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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Once-fertile islands are turned to desert, the wealth of nations plundered, millions killed outright, whole peoples annihilated. 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 because they are so weak and complaisant, they are less able to endure heavy labor and soon die of no matter what malady. Las Casas was one of the first advocates for the indigenous people.

“A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies,” by Bartolome de Las Casas

And once they begin to hear the tidings of the Faith, they are so insistent on knowing more and on taking the sacraments of the Church and on observing the divine cult that, truly, the missionaries who are here need to be endowed by God with great patience in order to cope with such eagerness.

The Devastation of the Indies: Keep Exploring Britannica Mahatma Gandhi. There must be close to two hundred leagues of land on this island, and the seacoast has been explored for more than ten thousand leagues, and each day more of it is being explored. The sons of nobles among us, brought up in the enjoyments of life’s refinements, are no more delicate than are these Indians, even those among them who are of the lowest rank of laborers.

The least felicitous of them were more fertile and beautiful than the gardens of the King of Seville. All his ships he filled with Indians, where they died for hunger and for thirst. He wholly destroyed the City it self, which the other Spaniards who were wont to harrace all the sea coast, were notwithstanding much troubled at, abominating acions so hainous committed against them who had been so courteous and liberal to them, and where they had been entertain’d as in their own houses.

Wherefore most invincible Cesar it would be requisite, that you should signify by the severe correction of some, how displeased you were with such services, whereby they shew themselves so disobedient and refractory to God himself. Thus upbraiding their flight, Go carry letters to those who lye bid in the mountains and are fled from us.

Some of the secular Spaniards who have been here for many years say that the goodness of the Indians is undeniable and that if this gifted people could be brought to know the one true God they would be the most fortunate people in the world. The chief Lord of the Province they took captive, putting him to several torments to squeeze his Gold from him; but he escaping fled to the Mountains, and thereupon his Subjects that lay hid among the Woods and Bushes began to raise a tumult; The Spaniards followed destroying abundance of the people; and as for those who were taken alive, they were publicly sold for slaves.

Afterwards they divide them like sheep, separating sons from fathers, wives from their husbands; and then making up a company of ten or twenty, those that set out the ships, and fitted them with necessaries, presently cast lots for their shares. But because it is so irksome to me to rehearse these Bloody acts not of men but of beasts, I will no longer dwell upon them, but go to those things which followed after. 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.


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. They sold them also against all justice; only because Lucayans were most skillful swimmers. Now there is so much to be said concerning the slaughters and devastations made by the Spaniards, so many stories to be reckoned up, as would be hardly contained in writing, it being impossible to set down one thing of a hundred: A decisive part in the elaboration of the general principles of human rights was….

They go naked, only hiding the indecencies of nature, and a poor shag mantle about an ell or two long is their greatest and their warmest covering. In many Provinces, and indeed in most Provinces where they came before the captivity of the chief Lord, they were still welcom’d by the Indians with Songs and Dances and great Presents of Gold; though the thanks which they gave them was always with the points of their swords, still recompensing them with Massacres.

They call the Indians Warlike, that continually fly to the Mountains to avoid the cruelty of the Spaniards, and they call those the Indians and Inhabitants of the Country, whom they have subjected to the hardship of a perpetual slavery by the terror of their massacres: This page was last edited on 12 Decemberat The reason why they did captivate the Indians was only this; out of a perverse, obstinate and blind desire of heaping up Gold and riches, which is common to all that have gone into America.

This Nation either as to policy and good government, or as to their way of living and conversation, excelled all the rest; and well deserved to have had more knowledge of the true God. There was a vast number of people in this Province, for it contained divers cities above four mile in length: Upon which they began to preach the Gospel among them, and to declare to them the holy intention of the King of Spain, of which things they had not yet received any knowledge, nor that they had any other King then him who oppressed them with so much tyranny.

In he took part in the bloody conquest of Cuba and, as priest- encomendero land granteereceived an allotment of Indian serfs. I faint, kill me, and put an end to my days: There perished also many of the Inhabitants of other Provinces in this place. 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 for him to make sure his salvation if he believed.

Of New Spain [Mexico] In the year New Spain was discovered; after the discovery of which they did nothing first or second, but immediately sell to their old practices of cruelty and slaughter: Be certain that, in such a state as this, you can no more be saved than the Moors or Turks. The rest saved themselves by flight. And in this manner a Country abounding with Gold and people was totally destroy’d; in which there was a Valley forty miles long, where they burnt a Village that contained above a thousand houses.


And thus the Spaniards being blinded and forsaken by God, and given over to a reprobate sense, considered not how unagreeable both to the Law of God and nature were their proceedings against the Indians, how unjustly they went about to destroy them by force of arms, and not only to cast them out of their Country, but to torture them and cut them in pieces: Of the Province of Nicaragua In the year Five hundred years after Columbus’s first voyage to the New World, the debate over the European impact on Native American civilization has grown more heated than ever.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Las Casas and a group of farm labourers departed for America in December And since men and women were separated, there could be no marital relations.

The Devastation of the Indies

At length they receiv’d them, but on condition that they would come alone and not let any other of the Spaniards enter in among them, which those religious persons promis’d, for they had not only a liberty, but a command from the Governor of New Spain, that they should so promise them, and that the Spaniards should do them no harm or injury. Which the Spaniards indes only utterly denied, but also, which was more wicked and abominable: All these things were done, the Tyrant himself beholding and consenting; and not only so, but they oppressed them and continually abused them with stripes and blows of their canes and fists, leaving no cruelty unexercised toward them.

Three or four of their mad actions I will rehearse, whereby the reader may judge of the rest. This Tyrant out of the Province of Panucon, went to Methuaca Xalisco, which were Countries fruitful both in men and money, and no small glory of the Indian Nation, having Cities that were in length above seven indiies.

The Devastation of the Indies

On these islands I estimate there are 2, leagues of land that have been ruined and depopulated, empty of people. It can hardly be said or expressed, with how many injuries and unjust actions they used to afflict the poor Indians in these Countries from The repartimiento or distribution was made according to the rank nartolome importance of the Christian to whom the Indians were allocated, one of them being given thirty, another forty, still another, one or two hundred, and besides the rank of the Christian there was also to be considered in what favor he stood with the tyrant they called Governor.

Now certainly there is nothing more destructive to the peace of the Nation, and that hinders more the conversion of those that live there in peace, then the cruel and hard usage which the Spaniards afflict devasration innocent people withal, which bred in them such a loathing of the Spanish name, that nothing is more odious and detestable.

Overrunning Cities and Villages, where they spared no sex nor age; neither would their cruelty pity Women with child, whose bellies they would rip up, taking out the Infant to hew it in pieces.

Why do you keep them so oppressed and weary, not giving them enough to eat nor taking vasas of them in their illness? Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions.