Bartolomé de las Casas
Bishop Emeritus of ChiapasPortrait of Bartolomé de las Casas
Other posts Protector of the Indians
Consecration 30 March 1554
Birth name Bartolomé de las Casas
Born c. 1484
Seville,Kingdom of Seville, Castile
Died 18 July 1566 (aged 81–82)
Madrid, Kingdom of Toledo, Castile
Buried Basilica of Our Lady of Atocha
Denomination Roman Catholic
OccupationPriest, friar, writer, apologist
Bartolomé de las Casas O.P. (c. 1484 – 18 July 1566) was a 16th-century Spanish historian, social reformer and Dominican friar. He became the firstresident Bishop of Chiapas, and the first officially appointed "Protector of the Indians." His extensive writings, the most famous being A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies and Historia de LasIndias, chronicle the first decades of colonization of the West Indies and focus particularly on the atrocities committed by the colonizers against the indigenous peoples.
Arriving as one of thefirst settlers in the New World he participated in, and was eventually compelled to oppose, the atrocities committed against the Native Americans by the Spanish colonists. In 1515 he reformed his views,gave up his Indian slaves and encomienda, and advocated, before King Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, in behalf of rights for the natives. In 1522 he attempted to launch a new kind of peacefulcolonialism on the coast of Venezuela, but this venture failed causing Las Casas to enter the Dominican Order and become a friar, leaving the public scene for a decade. He then traveled to Central Americaundertaking peaceful evangelization among the Maya of Guatemala and participated in debates among the Mexican churchmen about how best to bring the natives to the Christian faith. Traveling back to...