Analysis of the Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies

Topics: Bartolomé de las Casas, Spanish colonization of the Americas, Colonialism Pages: 2 (553 words) Published: August 21, 2013
One of the stated purposes for writing the account was Las Casas's fear of Spain coming under divine punishment and his concern for the souls of the native peoples. The account was one of the first attempts by a Spanish writer of the colonial era to depict the unfair treatment that the indigenous people endured during the early stages of the Spanish conquest of the Greater Antilles, particularly the island of Hispaniola. Las Casas's point of view can be described as being heavily against some of the Spanish methods of colonization, which, as he described them, inflicted great losses on the indigenous occupants of the islands. His account was largely responsible for the adoption of the New Laws of 1542, which abolished native slavery for the first time in European colonial history and led to the Valladolid debate. The book became an important element in the creation and propagation of the so-called Black Legend – the tradition of describing the Spanish empire as exceptionally morally corrupt and violent. It was republished several times by groups that were critical of the Spanish realm for political or religious reasons. The first edition in translation was published in Dutch in 1578, during the religious persecution of Dutch Protestants by the Spanish crown, followed by editions in French (1578), English (1583), and German (1599) – all countries where religious wars were raging. The first edition published in Spain after Las Casas's death appeared in Barcelona during the Catalan Revolt of 1646. The book was banned by the Aragonese inquisition in 1659.[77

This passage visualy describes the situation during Spanish conquest of Latin America. It‘s brevity does not diminish it‘ s content. Bartolome de Las Casas tells what he saw through his own eyes, all the terror, inadmissible but tolerable, illegitimate but approved.

First sentence, the salutation, shows how the writer, Bartolome, respect and honour the addressee to whom he rights, Philip, Prince of Spain....
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