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. Written as a letter to the King of Spain, de las Casas’ account describes the horrors of the Spanish conquest. . 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. 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. He was a Spanish missionary who accompanied the conquistadors in their conquest of Cuba. . In 1502 he left for Hispaniola, the island that today contains the states of Dominican Republic and Haiti. 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 Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias (A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies) had an immediate impact in Spain. 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. 1542 This primary source serves as a brief introduction to Bartolome's thoughts on the treatment of the Indians. 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. 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. (1542) The Indies were discovered in the year one thousand four hundred and ninety-two. I saw an infinite number of these … He was a Spanish missionary who accompanied the conquistadors in their conquest of Cuba. Introduction: Bartolomé de Las Casas was a Dominican priest who was one of the first Spanish settlers in the New World. 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. He joined the Dominican order in 1523. He was an active participant of several expeditions, including the conquest of Cuba in 1512. In a famous sermon on August 15, 1514, he announced that he was returning his Indian serfs to the governor. The location selected for the new colony was on the Gulf of Paria in the northern part of present-day Venezuela. 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. 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. He argued for the equal humanity and natural rights of the Native Americans. In 1512 or 1513, Las Casas was ordained a Roman Catholic priest, probably the first to receive holy orders in the Western Hemisphere. The laws threatened the existence of the treasured encomienda system. 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 … Some 10 years later he commenced work on the Historia de las Indias (History of the Indies). He was appointed as the first resident Bishop of Chiapas, and the first officially appointed "Protector of the Indians". Understand the hardships that the Indians faced under Spanish rule and the role that Bartolome de Las Casas had in helping them. 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…. 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… Seville, Fray Bartolome de las Casas, has been, and continues to be, studied by many authors. In the following year a great many Spaniards went there with the intention of settling the land. De Las Casas Primary Source *Be sure to bring your video worksheet back to class tomorrow* 9/25/14 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. 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, … 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. Unsurprisingly, they were extremely unpopular in the Americas and were met with much resistance. Las Casas, Bartolomé de. 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. 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. The first whereof was raising an unjust, bloody, cruel War. 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. De Las Casas PowerPoint. He wrote many petitions, treatises, and books on the subject of the Spanish conquest of the Americas. 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. 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…. 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. 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. Feel free to contact m Encouraged by the favourable outcome of this experiment, Las Casas set out for Spain late in 1539, arriving there in 1540. Bartolomé de Las Casas did own serfs. 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. In return for his participation, Las Casas was granted an encomienda—a Spanish royal land grant—and an allotment of Indian serfs. Source … Las Casas returned to Spain the next year. 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. Bartolomé de Las Casas was a prolific writer. He became a doctrinero, lay teacher of catechism, and began evangelizing the indigenous people, whom the Spaniards called Indians. Source Corbis. In the following year a great many Spaniards went there with the intention of settling the land. 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. His several works include Historia de las Indias (first printed in 1875). The reading is followed by five fact-based and critical thinking questions perfect for either an extension homework assignment or a class discussion. The most influential person to take up his cause was Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, the archbishop of Toledo and future co-regent of Spain. First contact experiences on Hispaniola included brutal interactions between the Spanish and the Native Americans. 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. Shortly after its publication in 1542, King Charles I passed several “New Laws” benefiting Indian serfs. The plan ended in disaster, but Las Casas did not give up. This year marks the 500-year anniversary of the pricking of one man's conscience. From 1520 to 1522, Las Casas tried unsuccessfully to establish new settlements where white farmers would live in complete equality with the natives. 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. Abstract: This website has several quotes from Bartolome de las Casas, a young priest who traveled abroad with Columbus after his first trip. 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. 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. 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. He arrived in Hispaniola as a layman then became a Dominican friar and priest. 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. But, rather than a chronicle, it is a prophetic interpretation of events. X. Tratados de 1552 Madrid Alianza Editorial 1992. Bartolomé de las Casas Portrait de Bartolomé de las Casas (anonyme, XVI e siècle). They in- By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Bartolome de Las Casas: defender of the Indians. 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. One of his major works, the Apologética was to serve as the introduction to his masterpiece, the Historia de las Indias. In 1515–16 he developed a plan for the reformation of the Indies with the help of religious reformer Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. 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. Early Life . 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 descr… Las Casas—who was ordained in either 1512 or 1513—may have been the first person in America to receive holy orders. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. 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. Bartolomé de Las Casas was a Dominican priest and missionary in the Americas. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). 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). Author of, West Indies: European exploration and colonialism, 1492–1800. Bartolomé de Las Casas, A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies… (Project Gutenberg EBook: 2007), 9-16. Gutiérrez, Konetzke, R. Colección de documentos para la historia de la formación social de Hispanoamérica (1493–1810) Madrid 1953 216. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. 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. 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. . 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. 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. 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). 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. 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. Perhaps the first person in America to receive holy orders, he was ordained a priest in either 1512 or 1513. Bartolomé de Las Casas originally left Spain in 1502 and headed to Hispanola. Las Casas quickly evangelized the serfs on his land, and, in either 1512 or 1513, he became a priest. Conquistadors subjugated populations primarily to garner personal economic wealth, and Natives little understood the nature of the conquest. 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. He was personally rewarded with a gift of both land and Indians as a reward for his services Upon his return to Santo Domingo, the unsuccessful priest and political reformer abandoned his reforming activities to take refuge in religious life. The following is a primary source written by Bartolome de las Casas concerning Columbus’s arrival and landfall in the Americas. Las Casas’s work finally seemed to be crowned with success when King Charles signed the so-called New Laws (Leyes Nuevas). 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