Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies

Topics: Spain, Colonialism, Spanish colonization of the Americas Pages: 3 (1274 words) Published: October 31, 2012
This assignment examines the document entitled “Bartolomé de las Casas, from Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies.” Bartolomé de las Casas, who spent most of his time in the New World protecting the native people that lived there, authored the document in 1542. The main reason for the writing of the document was to portray the devastation of the crimes made by Spaniards against the Indians who inhabited the islands of the Indies. The author wrote this document as an objective account of how the Spaniards, upon their discovery of the New World, have treated the Indians cruelly and tortured them in unthinkable ways. Since the author is Spanish, it would be assumed that the article would contain a bias in favour of the Spaniards and yet it does not. De las Casas frequently describes the wickedness of the torture inflicted on the Indians in a way that does not display a bias towards his nationality. He writes: "And Spaniards have behaved in no other way during the past forty years, down to the present time, for they are still acting like ravening beasts, killing, terrorizing, afflicting, torturing, and destroying the native peoples, doing all this with the strangest and most varied new methods of cruelty" (paragraph 4). This quotation illustrates that the author has no favouritism or bias towards the Spanish colonists and may show that de las Casas instead holds a bias for the Indians. Later in the excerpt, the author describes the "wars" between the Spaniards and Indians when the Indians took up arms. De las Casas uses very harsh terms to describe the ways the Spaniards killed mass amounts of Indians: "They attacked towns and spared neither the children nor the aged nor the pregnant women nor women in childbed, not only stabbing them and dismembering them but cutting them to pieces as if dealing with sheep in the slaughter house." (paragraph 12) In regards to taking the Indians as articles of the Christians faith he states: “As if those Christians who...

Bibliography: Bartolomé de las Casas, from Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies.” Web. 08 Nov. 2010. <>.
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