I want someone read the essay and fill the table in 1 hour . a_brief_account_of_the_destruction_of_the_indies_2.docsat_delescas_spr15_4.docA Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies
by Bartolome de las Casas
Of the Island HISPANIOLA.
In this Isle, which, as we have said, the Spaniards first attempted, the bloody slaughter
and destruction of Men first began: for they violently forced away Women and Children
to make them Slaves, and ill-treated them, consuming and wasting their Food, which they
had purchased with great sweat, toil, and yet remained dissatisfied too, which every one
according to his strength and ability, and that was very inconsiderable (for they provided
no other Food than what was absolutely necessary to support Nature without superfluity,
freely bestow’d on them, and one individual Spaniard consumed more Victuals in one
day, than would serve to maintain Three Families a Month, every one consisting of Ten
Persons. Now being oppressed by such evil usage, and afflicted with such greate
Torments and violent Entertainment they began to understand that such Men as those had
not their Mission from Heaven; and therefore some of them conceal’d their Provisions
and others to their Wives and Children in lurking holes, but some, to avoid the obdurate
and dreadful temper of such a Nation, sought their Refuge on the craggy tops of
Mountains; for the Spaniards did not only entertain them with Cuffs, Blows, and wicked
Cudgelling, but laid violent hands also on the Governours of Cities; and this arriv’d at
length to that height of Temerity and Impudence, that a certain Captain was so audacious
as abuse the Consort of the most puissant King of the whole Isle. From which time they
began to consider by what wayes and means they might expel the Spaniards out of their
Countrey, and immediately took up Arms. But, good God, what Arms, do you imagin?
Namely such, both Offensive and Defensive, as resemble Reeds wherewith Boys sport
with one another, more than Manly Arms and Weapons. Which the Spaniards no sooner
perceived, but they, mounted on generous Steeds, well weapon’d with Lances and
Swords, begin to exercise their bloody Butcheries and Strategems, and overrunning their
Cities and Towns, spar’d no Age, or Sex, nay not so much as Women with Child, but
ripping up their Bellies, tore them alive in pieces. They laid Wagers among themselves,
who should with a Sword at one blow cut, or divide a Man in two; or which of them
should decollate or behead a Man, with the greatest dexterity; nay farther, which should
sheath his Sword in the Bowels of a Man with the quickest dispatch and expedition.
They snatcht young Babes from the Mothers Breasts, and then dasht out the brains of
those innocents against the Rocks; others they cast into Rivers scoffing and jeering them,
and call’d upon their Bodies when falling with derision, the true testimony of their
Cruelty, to come to them, and inhumanely exposing others to their Merciless Swords,
together with the Mothers that gave them Life. They erected certain Gibbets, large, but
low made, so that their feet almost reacht the ground, every one of which was so order’d
as to bear Thirteen Persons in Honour and Reverence (as they said blasphemously) of
our Redeemer and his Twelve Apostles, under which they made a Fire to burn them to
Ashes whilst hanging on them: But those they intended to preserve alive, they dismiss’d,
their Hands half cut, and still hanging by the Skin, to carry their Letters missive to those
that fly from us and ly sculking on the Mountains, as an exprobation of their flight.
The Lords and Persons of Noble Extract were usually expos’d to this kind of Death; they
order’d Gridirons to be placed and supported with wooden Forks, and putting a small Fire
under them, these miserable Wretches by degrees and with loud Shreiks and exquisite
Torments, at last Expir’d. I once saw Four or Five of their most Powerful Lords laid on
these Gridirons, and thereon roasted, and not far off, Two or Three more over-spread
with the same Commodity, Man’s Flesh; but the shril Clamours which were heard there
being offensive to the Captain, by hindring his Repose, he commanded them to be
strangled with a Halter. The Executioner (whose Name and Parents at Sevil are not
unknown to me) prohibited the doing of it; but stopt Gags into their Mouths to prevent
the hearing of the noise (he himself making the Fire) till that they dyed, when they had
been roasted as long as he thought convenient. I was an Eye-Witness of these and and
innumerable Number of other Cruelties: And because all Men, who could lay hold of the
opportunity, sought out lurking holes in the Mountains, to avoid as dangerous Rocks so
Brutish and Barbarous a People, Strangers to all Goodness, and the Extirpaters and
Adversaries of Men, they bred up such fierce hunting Dogs as would devour an
Indian like a Hog, at first sight in less than a moment: Now such kind of Slaughters and
Cruelties as these were committed by the Curs, and if at any time it hapned, (which was
rarely) that the Indians irritated upon a just account destroy’d or took away the Life of
any Spaniard, they promulgated and proclaim’d this Law among them, that One Hundred
Indians should dye for every individual Spaniard that should be slain.
Hispaniola (1542) by Bartolome de las Casas
As we have said, the island of Hispaniola was the first to witness the
arrival of Europeans and the first to suffer the wholesale slaughter of its people
and the devastation and depopulation of the land. It all began with the
Europeans taking native women and children both as servants and to satisfy
their own base appetites; then, not content with what the local people offered
them of their own free will (and all offered as much as they could spare), they
started taking for themselves the food the natives contrived to produce by the
sweat of their brows, which was in all honesty little enough. Since what a
European will consume in a single day normally supports three native
households of ten persons each for a whole month, and since the newcomers
began to subject the locals to other vexations, assaults, and iniquities, the
people began to realize that these men could not, in truth, have descended
from the heavens. Some of them started to conceal what food they had, others
decided to send their women and children into hiding, and yet others took to
the hills to get away from the brutal and ruthless cruelty that was being
inflicted on them. The Christians punched them, boxed their ears and flogged
them in order to track down the local leaders, and the whole shameful process
came to a head when one of the European commanders raped the wife of the
paramount chief of the entire island. It was then that the locals began to think
up ways of driving the Europeans out of their lands and to take up arms
against them. Their weapons, however, were flimsy and ineffective both in
attack and in defence (and, indeed, war in the Americas is no more deadly
than our jousting, or than many European children’s games) and, with their
horses and swords and lances, the Spaniards easily fended them off, killing
them and committing all kind of atrocities against them.
They forced their way into native settlements, slaughtering everyone
they found there, including small children, old men, pregnant women, and
even women who had just given birth. They hacked them to pieces, slicing
open their bellies with their swords as though they were so many sheep herded
into a pen. They even laid wagers on whether they could manage to slice a
man in two at a stroke, or cut an individual’s head from his body, or
disembowel him with a single blow of their axes. They grabbed suckling
infants by the feet and, ripping them from their mothers’ breasts, dashed them
headlong against the rocks. Others, laughing and joking all the while, threw
them over their shoulders into a river, shouting: ‘Wriggle, you little perisher.’
They slaughtered anyone and everyone in their path, on occasion running
through a mother and her baby with a single thrust of their swords. They
spared no one, erecting especially wide gibbets on which they could string
their victims up with their feet just off the ground and then burn them alive
thirteen at a time, in honour of our Saviour and the twelve Apostles, or tie dry
straw to their bodies and set fire to it. Some they chose to keep alive and
simply cut their wrists, leaving their hands dangling, saying to them: ‘Take
this letter’ – meaning that their sorry condition would act as a warning to
those hiding in the hills. The way they normally dealt with the native leaders
and nobles was to tie them to a kind of griddle consisting of sticks resting on
pitchforks driven into the ground and then grill them over a slow fire, with the
result that they howled in agony and despair as they died a lingering death.
It once happened that I myself witnessed their grilling of four or five
local leaders in this fashion (and I believe they had set up two or three other
pairs of grills alongside so that they might process other victims at the same
time) when the poor creatures’ howls came between the Spanish commander
and his sleep. He
“They spared no one, erecting especially wide gibbets on which they
could string their victims up with their feet just off the ground
and then burn them alive.”
gave orders that the prisoners were to be throttled, but the man in charge of
the execution detail, who was more bloodthirsty than the average common
hangman (I know his identity and even met some relatives of his in Seville),
was loath to cut short his private entertainment by throttling them and so he
personally went round ramming wooden bungs into their mouths to stop them
making such a racket and deliberately stoked the fire so that they would take
just as long to die as he himself chose. I saw all these things for myself and
many others besides. And, since all those who could do so took to the hills
and mountains in order to escape the clutches of these merciless and inhuman
butchers, these mortal enemies of human kind trained hunting dogs to track
them down – wild dogs who would savage a native to death as soon as look at
him, tearing him to shreds and devouring his flesh as though he were a pig.
These dogs wrought havoc among the natives and were responsible for much
carnage. And when, as happened on the odd occasion, the locals did kill a
European, as, given the enormity of the crimes committed against them, they
were in all justice fully entitled to, the Spanish came to an unofficial
agreement among themselves that for every European killed one hundred
natives would be executed.
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