Sunday, November 16, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Bartolomé de las Casas!

Born November 16, 1484(?). Died July 18, 1566.

He was a Dominican friar and Spanish historian who went on to speak out against the many atrocities being committed by his fellow Spaniards against the native residents of the New World. He was the first person to be officially designated as "Protector of the Indians" and unfortunately, one of the first people of his time to suggest a shamefully imperfect alternative to the enslavement of Native Americans. (In his case, it was the enslavement of Africans in place of Native Americans.)

Regardless of that, he was still a part of Spanish history and ironically he symbolizes both the best and worst impulses of his time. At the very least, he deserves credit for arguing for the humanity of the native Americans at a time when that was a very unpopular viewpoint in the Spanish Empire.

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