Post #3: Primary Source (Bartolomé de las Casas on Spanish Treatment of the Indians)

The cruel treatment of the Indian was a threat to the conversion of the Indians to Christianity. I think the main goal of the Spanish was supposed to be to convert the Indians, however the cruel treatment was not as effective as peace. I think that Las Cases hoped to spread word to people of the harsh treatment of the Indians with the hope that the cruelty would stop and the focus on conversion could begin again. I think that Las Casas was hopeful that his words could prove to the world that the Spanish were not as noble in their endeavors with the Indians as they claimed to be; especially because few would believe the word of Indian “savages” over the “Christian” Spaniards.

The un-Christian behavior of treating the Indians like savage animals and starving them is something that according to the Christian religion, the Spaniards should be deeply punished and possibly condemned for. Las Casas writes, “This was the freedom, the good treatment and the Christianity that Indians received” as a sarcastic criticism of the Spaniards. He says this because the Spaniards were claiming to be converting and protecting the Indians when in reality they were starving and enslaving them. For example, some of the art during this time depicts the Indians casually learning about Christ as the Spaniard priests did the hard work. This is not the truth and the words of Las Casas are formed to show sarcasm in criticism of the false information that is being portrayed of the ways that the Spaniards conducted business with the Indians.


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