Las Casas on Columbus: Background and the Second and Fourth Voyagesby Anthony Pagden
Bartolome de Las Casas is certainly the most controversial figure in the long and troubled history of Spain's overseas empire. The fierce 'defender and apostle to the Indians', as he become known, Las Casas dedicated most of his adult life to describing the atrocities which the Spaniards had perpetrated against the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas. He was also, however, the man who perhaps did most to chronicle the life of the 'discover' of America, Christopher Columbus. For Las Casas, Columbus was the key figure in Las Casas's own prolonged conception of the Spanish presence in America and his interpretation of what had taken place there since 1492. This volume of the Repertorium Columbianum presents Las Casas's accounts, drawn mainly from the Historia de las Indias, of the events which preceded Columbus's first voyage and which occurred during his second and fourth voyages. Thus, it complements volume 6, A Synoptic Edition of the Log of Columbus's First Voyage, which contains Las Casas's description of the first voyage. Nigel Griffin's entirely new transcription of the original material is accompanied by this graceful and accurate English translation of the text, which for the most part has not been previously translated. The well-known Lascasian scholar Anthony Pagden introduces the volume, carefully placing Las Casas's account of the deeds of Christopher Columbus within the context of his entire life's work.
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