How Is Bartolome De Las Casas Justified

1211 Words5 Pages

Natalie Opoka
February 9, 2015
Las Casas Paper Imagine a world where everything you read is written in the same manner; same purpose, same sentence structure, same language etc. Readers would become bored because writing would be predictable. This is why writing is unique. All writing has a purpose whether that be to entertain, inform or persuade. Writers use different forms of artistry to convey their message to audiences. Artistry can be either positive or negative depending on how it is used, and if it is justified. Bartolomé de Las Casas was a 16th century Spanish priest who wrote about the Spanish colonization of the West Indies. A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies is a letter written to the prince of Spain …show more content…

In his prologue to Prince Philip, Las Casas says, "kingdoms granted and entrusted by God and His Church to the Spanish Crown so that they might be properly ruled and governed to the Faith, and tenderly nurtured to full material and spiritual prosperity" (De Las Casas 6). Las Casas is referring back to the Bulls of Donation of 1493, which states God gave the New World to the Spanish so they could spread Christianity. The words of God cannot be used as a credible source. Therefore, it is difficult to prove a point when using biblical references, because religion is based on …show more content…

He is a Catholic priest writing to the Catholic Prince of Spain. Las Casas ends the prologue by saying, "This, Your Royal Highness, is a matter on which action is both urgent and necessary if God is to continue to watch over the Crown of Catile and ensure its future well-being and prosperity, both spiritual and temporal. Amen" (De Las Casas 8). By making the prologue sound like a prayer and including God, Las Casas tries to appeal his argument to the prince. Therefore, it does not matter that Las Casas uses biblical references, because he is trying to persuade Prince Phillip and not a larger audience. On the other hand, Las Casas is not writing a history book. He does not need to prove his facts with credible sources, because A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies is his perception of the killings of natives. "The way they normally dealt with the native leaders and nobles was to tie them to a kind of griddle consisting of sticks resting on pitchforks driven into the ground and then grill them over a slow fire, with the result that they howled in agony and despair as they died a lingering death" (De Las Casas 15). Even though the way the killings were described can not be proven, Las Casas wanted to portray the feeling in which he felt during that time. In this situation, readers get a better understanding of the atmosphere than if it was written exactly how it

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