Debate: Bartolomé de las Casas was one of the worst human beings ever?

Jul 2015
Being the ONLY writer of the time period, that spends his entire time shaming the Colonization of the Indies. A proven propaganda enthusiast, liar, and a cheat. Why and how could you believe, that a group of Spanish Explorers, with only around 500 men, immediately came with an evil look in their eyes as they set out to conquer and rape a population of over 1 million?

In the book "Conqest of New Spain" by Conquistador veteran Bernal Diaz, one of the many Conquistadors who tried to save his name and his Conquistadors from the propaganda damage of Las Casas, said they came for trade and after seeing the damage already done by the Montezuma, and all of the Natives whom wanted to take side with the Conquistadors, only then was it possible to conquer the empire. IT became more of a "Liberation" movement for the Conquistadors. Hernan is also noted to have said "End the rape that you practice on your own people" . It's very evident, that Cortes was in fact disgusted with the practices of the Aztecs and so was Diaz. Writing in their accounts about many of the Natives with "Blood clotted hair" and the smell of the Empire being so disgusting that it was hard to bare, and especially seeing all of the mutilated children that were forced into sacrifice for their idols while Montazuma and his tax gatherers stayed the most sanitized of all.

NOTHING from what Las Casas said is true aside from of course, his basic layout of the geography of the locations. This man can also be blamed for the propaganda that developed in Mexico when they rebelled against New Spain. Although de Las Casas was dead, his propaganda remained long after and still to this day. Illustrations of the Conquistadors burning, hanging, mutilating Natives were put over walls in New Spain, inspiring hate in the heart of many Mexicans who were too ignorant to look at the real problem. How Napoleon Bankrupted Spain.

IF you read the actual accounts of Conquistadors like Pizarro, Hernan, and his men, you will find their accounts sound much more plausible than las casas.You will hear first hand from these men had heart not only for their men, but for the people of the Empire they were conquering. But more importantly, why is Las Casas account taken seriously? Why don't historians care to look at his track record of being a proven propaganda enthusiast who had been trying for years to demonize the monarchy in Spain?

So to sum it up, I think Casas was one of the worst human beings ever. His "propaganda" inspired the Dutch revolt, the Mexican revolt, etc.. And his works are inspiring hate to this day.

Do you think he was a good man, bad man? Etc. And why?
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Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
Welsh Marches
Oh indeed, the Conquistadors were sweet men who came out of the goodness of their hearts to spread peace and kindness to the poor benighted savages, and de las Casas deserves to be burnt in effigy for spreading his lies about them.


Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
Canary Islands-Spain
You're totally missing the point.

Conquistador cruelty is even agreed by themselves, as it happened with Pizarro mass killing at Cajamarca and Cholula.

Las Casas accounts are backed by many other contemporary authors, though less famous, such as Domingo de Santo Tomás in Perú. The fact that the Spanish Crown created the office of "Protector of the Indians" is itself a proof of the very bad treatment that native americans were suffering.

The behaviour of Conquistadors towards the natives can be checked in some indigenous works, such asán_Poma_de_Ayala masterpiece "First new chronicle and good government"

Far less famous but more important are day to day accounts and denounces on native American exploitation in Potosi and the many other mines of Spanish America.

In no way I'm saying that the Spanish were overall bad, because Conquistador behave was countered by the very dedicated and sensitive actions of missionaries, functionaries, and soldiers as well.
Jul 2015
"The Caciques were very discontent with Moctezuma's rule. The tax gatherers under Moctezuma were ordered every year to take in so many people for annual sacrifice, or to serve the houses and plantations. And if the wives and daughters were handsome enough, having them raped. Cortes promised he would help the Caciques as best he could end the thefts and robberies under Moctezuma." p. 110 "Conquest of New Spain" by Conquistador veteran Bernal Diaz

Cortes also ordered strict punishments to any of his men who harmed the Natives. But in regards to their original Empire, here are Cortes' own words regarding the treatment of the Natives

"Although they were subjects of Moctezuma, yet according to the information I received, they had been reduced to that condition by force, within a short period; and when they had obtained through me some knowledge of your Highness, and of your great regal power, they declared their desire to become vassals of your Majesty, and to form an alliance with me. They also begged me to protect them against that mighty Lord, who used violent and tyrannical measures to keep them in subjection, and took from them their sons to be slain and offered as sacrifices to his idols; with many other complaints against him, in order to avoid whose tyranny they embraced the service of your Majesty, to which they have so far proved faithful, and I doubt not will continue so, since they have been uniformly treated by me with favor and attention." - Hernán Cortés

Hernan Cortes goes into detail with hundreds of letters to the crown claiming his discontent with Moctezuma and how much he cared for the Natives.

"Broken Spears" is a book written by an Aztec turned Christian. Although he does go into detailing describing the capture of Tenochtitlan, he was in support of Cortes. Hundreds of thousands of Natives were also in support of Cortes which is how they eventually destroyed the Aztec Empire. Many were also in favor of Cortes absolutely destroying their Native religion and culture because they were so sick of being subjugated to its treatment. Most Natives were in support of the Christian Evangelicalism of their Native land, unfortunately, many of them died to disease.

@Frank thanks for the post. I didn't realize there were more accounts in support of Casas. I will read into them
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