Bartolome De Las Casas Essay

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Bartolome de Las Casas was born in 1474 in the Spanish town of Seville. He was first known as the protector of the Indians, but he also became an advocate of black Africans who had been brought to the Americas by the Spaniards as slaves. His opinions affected the attitudes in Europe. Bartolome de Las Casas believed that the Spanish conquistadors were mistreating the Native Americans. In 1514, he left for Spain to talk to the king. But when he got there he found out that King Ferdinand had passed away, and his son, Charles V, was out of the country. These events lead Las Casas to meet with Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, a Spanish cardinal who was a temporary ruler of Spain, instead. Cisneros agreed with Las Casas to remove natives from oppression,…show more content…
Charles reworked the encomienda system so that farm-minded settlers would be encouraged to move to the New World and take up the colonizing of the land. Native Americans would not necessarily be needed to work the land, and settlers who stayed for enough time would be rewarded with loans of money and the land they worked. Ironically, the system of encomienda had been designed to eliminate the enslavement of the natives; however it actually ended up encouraging it. Las Casas had agreed that if the natives were not to be used for labor (many were dying due to diseases), then perhaps the importation of Africans would solve the shortage of workers. Unfortunately, the idea did not work out as planned; the settlers and natives near Cumaná (modern day Venezuela) did not get along and both sides quickly resorted to violence and killing one another. While some Spaniards argued that Las Casas was wrong in taking the Native American’s side, the Spanish monarchy saw differently. Charles was growing distressed at the unchecked power of the conquistadors, the fearsome soldiers who had conquered much of the New World for Spain. Conquistadors were growing rich off of captured gold and native slaves, so they were seen as a threat to Charles’ imperial power. Undoing the encomienda was seen as a way of limiting the power and influence of the

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