Based off of this reading, it can be assumed that the conditions in the Indies during the time this text was written were not humane whatsoever. The actions of the Spaniards were very much barbaric, and completely contradict the religion which the Spaniards were trying so desperately to impose upon the natives of the Indies. Without having to go into detail, it is said by Bartoleme in the letter that the Spaniards would treat the people of the Indies as wild beasts, cattle, or animals. But he then goes back on this statement saying that in fact they treated them less than livestock, because they at least took care of the livestock. This is a good example of how barbarically the Spaniards ruled over the Natives. There was no respect for the Natives, even though they were described as peaceful, passive, kind, and as overall decent human beings.
Yet in the eyes of the Spaniards, the same people were seen as barbarians and savages. What makes the situation even more disturbing is that the Spaniards used the name of god to justify their ruthless actions. They saw it as their divine right to take over the Natives. Fortunately, there were people like Bartoleme that spoke out against these cruel acts. He wrote the letter describing all the acts of inhumanity towards the Natives to the King and Queen of Spain in order to create rules and regulations that would regulate the actions of the Spaniards in the Indies. This alone was a substantial act of humanity.
The only ironical part is that he suggests that the Spanish use African people instead of using the Natives of the Indies for labor. Unfortunately at the time, there were still mass amounts of racism, even amongst the most noble of men. Men such as Bartoleme who spoke out against cruel acts were still subject to their own racist antics. Although this wasn’t very out-of-the-ordinary at the time, in today’s world it’s despicable nonetheless. It’s a very hypocritical suggestion that he had for the King and Queen, and for that, would lose all credit for anything positive that happened to the Natives after his ideas were reinforced.
Courtney from Study Moose
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