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A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies

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Univ. Rhode...

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  1. The early history of the Caribbean and De Las Casas' work
  2. The arguments presented by De Las Casas
  3. Contradictions and stereotypes in De Las Casas' work
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

Bartolome De Las Casas was a Dominican Monk of Spanish descent, best known for his moving work A Short Account Of The Destruction Of The Indies, which details the barbaric actions of the Spanish conquistadors in their relations with the natives of the New World. Even though it was written in the sixteenth century, A Short Account is still a significant work in our time, despite some of the stereotypes that De Las Casas includes. The author exposes important contradictions in the Spanish conquest of the New World and formulates a persuasive argument in favor of humane treatment of the native people. Centuries after it was written, A Short Account Of The Destruction Of The Indies has been studied by many world leaders interested in human rights, and De Las Casas is considered one of the first to champion this concept.

[...] Some of the most valuable aspects of A Short Account Of The Destruction Of The Indies are the contradictions that De Las Casas exposes throughout his work. The contradictions include the fact that the Spanish invaders are supposedly concerned with converting natives to the Catholic faith, however not only are they most likely angering God, as De Las Casas is already worried about possible punishment, they are also casting a shadow over the Catholic faith itself and acting in a very un-Christian way. [...]

[...] De Las Casas discusses this at least twice, including that some native mothers were driven to ?killing their own children and eating them? (p.39). The author also describes a Spaniard who, ?since he never fed the ten or twenty thousand impressed natives in his army, he gave them leave to eat the prisoners they took? (p.63). Despite these stereotypes, De Las Casas' A Short Account Of The Destruction Of The Indies provides valuable information on the early history of the Caribbean and the intellectual and persuasive working of the time it was written. However, [...]

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