Latin American Studies Bartolomé de las Casas
by
Lawrence A. Clayton
  • LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 September 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766581-0169

Introduction

After Christopher Columbus there is no more prominent figure in the Spanish conquest of the Americas/the Encounter than the Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas (b. 1485–d. 1566). Columbus and the conquistadors who followed him strode over Amerindian peoples, from the islands of the Caribbean to the great complex Aztec (Nahua) and Inca empires of Mexico and Peru, and subordinated them to Spanish sovereignty and dominion in a cruel and barbarous fashion. While not standing alone, Las Casas challenged the conquest with passion and commitment and emerged as the greatest defender of Amerindians in this unique period when two of the world’s greatest civilizations—the European and those of the Americas—clashed and merged following Columbus’s discovery of the “new” world, styled as such because its existence was unknown to Europeans. Modern Western civilization as we know it grew out of this Encounter, and Las Casas engaged kings and emperors, warriors and priests, popes and the grandees of Spain and Europe as he crisscrossed this Atlantic world and fought for the Amerindians in the forums of power across Spain and the Indies. Born in Seville, he traveled early to the New World in 1502 to the island of Española (today Dominican Republic/Haiti). There he witnessed the brutality of the conquistadors exploiting the Tainos of that island with unbridled ruthlessness and later recorded it all in a book that kicked off the Black Legend, the indictment of Spain’s warriors for barbarity and inhuman excesses that eventually caused—along with new European diseases—the virtual extermination of the island’s inhabitants. He became a priest and later a friar in the Dominican order, and he devoted his life to defending the Amerindians from within the principal theological doctrines of Christianity that emphasized love and equality and, in doing so, indicted his fellow countrymen for their callous, sinful behavior. He left an immense body of writing, testifying to his multiple roles of chronicler, historian, theologian, activist, and reformer. He was in fact the conscience of the Conquest, the very antithesis of the conquistador, and, in doing so, Las Casas lay the basis for the modern human rights movement. He stressed such strikingly modern political and theological doctrines as the equality of all people and the right of self-determination. Over the five centuries since his life, students of Las Casas—historians, philosophers, lawyers, political scientists, and theologians—have contributed a voluminous literature exploring his life and contributions. What follows is an examination of the most significant body of that literature, keeping in mind that it is but a small percentage of the whole.

Classic Biographies

Biographies of Las Casas have appeared with regularity since the late 16th century when a fellow Dominican, Agustín Dávila Padilla, published his Historia de la fundación. . . in 1596. Early in the 17th century, another Dominican, Antonio de Remesal, produced his Historia general de las Indias. . . in 1619. Remesal’s “biography” is a history of the Dominicans in Guatemala and southern Mexico, but he integrated Las Casas’s life thoroughly into this work. Furthermore, Remesal, although not always accurate when measured against modern discoveries, had access to certain documentary sources and chronicles no longer available, making his work immensely valuable. A 19th-century biographer was the Cuban patriot José Martí, whose short biography of Las Casas was published in a series Martí authored on the Golden Age in 1882. Among the “classic” Las Casas biographies in English was MacNutt 1909. Another American, Henry Raup Wagner, in collaboration with Helen Rand Parish, wrote a carefully documented biography Wagner and Parish 1967. In the mid-20th century, studies of Las Casas became almost an academic growth business as students of human rights, the Indians of America, revisionists of the Conquest and others approached 1966, the four hundredth anniversary of his death. In 1960 Manuel Giménez Fernández produced two huge tomes. His vast erudition and total devotion to Las Casas reflected the immensity of his subject. These exhaustive studies of a short span of the man and his times are definitive. His fellow Spaniards have produced the most hagiographic as well as the most critical biographies. Among the most critical biographies was Menéndez Pidal 1963, produced by a distinguished philosopher-historian, which attacked Las Casas as a single-minded fanatical anti-Hispanicist in his lifelong devotion to the American Indians. Among Las Casas’s many admirers at mid-century was the French historian, Marcel Bataillon, who explored many areas of Las Casas’s life in numerous essays brought together in one volume (Bataillon 1966).

  • Bataillon, Marcel. Ĕtudes sur Bartolomé de las Casas réunies avec la collaboration de Raymond Marcus. Paris: Centre de Recherches de l’Institut de’Ĕtudes Hispaniques, 1966.

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    One of the most distinguished French students of the Spanish colonial experience, Bataillon, “brings together his illuminating articles on various facets of Las Casas’s life and activity” (Friede and Keen 1971, p. 7, cited under Historian and Chronicler).

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    • Giménez Fernández, Manuel. Bartolomé de las Casas. 2 vols. Sevilla, Spain: Escuela de Estudios Hispano Americanos, 1960.

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      Giménez Fernández’s two studies are encyclopedic in structure, exploring not only all the nooks and crannies of both Las Casas’s life in these short time periods but also the circumstances and context of Spain and her growing empire; heavily dependent upon archival sources and so even more valuable to the serious student.

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      • MacNutt, Francis Augustus. Bartholomew de Las Casas: His Life, His Apostolate and His Writings. Cleveland, OH: Arthur H. Clark, 1909.

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        For many years the “standard” biography in English. Well written and presented but dated in some areas and interpretations.

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        • Martí, José. El padre Las Casas. Edición crítica. Investigación, cronología, estudio valorativo y notas por Ana Cairo. La Habana, Cuba: Centro de Estudios Martianos, 2001.

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          Martí, who led the Cuban struggle for independence that culminated in the Cuban-Spanish-American War of 1898, romanticized Las Casas as a lonely fighter for freedom. Las Casas has always enjoyed a following among Cubans who view Las Casas as a prototypical revolutionary of sorts. This source first published 1882 in the series La Edad del Oro.

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          • Menéndez Pidal, Ramón. El padre Las Casas: Su doble personalidad. Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1963.

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            This is one of the best examples of the “White Legend,” created to counter the “Black Legend.” Originally published in 1963, this book hits on many, if not all, the major criticisms of Las Casas and his anti-Hispanic, paranoical obsession with defending the Amerindians. See also The Black Legend, Controversies.

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            • Padilla, Agustín Dávila. Historia de la fundación y discurso de la provincia de Santiago de México, de la Orden de Predicadores por las vidas de sus varones insignes y casos notables de Nueva España. Sabin America 1500–1926 Madrid: En Casa de Pedro Madrigal, 1596.

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              This is one of the first, if not the very first, history of the Dominican order in Mexico and, as such, contains important biographical materials on Las Casas. Padilla was born in New Spain and his study quickly became a classic, cited often by later chroniclers and historians of the Indies.

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              • Remesal, Antonio de. Historia general de las Indias Occidentales y particular de la gobernación de Chipas y Guatemala. Madrid: Atlas, 1964.

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                This is a general history of the Dominican Order in southern Mexico and Guatemala but with a biography of Las Casas running through it like a thread. It is not always accurate but it contains details and accounts based on the availability to Remesal of original documents long lost. Published in Guatemala, 1932; first published in Madrid, 1619.

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                • Wagner, Henry Raup, and Helen Rand Parish, The Life and Writings of Bartolomé de las Casas. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1967.

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                  Wagner and Parish were devoted to getting as close to the documentary record as possible and so this study is almost a lesson in writing history based on archival evidence. It is thorough, and Wagner interprets the evidence with an experienced eye; his comments and evaluations are worth a reading by themselves.

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                  Biographies since 1990s

                  The Peruvian Dominican Gustavo Gutiérrez, one of the pioneers of liberation theology in the mid-20th century, published his biography of Las Casas in 1993. In a tour de force, Gutiérrez 1993 portrays Las Casas as a forerunner of liberation theology. This is an immensely sympathetic biography. It is especially good and detailed on Las Casas and the great battle in the 1550s between the encomenderos desiring perpetuity and Las Casas and his supporters. Alvaro Huerga wrote a complete biography that appeared as the first volume of the Obras completas, or Complete Works (fourteen volumes). Huerga 1998 is an extraordinarily good biography by a leading scholar of Church history who brought a wide range of knowledge to the table. Biographies of Las Casas have appeared in many different nations, attesting to his universal appeal. Pinto de Oliveira 2000 brought Las Casas to life for Portuguese readers in Brazil, viewing Las Casas as the spokesman for universal human rights for all. Curiously, one of the pre-eminent Lascasistas of the twentieth century, Lewis Hanke, never wrote a “formal” biography, although his books (mentioned in The Black Legend, Controversies, “Struggle for Justice and Defense of the Indians, and Sources and Bibliographies) are pathbreaking studies into many facets of Las Casas’s life, with much biographical material. Hanke 1951 is a “preliminary study” included as a sort of extended introduction to the three volume Las Casas, Historia de las Indias is one such work. Hanke 1951 is really a book in itself. Las Casas sparked controversy across the board, and historians and biographers are not even sure of his birthdate. But Parish and Weidman 1976, does a good job—based thoroughly in the documentation—to establish that Las Casas’ birthdate—most probably November 11, 1484—was about ten years later—either in 1484 or 1485—than earlier biographers thought. Ortega 2007 is another recent biography published in Spain. It is a good biography, although the documentation is slender. And Clayton 2011 wove in the life of Las Casas into a reader for undergraduates on the conquest of the Americas, and subsequently published a longer biography (Clayton 2012), the newest biography of Las Casas in any language.

                  • Clayton, Lawrence A. Bartolomé de las Casas and the Conquest of the Americas. New York: Wiley Blackwell, 2011.

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                    This short biography of Las Casas employs his life to relate the conquest of the Americas since Las Casas was involved in so many junctures of the Encounter. It may profitably be read as an introduction to the subject.

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                    • Clayton, Lawrence A. Bartolomé de las Casas: A Biography. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

                      DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139047401Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      The first major, scholarly biography in English in the past half century, it contends that Las Casas was driven by his missionary/prophetic calling, and his prophetic persona was the driving circumstance in his life that colored and influenced all his other multitudinous roles as defender of American Indians.

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                      • Gutiérrez, Gustavo. Las Casas: In Search of the Poor of Christ. Translated by Robert R. Barr. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1993.

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                        Gutiérrez, himself a Dominican, views Las Casas as a predecessor of the modern liberation theology movement, concerned as both were with the poor and marginalized members of society. Theologically, this is one of the best studies of the intellectual and theological concerns that inspired Las Casas. Originally published as En busca de los pobres de Jesucristo. Lima, Peru: Instituto Bartolomé de las Casas and Centro de Estudios y Publicaciones, 1992.

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                        • Hanke, Lewis. “Estudio preliminario.” In Bartolomé de las Casas, Historia de las Indias. Vol. 1. Edited by Agustín Millares Carlo. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1951.

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                          Hanke’s eighty-eight page “preliminary study” is a historiography, with some rich biographical details. Why did Las Casas write? What were his sources? For Spanish readers it offers a relatively short but incisive introduction to Las Casas and his work as an historian.

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                          • Huerga, Alvaro. Bartolomé de las Casas. Vol. 1, Obras completes, Bartolomé de las Casas. Madrid: Fundación “Instituto Bartolomé de las Casas,” de los Dominicos de Andalucía, 1998.

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                            This biography is based on the massive documentary collection, Complete Works (see Sources and Bibliographies), and, while selective, the parts that Huerga focuses on are very good, based as they are on archival and documentary sources but also integrating the best of modern interpretations, especially of controversial issues in Las Casas’s life.

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                            • Ortega, Luis Iglesias. Bartolomé de Las Casas: Cuarenta y cuatro años infinitos. Sevilla, Spain: Fundación José Manuel Lara, 2007.

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                              The book has an especially colorful and useful set of images that bring the reader in touch with many of the places that Las Casas experienced much of his life. The book claims to be the “definitive biography” of Las Casas. At 679 pages, it certainly is Lascasian in dimension.

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                              • Parish, Helen R., and Harold E. Weidman. “The Correct Birthdate of Bartolomé de las Casas.” Hispanic American Historical Review 56.3 (1976): 385–403.

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                                This article establishes his birthdate based on the most thorough examination of the extant documents.

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                                • Pinto de Oliveira, Carlos Josaphat. Las Casas: Todos os direitos para todos. São Paulo, Brazil: Ediçoes Loyola, 2000.

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                                  Father Pinto de Oliveira, a Dominican himself who was part of the liberation theology movement in his home country of Brazil and suffered exile for many years for his views and actions, empathized deeply with Las Casas and wrote this very sympathetic biography.

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                                  Documentary Sources

                                  The most complete compilation of Las Casas’s own works is Fray Bartolomé de las Casas: Obras completas, published in fourteen volumes (Las Casas 1992). They were published between 1988 and 1998. While not all are Las Casas’s works (the entire first volume, for example, is a biographical study by Alvaro Huerga), the output is impressive. Other collections of Las Casas’s prolific life as a writer were published before the Complete Works, but the Complete Works are the nearest to a comprehensive collection as there is ever likely to exist. Much of Las Casas’s tracts and polemics were composed in Latin, and the editors translated all the Latin into Spanish and the texts—both in Latin and Spanish—appear side by side so the reader can make his own comparisons. The annotations—some truly book-length essays—represent a wealth of information and interpretation in their own right. The best of the prior editions of the History of the Indies was published in 1951 in Mexico as Historia de las Indias, por Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. A preliminary study by Lewis Hanke is one of the best introductions to the magisterial History of the Indies. A partial translation of the History of the Indies is Collard 1971. After the Brief Destruction of the Indies, Las Casas’ most famous contribution to history is probably his rendition of the diary of Columbus’ first voyage to the New World which Las Casas included in his History of the Indies. The original diary was lost and so the only record of this path breaking first voyage is in the History. The best modern rendition of the log, in Spanish with English translation, and even some images of Las Casas’s original manuscript, is Dunn and Kelley 1989. For those interested in digging deeper into the debate at mid-century between Las Casas and Sepúlveda, Poole 1992 is a translation of Las Casas’s famous In Defense of the Indians. A foreword by Martin E. Marty and Poole’s own editorial introduction serve as windows into Las Casas’s mind. If one can read Spanish, then a plunge into the Spanish archives—some of them online (see Digital Resources)—is useful. But there is enough of Las Casas published largely in the Complete Works, and supplemented by English language translations of many of his major works, to probe into his life thoroughly,

                                  • Collard, Andrée, ed. and trans. History of the Indies. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.

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                                    A 302-page partial translation, flawed by incorrect index, some repetition and more of an example of why we need a full, annotated translation into English.

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                                    • Dunn, Oliver, and James E. Kelley Jr. The Diario of Christopher Columbus’s First Voyage to America, 1492–1493, Abstracted by Bartolomé de las Casas. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.

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                                      This excellent edition of Columbus’s journal reviews the history of Las Casas and the journal, how Las Casas found it, transcribed it, and what he may have added. It is as complete a history of that important piece of Las Casas’s writings as exists.

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                                      • Las Casas, Bartolomé de. Historia de las Indias. 3 vols. Edited by Agustín Millares Carlo, 1951.

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                                        With a preliminary study by Lewis Hanke. Until the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas: Obras completas (Las Casas 1992), this edition was the standard source for Las Casas’s basic and massive history of the Spanish in the New World from the era of Columbus to the early 1520s.

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                                        • Las Casas, Bartolomé de. Fray Bartolomé de las Casas: Obras completas. 14 vols. Edited by Ramón Hernández and Lorenzo Galmés. Madrid: Alianza, 1992.

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                                          These volumes are fundamental for any serious student of Las Casas or for simply dipping into his massive writings to get a feel for the documentary record.

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                                          • Poole, Stafford C. M. In Defense of the Indians. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1992.

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                                            This is an excellent rendition of Las Casas’s famous defense of Amerindians delivered before the panel of theologians and lawyers at Valladolid in 1550.

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                                            Bibliographies

                                            Hanke and Giménez Fernández 1954 is a major bibliography and a basic research tool, although it appeared more than sixty years ago. Other bibliographies have been compiled in the last half century. Among those is a short “Las Casas: A Selected Bibliography” prepared by Raymond Marcus included in Friede and Keen 1971 (cited under Historian and Chronicler). Isacio Pérez Fernández was a long-time student of Las Casas and produced in the 1980s some mammoth collections of Las Casas’s writings and of his travels. Among them are Pérez Fernández 1981, an inventory of Las Casas’s writings, and Pérez Fernández 1984, an annotated log of his travels. To find where Las Casas was at any time, this is the starting point of research. Mejía Sánchez 1967 is good for Spanish-language readers and a starting point for much of Las Casas’s life in the colony of New Spain (Mexico).

                                            • Hanke, Lewis, and Manuel Giménez Fernández. Bartolomé de las Casas, 1474–1566. Bibliografía crítica y cuerpo de materiales para el estudio de su vida, escritos, actuación y polémicas que suscitaron durante cuatro siglos. Santiago, Chile: Fondo Histórico y Bibliográfico José Toribio Medina, 1954.

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                                              Almost four hundred pages in length, this is a fundamental stop for anyone working on Las Casas, even if just for a brief perusal of the contents to appreciate the number and breadth of works on Las Casas.

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                                              • Marcus, Raymond. Las Casas: A Selected Bibliography. In Bartolomé de las Casas in History: Toward an Understanding of the Man and His Work. Edited by Juan Friede and Benjamin Keen, 603–616. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1971.

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                                                A very useful, annotated, short bibliography, although dated, but a good introduction to the various phases of Las Casas’s life.

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                                                • Mejía Sánchez, Ernesto. Las Casas en México. Exposición bibliográfico conmemorativa del cuarto centenario de su muerte (1566–1966). México: Instituto Bibliográfico Mexicano, Biblioteca Nacional, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1967.

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                                                  This useful bibliography—with a few errors and omissions—is current until 1966 and reflects the strong scholarly interest in Mexico on the life of Las Casas.

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                                                  • Pérez Fernández, Isacio. Inventario documentado de los escritos de Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. Estudios monográficos, Vol. 1. Bayamón: Centro de Estudios de los Dominicos del Caribe, Universidad Central del Bayamón. Bayamón, Puerto Rico, 1981.

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                                                    With notes by Helen Rand Parish. This is an absolutely necessary tool for any student of Las Casas, over nine hundred pages listing his writings, with annotations to place them in the time and context of his life. With a few exceptions, the editor Pérez Fernández, actually read all of these writings!

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                                                    • Pérez Fernández, Isacio. Cronología documentada de los viajes, estancias y actuaciones de Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. Estudios monográficos, Vol. 2. Bayamón: Centro de Estudios de los Dominicos del Caribe, Universidad Central de Bayamón: Bayamón, Puerto Rico, 1984.

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                                                      Over one thousand pages, this is a monumental account, based as much as possible on primary documents, of the travels and voyages of Las Casas from boyhood to his death. It is an extraordinary tribute to the friar.

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                                                      Anthologies

                                                      In English, the best example of Las Casas’s diverse works is an anthology of his writings put together by George Sanderlin (Sanderlin 1971, subsequently reissued in 1992). These two anthologies are basically the same book, although the latter contains a new forward by Gustavo Gutiérrez on “The Theological Perspective of Bartolomé de las Casas.” English readers will find either of these anthologies a good guide into Las Casas’s thoughts and actions in his own words, always the most compelling source of any biography. Sullivan 1995 is also excellent. Other portions of Las Casas’s writings that have attracted particular scholars’ attention have made it into print in English. For example, Parish 1980 is a beautifully illustrated edition of Las Casas’s long letter to the Emperor Charles V written sometime in the fall of 1543 on matters pertaining to Las Casas’s appointment as Bishop of Chiapa. This booklet is a close examination of Las Casas’s life at the very time he was appointed Bishop of Chiapa.

                                                      • Parish, Helen Rand. Las Casas as Bishop: A New Interpretation Based on His Holograph Petition in the Hans P. Kraus Collection of Hispanic American Manuscripts. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1980.

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                                                        One really needs to see this work to appreciate the love and scholarship that went into it by the editor, Helen Rand Parish. She includes images of the originals along with transcriptions and an excellent introduction, which places Las Casas in time and space.

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                                                        • Sanderlin, George. Bartolomé de las Casas: A Selection of His Writings. New York: Knopf, 1971.

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                                                          A good anthology in English of Las Casas’s major writings. Good for students of all levels interested in major facets of Las Casas’s life, in his own words with short but useful introductions by the editor. A subsequent edition published as Witness: Writings of Bartolomé de las Casas Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1992.

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                                                          • Sullivan, Francis Patrick, S. J. Indian Freedom: The Cause of Bartolomé de las Casas, 1484–1566, A Reader. Kansas City: Sheed & Ward, 1995.

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                                                            This is really an excellent reader and a good way for the English-only student to get some exposure to the writings of Las Casas, with “prenotes,” or short introductions to each one prepared by the editor, one of the signal students of Las Casas in the 20th century.

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                                                            Digital Resources

                                                            Because much of what has been written by or about Las Casas is available in digitized, online sources, some of that information has been included in the annotations where online versions are available. This section can be used to supplement the rest of the article, and it also will lead to web sites and portals containing information, from books to images, on Las Casas. Las Casas lives on in the Internet. The principal portal into Lascasiana on the web is Las Casas Web. The web site has numerous sections, including links to various pages and web sites devoted to Las Casas, such as a link to the section on Bartolomé de las Casas: Presentación in Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, one of the most complete sources for online resources devoted to Las Casas. In this virtual library, one can navigate easily to many of his original works now digitized as well as to major secondary works of books and articles (some even in English) and to images—especially graphic ones of the Black Legend by the illustrator Theodore de Bry—and other resources. PARES (Portal de Archivos Españoles) is the online portal to all major archives in Spain, and one can easily navigate to the various archives with Las Casas holdings. Project Gutenberg has some Las Casas’s works available in digitized format. Many articles and essays, such as Rivera-Pagán 2003 (see African Slavery) are available online.

                                                            The Many Faces of Las Casas

                                                            Not only was Las Casas a prolific writer, but his life has also provoked a vast outpouring of controversial literature on the man and his times that often reflect vastly different points of view on the Encounter/Conquest era. The historical literature easily bears out his diverse interests and career. The six subsections, The Black Legend, the Tract Itself, The Black Legend, Controversies, The Struggle for Justice and Defense of the Indians, Historian and Chronicler, African Slavery, and Thinker and Activist, cover the major literature—historical, literary, anthropological, legal, and theological—that present Las Casas and presence in his culture in detail. That he was a complex man is a given. That he contributed so much to the issues of his times and to those that transcend time is sometimes extraordinary. Some of the works contain materials that cut across the artificial boundaries of the six subsections here. For those works, cross references are provided. The Black Legend, Controversies and The Struggle for Justice and Defense of the Indians for example are themes hardly separate, since the first—Las Casas witnessing and recording the brutal conquest and subordination of the Taino Indians of Española—gave rise to the second—his lifelong struggle for justice and defense of the Amerindians.

                                                            The Black Legend, the Tract Itself

                                                            The Black Legend, in the simplest of terms, is that the Spanish were uniquely cruel and brutal in the conquest of the Indies. Las Casas is usually thought of as the progenitor of the Black Legend because he recorded much of the brutality that he witnessed in his early days on the island of Española, 1502–1511. Of these histories, the most important was his Brief History of the Destruction of the Indies, first published in Seville in 1552, but soon translated throughout Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, all part of the great struggle between Catholics and Protestants for the soul of Christianity. The latest version in English, with one of the best introductions to the subject, is Las Casas 2003. For the most complete study of the Brief History, see Las Casas 2000. Included in this exhaustive 1,055 page volume are a previously unpublished version of the Brevísima Relación from 1542, plus two other versions that represented modifications and additions made in 1546 and 1552. José Miguel Martínez Torrejón published three versions of the Brevísima, the latest is Martínez Torrejón 2013, which includes extensive study and annotations. Martínez Torrejón 2013 does an excellent job of correcting past editions (and errors often perpetuated from version to version) and interpreting the Brevísima within the context of its times.

                                                            • Las Casas, Bartolomé de. Brevísima relación de la destruición de las Indias. Bayamón, Puerto Rico: Universidad Central de Bayamón, Centro de Estudios de los Dominicos del Caribe, Instituto de Estudios Históricos Juan Alejo de Arizmendi, 2000.

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                                                              This book contains an almost four hundred page critical preliminary study of An Account, Much Abbreviated. . . by Isacio Pérez Fernández, one of Las Casas’s most devoted and thorough students in the 20th century.

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                                                              • Las Casas, Bartolomé de. An Account, Much Abbreviated, of the Destruction of the Indies, with Related Texts, edited by Franklin W. Knight. Translated by Andrew Hurley. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2003.

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                                                                Introduction by Franklin W. Knight. This is a good translation, with an equally useful historical essay, on this most (in)famous of Las Casas’s works. The version cited was first published in 1689 and is highly polemical, highlighting the awful nature of the Conquest, condemning Spanish Catholics in the long struggle with Protestantism. Available online through Project Gutenberg eBooks.

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                                                                • Martínez Torrejón, José Miguel. Brevísima relación de la destruición de las Indias. Edited by J. M. Martínez-Torrejón. Madrid: Real Academia de la Lengua, 2013.

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                                                                  This version of the Brevísima was produced by a literary scholar—Martínez-Torrejón—who probed deeply in his notes and introduction into the structure of the Brevísima and tested its veracity against similar accounts and documents from the era. Available online.

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                                                                  The Black Legend, Controversies

                                                                  The Black Legend was explained and analyzed in a lively exchange of essays almost half a century ago by Lewis Hanke and Benjamin Keen. Hanke 1964, Keen 1969, Hanke 1971, and Keen 1971 should all be read by students interested in this phenomenon. Another good starting point for studying the Black Legend is Gibson 1971. It was put together by one of the major Latin Americanists of the 20th century, impeccably researched and written as most of his works. The most violent attack on the Black Legend came from a fellow Spaniard, Ramón Menéndez Pidal, whose biography of Las Casas (Menéndez Pidal 1963, cited under Classic Biographies) not only condemned Las Casas for his extreme and often violent criticism of his fellow countrymen but also for defending the Amerindians with an equal abandonment of balance and good judgment. The points of view represented in this work are a perfect example of the White Legend that came into existence in the early 20th century, defending the actions of the Spanish in the Conquest as heroic, valiant, well meaning, and even devoutly Christian. Supporters of Las Casas were astounded at these criticisms and responded in kind with hagiographic studies that portrayed Las Casas in almost equally exaggerated terms, only this time in his favor. Helen Rand Parish’s studies, such as Parish and Sullivan 1992 (cited under Struggle for Justice and Defense of the Indians) and Parish 1980 (cited under Anthologies) and others like Parish 1992 (cited under Thinker and Activist) fall into this category, although Parish’s writing was always based on deep research in the archives, often uncovering new documents written by Las Casas or his contemporaries. Written by a Puerto Rican scholar and theologian, Rivera Pagán 1992 explores themes rising out of the Black Legend. Rivera Pagán not only addresses the conquest of the Americas but also its repercussions in the overall settlement of the Indies, as Spain called her American possessions. Las Casas figures prominently in this important theological and intellectual history of Spain in the New World. Both Maltby 1971 and Lawrance 2009 address the Black Legend from within English and broader European history.

                                                                  • Gibson, Charles. The Black Legend: Anti-Spanish Attitudes in the Old World and the New. New York: Knopf, 1971.

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                                                                    This is one of the best studies of the Black Legend phenomenon by one of the best 20th-century students of colonial Latin America and the Hispanic world.

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                                                                    • Hanke, Lewis. “More Heat and Some Light on the Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Conquest of America.” Hispanic American Historical Review 44.3 (1964): 293–340.

                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/2511855Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      Hanke opened up a debate with this article on the meaning of the Black Legend. Benjamin Keen responded; see Keen 1969.

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                                                                      • Hanke, Lewis. “A Modest Proposal for a Moratorium on Grand Generalizations: Some Thoughts on the Black Legend.” Hispanic American Historical Review 51.1 (1971): 112–127.

                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/2512616Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                        Hanke comes back at Keen’s article (Keen 1969) in an ongoing debate in this scholarly journal on the Black Legend.

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                                                                        • Keen, Benjamin. “The Black Legend Revisited: Assumptions and Realities.” Hispanic American Historical Review 49.4 (1969): 703–719.

                                                                          DOI: 10.2307/2511162Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                          This article responds to Hanke’s article (Hanke 1964). The exchanges in the pages of Hispanic American Historical Review by Hanke and Keen are a must-read for students of the Black Legend. Keen, Hanke, and Helen Rand Parish were the closest and most prolific students of Las Casas in the 20th century in the United States.

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                                                                          • Keen, Benjamin. “The White Legend Revisited: A Reply to Professor Hanke’s ‘Modest Proposal.’” Hispanic American Historical Review 51.2 (1971): 336–355.

                                                                            DOI: 10.2307/2512479Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            Keen’s reply to Hanke 1971 (“A Modest Proposal”).

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                                                                            • Lawrance, Jeremy. Spanish Conquest, Protestant Prejudice: Las Casas and the Black Legend. Nottingham, UK: Monographs in Post-Conflict Cultures, 2009.

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                                                                              A very nice rendition, in a short format, of why and how Protestants exaggerated the horrors of the Black Legend in the long struggle between Protestants and Catholics.

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                                                                              • Maltby, William. The Black Legend in England: The Development of Anti-Spanish Sentiment, 1558–1660. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1971.

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                                                                                A standard account, well argued, well developed.

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                                                                                • Rivera Pagán, Luis N. A Violent Evangelization: The Political and Religious Conquest of the Americas. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1992.

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                                                                                  This is a complex study, often assuming a rather extensive knowledge of theology and Western philosophical and intellectual trends, but well worth for some profound theological insights into the meaning of Las Casas’s life and especially of the Black Legend.

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                                                                                  Struggle for Justice and Defense of the Indians

                                                                                  Hanke crafted one of the principal phrases in the English-speaking world for this area of Las Casas’s life with his pathbreaking The Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Conquest of the Americas (Hanke 2002). Hanke demonstrated that during the Conquest of the Indies one of the greatest attempts the world has seen was made to ensure that Christian precepts prevailed in the relations between people. That, in turn, boiled down to the defense of the rights of Indians by Bartolomé de las Casas. Parish and Sullivan 1992 brings Las Casas’s first book into the English-speaking world. This book frames the intellectual and spiritual rationale for Las Casas’s defense of peaceful evangelization as the “only way” legitimately to claim sovereignty and control by Spaniards over Amerindians. In the mid-20th century, when the modern American civil rights movement was reaching an apogee, scholars such as Lewis Hanke probed the origins of racism in the Western world, and they found in Las Casas’s life much to consider. Hanke 1959 tangles with Aristotle, as did Las Casas in his debate in 1550 with Ginés de Sepúlveda, questioning Aristotle’s division of men into those born to govern and those born to be governed, one of the cornerstones of slavery and modern racism. Hanke 1959 focuses on one of Las Casas’s greatest contributions over his lifetime: that all men shared equal rights in both Scripture and natural law. Hanke 1974, an account of the debate, is a companion volume to Poole 1992 (see Documentary Sources). Castro 2006 takes the interesting and provocative view that Las Casas was in fact an imperialist, but one with a religious twist still defending the Amerindians. Orique 2010 presents the case—theologically, epistemologically, and historically—for the background to the New Laws of 1542. And, to underscore the volatility and controversial nature of Las Casas among his modern students and interpreters, see Orique 2008, a review of Castro 2006.

                                                                                  • Castro, Daniel. Another Face of Empire: Bartolomé de las Casas, Human Rights and Ecclesiastical Imperialism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                    This is a revisionist look at Las Casas’s role as protector of Indians, seeing Las Casas instead as an imperialist outrider of Spain’s growing empire, although toned down slightly by labeling him an “ecclesiastical” imperialist who really did not understand nor relate very well to the Amerindian culture that he was trying to save.

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                                                                                    • Hanke, Lewis. Aristotle and the American Indians: A Study in Race Prejudice in the Modern World. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1959.

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                                                                                      Hanke focuses on the Las Casas–Sepúlveda debate of 1550 and traces race prejudice to the intellectual constructs of Aristotle, especially to his division of men into those born to govern and those born to be governed and obey. It is a view into early imperialism and racism and the expanding European world into the global world.

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                                                                                      • Hanke, Lewis. All Mankind Is One: A Study of the Disputation between Bartolomé de las Casas and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda in 1550 on the Intellectual and Religious Capacity of the American Indians. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1974.

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                                                                                        The best place to start for any student of the debate of 1550 over the justness and legality of the conquest of the Americas.

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                                                                                        • Hanke, Lewis. The Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Conquest of the Americas. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 2002.

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                                                                                          There are certain works that mark indelible moments in the development of history. This book, first published in 1949, falls into that rare category of seminal works. It is not simply good history, well documented, clear, cogent, and powerful; it is a window into our humanity and our sense of justice. How the Spanish dealt with the twin challenges of unprecedented wealth and power, and their Christian conscience, is the theme of this book.

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                                                                                          • Orique, David T. “Another Face of Empire: Bartolomé de Las Casas, Indigenous Rights, and Ecclesiastical Imperialism.” Catholic Historical Review 94.3 (2008): 616–617.

                                                                                            DOI: 10.1353/cat.0.0113Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            Orique’s review criticizes Castro for not taking the full life and significance of Las Casas into account, ignoring, or not knowing about, some of the context for accepting so much admirable in the life of Las Casas. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                                            • Orique, David T. “New Discoveries about an Old Manuscript: The Date, Place of Origin, and Role of the Parecer de fray Bartolomé de las Casas in the Making of the New Laws of the Indies.” Colonial Latin American Historical Review 15.4 (2010): 419–441.

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                                                                                              On the background to making of the pathbreaking New Laws of 1542, which attempted to reform the worst practices associated with the conquest and settlement of the Indies.

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                                                                                              • Parish, Helen Rand, and Francis Patrick Sullivan, trans. De unico vocationis modo, The Only Way by Bartolomé de las Casas. New York: Paulist, 1992.

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                                                                                                This excellent translation is of the first book written by Las Casas. This is his classic defense of the only way to evangelize the Amerindians, which was by peace and love rather than conquest and force.

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                                                                                                The Demographic Impact of the Black Legend

                                                                                                The 1992 Quincentennial commemorating the five hundredth anniversary of the discovery the America by Christopher Columbus spawned a growth industry of publications “exposing” and “revising” the history of the age of exploration and conquest. Las Casas was both pilloried and praised in the outpouring of history and polemics. A good example of the polemical literature is Sale 1990, which borrowed in part from Las Casas’s Black Legend to magnify and distort the negative consequences of the European invasion of America. Sale and Las Casas viewed the Conquest/Encounter through the same lens, even though separated by almost five hundred years. Modern historians, anthropologists, and demographers, on the other hand, in research aimed at discovering the true basics of the Encounter, unencumbered as much as possible by polemics and national, religious, and racial prejudices, for example, criticized Las Casas for wild exaggeration of atrocities and population estimates that he made. Cook 1998 is one of the most balanced and thorough of these new studies, while Denevan 1992 is but another example of many books and articles in this genre.

                                                                                                • Cook, David Noble. Born to Die: Disease and New World Conquest, 1492–1650. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                  This is a wide-ranging study of how diseases contributed to the conquest of the New World, well founded in the documentary literature and compelling in its conclusions. It is still a standard in the field.

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                                                                                                  • Denevan, William M., ed. The Native Population of the Americas in 1492. 2d ed. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992.

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                                                                                                    What was the population of the New World at the time of initial Encounter? This is still a standard account, bringing to the light what we know, the controversies, and what is still to be done, some of which has been done since this was published.

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                                                                                                    • Sale, Kirkpatrick. The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy. New York: Knopf, 1990.

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                                                                                                      Sale’s contention is that Columbus was the tip of the spear that was driven into the hearts of Amerindians and Columbus represented or symbolized the immensely negative effects of the European invasion of the Americas. But in making his case the author omits other equally important historical strands that detract from his argument.

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                                                                                                      Historian and Chronicler

                                                                                                      While Las Casas occupies the highest profile in history as “defender” of American Indians, he had a parallel career as chronicler and historian of the Indies. His most famous work, after the polemical Brief History of the Destruction of the Indies (see The Black Legend, the Tract Itself) was his monumental History of the Indies, several editions, but it most recently appeared as Historia de las Indias, published as Volumes 3–5 of Fray Bartolomé de las Casas: Obras completas. Gutiérrez 1993 (see Biographies since 1990s) looks into Las Casas’s life as historian and chronicler. Friede and Keen 1971 and Keen 1998 contain excellent essays on Las Casas’s trajectory as a major figure in history and how he has been interpreted over the past five hundred years. The Quincentenary era (five hundredth anniversary of Columbus’s first voyage to the New World, 1492–1992) saw the appearance of Las Casas’s Fray Bartolomé de las Casas: Obras completas. These heavily annotated volumes are the first place for anyone to start in their research on Las Casas. The first volume, a full-scale, original biography by Huerga 1998 (see Biographies since 1990s) is balanced in its approach and interpretation of Las Casas’s life. Literary scholars have frequently focused on Las Casas as well. Martínez-Torrejón 2006 brings some modern interpretations and concerns of the literary scholar to an analysis of how the Historia fits into these constructs. In the modern period, in this same genre, Merediz and Arias 2008 edited a volume that contains many different views and interpretations of Las Casas. It is a compilation of modern, largely literary, approaches to Las Casas, demonstrating that he does not belong to historians alone, but his life and times have universal appeal. Rolena Adorno’s lead article, “The Intellectual Life of Bartolomé de las Casas: Framing the Literature Classroom” (Adorno 2008), in Merediz and Arias 2008 is representative of this genre. Adorno’s article is the kind of overview worthwhile for teachers wanting to include some mention of Las Casas, especially in their introductory courses. Adorno 2007 is a book on the politics of the Conquest that deals in large part with Las Casas as polemicist and traces his influence across the centuries by placing the rationale for Spanish claims to sovereignty and dominion in the New World amid the narrative tradition.

                                                                                                      • Adorno, Rolena. The Politics of Possession in Latin American Narrative. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                        For the intellectual and political interpretation of Spain’s claims to the New World, not simply by Las Casas but by others, this book is an excellent introduction and analysis by one of the major literary scholars who has given Las Casas wide and deep coverage over her career.

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                                                                                                        • Adorno, Rolena. “The Intellectual Life of Bartolomé de las Casas: Framing the Literature Classroom.” In Approaches to Teaching The Writings of Bartolomé de las Casas. Edited by Santa Arias and Eyda Merediz, 21–32. New York: Modern Language Association, 2008.

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                                                                                                          This is an excellent place for teachers—and any students of Las Casas for that matter—to frame Las Casas within the literary tradition.

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                                                                                                          • Friede, Juan, and Benjamin Keen, eds. Bartolomé de las Casas in History: Toward an Understanding of the Man and His Work. DeKalb: University of Northern Illinois Press, 1971.

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                                                                                                            The introduction, written by Keen, alone is worth reading the book. It is an erudite, thoughtful, and very well-documented trip over the course of Las Casas’s life. The essays are classic summations of the principal works of a number of the most prominent students of Las Casas in the twentieth century. Also see Thinker and Activist.

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                                                                                                            • Gutiérrez, Gustavo O. P. Teología de liberación: Perspectivas. Salamanca, Spain: Ediciones Sigueme, 1972.

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                                                                                                              The book that gave liberation theology its name and defined its parameters. Important for understanding the theological and political matrix of the movement, which many see as having begun with the thinking and work of Las Casas in the 16th century. This work was translated by Robert McAfee Brown, Gustavo Gutiérrez: An Introduction to Liberation Theology. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1990.

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                                                                                                              • Keen, Benjamin. Essays in the Intellectual History of Colonial Latin America. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1998.

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                                                                                                                A compilation of Keen’s most important articles and essays on Las Casas, well worth the read because Keen, an intellectual historian and historian of ideas, focused on Las Casas most of his career, although, as these essays attest, Keen’s interests were wide ranging and not simply limited to Las Casas. Also see Thinker and Activist.

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                                                                                                                • Las Casas, Bartolomé de. Historia de las Indias. Vols. 3–5, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas: Obras completas. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1994.

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                                                                                                                  This edition of Las Casas’s History of the Indies is the most complete, with a 324 page introduction. It includes maps and drawings and is a work of splendid scholarship, heavily annotated for even the most curious reader. It needs to be translated into English someday. The director of this work was Paulino Castañeda Delgado.

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                                                                                                                  • Martínez-Torrejón, José Miguel, ed. “Historia de las Indias: Antología.” Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, 2006.

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                                                                                                                    This abbreviated online edition of the Historia is of selected portions. The editor has brought to bear the concerns and approaches of modern literature to the table of analyzing properly this seminal work of Las Casas’s on the conquest of the Indies.

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                                                                                                                    • Merediz, Eyda M., and Santa Arias, eds. Approaches to Teaching the Writings of Bartolomé de las Casas. New York: Modern Languages Association, 2008.

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                                                                                                                      For those, as the title implies, wanting to include something of Las Casas in their teaching, this is an indispensable guide to dozens of different approaches by academics who have integrated Las Casas to one level or another into their classrooms.

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                                                                                                                      African Slavery

                                                                                                                      In 1516, to preserve the rapidly dwindling Taino population of the island of Española, Las Casas suggested importing some black and white slaves from Castile. He has been pilloried ever since for hypocritically advocating the African slave trade to defend American Indians. What did Las Casas really advocate? Was he the first to do so as so many have claimed? Did he sustain and defend his advocacy of the slave trade over the years? And, perhaps most important, how have scholars finally determined where Las Casas fits into the origins and nature of the African slave trade? Clayton 2009 summarizes most of the important literature on this subject and argues that Las Casas evolved over the decades from first suggesting the importation of African slaves to later in life condemning the slave trade and even slavery itself. Pérez Fernández 1992, which is on Las Casas and African slavery, remains the best overall study of the subject. It does an especially good job of tracing the origins of the canard that Las Casas initiated the trade to the Enlightenment thinkers of the 18th century. Merediz and Salles-Reese 2008 also covers much of the literature. For a few examples of Atlantic and African world scholarship in which Las Casas invariably occupies some space, see Bailyn 2005 and Klein 1998. Chapter 1, “Slavery in Western Development,” pp. 1–16, in Klein 1998 is an especially good overview of the subject.

                                                                                                                      • Bailyn, Bernard. Atlantic History: Concept and Contours. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                        A “primer” on Atlantic history, which was really an old subject—the history of relations between peoples and nations—put into a new paradigm; very useful in many instances for rethinking much of the past.

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                                                                                                                        • Clayton, Lawrence A. “Bartolomé de las Casas and the African Slave Trade.” History Compass, 7.6 (2009): 1526–1541.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/j.1478-0542.2009.00639.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          A revisionist view of Las Casas as the “author” of the introduction of African slaves to the Indies in the early 16th century. The article concludes that, while Las Casas did—among other contemporaries—suggest the importation of African slaves to lift the burden of oppression off the Amerindians, his view was altered radically in the last third of his life. Available online for fee or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                          • Klein, Herbert. The Atlantic Slave Trade. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                            Klein’s bibliographical essay (pp. 213–224) is an excellent discussion of the major works—especially the newer ones—on slavery and the slave trade.

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                                                                                                                            • Merediz, Eyda M., and Veronica Salles-Reese. “Addressing the Atlantic Slave Trade: Las Casas and the Legend of the Blacks.” In Approaches to Teaching the Writings of Bartolomé de las Casas. Edited by Santa Arias and Eyda Merediz, 177–186. New York: Modern Languages Association of America, 2008.

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                                                                                                                              The authors cover much of the literature on Las Casas and the slave trade in this article included in the book with many suggestions on how to teach the writings of Las Casas.

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                                                                                                                              • Parish, Helen Rand, and Francis Patrick Sullivan, trans. The Only Way: Bartolomé de las Casas. New York: Paulist, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                This is an excellent translation of Las Casas’s first book written to show the only way to evangelize the Amerindians, which was in total peace and in harmony with Scripture.

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                                                                                                                                • Pérez Fernández, Isacio. Bartolomé de las Casas: Contra los negros? Madrid: Editorial Mundo Negro, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                  This is a deeply critical, sometimes sarcastic, assessment of the Enlightenment, which projected strong anti-Spanish prejudices but was rather skimpy or downright wrong in documentary evidence. Pérez Fernández skewers Las Casas’s critics, and this little book is fundamental to the truth about Las Casas and the slave trade.

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                                                                                                                                  • Rivera-Pagán, Luis N. “A Prophetic Challenge to the Church: The Last Word of Bartolomé de las Casas”. Princeton Seminary Bulletin 24.2 (2003): 216–240.

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                                                                                                                                    A kind of coda to Las Casas’s life, seen through the prism of his last days. The author is a theologian, deeply conscious of what Las Casas the priest and missionary was about, and he analyzes how much Las Casas was able to achieve in his lifetime.

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                                                                                                                                    Thinker and Activist

                                                                                                                                    This subsection is kind of “catch-all” section, mentioning some roles of Las Casas’s life that demonstrate his immense range of activities. It is titled “Thinker and Activist” because, in a way, that’s what he did all his life, for his ideology as theologian, legal theorist, canon scholar, and historian drove his agenda as activist. He was an unusual person in that he put into action the conclusions that he reached as priest, theologian, and intellectual. Two of the most important works in this section are Friede and Keen 1971 and Keen 1998, books mentioned in several instances in different subsections of this bibliography. Adorno 2008 (especially pp. 64ff.) is among the most significant studies of Las Casas and other of his contemporaries—critics of the Conquest. Adorno 2008 brings the views of a literary scholar to bear on the life of Las Casas, examining him as an innovator in theoretical and canonical issues. Cárdenas Bunsen 2011 is a major study of how canonical law was woven by Las Casas into his positions, especially of course, his defense of Amerindians. MacCormack 1991 brings the reader into the contact period between the worlds of Spanish activists such as Las Casas and his European cultural and religious background. MacCormack explains how the Spanish adjusted to and attempted to explain what Andean religions were all about in the context of their own heritage, much of it based on the Classics. In somewhat the same vein Lupher 2003 examines how classical “models,” especially Rome and her empire, were drawn upon by thinkers and activists like Las Casas to help describe the New World that they encountered. Parish 1992 explains especially well how Las Casas was an intellectual influence and inspiration to both Francisco Vitoria and to the authors of the Papal Bull of 1437, Sublimis Deus.

                                                                                                                                    • Adorno, Rolena. The Politics of Possession in Spanish American Narrative. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                      This is a creative and well-researched study of how the Spanish crafted their rights to the Indies, even as they conquered it by force. Las Casas figures prominently in this narrative.

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                                                                                                                                      • Cárdenas Bunsen, José Alejandro. Escritura y derecho canónico en la obra de fray Bartolomé de las Casas. Madrid: Iberoamericana Vervuert, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                        This fine, new work on Las Casas and canon law systematically identifies the presence of canon law in all Las Casas’s major works.

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                                                                                                                                        • Friede, Juan, and Benjamin Keen, eds. Bartolomé de las Casas in History: Toward an Understanding of the Man and His Work. DeKalb: University of Northern Illinois Press, 1971.

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                                                                                                                                          This volume deals with how Las Casas has been treated by historians and others throughout the centuries, his life and ideas often invoked to defend or attack prevailing values, culture, and political positions. Also see Historian and Chronicler.

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                                                                                                                                          • Keen, Benjamin. Essays in the Intellectual History of Colonial Latin America. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                            These essays represent some of the best of the author’s thinking and writing, much of it focusing on Las Casas. Keen was an intellectual historian, and for those interested in the world of ideas and how Las Casas generated so many and tried to live by many, this reading is a must. Also see Historian and Chronicler.

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                                                                                                                                            • Lupher, David. Romans in a New World: Classical Models in Sixteenth-Century Spanish America. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                              The author deals especially with the Las Casas-Sepúlveda debate of 1550 and downplays the Aristotelian model, instead arguing that the circumstances defining the rise and fall of the Roman Empire were more germane to Spaniards of the 16th century—like Las Casas—arguing the merits and flaws of the Conquest.

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                                                                                                                                              • MacCormack, Sabine. Religion in the Andes: Vision and Imagination in Early Colonial Peru. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                This is one of the most thought-provoking studies of the relationship of Spanish chroniclers, conquistadors, priests, and historians with the Andean religions of the region.

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                                                                                                                                                • Parish, Helen Rand. Las Casas en México: Historia y obras desconocidas. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                  This book really needs an English translation because it brings to light a number of new facts and interpretations on the life of Las Casas—some of it conjecture but conjecture built on a solid documentary basis as evidence.

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