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Biography of Bartolomé de las Casas

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Modified: 24-08-2018
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Fray Bartolomé de las Casas
Fray Bartolomé de las Casas

Biography of Fray Bartolomé de las Casas

Location of birth:

Bartolomé de las Casas was born in 1484 in Seville (Spain).

Location of death:

Bartolomé de las Casas died in 18th July 1566 in Madrid (Spain).

Positions held:

– Ordained priest in 1506.

– Bishop of Chiapas (Nueva España) from March 30th,1544 to August 1550.

– Protector of Indians.

Most relevant facts starring Bartolomé de las Casas:

– He studied law at the University of Salamanca.

– He arrived in the Indies in 1502 on the Frey Nicolás de Ovando expedition, the new governor of the Indies.

– He fought in 1506 on the Spanish island under the orders of Diego de Velázquez against the Taino Indians, receiving as prize a commission in Concepción de la Vega.

– In 1507 he was ordained priest in Rome and combined his priesthood with his office as a messenger on the Spanish island.

– In 1512, he went to Cuba with the army of Diego de Velázquez and acted as chaplain of the troops and carried out intermediation tasks with the Indians of the island, for that reason he was awarded with a division of Indians and worked in the exploitation of gold deposits.

– In 1515 he wanted to stop being a commander and decided to dedicate himself to the task of protecting the Antillean natives and moved to Seville to tell the authorities about his experiences in the Indies and what he had seen regarding the mistreatment and abuse of the Indians.

– In 1516, after being crowned King of Spain Carlos I and forming the new government of the Indies with Fathers Jerónimos Bartolomé de las Casas was named Universal Protector of Indians.

– In 1520 he tried to create a peaceful colony in Cumana to show that Indians and Spaniards could live in harmony but failed because of multiple factors. After this he joined the Dominican Order in Santo Domingo. And in this order he dedicated several years to study and meditation. At this stage he began to write his great work the History of the Indies.

– In 1534, he participated in the negotiation with the natives who rebelled against the chieftain Enriquillo and managed to pacify the island.

– He lived in Nicaragua and then in Guatemala and in 1540 he returned to Spain to expose King Charles I to his demands and complaints about the treatment of the Indians in America and with them was promulgated in 1542 the New Indian Laws that eliminated the orders and, among many other measures, prohibited slavery of the Indians.

– In 1544 he was appointed bishop of Chiapas but did not last long in office because in 1547 he decided to return to Spain to continue his struggle in defense of the Indians near the Court.

– In 1552 he published the work for which he is best known, the Brevísima Relación de la Destrucción de las Indias, in which through an alarmist and exaggerated style he details numerous abuses and mistreatments carried out by the Spanish conquerors and colonizers. There is no denying that the mistreatment existed on the part of some, but the friar’s literary yellowing had no other purpose than to arouse the attention of the authorities and avenge himself on the Spanish lords and conquerors, authentic and fervent enemies of De las Casas.

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