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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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2. Exploring Borders   



2. Exploring
Borderlands


•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
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Activities
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Activities: Author Activities


Bartolomé de las Casas - Selected Archive Items

Back Back to Bartolomé de las Casas Activities

[2831] Bartolomé de las Casas, Frontispiece to The Tears of the Indians (las Casas): Being an Historical and True Account of the Cruel Massacres and Slaughters of above Twenty Millions of Innocent People; Committed by the Spaniards (1656),
courtesy of the Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania.
The English authorities used this 1656 translation to legitimize their conquest of Spanish Jamaica. Oliver Cromwell's nephew translated this volume.

[2832] Bartolomé de las Casas (John Phillips, trans.), Illustration from The Tears of the Indians (1656),
courtesy of the Robert Dechert Collection, Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania.
This illustration details some of the atrocities committed by Spanish colonizers. Despite his intentions, Casas's work ultimately helped Protestant colonizers justify their own mistreatment of native peoples; they reasoned that their actions were not as reprehensible as those of the Spanish.

[7368] Anonymous, Sheet from the Huejotzingo Codex [1 of 8] (1531),
courtesy of the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division.
In 1531, the people of Huejotzingo asked conqueror Hernán Cortés to initiate a lawsuit against the high court of New Spain concerning the unjust use of indigenous labor and tribute. As part of this petition, eight pages of drawings were made on amatl (fig bark); these drawings are known today as the Huejotzingo Codex.

[7372] Anonymous, Sheet from the Huejotzingo Codex [6 of 8] (1531),
courtesy of the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division.
In 1531, the people of Huejotzingo asked conqueror Hernán Cortés to initiate a lawsuit against the high court of New Spain concerning the unjust use of indigenous labor and tribute. As part of this petition, eight pages of drawings were made on amatl (fig bark); these drawings are known today as the Huejotzingo Codex.

[7681] Anonymous, Image of Bartolomé de las Casas (1886),
courtesy of Narrative and Critical History of America, Volume II (c. 1884-89), ed. Justin Winsor, published by Boston and New York Houghton Mifflin and Company,
The Riverside Press, Cambridge. Engraving of a young and determined-looking Casas writing at his desk, with a cross around his neck.

[9042] Laura Arnold, The Great Chain of Being (2003),
courtesy of Laura Arnold.
From the beginning of the Middle Ages through the early nineteenth century, "educated Europeans" conceived of the universe in terms of a hierarchical Great Chain of Being with God at its apex. In many ways, this hierarchy, still pervasive in Western theology and thought, stands in opposition to Native American and other belief systems that view the human and spirit worlds as co-existing on a horizontal plane.



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