Lint Sagarena paper las casas - 1 Religions of Latin...

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Religions of Latin America 133g Professor Lint Sagarena TA: Terrion Williamson Essay # 2: Brutal Atrocities In the 16 th century European nations began to conquer indigenous people in the Americas. Bartolomé De Las Casas, a Spanish priest advocated for humane rights of the Native Americans for the majority of his life. In his most renowned piece, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies he depicts the atrocious acts of the Christian Spaniards through their conquest and genocide of the indigenous people of the Americas. Fearing divine repercussions on Spain he urges King Phillip II to act against these brutalities. Where as Las Casas’ novel is a single account of the decimation of the indigenous population, Miguel Leon-Portilla’s novel The Broken Spears is a compilation of various Native American writings of the survivors of the vicious conquest. Even though both The Broken Spears and A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies are similar in their violently vivid depictions of the Spanish conquest, elements of their writing such as Las Casas’ motive as well as differing points of view result in a varied narration of the conquest. In order to understand Bartolomé De Las Casas’ piece fully, first his motive for writing must be investigated. Las Casas novel was not intended to relay history, instead the purpose was to inform the King of Spain, of the cruel nature of the Christian conversion and conquest. Since he is writing to persuade rather then inform, his writing is subjective and therefore should not be discounted, but viewed cautiously. For instance Las Casas prologue to King Phillip II of Spain he explains the importance to cease their atrocious conquest tactics stating, “ action is both urgent and necessary if God is continue to watch over the Crown of the Castile”(Las Casas 7). Not only does Las Casas disagree with the genocide on a moral level, but also he fears the 1
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slaughter and eternal damnation of the indigenous population will cause the downfall of Spain. Furthermore, because his motive is to persuade rather than portray he chooses to highlight the unjust massacres of the indigenous people in order to encourage an emotional plea. On the other
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  • Spring '08
  • LINTSAGARENA
  • Native Americans in the United States, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Population history of American indigenous peoples, Las Casas

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