An Account, Much Abbreviated, of the Destruction of the Indies: And Related Texts / Edition 1

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Fifty years after the arrival of Columbus, at the height of Spain's conquest of the West Indies, Spanish bishop and colonist Bartolomé de Las Casas dedicated his Brevísima Relación de la Destruición de las Indias to Philip II of Spain. An impassioned plea on behalf of the native peoples of the West Indies, the Brevísima Relación catalogues in horrific detail atrocities it attributes to the king’s colonists in the New World. The result is a withering indictment of the conquerors that has cast a 500-year shadow over the subsequent history of that world and the European colonization of it.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Andrew Hurley's daring new translation dramatically foreshortens that five hundred years by reversing the usual priority of a translation; rather than bring the Brevísima Relación to the reader, it brings the reader to the Brevísima Relación--not as it is, but as it might have been, had it been originally written in English. The translator thus allows himself no words or devices unavailable in English by 1560, and in so doing reveals the prophetic voice, urgency and clarity of the work, qualities often obscured in modern translations. An Introduction by Franklin Knight, notes, a map, and a judicious set of Related Readings offer further aids to a fresh appreciation of this foundational historical and literary work of the New World and European engagement with it. This is a splendid new translation of Brevísima Relación, the famous denunciation of the Spanish conquest of the Americas, written by Dominican friar Bartolomé de Las Casas (1483-1566). . . . The Hackett edition of Brevísima Relación . . . has a lot to offer to undergraduates. . . . Knight's introduction to the text makes in fact for a compelling read. . . . Together with Knight’s ample annotations, which refer students to the most up-to-date secondary literature, it makes for a wonderful introduction to the history of Europe’s expansion into the Western Hemisphere." --Martine van Ittersum, Journal of Early Modern History

Las Casas comes alive in this version. The translator turns Las Casas' rough and rambling style, which has thwarted previous translators, into the Biblical tirade that Las Casas intended; the rambling becomes rumbling with these sonorous word choices. This will doubtless become the standard translation of the Brevísima Relación. --David Frye, University of Michigan

This is by far the best modern edition of the classic account of Las Casas. An excellent Introduction provides the background of the friar and the debates he engendered. Of equal value are the appendices with the royal legislation for protection of the conquered Amerindians, that are the true legacy of his polemical treatises. Excerpts from eyewitnesses of the conquest of Mexico provide students with food for thought and discussion. This is an excellent classroom edition that should be widely used." --Noble David Cook, author of Born to Die: Disease and New World Conquest, 1492-1650

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872206250
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 129
  • Sales rank: 667,078
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Franklin Knight is Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University, and the author of The Caribbean: The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism (Oxford) and Slave Societies of the Caribbean (Macmillan).

Andrew Hurley is Professor of English, University of Puerto Rico, and the award-winning translator of numerous works of fiction and non-fiction including the Collected Fictions of Jorge Luis Borges (Viking) and several novels by Reinaldo Arenas.

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Table of Contents

The Indies in Las Casas' Time
A Note on the Text and the Translation
Some Earlier English Translations of Bartolome de las Casas': Brevisima relacion de la destruicion de las Indias
An Account, Much Abbreviated, of the Destruction of the Indies 1
Argument of the Present Epitome 1
Presentation 2
[An Introduction to the Relation] 4
On the Island Hispaniola 8
On the Kingdoms That Once Were to Be Found upon the Island of Hispaniola 12
On the Two Islands of San Juan and Jamaica 17
On the Island of Cuba 18
On Terra Firma 21
On the Province of Nicaragua 25
On New Spain, I 28
On New Spain, II 30
On the Province and Kingdom of Guatimala 38
Of New Spain and Panuco and Jalisco 43
On the Kingdom of Yucatan 47
On the Province of Santa Marta 54
On the Province of Cartagena 57
On the Coast of Pearls and on Paria and the Island of Trinidad 57
Of the River Yuyapari 64
On the Kingdom of Venezuela 64
On the Province of Terra Firma in the Part Called Florida 69
On the Rio de la Plata, or the River of Plate 71
On the Great Kingdoms and Great Provinces of Peru 72
On the New Kingdom of Granada 78
Testament 86
The Laws of Burgos (1512-1513) 89
New Laws of the Indies 93
A Treatise on the Just Causes for War against the Indians 103
The True History of the Conquest of Mexico 107
From Hernan Cortes, Cartas de relacion 111
Table of Weights and Measures Used in the Text 121
Glossary of Political and Military Terms Used in the Text 123
Index 127
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 2 of 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2012


    Buenas tardes agradezco me puedan ayudar con lo siguiente:
    Llevo mucho tiempo buscando el libro "An account, much abbreviated, of the destruction of the indies".
    Pero existe un enorme detalle, el libro que requiero contiene imágenes de D´Bry. Es importante que las tenga, ya que es el requisito que me solicitan, además de que venga redactado en inglés.
    Ojala pueda tener una respuesta respecto al asunto y en caso de tenerlo me informen el costo del ejemplar.
    Reciba un cordial saludo.
    Atte: Edith Mata Ortiz.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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