Summary Of Bartolome De Las Casas

Superior Essays
It is well understood that the age of exploration was one wrought with the total destruction of the native inhabitants of the new world by European explorers. However, it is a misconception that Europeans didn’t notice or care about the utter genocide of the native populations. One man named Bartolomé de las Casas, a Dominican friar and historian, played a monumental role in bringing the knowledge of this destruction to Europe. After spending time among the conquistadors in the new world, Casas would return to Spain and begin writing to the emperor, Charles I of Spain, about the atrocities committed under the guise of conquest for the crown. Casas would push for the creation of laws that would stop the abhorrent behavior of these Spaniards. …show more content…
This doesn’t mean that Cortés was incapable of showing good-will towards the natives he conquered. There were indeed a few rules Cortés stuck by that can be considered honorable rules of engagement, and so good-willed. An example of these rules is that Cortés does not let his soldiers pillage the people they come across. Castillo tells of a time when the Sempoallans under Cortés’ control had plundered a local town unbeknownst to him. His reaction was one of fury as he ordered them to return the items they had stolen. Cortés went on to say, “Our emperor had not sent us to this country to commit such crimes, and they had better mind not again to fall into such guilt, as none of them would escape alive if it happened again”(Castillo pg. 117). There was yet another instance where a man named Mora attempted to steal some fowl from the local Indians as they passed through their village. Cortés “ordered a rope to be tied around the fellow’s neck, and would have had him hung up if Alvardo, who was standing next to Cortés, had not cut the rope in two with his sword”(Castillo, pg. 118). How can it be said that Cortés did not make a conscious and good-willed effort to protect the natives from unnecessary harm. These examples clearly show that Cortés was tolerant of the natives and wished to treat them like any other Christian people. Casas even commented on the situation in New Spain by saying, …show more content…
Locke has an interesting perspective on how we should deal with idolatry by saying, “it does not follow that because it is a sin it ought therefore to be punished by the magistrate”. What Locke is saying is that civil law has no right to punish sins for that is the job of God, especially sins that do not directly harm others. However, it would have been easier to ignore the native’s worshiping of idols and pagan ways if these idols didn’t demanded human sacrifices. Most of these sacrifices were taken against their will and murdered. In no western country at the time was it ok under civil law to kidnap and murder others, thus over stepping these “victimless sins”. Cortés was in the right trying to convert the natives as a way to stop these horrendous acts and to bring them closer to God. It should also be said that Cortés did not force natives by pain of death or destruction to convert to Christianity. Cortés simply made it a part of an agreement that if they were to be friends the Caziques people would have to stop following false gods and sacrificing humans. Some of the natives didn’t have a problem with this, “They showed the same readiness to comply with Cortes’s wishes when he desired them to do away with their diols and human sacrifices” (Castillo pg. 80). There was an instance where Cortés and

Related Documents

  • Great Essays

    The key word here is “invited” and not forced. Sepulveda wants men to be drawn to God on their own accord, but if they resist, he argues for them to be compelled with force. Interestingly though, Sepulveda says, “he does not want the unwilling to be baptize. This is forbidden by divine law, and no law can oblige anyone to be baptized against his will.” Yet, he goes on to say that violence should be used to show the Indians their fault in resisting so they may freely choose to be baptized. The Spanish soldiers seemed a little to eager to spread the good news as many natives were forced in their baptisms.…

    • 1614 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Trajan Martyrdom

    • 1726 Words
    • 7 Pages

    This too shows that the upper echelon had reservations about the killing Christians. Trajan’s persecution of the Christians was implemented as a means of social control to ensure that the pagan population did not rebel against the emperor. However, Trajan’s quest for social control did not deter pagans from converting to Christianity, courageous martyrdom in the circus actually promoted the faith. The act of martyrdom is Christianity embracing their ideological differences and exaggerating the behaviours that set them apart from the pagan community namely public sacrifices to the gods and the proclamation that a “criminal” is God . By placing Christ in the centre of the being, Martyrs expressed their devotion to their faith through their willingness…

    • 1726 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Historians Written by Bartolome de las Casas, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies was created to inform Prince Philip about the horrible acts inflicted on the Native Americans by the Spaniards. Through this document, las Casas pleads the Prince to do justice to the “unassuming, long-suffering, unassertive, and submissive” natives by preventing Spaniards from getting licenses for ventures and conquests in the New World. las Casas’ A Short Account left me aghast when I finished reading. Although I knew that the natives suffered at the hands of the Europeans, I was never fully aware of their degree of suffering. I became increasingly fearful as I read on.…

    • 517 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Trajan’s persecution was instigated by the protestation against Christianity by the pagan population. The governor of the region would be forced to placate the community, by condemning the Christians to death. These persecutions were often localized and rare. Pliny the Younger states that the Christians do not commit themselves to crime; they actually take an oath against criminal activities, such as theft, murder and adultery . The admission of Pliny the Younger suggests that the pagans did not have a valid reason to fear Christianity, but their reputation as immoral and superstitious persons overshadowed the fact that Christians live by moral tenants that were in line with Rome’s.…

    • 1249 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The reason why he wasn’t punished and was let free, is because the judges thought it was bad but people thought it was his freedom of speech and the judges couldn’t go against the first amendment. But they did everything they could to put him away for burning the flag. But they couldn’t so they let him go. Johnson should have got some time in jail at least and told that it was wrong for him to do anything to the United States flag. So even if he got in trouble and that nothing should happen like that without taking in account.…

    • 493 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    For the Natives it was unreasonable for excess clothing to be worn given the climate, but because the Spanish believed only their version of society was right, the Spaniards forced the Natives to change to adapt to their way of life. Most Europeans believed that those who did not observe the Christian faith were brutes and that they were dumb, but Cortez believed that the Natives were men and they wanted to be converted so they should not be treated harshly (Doc 6). The Natives would be treated as real men and given freedom, if they agreed to be converted. If the Natives did not agree to this, war would be waged against them (Doc 2). Europeans believed that this would not be a problem, as they believed the Natives wanted to be cleansed of their sins and their savage practice of human…

    • 1142 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Las Casas believed in converting the Natives in a reasonable time and fashion. Sepulveda believed that the Natives did not have a developed civilization and were quite similar to savages opposed to humans. Due to Sepulveda’s belief in that Aristotelian doctrine, he advocated for Natives being converted quickly and by all means necessary regardless of how brutal those methods could be. Las Casas believed that the Natives did have a developed civilization but the only reason Sepulveda was unaware of that fact was due to him having no personal experience with Natives. Las Casas felt that the Natives were human and, although they were not equal to the Spanish, they should still be treated within a humane fashion.…

    • 1164 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He believes that good Christians should not treat other human beings in such a cruel manner, for that is against their religious beliefs. 5. What is the purpose of this document? The purpose of this document is to inform the public how cruelly the Indians are being treated by most Christians. Bartolome De las Casas believes that any type of slavery is immoral,and tries to gain sympathy to stop such cruel actions (pg.…

    • 974 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This was an impartiality that no European nation would have shown at the time towards a “heathen.” Despite this, Pereira still believed the Chinese had to be converted to Christianity and found their ability to reason and form such a fair system of law made them capable of it. It is almost as if Western Europeans only recognized the humanity in other people from other cultures if they showed signs of being civilized. If Europeans confirmed they were rather civilized, then they believed these people were capable of being Christians. This Christian mentality severs as another example of the Western Europeans mindset of their justification for overseas imperialism. They say themselves…

    • 887 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Are Bacon’s actions justified and is it right? Many historians believe Bacon’s Rebellion was unjustified and wrong, but many other historians believe his actions are benevolent. Bacon’s attack on the Natives is correct because the government was neglecting the citizens, teaching Natives the use of firearms, and the Natives stealing major crops from the citizens. Bacon played a major part in history, especially in the year of 1676 when Bacon’s Rebellion started. The rebellion started out by the Virginians rebelling against Governor William Berkeley because the Virginians resented him for being friendly towards the Native Americans even after their wrongdoings.…

    • 1178 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays