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Title Historia de las Yndias [manuscript] / por Fr. Bartolome de las Casas, obispo de Chiapas [5 of 6]
Author Casas, Bartolomé de las (1474-1566)
Document Type Manuscript
Description From the Newberry Library Catalogue: [5 of 6] A copy, probably from around 1850, of Las Casas’ chronicle of Spain’s discovery, exploration, and colonization of the New World, from 1492 to 1520. The Historia, written between 1552 and 1561, contains the first in-depth criticism of the Conquest, presenting the moral issues of war, slavery, and human rights. Las Casas documents the voyages and discoveries of Columbus, incorporating much of Columbus’ logs and reports of his first and third voyages. One of Las Casas’ main arguments is that Spain’s mission to christianize the Indians was morally corrupted by the greed and cruelty of the Spanish conquerors and settlers; in particular he criticizes the institution of the encomienda, responsible for perpetuating the slavery of the Indians. He contradicts the portrayal of the Indians as bestial savages by including detailed descriptions of their culture, social organization, and psychology, and reflects on the economic, legal, and political implications of the Conquest. In Book Three, there is also a virulent attack by Las Casas on Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo, whose rival history of the Indies sparked Las Casas to write his own version.
Names Columbus, Christopher; Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés, Gonzalo (1478-1557)
Keywords encomienda, conquistadors, missionary, social life, culture, indigenous peoples, religion, travel, Christianity, soldiers, Christopher Columbus, discovery, exploration, colonialism, New Spain, slavery, economy, law, law and order, politics, human rights
Theme American Indians and the European Powers; Missionaries and Education; Military Encounters: Conflicts, Rebellions and Alliances
Culture Area Caribbean
Language Spanish
Additional Information

Originally owned by Sir Arthur Helps, author and clerk of the Privy Council in London, transcribed for him from the copy of Las Casas’ work in the Academia de la Historia in Madrid. Laid in Book Two: note ([2] leaves) written by Helps, discussing the history of the work, and bearing the embossed crest of the Privy Council Office.

Armorial bookplate of Sir Arthur Helps with motto: "Auxilia auxiliis."

For more information on the existing mss. of the Historia, see Lewis Hanke’s preliminary study in Historia de las Indias / Fray Bartolome de las Casas; ed. Agustín Millares Carlo. Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1951, p. xxxi-xxxvii.

Library The Newberry Library
Copyright The Newberry Library
Collection The Edward E. Ayer Collection
Reference VAULT Ayer MS 1060
Catalogue Link The Newberry Library Catalogue