They are chained around the neck; when a slave collapses, unable to work anymore, he is instantly beheaded so that the chain need not be broken. He wrote A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies in 1542, a shocking catalogue of mass slaughter, torture and slavery, which showed that the evangelizing vision of Columbus had descended under later conquistadors into genocide. Finally, war was urgently needed to end the vile practices of cannibalism, human sacrifice, and idolatry that Sepúlveda claimed were endemic to South America. This conflict is summed up in the words of Bernal Díaz, a foot soldier of the time: “We came here to serve God, and also to get rich” (Diaz in Hanke, p. 32). A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies was written with the task of informing the King of Spain about the murder and gold hoarding that was occurring in the New World. Crops were grown almost solely for subsistence: mining, diving for pearls, and even conducting raids on other native tribes were the chief duties of the native workers. Spanish Conquistadors 981 Words | 4 Pages. He wants the bloodshed to stop; but he wants it to stop so that true Christianity can take root in the New World. Most of the time they were too welcoming and were eaten out of their homes. Their screams disturbed the Governor’s nap: he ordered the torturer to cease. Subsequent voyages by Américo Vespucci confirmed that indeed Columbus had stumbled upon lands previously unknown to the Europeans, who called these lands the “Indies,” “West Indies,” or “New World.” An account in 1507 of Vespucci’s travels used “America” to designate South America and the West Indies, which others soon applied to the whole New World. He wrote "A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies" in 1542, a shocking catalogue of mass slaughter, torture and slavery, which showed that the evangelizing vision of Columbus had descended under later conquistadors into genocide. Las Casas reports that natives were literally worked to death by the encomendero, and killed as soon as they were too weak to work. This month’s Illuminating Magdalen post focuses on a true gem in the Old Library’s collection. To understand this, it is necessary to remember an aspect of sixteenth-century Spain that is all but forgotten now: its obsession with legalism. The other side argued that, although obligated to serve the King and God, the natives were in all other respects free and equal to Spaniards, and should be treated with no more severity than any of the King’s European subjects. The book was reprinted as recently as the Spanish American War of 1898, for purposes of propaganda. By Bartoleme de Las Casas. Meditating on a biblical text that condemns oppression and hypocrisy, he came to believe that “everything which had been done to the Indians in the Indies was unjust and tyrannical” (Griffin in Las Casas, p. xxii). One side claimed that the natives were naturally servile, and could be brought to know God only by force and labor, which justified almost anything the Spanish did to keep them in line. As one historian writes, “No further attempt was made to change radically the laws and basic institutions that had been established in these fateful fifty years” (Hanke, p. 105). Ed. More famous than these ventures was Las Casas’s writing of letters, arguments, debates, a history, a description of native cultures, and the impassioned, violent, propagandistic A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies. Bartolomé de Las Casas was the first and fiercest critic of Spanish colonialism in the New World. 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