What is bartolome de las casas

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what is bartolome de las casas

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Bartolome de las Casas and 500 Years of Racial Injustice

Las Casas, Bartolome de (14741566)

As a young man, he practiced law for a short time, but, like so many other enterprising young men of his day, he went to the New World in search of new opportunities. He served as a soldier and public official at various places in the West Indies and was rewarded for his efforts with an encomienda , a royally-granted landed estate with full authority over the native residents. In or , Las Casas was ordained a Roman Catholic priest, probably the first to receive holy orders in the Western Hemisphere. In , he gave up his encomienda in response to his growing concerns about the treatment of Indians in Spanish America. From to , Las Casas tried unsuccessfully to establish new settlements where white farmers would live in complete equality with the natives.

He was the principal organizer and champion of the 16th-century movement in Spain and Spanish America in defense of the Indians. Apparently he did not graduate from a university, although he studied Latin and the humanities in Seville. The facts of his life after are well known. In the West Indies he participated in Indian wars, acquired land and slaves, and felt no serious qualms about his actions, although he had been ordained a priest. Not until his fortieth year did Las Casas experience a moral conversion, perhaps the awakening of a dormant sensitivity as a result of the horrors he saw about him. His early efforts at the Spanish court were largely directed at securing approval for the establishment of model colonies in which Spanish farmers would live and labor side by side with Indians in a peaceful coexistence that would gently lead the natives to Christianity and Christian civilization.

His several works include Historia de las Indias first printed in A prolific writer and in his later years an influential figure of the Spanish court, Las Casas nonetheless failed to stay the progressive enslavement of the indigenous peoples of Latin America.
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Las Casas, Bartolome De (14741566)

In he left for Hispaniola, the island that today contains the states of Dominican Republic and Haiti. He became a doctrinero , lay teacher of catechism, and began evangelizing the indigenous people, whom the Spaniards called Indians. He was probably the first person ordained as a priest in America, on either or During his first twelve years in the New World, Las Casas participated in various expeditions of conquest in the Caribbean. Due to his service, the Spanish crown rewarded him with an encomienda a royal land grant including native inhabitants as it was the custom of the time to pay for the services of those Spaniards participating in the exploration of the new territories.

He studied in Seville and at the University of Salamanca, and in he went to America. For a decade, he developed a large mining and agricultural operation in Hispaniola the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic with labor from Indian slaves. He also was involved in the conquest of Cuba, for which he was awarded a large land grant. In , he became a priest, but it was not until , while he was preparing a sermon, that he changed his views. He decided to return his slaves and devote his life to the justice of the Indians. Las Casas became the most famous propagandist of American Indian rights and a champion of human rights.

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    Further Reading on Bartolome de Las Casas

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