A SHORT ACCOUNT OF THE DESTRUCTION OF THE INDIES (Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias) is a short history of the early Spanish conquests of the Caribbean islands, particularly Hispaniola. Written by Spanish friar Bartolomé de las Casas, the ACCOUNT is particularly noteworthy in its frank criticism of Spanish treatment of the Native American inhabitants of the Indies. De las Casas was the first European to note the devastating decline of the native populations due to Spanish conquest and colonization.
About the Author
Bartolomé de las Casas (c.1484-1566) was a Spanish bishop, historian, and Dominican Friar. Born in Seville, de las Casas emigrated to Hispaniola in 1502 and became a landowner and slaveholder under the Spanish encomienda system. After a confrontation with several anti-slavery Dominicans and through reading the Bible, de las Casas had a change of heart, freed his slaves, and became an advocate for the rights of Native Americans and a critic of Spanish colonial policy in the New World. He took holy orders and was instrumental in the abolition of the encomienda system in the 1540s. De las Casas was appointed the first "Protector of the Indians," served as the first Catholic bishop of Chiapas, and was one of the first advocates for universal human rights.