Bartoleme de Las Casas, Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies. (). The Indies were discovered in the year one thousand four hundred and. Bartolome de Las Casas’ The Devastation of the Indies: A brief Account and the context of. Spanish colonisation reveal that the colonisers were repressive and. THE DEVASTATION. OF THE INDIES: A BRIEF ACCOUNT by Bartolomé de Las Casas. T. THE INDIES’ were discovered in the year one thou- sand four.

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His several works include Historia de las Indias first printed in 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. Las Casas—who was ordained in either or —may have been the first person in America to receive holy orders.

Las Casas was especially critical of the system of slavery in the West Indies. The plan ended in disaster, but Las Casas did not give up. Some 10 years later he commenced work on the Historia de las Indias History of the Indies.

Las Casas did not publish Historia in his lifetime, but he did publish a summary of Historia as a polemic. As a young man, Las Casas participated in several military expeditions in the West Indies.

Las Casas, “Destruction of the Indies”

In return for his participation, Las Casas was granted an encomienda —a Spanish royal land grant—and an allotment of Indian serfs. Las Casas quickly evangelized the serfs on his land, and, in cqsas orhe became a priest.

On August 15,Las Casas delivered a now-famous sermon declaring his intent to return the serfs to the governor of the West Indies. Las Casas thenceforth advocated for better treatment of the American Indians. He wrote many petitions, treatises, and books on the subject of the Spanish conquest of the Americas. The former was written as an introduction hte a proposed book called Historia de las Indiasand the latter was published as a stand-alone summary of that book.

Under the New Laws, encomenderos land grantees were required to release the serfs on their land after the span of a single generation. The laws threatened the existence of the treasured encomienda system. Unsurprisingly, they were extremely unpopular in the Americas and were met with much resistance.

The son of a small merchant, Las Casas is believed to have gone to Granada as a soldier in and to have enrolled to study Latin in the academy at the devastaation in Sevilla Seville. 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 doctrineroor lay teacher of catechism.

Perhaps the first person in America to receive holy ordershe was ordained a priest in either or In he took part in the bloody conquest of Cuba and, as priest- encomendero land granteereceived an allotment of Indian serfs. Originally a Spanish settler, Las Casas was appalled at the treatment of the Indians by the rapacious Spaniards.

He became a Dominican friar,…. 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. In a famous sermon on August 15,he announced that he was returning his Indian serfs to the governor. Realizing that it was useless to tge to defend the Indians at long distance in America, he returned to Spain in to plead for their better treatment.


The Devastation of the Indies

He sailed for America in November Las Casas returned to Spain the next year. 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. The location selected for the new colony was on the Gulf of Paria in the northern part of present-day Venezuela.

Las Casas and a group of farm labourers departed for America in December 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 Upon his return to Santo Domingo, the unsuccessful priest and political reformer abandoned his reforming activities to take refuge in religious life.

He joined the Dominican idnies in The Historiadevaztation 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 devastatin. But, rather than a chronicle, it is a prophetic interpretation of events.

Las Casas interrupted work on the book only to send to the Council of the Indies in Madrid three long letters in, andin 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 inarriving there in 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.

To ensure enforcement of the laws, Las Casas was named bishop of Baftolome in Guatemalaand in July he set revastation for America, together with 44 Dominicans. The rigorous enforcement of his regulations led to vehement opposition on the part of the Indied faithful during Lent of and forced Las Casas to establish a council of bishops to assist him in devaetation task.

But soon his uncompromisingly pro-Indian position alienated his colleagues, and in he returned to Spain. Las Casas then entered upon the most fruitful period of his life.

He became an influential figure at court and at the Council of the Indies. The argument was continued inand its repercussions were enormous. But Las Casas continued to write books, tracts, and petitions, testimony to his unwavering determination to leave in written form his principal arguments in defense of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

During his final years Las Casas came to be the indispensable adviser both to the Council of the Indies and to the king on many of the problems relating to the Indies. At the suggestion of Francisco de Toledo, the viceroy of Peruthe king ordered all the works, both published and unpublished, of Las Casas to be collected.

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His name came into prominence again in the latter half of the 20th century, in connection with the indigenista df in Peru and Mexico. The modern significance of Las Casas lies in the barrtolome that he was the first European to perceive the economic, political, and cultural injustice of the colonial or neocolonial system maintained by the North Atlantic powers since the 16th century for the control of Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

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Bartoleme de Las Casas, Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies

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A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies

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