Book Overview

Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies tells the extreme cruelty with which the conquerors treated Indians in America, which contributed to the disappearance of great civilizations. The work was written by Bartolomé de las Casas, a former conqueror and Dominican friar that influenced the public policy for the Indies. The book is a primary source of historical data, told by someone who witnessed some of the events in the story. It was first published in 1552, sixty years after the discovery of America, to alert the future King Philip II about the injustices that were committed against the natives. After this work was published, a complete reform of the Indian legislation was carried out and “New Laws” were promulgated. One of the main purposes of the new legislation was the abolition of Indian slavery and the commissions[1] regime that gave rise to ill-treatment and injustices against the Indians. In Europe, this book was a symbol of the era of fanaticism and intolerance of men, fostering an anti-Spanish feeling that was already brewing. Some detractors of Friar de las Casas argued that the information about the excesses committed by the colonizers was exaggerated. However, the time has given Friar de las Casas the reason. There is evidence that some of his writings coincide with the story told by indigenous tribes.

The main argument of the work revolves around everything that happened in the Indies, from the marvelous of its discovery to the pain of the massacres and ravages that the conquerors made. It is a story of all the outrages and murders that were committed. The author narrates the atrocities committed in all the possessions of Spain, including New Spain, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Granada, the islands of Hispaniola, San Juan, Jamaica and Cuba.

Audiovisual Resources The book includes illustrations by Theodor de Bry, which were published in the 1558 edition, for which we have included links to modern versions that incorporate three-dimensional technology. Each chapter of the book allows the reader to read the content or listen to it in audiobook format.