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Brevísima Relación De La Destruyción De Las Indias


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The painful and violent testimony of cruelties incurred by the Spanish conquistadors in the new world, concisely depicted by Bartolome de Las Casas in his Brevisima relacion de la destruycion de las Indias, is both a terrible accusation and a warning addressed at Prince Phillip of Spain. By accumulating descriptions of atrocities, slaughters and tortures, while emphasizing the deep contrast between the goodness of the natives and the evil spirit of the conquistadors, the dominic priest prophesizes apocalyptic consequences to fall upon Spain as results of the horrors perpetrated by the colonizers, driven by greed and ambition instead of the desire to evangelize and protect the new souls. With his revolutionary writing Las Casas intended to share his indignation facing such unjust and unmerciful behaviours, which he attributed to the encomiendas colonial regime, while advocating for a human and pacific evangelization. As he had recently done during the famous Valladolid Controversy, he tried to awaken consciences, reaffirming his humanism and universalism through his relentless mission as defender of the oppressed people. Spains political and religious foes took advantage of this libel, integrating it into what would be known as the Spanish Conquest black legend, so its author became the victim of criticism and resent by Spaniards, who considered that he had contributed to the discredit of his own fatherland. This present edition includes all the engravings -annotated- of the famous Theodore de Bry (a protestant) edition. Jean-Paul DUVIOLS is academic emeritus of the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne. A specialist in the colonial period, travel literature and iconographic analysis, he has written numerous works on the European vision about America, from Christopher Columbus to Alexander von Humboldt.


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