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Bartolome de las Casas devoted himself completely to crusading for the rights of the Indians. Although he was never a missionary among Indians, he began projects such as the Indians' conversion in the Land of War in Guatemala, which later became the task of his Dominican colleagues. However, his true importance lay in his role as the Indians' protector before the royal court. This was shown by his involvement in the debate of Valladolid, the decree of the New Laws of 1542, and the campaign for the abolition of the encomienda and Indian slavery. However, the significance of his crusade went beyond the rights of Indians; it involved the rights of all men. Equally significant was his strong conviction that the Indians had a right to retain their cultural heritage in the face of the invading Spaniards, who considered themselves culturally superior to the Indians. Intended to provide the teacher with meaningful historical information on the clash of cultures and the rights of man, this booklet relates the story of the Spaniards and Indians as seen in the life of Las Casas. Although primarily intended for use by elementary teachers, the booklet may be profitably used by junior and senior high school teachers. A brief bibliography is included to provide additional information, suggested readings for students, and audiovisual materials.


Part of the The Tinker Pamphlet Series for the Teaching of Mexican American Heritage.

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