Born in Blood and Fire: Latin American Voices Essay Assignment
A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies, Bartolome de las Casas Las Casas’ account depicts the terrible and inhumane actions that the Spaniards inflicted upon the indigenous people. He made it very clear that the indigenous people were far from deserving of this torturous treatment. He describes them as “among the purest, the most innocent, and the most intelligent.” (p.9) Las Casas points out that other Spaniards had similar feelings for the indigenous people. Some of the Spaniards described them as “the most blessed on Earth.” (p.9) After Las Casas established the fact that the indigenous people were far from deserving of the treatment they received due to their innocence, he described of how horrific the torture methods were. When describing how the Spaniards treated the indigenous people he says, “they treated them worse than beasts, with less regard than one treats a pile of manure in the road” (p.11) Las Casas makes it very evident that the Spaniards had no regard for the indigenous people and went to extreme measures to torture them. As Las Casas continues to describe the horrible events that occurred, it is clear that Las Casas was extremely disgusted with what he saw. Rightfully so, he exposed these Spaniards in a way that made them seem like the devil himself. I got a sense that Bartolome de las Casas was slightly embarrassed that he originally came to Hispaniola in the conquest of Hispaniola. I think that Las Casas gains credibility since he was once part of the Spaniard Christians that came to take over Hispaniola. This shows that the actions of the Spaniards were so bad that it made their own kind revolt against them and devote their life to stopping the terrible things that were happening. Las Casas felt very strongly in his disgust of the way the indigenous people were treated and he properly shows this in his account. General History of the Indies, Francisco Lopez de Gomara
It was very interesting to read Gomara’s account of the conquest in comparison to La Casas’. These two accounts are so different that it almost feels like they are writing about two different events. You could tell while reading Gomara’s account that he was writing it from the Spaniard’s side. It was apparent that Gomara was in favor of the Spaniards when he starts the account by saying the discovery of Hispaniola was the greatest event since the creation of the world. I am sure that Las Casas and all the indigenous people would strongly disagree with that statement. Gomara goes on to talk about the people of Hispaniola and criticizes their society. He claims that since they are not Christian they are terrible beasts who “commit great sins of idolatry and human sacrifice, eating human flesh and conversing with the devil.” (p. 14) Since he is writing this to the King of Spain he makes sure to say that the ones who were subject to the King had been converted to Christianity. Las Casas’ writing was very different when talking about the people and their religion. He described them as very peaceful people and even though they were not Christian, they were very reluctant in learning about the religion. After reading the entire account it is of no surprise that Gomara never actually visited Hispaniola. His views are extremely biased and favor the actions of the Spaniards. He even goes as far to say that it is unfortunate that Spain did not have enough resources to capture more of Hispaniola. The difference between Las Casas’ account and Gomara’s account was most evident when they each reported how many indigenous people occupied the island. Las Casas reports the drastic decrease of indigenous people as a pure tragedy whereas Gomara reports the figures as an accomplishment. Gomara makes it very clear in his account that he differs from Las Casas in that he favors the conquest of Hispaniola. The True History of the Conquest of New Spain, Bernal Diaz del...
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