Bartolome de las Casas

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Bartolome de las Casas

Document 1
Source: Catholic Priest Bartolome de las Casas, Short Description of the Destruction of the Indies
“It is impossible to recount the burdens with which their owners loaded them, more than 75-100 pounds, making them walk hundreds of miles… they had wounds on their shoulders and backs, like animals… to tell likewise of the whip-lashings, the beatings, the cuffs, the blows, the curses, and a thousand other kinds of torments to which their masters treated them, while in truth they were working hard, would take much time and much paper; and would be something to amaze to mankind.

Document 2
To fill the labor shortage, Las Casas urged colonists to import workers from Africa. Africans were immune to tropical diseases, he said, and had skills in farming, mining, and metalworking. Las Casas later regretted that advice because it furthered the brutal African slave trade. The Spanish began bringing African slaves to the Americans by the 1530s.

  1. How were the conditions Las Casas described linked to the encomienda system?

  1. What did Bartolome de las Casas feel about the encomienda system?

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