Perceptions of Bartolome de Las Casas

Powerful Essays
David Warren December 10, 2010 CMLT277

The Contributions and Perceptions of Bartolome de Las Casas

After reading Carlos Fuentes’ book, “The Buried Mirror: Reflections on Spain and the New World”, he devoted a section to Bartolome de Las Casas which allowed the reader to capture his unique perspective (32-38). In the introductory text before the reading of “The Brief History of the Destruction of the Indies” (as read in class), Bartolome de Las Casas is viewed as a devoted Saint and missionary that was an activist for the Indian’s human rights and against Spain’s military conquest of the “New World” (Briffault). However, Fuentes illustrated Bartolome in a different perspective; even though Bartolome tried to stop the obvious brutal treatment of the Indians by the Spaniards, he ultimately became the Spaniard’s “most useful tool” in an evolved attack to the Indian’s humanitarian values in a newly “disguised” method of slavery. This was a very unique perspective because of the fact that after discussing and reading about him, Bartolome is largely perceived as a good Saint that brought about great awareness of the injustice of the Indians. So how could he contribute to the Crown’s corrupt rule over the land? As a result, in order to understand the true ultimate historical value of Bartolome de Las Casas, we will take an in-depth look into his life, what he believed, what he did for the Indians, and discuss the general opinion of Bartolome de Las Casas versus Fuentes impression of him. I will then prove that Bartolome de Las Casas did not impact the Indian community as beneficially as many people thought he did – and in fact, he indirectly and unintentionally contributed to the very image of the original corruption of both the private and public life in Spanish America. Bartolome de Las Casas was born in 1474 in Seville, Spain to Pedro de Las Casas who was a small business merchant. He immediately sent his son to The Academy at the Cathedral

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