indigenous person, their government could solve it, but if the case involved the Spanish, it had to go through Spanish courts. Fig 1: Bartolomé de las Casas Bartolomé de las Casas and African Slavery From 1515 to 1516, Casas wrote the Memorial Remedies for the Indies, a critique of the encomienda system and a proposal to correct it. Now being in this manner gathered together in a great and wide place, part of the Spaniards all in arm, stood at the door to keep the rest out, while others with Swords and Lances kill'd the innocent Lambs, so that not one escaped. Whereupon every one took a hundred less or more, according as his occasions required. Dominic, who went to these parts through the mercy of God, desiring the salvation of the Indians, that so many precious souls redeemed with the blood of Christ might not perish, but wishing with my whole heart, that they might through the knowledge of their Creator live eternally: Because of the care also and compassion which I bear to my Country, which is Castile, fearing left God should destroy it in his anger for the sins which it hath committed against his divine Majesty, the faith and the honor of divers great persons in the Court of Spain, zealously religious, and who abominate these bloody and detestable actions, after many hindrances of business, did at length put an end to this brief Tractate at Valencia the eighth day of December 1542. For this, his testimony is now a valuable piece of historiography.
He worked his charges hard and became very prosperous. In this Kingdom of Jalisco they consumed by fire six thousand villages, upon which the Indians growing desperate, seeing the remainder of those that escaped daily destroyed; they made an insurrection against the Spaniards, and killing some of them, as they well deserved, they betook themselves again to the Mountains. The blindness of the chief Governors of the Indies not permitting them to discern, that no man can be called a Rebel who is not before a Subject. In April 1550 he debated the Spanish apologist Juan Ginés de Sepulveda. But they ill rewarded them in the end, killing a very great number of them with their swords and lances, and those whom they took alive they carri'd away into Captivity, emptying and destroying the Country, with many other cruelties.