Book Report: De Las Casas a Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies

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De Las Casas

Based on the Introduction explain the following

Biographical information about de las Casas (who, when where?)

Based on the Preface of a Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, the reader learns that Bartholomaeus de las Casas was a religious man and Dominican Friar who lived in the Spanish colonies. He collected and compiled the documents used to write this book in the first half of the sixteenth century. Around 1542, de las Casas sailed to Spain with the express purpose of delivering the documents to the Spanish crown and government.

why he wrote the work

In the Preface, de las Casas claims that the purpose of writing the book was to draw attention to the cruelty of colonial practices, and to urge an immediate end to greed-driven colonization. De las Casas makes his point emphatically, with statements like, "I desire therefore that the Readers who have or shall peruse these passages, would please seriously to consider whether or no, such Barbarous, Cruel and Inhumane Acts as these do not transcend and exceed all the impiety and tyrrany, which can enter into the thoughts or imagination of Man, and whether these Spaniards deserve not the name of Devils," (p. 36).

c. original publication

The book was published in Seville, Spain in 1552.

d. how the work was received

Although it might have been interpreted as inflammatory due to his referring to the Spaniards as barbaric tyrants, de las Casas' book was received well and made a huge impact on Spanish policy toward its colonies. Although the greed-driven practices of colonialism persisted, Spain did eventually alter its policies regarding slavery and slave trading in the colonies.

2. Explain the geographical movement of the conquest.

In a Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, de las Casas begins at the place of first contact in Hispaniola, West Indes. The author also describes other islands in the region that were later settled by Spaniards, including Cuba. De las Casas then offers a section devoted to "the continent," referring first to all what is now known as Central America (including Nicaraqua/Nicaragua, Panama, Hondura/Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico). Much of Central America and most of Mexico was referred to as "New Spain." Moreover, he describes most of these lands, but Nicaragua in particular,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Book Report:

APA Format

De Las Casas a Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies.  (2013, March 7).  Retrieved May 26, 2019, from

MLA Format

"De Las Casas a Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies."  7 March 2013.  Web.  26 May 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"De Las Casas a Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies."  March 7, 2013.  Accessed May 26, 2019.