A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies

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A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies
Bartolomé de las Casas (1552) Brevisima relación de la destrucción de las Indias.png
Cover of the Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias
Author Bartolomé de las Casas
Original title Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias
Country Spanish Empire
Language Spanish
Publication date

A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies[2] (Spanish: Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias) is an account written by the Spanish Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas in 1542 (published in 1552) about the mistreatment of and atrocities committed against the indigenous peoples of the Americas in colonial times and sent to then Prince Philip II of Spain.[1]

He wrote it for Charles I of Spain.[1] One of the stated purposes for writing the account is his fear of Spain coming under divine punishment and his concern for the souls of the Native peoples.[citation needed] The account is one of the first attempts by a Spanish writer of the colonial era to depict examples of unfair treatment that indigenous people endured in the early stages of the Spanish conquest of the Greater Antilles, particularly the island of Hispaniola.[citation needed] Las Casas's point of view can be described as being heavily against some of the Spanish methods of colonization, which, as he describes, inflicted a great loss on the indigenous occupants of the islands, he described extensive use of torture, murder, and mutilation against the Natives by the Spaniards.

His account was largely responsible for the passage of the new Spanish colonial laws known as the New Laws of 1542, which abolished native slavery for the first time in European colonial history and led to the Valladolid debate.[citation needed]

The images described by Las Casas were later depicted by Theodor de Bry in copper plate engravings that helped expand the Black Legend against Spain.

It was republished in 1620, by Jan Evertszoon Cloppenburch, alongside the book Origin and progress of the disturbances in the Netherlands by Dutch historian Johannes Gysius.[1] The book was frequently reprinted, alone or in combination with other works, in the Netherlands and in other countries struggling against the power of Spain in Europe and the Americas.[3]

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