What major issues does bartolome de las casas bring up regarding spanish expeditions in the caribbean?


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Deborah Mann Profile
Deborah Mann answered
Bartoleme de las Casas, born in the latter part of the 15th century was a man ahead of his times. He was a Dominican friar and was the first Bishop of Chiapas who was resident there. One of the titles that he acquired through his extensive social reforming was that of Protector of the Indians.

He was appalled by the atrocities that were carried out on indigenous populations and his writings demonstrate his feeling on the matter. His most famous is entitled 'A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies' and in it he focuses on what the colonizers were guilty of.

  • Initially for them
De las Casas arrived in the New World as one of its first settlers and initially he took part in what was happening to the Native Americans at the hands of the Spanish, but by 1515 he was sickened by it all and gave his own slaves their freedom.

  • Dedicated his life
De las Casas spent the rest of his life trying to convince his Spanish monarch and Charles V, who was Holy Roman Emperor and incredibly powerful, to go for a peaceful colonization, but his attempts failed. This was the moment that he gave up on the world and became a monk, but he couldn't leave it alone and continued to fight the cause of indigenous populations.

  • Success
He had some successes but they were all based on getting the natives to convert to Christianity, which, being a man of his times, is something that de las Casas would have wanted too.

  • 50 years
Although Bartolome de las Casas did not succeed in getting the Spanish to behave better and to be more humane, and he certainly did not save the indigenous population of the Caribbean, he did have some success in the 50 years that he devoted to his cause, such as improvements in the natives' legal status.
Railynn Davis Profile
Railynn Davis answered
Bartolome de las Casas was said to be the only source-of information about what happened to the Indians on the islands of Caribbean after Columbus came. Las Casas witnessed how the Spaniards treated the Indians. Las Casas wrote about how the Spainsh soldiers stabbed Indians for the joy, smashed babies’ heads on rocks. Las Casas describes how the Indians lived their lives, and how it was diffent from what the Spaniards were used to. The Spanish treated the Indians poorly, Zinn states in History is a weapon the Spanish were carried on hammocks by Indians running in relays, "In this case they also had Indians carry large leaves to shade them from the sun and others to fan them with goose wings."Las Casas tells how "two of these so-called Christians met two Indian boys one day, each carrying a parrot; they took the parrots and for fun beheaded the boys." The Indians would try to fight back but most attempts failed. When the Indians would try to run they were hunted down and killed. The Spaniards worked the Indians hard. Las Casas states"As for the newly born, they died early because their mothers, overworked and famished, had no milk to nurse them, and for this reason, while I was in Cuba, 7000 children died in three months." The major issue that Bartolome de las Casas bring up regarding Spanish expeditions in the Caribbean were that the Spaniards treated the Indians in any matter as they wanted.

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