Chapter 5: Bartolomé de Las Casas: The Protector of the Indians
Bartolomé de Las Casas: The Protector of the Indians
Film Focus: This Catholicism in Focus video provides Bartolomé de Las Casas as an exemplar against the growing criticism of Christopher Columbus. It includes a succinct biography of the life of Bartolomé de Las Casas and highlights his great care for the native people of Mexico.
Text Focus: Pgs. 163, 166, 172
1. What was the encomienda system? How was it used to violate the dignity of the native peoples of Mexico?
2. Explain the process of transformation that Bartolomé de Las Casas underwent from an owner of an encomienda to a staunch critic of that system? What brought about this change?
3. Bartolomé de Las Casas saw very limited success in his own lifetime. Does this make him and success or a failure? Explain and defend your answer.
4. How was the encomienda system in Mexico similar to the slave system in the
United States? How was it different?
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