Summary Of Bartolome De Las Casas

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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

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