WRITTEN BY: Enrique Dussel
From Encyclopaedia Britannica
Bartolomé de Las Casas (born 1474 or 1484, Sevilla?, Spain—died July 1566, Madrid) was an early Spanish historian and Dominican missionary who was the first to expose the oppression of indigenous peoples by Europeans in the Americas and to call for the abolition of slavery there. His several works include Historia de las Indias (first printed in 1875). 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.
Early life and efforts at reform
The son of a small merchant, Las Casas is believed to have gone to Granada as a soldier in 1497 and to have enrolled to study Latin in the academy at the cathedral in Sevilla (Seville). In 1502 he left for Hispaniola, in the West Indies, with the governor, Nicolás de Ovando. As a reward for his participation in various expeditions, he was given an encomienda—a royal land grant including Indian inhabitants—and he soon began to evangelize that population, serving as doctrinero, or lay teacher of catechism. Perhaps the first person in America to receive holy orders, he was ordained a priest in either 1512 or 1513. In 1513 he took part in the bloody conquest of Cuba and, as priest-encomendero (land grantee), received an allotment of Indian serfs.
Although during his first 12 years in America Las Casas was a willing participant in the conquest of the Caribbean, he did not indefinitely remain indifferent to the fate of the indigenous peoples. In a famous sermon on August 15, 1514, he announced that he was returning his Indian serfs to the governor. Realizing that it was useless to attempt to defend the Indians at long distance in America, he returned to Spain in 1515 to plead for their better treatment. The most influential person to take up his cause was Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, the archbishop of Toledo and future co-regent of Spain. With the help of the archbishop, the Plan para la reformación de las Indias was conceived, and Las Casas, named priest-procurator of the Indies, was appointed to a commission to investigate the status of the Indians. He sailed for America in November 1516.
Las Casas returned to Spain the next year. In addition to studying the juridical problems of the Indies, he began to work out a plan for their peaceful colonization by recruiting farmers as colonists. His stirring defense of the indigenous peoples before the Spanish Parliament in Barcelona in December 1519 persuaded King Charles I (the emperor Charles V), who was in attendance, to accept Las Casas’s project of founding “towns of free Indians”—i.e., communities of both Spaniards and Indians who would jointly create a new civilization in America. The location selected for the new colony was on the Gulf of Paria in the northern part of present-day Venezuela. Las Casas and a group of farm labourers departed for America in December 1520. The failure to recruit a sufficient number of farmers, the opposition of the encomenderos of Santo Domingo, and, finally, an attack by the Indians themselves all were factors that brought disaster to the experiment in January 1522.
Upon his return to Santo Domingo, the unsuccessful priest and political reformer abandoned his reforming activities to take refuge in religious life. He joined the Dominican order in 1523. Four years later, while serving as prior of the convent of Puerto de Plata, a town in northern Santo Domingo, he began to write the Historia apologética. One of his major works, the Apologética was to serve as the introduction to his masterpiece, the Historia de las Indias. The Historia, which by his request was not published until after his death, is an account of all that had happened in the Indies just as he had seen or heard of it. But, rather than a chronicle, it is a prophetic interpretation of events. The purpose of all the facts he sets forth is the exposure of the “sin” of domination, oppression, and injustice that the European was inflicting upon the newly discovered peoples. It was Las Casas’s intention to reveal to Spain the reason for the misfortune that would inevitably befall it when it became the object of God’s punishment.
Las Casas interrupted work on the book only to send to the Council of the Indies in Madrid three long letters (in 1531, 1534, and 1535), in which he accused persons and institutions of the sin of oppressing the Indian, particularly through the encomienda system. After various adventures in Central America, where his ideas on the treatment of the indigenous population invariably brought him into conflict with the Spanish authorities, Las Casas wrote De único modo (1537; The Only Way), in which he set forth the doctrine of peaceful evangelization of the Indian. Together with the Dominicans, he then employed this new type of evangelization in a “land of war” (a territory of still-unconquered Indians)—Tuzulutlan (modern Alta Verapaz, Guatemala). Encouraged by the favourable outcome of this experiment, Las Casas set out for Spain late in 1539, arriving there in 1540.
While awaiting an audience with Charles V, Las Casas conceived the idea of still another work, the Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias (A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies), which he wrote in 1542 and in which the historical events described are in themselves of less importance than their theological interpretation: “The reason why the Christians have killed and destroyed such an infinite number of souls is that they have been moved by their wish for gold and their desire to enrich themselves in a very short time.”
Las Casas’s work finally seemed to be crowned with success when King Charles signed the so-called New Laws (Leyes Nuevas). According to those laws, the encomienda was not to be considered a hereditary grant; instead, the owners had to set free their Indian serfs after the span of a single generation. To ensure enforcement of the laws, Las Casas was named bishop of Chiapas in Guatemala, and in July 1544 he set sail for America, together with 44 Dominicans. Upon his arrival in January 1545, he immediately issued Avisos y reglas para confesores de españoles (“Admonitions and Regulations for the Confessors of Spaniards”), the famous Confesionario, in which he forbade absolution to be given to those who held Indians in encomienda. The rigorous enforcement of his regulations led to vehement opposition on the part of the Spanish faithful during Lent of 1545 and forced Las Casas to establish a council of bishops to assist him in his task. But soon his uncompromisingly pro-Indian position alienated his colleagues, and in 1547 he returned to Spain.
Adviser to Charles V
Las Casas then entered upon the most fruitful period of his life. He became an influential figure at court and at the Council of the Indies. In addition to writing numerous memoriales (petitions), he came into direct confrontation with the learned Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, an increasingly important figure at court by reason of his Democrates segundo; o, de las justas causas de la guerra contra los indios (“Concerning the Just Cause of the War Against the Indians”), in which he maintained, theoretically in accordance with Aristotelian principles, that the Indians “are inferior to the Spaniards just as children are to adults, women to men, and, indeed, one might even say, as apes are to men.” Las Casas finally confronted him in 1550 at the Council of Valladolid, which was presided over by famous theologians. The argument was continued in 1551, and its repercussions were enormous.
The servitude of the Indians was already irreversibly established, and, despite the fact that Sepúlveda’s teachings had not been officially approved, they were, in effect, those that were followed in the Indies. But Las Casas continued to write books, tracts, and petitions, testimony to his unwavering determination to leave in written form his principal arguments in defense of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
During his final years Las Casas came to be the indispensable adviser both to the Council of the Indies and to the king on many of the problems relating to the Indies. In 1562 he had the final form of the Prólogo to the Historia de las Indias published, although in 1559 he had left written instructions that the work itself should be published only “after forty years have passed, so that, if God determines to destroy Spain, it may be seen that it is because of the destruction that we have wrought in the Indies and His just reason for it may be clearly evident.” At the age of 90 Las Casas completed two more works on the Spanish conquest in the Americas. Two years later he died in the Dominican convent of Nuestra Señora de Atocha de Madrid, having continued to the end his defense of his beloved Indians, oppressed by the colonial system that Europe was organizing.
At the suggestion of Francisco de Toledo, the viceroy of Peru, the king ordered all the works, both published and unpublished, of Las Casas to be collected. Although his influence with Spain and the Indies declined sharply, his name became well known in other parts of Europe, thanks to the translations of the Destrucción that soon appeared in various countries. In the early 19th century the Latin American revolutionary Simón Bolívar himself was inspired by some of the letters of Las Casas in his struggle against Spain, as were some of the heroes of Mexican independence. His name came into prominence again in the latter half of the 20th century, in connection with the indigenista movements in Peru and Mexico. The modern significance of Las Casas lies in the fact that he was the first European to perceive the economic, political, and cultural injustice of the colonial or neocolonial system maintained by the North Atlantic powers since the 16th century for the control of Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
Some Quotes from History and Religion and a Strong Opinion
“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.”
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Satan pretends to be some racist Christians. The prime example being Evangelicals who worship at the golden calf of drumph. I think they'll be DOUBLE DAMNED for impersonating Christians while being racists in their hearts and in their actions of quiet, or loud, support for their vile racist cult leader.
They do all they can to entice others to join their 'Christian' cult with weak morales, ignorant minds, and often desperate from the economy their fascist oligarch leaders have wrought upon us. While others share in the 'booty' of stolen riches, from the profits made by paying legalized minimum slave wages, via the stock they buy or in their pensions.
In their ignorance they buy the bullshit and lies fed to them by satan's propaganda machine, the
X enophobe network.
They deny science, facts, and goodness and embrace their perceived riches and gains by supporting Satan in our government.
Hell, they've been being prepared for this their entire lives. Having a racist upbringing, in a racist society, by ignorant parents, parents too busy trying to survive and feed their kids so they are raised by the streets and propaganda, or no parents at all.
In their brainwashed ignorance they fight for those who screwed them to screw themselves, their families, their society, their race - the human race, even more deeply.
They have become total sellouts to their racist Satanic cult out of conservative fears, desperate situations, or hoarding ill gotten gains, and willing to tolerate or embrace their racist ignorance. Willing to blame scapegoats giving power to a strong leader to save them. While the reality is it is their cult leader who destroys them and us all.
This is why fascism is known to be so dangerous. It's core goal is to divide the people and destroy democracy turning control over to those who will use brutal force to enrich themselves without concern for human rights or moral/ethical values.
Fascism has ended many democracies from within. That is how democracies fall. Just as the Roman Empire did. Just as ours did with the Citizens United decision. It was the root cause of WWII. Soon, WWIII I think. And we are the nazis this time.
If we speak up, are we the tool of division?
I don't know. I suppose we are to a certain degree.
But, if we remain silent then evil wins.
Our silence makes the putrid and disgusting things that are happening normalized and seem ok. But, they are SO NOT OK!!!
The racism and xenophobia is the tool used to distract and divide while we jointly get screwed by the fascist wanna-be dick-tater-tot and his oligarch gang of cult leaders. They are destroying while distracting and the toll thus far is VERY VERY HIGH.
This article is not intended to judge the ignorant being led by a satanic cult leader. It is to be expected. Even predicted by many religions. Mathew 7:15 15 “Watch out for false prophets. They ...are ferocious wolves."
I've used no names here because you know who you are. I don't need to. This article is intended to wake you the frick up before you succeed in your destruction of us all.
Before God judges you, you can change.
Likely, this won't 'reach those who need to hear it. Their eyes, ears, and minds have been closed. But, at least I'll have the hollow satisfaction of an "I told you so" on our journey to hell together.
.... We can all Vote Democratic in 2020 💙, removing the terrorists who took over the republican party from the Senate and Whitehouse and all our branches of government, save our country, save the republican party and our 2 party system, save humanity, rebuild our democracy, and live happily ever after.
WE GET TO DECIDE IN 2020
VOTE WISELY 💙 peace
WE GET TO DECIDE IN 2024 - VOTE WISELY for Love, Human Rights & Democracy! 💙 peace