Bartolome de Las Casas' Destruction of the Indies: A Review

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Anas Kaleemullah
01/27/2012
History 2300
Chapter 1- Document 3 Analysis:

This document is based on the excerpt “Destruction of the Indies” by Bartolome de Las Casas. Bartolome de Las Casas was a 16th century Spanish historian arriving as one of the first settlers in the New World he participated in and eventually compelled to oppose the atrocities that were committed against the Native Americans by the Spanish colonists. In his famous writing “Destruction of the Indies” Bartolome de Las Casas gives a detailed account of the violence and the atrocities of the Spaniards that inflicted on the Natives of the West Indies. Through his examples of the extreme cruelty shown by the Spaniards towards the innocent Indians, de Las Casas clearly clarifies how gratuitous such measures were during the Spain’s overtaking on the Indies and how the killings of the Indians reached to approximately 12 million in 40 years.

The author de Las Casas clearly tries to show a common theme that exists throughout the document, which is violence and extreme cruelty measures. He tries to appeals to the readers through his emotional and detailed description of events and people and refers to several vindictive terms and sentences such as “butchering” of women and babies and “Boil there, you offspring of the devil!” In contrast, he describes the Native Indians as very “subservient” and “pristine.”

This document also shows the force with which the Spaniards had taken the from the Native Indians. The Spanish conquerors had claimed this land for Spain to spread Christian values to the non-believers in these new lands. But, their actions as documented by the author shows the turmoil caused by the Spanish conquerors during this growth through exploration and discovery period. All the actions taken by the Spaniards did not reflect any of the Christian values that were mainly supposed to be a key component of their exploration.

Bartolome de Las Casas wrote this document for a...
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