The Destruction of the Indies

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From A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Bartolomé de las Casas (written in 1542, published in 1552):

The settlers would erect long gibbets
To which they would bind thirteen of the Indians at one time,
In honor and reverence, they said,
Of Our Redeemer and the twelve Apostles,
And put firewood around it
And burn the Indians alive.

Another time, because the Indians
Did not give a settler a coffer filled with gold,
They killed countless souls,
And cut off the hands and noses of countless
Men and women, and others they threw
To the savage dogs,
Who tore them to pieces and ate them.

The cacique asked the holy father whether
Christians went to the sky. The priest replied
That they did, but only those who were good.
And the cacique then said that he
Did not desire to go to the sky,
But rather down to hell
So that he would not be where they were
And would not see such cruel people.

Copyright by Nicholas Gordon. Free for personal or non-commercial use.

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