Last Updated 27 Jan 2021

Columbus vs. de Las Casas

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In the textbook of Bartolome de las Casas From The Very Brief Relation of the Devastation of the Indies, de la Casas said “This was the first land in the New World to be destroyed and depopulated by the Christians, and here they began their subjection of the women and children, taking them away from the Indians to use them and ill use them, eating the food they provided with their sweat and toil. Base on this saying we can guest his thought about the New World and its inhabitants, he explains how the Spaniards have behaved and acting, killing, terrorizing, afflicting, torturing, and destroying the native peoples, doing all this with the strangest and most varied new methods of cruelty, never seen or heard of before. De las Casas think this new world was the first one to be devastated destroyed and conquered by imperialist and colonialist Spaniards. Columbus’s letters we can see the arrogance he possessed in claiming the islands he found.

In his letter describing his findings to his king, he wrote, “And there I found very many islands filled with people innumerable and of them all I have taken possession for their Highnesses. …” Columbus never stopped to consider that these islands were not his to take, nor were the people that inhabited them. He simply took over these lands, even going so far as to rename them all. His first sight of what he termed “Indians” was of a group of attractive, unclothed people. Speculation is that, to him, their nakedness represented a lack of culture, customs, and religion.

Columbus saw this as an opportunity to spread the word of God, while at the same considering how they could possibly be exploited. He believed that they would be easy to conquer because they appeared defenseless, easy to trick because they lacked experience in trade, and an easy source of profit because they could be enslaved. It obviously did not occur to Columbus to consider these people in any terms aside from that of master and slave. Columbus thinks that New World could be well adapted for the working of the gold mines and for all kinds of commerce.

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Columbus vs. de Las Casas. (2018, Oct 17). Retrieved from

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