Some of the writing of de las Casas

Las Casas is the primary chronicler of the Caribbean's devastation. He came to the Caribbean in 1502 as a conqueror. He lived in Cuba with his own Indian slaves. He was prosperous. He had a in 1514 that was a long time in coming, but when it did, he gave away his Indians and dedicated the rest of his life to the natives’ welfare and became their most outspoken advocate among Europeans. He wrote a number of tracts and books, and no account of what happened in the Caribbean is complete without some of Las Casas’s descriptions of what he saw.

The Catholic Encyclopedia has biography of Las Casas at .

Menéndez Pidal, Ramón. El padre Las Casas: Su doble personalidad. Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1963.

This readingis from de las Casas' version.

Before finishing his initial studies, at the age of eighteen, he embarked on his first trip to the Americas, traveling to the Island of Hispaniola. It appears that he received minor orders and the tonsure in Seville shortly before leaving for the Indies on February 13, 1502. He arrived on April 15, 1502, in Santo Domingo, the place where he lived and labored for the next five years before again returning to Spain. While working holdings of lands and Indians, his own and those of his merchant father, he also traveled the island as a provisioner to the Spanish soldiery. During this early period, while accompanying two different military expeditions of Governor Ovando, he observed the tragic massacre of a large group of Indian leaders on the island. The young Las Casas deplored all the killings and was horrified by what he witnessed of these atrocities. Moreover, while traveling as a provisioner he also began to see first-hand the conditions to which the Indians were being subjected and the disruption of native life caused by the Spanish enslavement of the indigenous to mine for gold.

In his last will and testament Las Casas described his callas:

With Las Casas we may remember Bartolomeo de Olmedo, priest and friar of Mercy, who was chaplain of Cortez's expedition to Mexico City, and who appears in the records of that expedition as a moderating force, denouncing atrocities and conquest, talking Cortez out of forcibly destroying idol temples, telling him instead to set the Indians an example of Christian love, and wait for them to destroy the idols by their own decision. (Some readers will remember him from Samuel Shellabarger's historical novel, Captain From Castille.) According to the Britannica article on pre-Columbian American cultures (see vol. 26 p. 25 of the 15th edition), the clergy accompanying the Spanish conquistadors were consistently more disposed than the commanders to respect the native civilizations and undertake to preserve their records, and whatever aspects of native culture were not clearly inconsistent with Christianity.

Queen Isabella did not, then, have to pawn her jewels (a myth first put about by Las Casas).
It has been revived periodically (notably by Las Casas and Jean-Jacques Rousseau) ever since.

in the New World were largely the work of Bartolome de Las Casas ..

In the letter to the Pope, Las Casas comes back to this crucial issue and requests a decree of anathema against any negation of the rationality of the Native Americans, their personal liberty, their right for public sovereignty or private ownership, or their ability to understand and accept the mysteries of the Christian faith. In all those essential dimensions of humanness, insists Las Casas, there is no fundamental ontological distinction between Europeans and Native Americans, and thus no legitimate justification for dispossessing them of their political sovereignty, their private goods, their personal freedom, or for abrogating their right to the ecclesiastical sacraments. A much quoted text of the gives expression to the principle that underlies his lifelong exertions: “All the nations of the world are human and all share in the same definition: they are rational beings. All have intellect and will, as created in God’s image and similitude.”

The second principle that Las Casas requests to be included in the Papal decree of anathemas is one very dear to his mind.

Bartolomé de Las Casas | The Core Curriculum

Having become too unpopular to minister effectively in thecolonies, Las Casas resigned his bishopric and returned to Spainfor good in 1547. The king's chaplain Juan Ginés de Sepulvedahad written a treatise in which he argued that the wars againstthe Indians were just. Persuaded by Las Casas, university authoritiesrefused to let Sepulveda's book be printed. Las Casas had beenworking on his for years and respondedby writing the massive .He argued that the current licenses should be revoked and thatall conquest should be stopped. In April 1549 the royal orderon "The Manner in which New Discoveries are to be Undertaken"was sent to the Audiencia of Peru.

Bartolome de las Casas

De Las Casas and the Conquistadors

Las Casas also accepts the traditional interpretation of Augustine’s texts regarding state coercion of heretics, but rejects the attempts to expand that repressive norm to all infidels. He engages Sepúlveda in a discussion about Luke 14: 23: “Compel people to come in . . .” (), a Gospel text cited by Augustine to justify state coercion of heretics. It was a much quoted biblical text in the theological debates regarding the conquering wars in Americas and it was also used to validate compulsory attendance of Native Americans to Christian proselytizing activities. See , Bd. 17, 1980, 26-43