Bartolome de Las Casas Timeline

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  • Topic: Slavery, Caribbean, Spain
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  • Published : October 8, 2010
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Las Casas Time Line
1484Born in Seville to Pedro de Las Casas, a small merchant wealthy enough to send his son to learn Latin in the academy at the cathedral of Seville in 1497. Many older sources give 1474 as the year of his birth. 1502Leaves Spain for Hispaniola in the West Indies with the governor, Nicolas de Ovando. He earns an encomienda for his participation in several expeditions and then proceeds to evangelize the Indians. 1506Returns briefly to Europe where he is ordained a deacon in Rome. 1511On August 15, Pentecost Sunday, listens to a sermon by a Dominican priest, Father Antonio de Montesinos on the text "I am a voice crying in the wilderness," denouncing Spain's treatment of the Indians. As a result Las Casas returns his Indian serfs to the governor and the rest of his life is to be spent in defense of the Indian. 1512Becomes first priest to be ordained in the New World.

1513Takes part in the violent and bloody conquest of Cuba and receives Indian serfs for his efforts. 1515Returns to Spain to plead the Indian cause before King Ferdinand. With the support of the archbishop of Toledo, Francisco Jimenez de Cisneros, is named priest-procurator of the Indies. 1516In November returns to America as a member of a commission sent to investigate the treatment of the Indians. 1519Returns to Spain once more.

1520Presents a defense of the Indian to King Charles I (Emperor Charles V) arguing that the time of military conquest of the Indians has passed and that they could be converted by more peaceful means. After much debate the king sides with Las Casas and supports his plan to build a colony of farm communities in present-day Venezuela inhabited by both Spanish and free Indians. Las Casas sets sail in December. 1522In January, after more than a year of continuous opposition of local encomenderos who incite Indian attacks on the farmers, the experiment fails. 1523Disappointed in the results of his political activities, Las Casas joins the...
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