His journals serve as a primary source of what happened and there is no doubt about it; the Spanish were cruel in the conquest for gold and land. Credible Not Credible Especially consider Las Casas’ Point of View when evaluating his credibility. As to the firm land, we are certainly satisfied, and assured, that the Spaniards by their barbarous and execrable Actions have absolutely depopulated Ten Kingdoms, of greater extent than all Spain, together with the Kingdoms of Aragon and Portugal, that is to say, above One Thousand Miles, which now lye waste and desolate, and are absolutely ruined, when as formerly no other Country whatsoever was more populous. The most influential person to take up his cause was Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, the archbishop of Toledo and future co-regent of Spain. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The polemic was likely a key factor in King Charles I’s decision to issue the “New Laws” in 1542. Now this infinite multitude of Men are by the Creation of God innocently simple, altogether void of and averse to all manner of Craft, Subtlety and Malice, and most Obedient and Loyal Subjects to their Native Sovereigns; and behave themselves very patiently, submissively and quietly towards the Spaniards, to whom they are subservient and subject; so that finally they live without the least thirst after revenge, laying aside all litigiousness, Commotion and hatred…. He wrote many petitions, treatises, and books on the subject of the Spanish conquest of the Americas. According to those laws, the encomienda was not to be considered a hereditary grant; instead, the owners had to set free their Indian serfs after the span of a single generation. Bartolomé de Las Casas, a Spanish Dominican priest, wrote directly to the King of Spain hoping for new laws to prevent the brutal exploitation of Native Americans. After various adventures in Central America, where his ideas on the treatment of the indigenous population invariably brought him into conflict with the Spanish authorities, Las Casas wrote De único modo (1537; The Only Way), in which he set forth the doctrine of peaceful evangelization of the Indian. His several works include Historia de las Indias (first printed in 1875). But soon his uncompromisingly pro-Indian position alienated his colleagues, and in 1547 he returned to Spain. As a young man, Las Casas participated in several military expeditions in the West Indies. In the following year a great many Spaniards went there with the intention of settling the land. Updates? The Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias (A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies) had an immediate impact in Spain. The Valladolid debate (1550–1551) was the first moral debate in European history to discuss the rights and treatment of an indigenous people by conquerors. Breuissima relacion de la destruycion de las Indias: colegida por el Obispo do fray Bartolomé de las Casas o Casaus, de la orden de Sãcto Domingo. Seville, Fray Bartolome de las Casas, has been, and continues to be, studied by many authors. de las Casas, Fray Bartolomé Obras completas. Bartolomé de Las Casas, a Spanish Dominican priest, wrote directly to the King of Spain hoping for new laws to prevent the brutal exploitation of Native Americans. A Dominican friar who had performed missionary work in the New World, Las Casas published the original in 1552 in Seville, Spain.The book criticized the Spaniards' conquest of Central and South America and, in particular, … Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. In return for his participation, Las Casas was granted an encomienda—a Spanish royal land grant—and an allotment of Indian serfs. His stirring defense of the indigenous peoples before the Spanish Parliament in Barcelona in December 1519 persuaded King Charles I (the emperor Charles V), who was in attendance, to accept Las Casas’s project of founding “towns of free Indians”—i.e., communities of both Spaniards and Indians who would jointly create a new civilization in America. (1542) The Indies were discovered in the year one thousand four hundred and ninety-two. Source: We have used a modernized version of an early English translation of the work by an individual known only as M.M.S., retitled The Spanish Colonie (London: 1583); available online: https://goo.gl/H2YDtk. Las Casas’s writings quickly spread around Europe and were used as humanitarian justification for other European nations to challenge Spain’s colonial empire with their own schemes of conquest and colonization. Source Corbis. Perhaps the first person in America to receive holy orders, he was ordained a priest in either 1512 or 1513. Those that arrived at these Islands from the remotest parts of Spain, and who pride themselves in the Name of Christians, steered Two courses principally, in order to the Extirpation, and Exterminating of this People from the face of the Earth. The son of a small merchant, Las Casas is believed to have gone to Granada as a soldier in 1497 and to have enrolled to study Latin in the academy at the cathedral in Sevilla (Seville). To ensure enforcement of the laws, Las Casas was named bishop of Chiapas in Guatemala, and in July 1544 he set sail for America, together with 44 Dominicans. In 1514, he gave up his encomienda in response to his growing concerns about the treatment of Indians in Spanish America. The first whereof was raising an unjust, bloody, cruel War. There are other Islands Thirty in number, and upward bordering upon the Isle of St. John, totally unpeopled; all which are above Two Thousand miles in length, and yet remain without Inhabitants, Native, or People. The polemic—the Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias (A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies)—was Las Casas’s most influential work. Shortly after its publication in 1542, King Charles I passed several “New Laws” benefiting Indian serfs. Omissions? Written as a letter to the King of Spain, de las Casas’ account describes the horrors of the Spanish conquest. In the following year a great many Spaniards went there with the intention of settling the land. Translation: Bartolomé de Las Casas, Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies (1542) The Indies were discovered in the year one thousand four hundred and ninety-two. Some 10 years later he commenced work on the Historia de las Indias (History of the Indies). Microcard edition. In 1520. Las Casas’s work finally seemed to be crowned with success when King Charles signed the so-called New Laws (Leyes Nuevas). Overview. Today. Bartolomé de Las Casas was an outspoken critic of the Spanish colonial government in the Americas. Bartolomé de las Casas Portrait de Bartolomé de las Casas (anonyme, XVI e siècle). From 1520 to 1522, Las Casas tried unsuccessfully to establish new settlements where white farmers would live in complete equality with the natives. Las Casas vs Sepulveda This empathetic attitude toward the Indians exposed Las Casas to much criticism from other Europeans. Author of, West Indies: European exploration and colonialism, 1492–1800. . The laws threatened the existence of the treasured encomienda system. Las Casas was especially critical of the system of slavery in the West Indies. Nay we dare boldly affirm, that during the Forty Years space, wherein they exercised their sanguinary and detestable Tyranny in these Regions, above Twelve Millions (computing Men, Women, and Children) have undeservedly perished; nor do I conceive that I should deviate from the Truth by saying that above Fifty Millions in all paid their last Debt to Nature. His most famous works included the Historia apologética (Apologetic History) and the Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias (A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies). Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. He was an active participant of several expeditions, including the conquest of Cuba in 1512. Understand the hardships that the Indians faced under Spanish rule and the role that Bartolome de Las Casas had in helping them. Las Casas thenceforth advocated for better treatment of the American Indians. Upon his arrival in January 1545, he immediately issued Avisos y reglas para confesores de españoles (“Admonitions and Regulations for the Confessors of Spaniards”), the famous Confesionario, in which he forbade absolution to be given to those who held Indians in encomienda. Introduction: Bartolomé de Las Casas was a Dominican priest who was one of the first Spanish settlers in the New World. He sailed for America in November 1516. WHY YOU SHOULD CARE. Nay the Isle of Cuba, which extends as far, as Valladolid in Spain is distant from Rome, lies now uncultivated, like a Desert, and entombed in its own Ruins. As a reward for his participation in various expeditions, he was given an encomienda—a royal land grant including Indian inhabitants—and he soon began to evangelize that population, serving as doctrinero, or lay teacher of catechism. Las Casas and a group of farm labourers departed for America in December 1520. The book itself was not published in Las Casas’s lifetime. Feel free to contact m Bartolomé de Las Casas, A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies… (Project Gutenberg EBook: 2007), 9-16. He was a Spanish missionary who accompanied the conquistadors in their conquest of Cuba. I saw an infinite number of these … Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Bartolomé de Las Casas was an outspoken critic of the Spanish colonial government in the Americas.Las Casas was especially critical of the system of slavery in the West Indies.In 1515–16 he developed a plan for the reformation of the Indies with the help of religious reformer Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros.The plan ended in disaster, but Las Casas did not give up. Las Casas—who was ordained in either 1512 or 1513—may have been the first person in America to receive holy orders. Corrections? Spanish Conquistadors in the West Indies This account is from Bartolome de Las Casas. While awaiting an audience with Charles V, Las Casas conceived the idea of still another work, the Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias (A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies), which he wrote in 1542 and in which the historical events described are in themselves of less importance than their theological interpretation: “The reason why the Christians have killed and destroyed such an infinite number of souls is that they have been moved by their wish for gold and their desire to enrich themselves in a very short time.”. The source describes his connection with Bartolome de las Casas. The purpose of all the facts he sets forth is the exposure of the “sin” of domination, oppression, and injustice that the European was inflicting upon the newly discovered peoples. The failure to recruit a sufficient number of farmers, the opposition of the encomenderos of Santo Domingo, and, finally, an attack by the Indians themselves all were factors that brought disaster to the experiment in January 1522. As early as 1522 Bartolome de Las Casas worked to denounce these activities on political, economic, moral, and religious grounds by chronicling the actions of the conquistadors f… The plan ended in disaster, but Las Casas did not give up. Recommended Annotation Visible only to you The Fifth Kingdom1 was Hiquey, over which Queen Hiquanama, an elderly Princess, whom the Spaniards Crucified, presided and governed. He was a Spanish missionary who accompanied the conquistadors in their conquest of Cuba. Las Casas did not publish Historia in his lifetime, but he did publish a summary of Historia as a polemic. De Las Casas PowerPoint. Bartolomé de Las Casas did own serfs. And this also is as really true that the _Spaniards_ never received any injury from the Indians, but that they rather reverenced them as Persons descended from Heaven, until that they were compelled to take up Arms, provoked thereunto by repeated Injuries, violent Torments, and unjust Butcheries. The Spaniards first assaulted the innocent Sheep, so qualified by the Almighty, like most cruel tigers, wolves, and lions, hunger-starved, studying nothing, for the space of Forty Years, after their first landing, but the Massacre of these Wretches, whom they have so inhumanely and barbarously butchered and harassed with several kinds of Torments, never before known, or heard (of which you shall have some account in the following Discourse) that of Three Millions of Persons, which lived in Hispaniola itself, there is at present but the inconsiderable remnant of scarce Three Hundred. He arrived in Hispaniola as a layman then became a Dominican friar and priest. Early Life . 5.7: Primary Source: Bartolomé de Las Casas Describes the Exploitation of Indigenous Peoples, 1542 Last updated; Save as PDF Page ID 60919; No headers. Las Casas quickly evangelized the serfs on his land, and, in either 1512 or 1513, he became a priest. In 1502 he left for Hispaniola, in the West Indies, with the governor, Nicolás de Ovando. Bartolomé de Las Casas immigrated to the island of Hispaniola with his father in 1502, and in 1510 he became the first priest to be ordained in the New World. Finally, in one word, their Ambition and Avarice, than which the heart of Man never entertained greater, and the vast Wealth of those Regions; the Humility and Patience of the Inhabitants (which made their approach to these Lands more easy) did much promote the business: Whom they so despicably contemned, that they treated them (I speak of things which I was an Eye Witness of, without the least fallacy) not as Beasts, which I cordially wished they would, but as the most abject dung and filth of the Earth; and so solicitous they were of their Life and Soul, that the above-mentioned number of People died without understanding the true Faith or Sacraments. Bartolomé de Las Casas was born in 1484 in Sevilla, Spain. But, rather than a chronicle, it is a prophetic interpretation of events. In 1502 he left for Hispaniola, the island that today contains the states of Dominican Republic and Haiti. Bartolomé de las Casas A SHORT ACCOUNT OF THE DESTRUCTION OF THE INDIES written 1542, published 1552* [EXCERPTS] _____ PRESENTATION by Bishop don Fray Bartolomé de las Casas or Casaus, to the most high and potent lord Prince of all the Spains don Felipe, our lord_____ Most high and potent lord: Because divine providence has ordered in this world Bartolomé de Las Casas originally left Spain in 1502 and headed to Hispanola. Primary Source: Bartolomé de Las Casas Describes the Exploitation of Indigenous Peoples, 1542. He found himself having to defend his perspective on the conquest often, yet his most noted antagonist was probably Juan Gines de Sepulveda. In 1513 he took part in the bloody conquest of Cuba and, as priest-encomendero (land grantee), received an allotment of Indian serfs. Some critics of Columbus note the writings of Bartolome de las Casas, a Spanish Dominican friar born in 1484 who became the first Bishop of Chiapas, Mexico and advocated for indigenous Americans. Dominican Friar Bartolomé de Las Casas’s A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies is a primary source on the genocide of indigenous peoples during Spanish colonization of the Americas. In addition to studying the juridical problems of the Indies, he began to work out a plan for their peaceful colonization by recruiting farmers as colonists. This site gives some statistics and also Columbus’ initial thoughts on the land and people he just discovered. Upon his return to Santo Domingo, the unsuccessful priest and political reformer abandoned his reforming activities to take refuge in religious life. The natives are capable of Morality or Goodness and very apt to receive the principles of Catholic Religion; nor are they averse to Civility and good Manners…, I myself have heard the Spaniards themselves (who dare not assume the Confidence to deny the good Nature in them) declare, that there was nothing wanting in them for the acquisition of eternal grace, but the sole Knowledge and Understanding of the Deity…. He is remembered as “the Apostle of the Indians,” the man who first exposed the oppression of the indigenous peoples by Europeans in the colonies of the West Indies. On August 15, 1514, Las Casas delivered a now-famous sermon declaring his intent to return the serfs to the governor of the West Indies. Bartolomé de las Casas was a 16th-century Spanish landowner, friar, priest, and bishop, famed as a historian and social reformer. Source … Bartolomé de Las Casas was a Dominican priest and missionary in the Americas. His father was a merchant and was acquainted with the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.Young Bartolomé, then about 9 years old, was in Seville when Columbus returned from his first voyage in 1493; he might have met members of the Taíno tribe who Columbus enslaved and brought back with him from the … Realizing that it was useless to attempt to defend the Indians at long distance in America, he returned to Spain in 1515 to plead for their better treatment. He joined the Dominican order in 1523. Book. Spanish Conquistadors in the West Indies This account is from Bartolome de Las Casas. He became a doctrinero, lay teacher of catechism, and began evangelizing the indigenous people, whom the Spaniards called Indians. Brief Account if the Devastation of the Indies. The following is a primary source written by Bartolome de las Casas concerning Columbus’s arrival and landfall in the Americas. Las Casas, Bartolomé de. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. First contact experiences on Hispaniola included brutal interactions between the Spanish and the Native Americans. With the help of the archbishop, the Plan para la reformación de las Indias was conceived, and Las Casas, named priest-procurator of the Indies, was appointed to a commission to investigate the status of the Indians. Las Casas interrupted work on the book only to send to the Council of the Indies in Madrid three long letters (in 1531, 1534, and 1535), in which he accused persons and institutions of the sin of oppressing the Indian, particularly through the encomienda system. Encouraged by the favourable outcome of this experiment, Las Casas set out for Spain late in 1539, arriving there in 1540. The other, by putting them to death, who hitherto, thirsted after their Liberty, or designed (which the most Potent, Strenuous and Magnanimous Spirits intended) to recover their pristine Freedom, and shake off the Shackles of so injurious a Captivity: For they being taken off in War, none but Women and Children were permitted to enjoy the benefit of that Country-Air…, Now the ultimate end and scope that incited the Spaniards to endeavor the Extirpation and Desolation of this People, was Gold only…. A prolific writer and in his later years an influential figure of the Spanish court, Las Casas nonetheless failed to stay the progressive enslavement of the indigenous peoples of Latin America. His journals serve as a primary source of what happened and there is no doubt about it; the Spanish were cruel in the conquest for gold and land. History Now, the online journal of the Gilder Lehrman Institute, features essays by the nation's top historians and provides the latest in American history scholarship for teachers, students, and … The Dominican friar, Bartolomé de las Casas (1474-1566) founding an Indian colony in Cumana (Venezuela). Seville: Sebastian Trugillo, 1552. The location selected for the new colony was on the Gulf of Paria in the northern part of present-day Venezuela. Bartolomé de Las Casas was a prolific writer. It was Las Casas’s intention to reveal to Spain the reason for the misfortune that would inevitably befall it when it became the object of God’s punishment. One of his major works, the Apologética was to serve as the introduction to his masterpiece, the Historia de las Indias. Bartolomé de Las Casas was born around 1484 in Seville, Spain. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. In 1515–16 he developed a plan for the reformation of the Indies with the help of religious reformer Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros. Primary: Casas, Bartolome de las. He descr… Bartolomé de Las Casas, (born 1474 or 1484, Sevilla?, Spain—died July 1566, Madrid), early Spanish historian and Dominican missionary who was the first to expose the oppression of indigenous peoples by Europeans in the Americas and to call for the abolition of slavery there. 1542 This primary source serves as a brief introduction to Bartolome's thoughts on the treatment of the Indians. The reading is followed by five fact-based and critical thinking questions perfect for either an extension homework assignment or a class discussion. Together with the Dominicans, he then employed this new type of evangelization in a “land of war” (a territory of still-unconquered Indians)—Tuzulutlan (modern Alta Verapaz, Guatemala). Professor of Ethics, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City. The rigorous enforcement of his regulations led to vehement opposition on the part of the Spanish faithful during Lent of 1545 and forced Las Casas to establish a council of bishops to assist him in his task. . The following excerpt comes from an English edition of A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Bartolomé de las Casas published in London in 1689. Although during his first 12 years in America Las Casas was a willing participant in the conquest of the Caribbean, he did not indefinitely remain indifferent to the fate of the indigenous peoples. His extensive writings, the most famous being A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies and Historia de Las Indias, chronicle the first decades of colonization of the West Indies. Under the New Laws, encomenderos (land grantees) were required to release the serfs on their land after the span of a single generation. The first source presented is a Spanish priest/missionary named Bartolome De Las Casas, who declares that the Christian Spaniards treated the Indigenous peoples in the Americas poorly, by not converting them to the Christian faith before their cruel and torturous deaths from the abusive behavior. He was personally rewarded with a gift of both land and Indians as a reward for his services Gutiérrez, Konetzke, R. Colección de documentos para la historia de la formación social de Hispanoamérica (1493–1810) Madrid 1953 216. They in- Four years later, while serving as prior of the convent of Puerto de Plata, a town in northern Santo Domingo, he began to write the Historia apologética. Bartolome de Las Casas: defender of the Indians. X. Tratados de 1552 Madrid Alianza Editorial 1992. He was appointed as the first resident Bishop of Chiapas, and the first officially appointed "Protector of the Indians". After participating in the conquest of Cuba, Las Casas freed his own slaves and spoke out against Spanish cruelties and injustices in the empire. In a famous sermon on August 15, 1514, he announced that he was returning his Indian serfs to the governor. He argued for the equal humanity and natural rights of the Native Americans. Bartolomé de Las Casas, a Spanish Dominican priest, wrote directly to the King of Spain hoping for new laws to prevent the brutal exploitation of Native Americans. De Las Casas Primary Source *Be sure to bring your video worksheet back to class tomorrow* 9/25/14 In 1512 or 1513, Las Casas was ordained a Roman Catholic priest, probably the first to receive holy orders in the Western Hemisphere. The Historia, which by his request was not published until after his death, is an account of all that had happened in the Indies just as he had seen or heard of it. Some are those who are attracted by the eminence of Christopher Columbus, the discov-erer of "the new heaven and earth," and devote years of work to formulating opinions on the Columbian historical sources. You may also find the Isles of St. John, and Jamaica, both large and fruitful places, unpeopled and desolate. Bartolomé de Las Casas, a Spanish Dominican priest, wrote directly to the King of Spain hoping for new laws to prevent the brutal exploitation of Native Americans. Bartoleme de Las Casas, Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies. The Lucayan Islands on the North Side, adjacent to Hispaniola and Cuba, which are Sixty in number, or thereabout, together with those, vulgarly known by the name of the Gigantic Isles, and others, the most infertile whereof, exceeds the Royal Garden of Seville in fruitfulness, a most Healthful and pleasant Climate, is now laid waste and uninhabited; and whereas, when the Spaniards first arrived here, about Five Hundred Thousand Men dwelt in it, they are now cut off, some by slaughter, and others ravished away by Force and Violence, to work in the Mines of Hispaniola, which was destitute of Native Inhabitants: For a certain Vessel, sailing to this Isle, to the end, that the Harvest being over (some good Christian, moved with Piety and Pity, undertook this dangerous Voyage, to convert Souls to Christianity) the remaining gleanings might be gathered up, there were only found Eleven Persons, which I saw with my own Eyes. This year marks the 500-year anniversary of the pricking of one man's conscience. Conquistadors subjugated populations primarily to garner personal economic wealth, and Natives little understood the nature of the conquest. . Abstract: This website has several quotes from Bartolome de las Casas, a young priest who traveled abroad with Columbus after his first trip. Unsurprisingly, they were extremely unpopular in the Americas and were met with much resistance. The former was written as an introduction to a proposed book called Historia de las Indias, and the latter was published as a stand-alone summary of that book. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Bartolome-de-Las-Casas, United States History - Biography of Bartolomé de Las Casas, The Mariners' Museum - Exploration through the Ages - Biography of Bartolomé de las Casas, The Catholic Encyclopedia - Biography of Bartolome de las Casas, Bartolomé de Las Casas - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Bartolomé de Las Casas - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up), Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias. Las Casas returned to Spain the next year. For either an extension homework assignment or a class discussion, 1542 a. Farmers would live in complete equality with the intention of settling the land antagonist was probably Juan de... Indies ) friar, bartolomé de Las Casas was an active participant of several expeditions, including the conquest,. 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