Bartolome de Las Casas
(1474-1566)
 



 
 

Spanish Dominican Friar, Bishop of Puebla, he became famous for defending the Indian from Spanish abuse. Although paternalistic in his attitude toward the Indians, Las Casas defended their rights as human beings, a fact thoroughly denied by the colonial authorities. Las Casas debated Archbishop Sepulveda, one of the ideologues of the Spanish Crown who defended the notion that Indians were irrational and immoral, thus the justification for their harsh treatment. Las Casas, interesting enough, defended the Conquest if it had only been carried out with a religious telos, i.e., the convertion of the natives. He wrote Brevisima relacion de la destruccion de las Indians (1552) which began the Black Legend (about Spanish wanton behavior in the Americas).
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