Bartolome de las Casas

Bartolome de las Casas : A Biography

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The Dominican priest Bartolome de las Casas (1485-1566) was a prominent chronicler of the early Spanish conquest of the Americas, a noted protector of the American Indians and arguably the most significant figure in the early Spanish Empire after Christopher Columbus. Following an epiphany in 1514, Las Casas fought the Spanish control of the Indies for the rest of his life, writing vividly about the brutality of the Spanish conquistadors. Once a settler and exploiter of the American Indians, he became their defender, breaking ground for the modern human rights movement. Las Casas brought his understanding of Christian scripture to the forefront in his defense of the Indians, challenging the premise that the Indians of the New World were any less civilized or capable of practising Christianity than Europeans. Bartolome de las Casas: A Biography is the first major English-language and scholarly biography of Las Casas' life in a generation.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 10 b/w illus. 8 maps
  • 113904740X
  • 9781139047401

Review quote

'Finally las Casas has a biographer able to bring to life in intimate detail the career of the Dominican friar who was named 'Protector of the Indians'. A key figure in the struggle for human justice, las Casas dedicated his life to fighting against the abuses of the Amerindians by the Spanish. Clayton's landmark book, based on careful reading of thousands of pages of las Casas' writings, as well as writings by his enemies and supporters, provides the reader with a feeling for the real man, not just the myth. Beautifully written, it will become the new standard work on las Casas.' Noble David Cook, Florida International University 'Clayton is the first Latin Americanist scholar in half a century to construct a full-length biography of las Casas. The result is a masterful achievement. This erudite, balanced, and readable history of the life and times of the legendary Dominican is likely to be the gold standard for the next half century.' Matthew Restall, coauthor of Latin America in Colonial Times '... magisterial ... Clayton offers an appreciative, and balanced portrait.' Thomas W. Jodziewics, Catholic Southwest
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Table of contents

1. Seville and early modern Spain; 2. To the Indies; 3. The genesis of the Black Legend; 4. Conversion; 5. Protector of the Indians; 6. 'Micer' Las Casas at court looking for good Spanish peasants; 7. Las Casas, the political animal; 8. Catastrophe in Tierra Firme and the 'long sleep' in Puerto Plata; 9. Coming out to battle; 10. The new laws; 11. Bishop of Chiapas; 12. The great debate; 13. Court activist and historian; 14. The final fights.
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