Las Casas Reading Response

Topics: Spanish colonization of the Americas, Logic, Bartolomé de las Casas Pages: 2 (605 words) Published: November 10, 2013
In his work Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, Bartolomé de Las Casas reports the almost indescribably horrible atrocities the Spaniards are committing in the New World. Since he is allotted a small amount of time to convey these horrors to the King and Queen, he is forced to condense his account as much as possible, creating a sense of urgency in his attempt to bring the Spanish royalty to action in stopping these sinful events.

As Las Casas describes the events in his account, a noticeable pattern emerges. With every new area Las Casas is describing, he starts by emphasizing the generosity and friendliness of the natives upon receiving the incoming Spaniards. Many times he says the natives thought them to have descended from the heavens, and as such greeted them with veneration and showered them in gifts. The Spanish would continuously accept the gifts and offer a false friendship to the natives. Then, suddenly the Spanish would snap. They would rob and butcher the natives, mercilessly slaying them with no noticeable remorse or apparent reason. This cycle was recorded by Las Casas in many different parts of the New World and many different groups of Spaniards. Another pattern was the Spanish luring native chiefs and leaders into a supposedly friendly celebration where they would capture or kill them. This was also replicated in many different situations. Finally, any time that the natives would retaliate against the ruthless Spaniards Las Casas would passionately defend their actions and justify them by citing the Spanish provocation.

Las Casas makes his argument more convincing by focusing on specific events that are especially detestable. Then, after describing a few of these events, Las Casas would almost always say something along the lines of ‘If one was to write an account of all the horrible acts which were committed here, it would be an enormous book indeed.“ This notion, which is constantly repeated in the Short Account, constantly...
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