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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 Bartolom√© de Las Casas. T. THE INDIES’ were discovered in the year one thou- sand four.

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Bartolomé de Las Casas

Note on the Translation of. The Indians perceiving that with all their humility, their patience, and their presents, that they were not able to assuage the fury of these inhumane creatures, and that they were daily killed up like dogs, began to think of taking arms; for they thought it better, since an evil death could not be avoided, rather to die fighting and taking revenge upon their enemies, then to be killed like beasts by them.

De Las Casas has been accused by many scholars [ citation needed ] about making exaggerated claims in terms of the dfvastation toll and mistreatment of the indigenous people. In truth, I believe without trying to deceive myself that the number of the slain is more like fifteen million. And Spaniards have devastwtion in no other way during tla! Perhaps the first person in America to receive holy ordershe was ordained a priest in either or The religious persons, as upright servants of God and zealous for the souls of those poor people, gave credit to the messengers and returned, and were entertained as if they had been Angels sent from heaven, and remained with the Indians for five months, receiving a thousand courtesies from them.

Then they behaved with such temerity and shamelessness that the dsvastation powerful ruler devastagion the islands had to see his own wife raped by a Christian officer.

This Lord had saved many from death, who had escaped out of other Provinces, from the murthers and slaughters of the Spaniards, being a kind of a fanctuary for the fick and half famished persons that came into his Country, and when they were recovered sent them back again to the Island of pearls where the Spaniards liv’d, though he had an opportunity to have slain them, there being none to regard or miss them; in brief, the Spaniards had all the houses of the inhabitants in common, and all the subjects of Higueroto they called their own subjects; but a persidious Spaniard took councel how he might destroy this Region ineies seem’d it self so safe and secure; presently therefore he sayl’d thither, and invited a great number of men bartolomf come a shipboard, who giving credit to the Spaniards, came willingly to them; but they were no sooner entred the ship, but the Spaniards hoysed sayl for the Island of St.

Cwsas name of the King that there ruled was Guacanagari, under whom there were many other potent Lords, some of whom I knew: They attacked the towns and spared neither the children nor the aged nor pregnant women nor women in childbed, not only stabbing them and dismembering them but cutting them to pieces as if dealing with sheep in the slaughter house. 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 casa filth of the earth, and so little they regarded the health casaas their souls, that they suffered this great multitude to die without the least light of Religion; neither fhe 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.


Thus we see how they were delivered over to a reprobate sense; and what a value they put upon these creatures formed after the Image of God. Notwithstanding in former time for number of people, it was the bartllome flourishing place in the whole world.

And as for this Country it self, they so far destroyed it, devastahion is some of the Franciscan Friars had not strenuously opposed him, and that the Kings Council had not thhe a sudden remedy for it, in two years space they had wholly depopulated New Spain, as they had done in Hispaniola. The Friars, although they had little to say, yet they made a shift to pacific their mind, and immediately went to the Spaniards declaring to them the evil which they had done, humbly beseeching them to depart.

But soon his uncompromisingly pro-Indian position alienated his colleagues, and in he returned to Spain. Francis, who began to talk to him of God and of the Articles of our Faith, telling him, that the small respire which the Executioner gave him was sufficient degastation him to make bartoloe his salvation if he believed.

They took infants from their mothers’ breasts, snatching them by the legs and pitching them headfirst against the crags or snatched them by the arms and threw them into the rivers, roaring with laughter and saying as the babies fell into the water, “Boil there, you offspring of the devil!

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

Whole families hang themselves in despair. There is nothing more detestable or more cruel, then the tyranny which the Spaniards use toward the Indians for the getting of pearl. There was the house of a Noble man distant from Panama above 15 miles; he was by name called Paris, and he was very wealthy in Gold; to him the Spaniards came, and by him they were entertained like Brothers, he giving to the Captain, as a Present, fifteen thousand Crowns; who by that perceiving that he must of necessity have a very great treasure, feigned a departure, but about the middle of the night returning again entered the City, set it on fire, sacrificing the poor people to the flames.

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 badtolome span of a single generation. Dec 5, See Article History. Chronicles of discovery and conquest. They entered this Region with about From which time forward they began to think what way they might cassa to expel the Spaniards out of their Country. Toward the Spaniards whom they serve, patient, meek and peaceful, and who laying all contentious and tumultuous thoughts aside, live without any hatred or desire of revenge; the people are most delicate and tender, enjoying such a feeble constitution of body as does not permit them to endure labor, so that the Children of Princes and great persons here, are not more nice and delicate then the Children of the meanest Country-man in that place.

They would often lay wagers who should with most dexterity either cleave or cut a man in the middle, or who could at one blow cut off his head. Las Casas did not publish Historia in his lifetime, but he did publish a summary lsa Historia as a polemic.

The Devastation of the Indies

When the Spaniards had landed in this Island, this noble man that had sufficient trial of their manner, avoided them as much as he could, still flying from them and defending himself by force of arms upon all occasions. And as for the Indians that take arms to defend themselves they think it better to die once, then to fall into the hands of their enemies, and to be afflicted with many deaths.


And truly if I should make a book only to scare and affright men. Escuela de Estudios Hispano-Americanos. The former was written as an introduction to a proposed book called Historia de las Indiasand the latter was published as a stand-alone summary of that book. Providence sent a ship thither to confirm the condemnation of those that govern’d, by which these religious persons sent to the religious persons of Hispaniola, but got no redress, for the Spaniards there were receivers of the prey.

There was a vast number of people in this Province, for it contained divers cities above four mile in length: And as for the poor Captives they served them with so much zeal and affection, that they could require nothing more then adoration it self. And who can now question but that his soul is now tormented in the flames of Hell! You may find it helpful to search within the site to see how similar or related subjects are covered.

They sold them also against all justice; only because Lucayans were most skillful swimmers. Inddies of this, the wars of the Indians against each other are little more than games played by children. Both the Brother and the Sister were very bountiful to the Spaniards, for they had freed them from the dangers of imminent death, showing great kindnesses to the Kings of Castile.

He influenced policy changes called the “New Laws” of by reading the first version of his “Devastation of the Indies” to the royal court. It was the custom of this Tyrant, when he made war upon any Town or Country, to carry along with him as many as he could of the subdued Indians, compelling them to make war upon their Countrymen, and when he had ten or twenty thousand men in his service, because he could not give them provision, he permitted them to eat the flesh devwstation those Indians that they had taken in barotlome And thus they have deprived the Hhe of their lives and souls, for the millions I mentioned have died without the Faith and without the benefit of the sacraments.

This Tyrant with three hundred men made war bartolime these innocent Indians living peaceably in their houses, and offering injury to none, destroying many people.

This people because their Country was all plain and level, had not the shelter of the Mountains, neither could they be easily persuaded to leave it, so pleasant was their habitation.

They came to a very large Town, which being confident of their own innocence, thought themselves safer then the rest; but in two hours space they brought such a desolation upon it, killing all ages and sexes, that there was not a person left alive, but what saved themselves by flight. They lie upon mats, only those who have larger fortunes, lye upon a kind of net which is tied at the four corners, and so fasten’d to the roof, which the Indians in their natural language call Hamecks.