In June and July we’ll celebrate the beginning of a new fiscal year by highlighting new acquisitions from the past year. All of these amazing resources will be available for today’s scholars, and for future generations of researchers in the Rubenstein Library! Today’s post features a key early work in the development of the concept of human rights.
Bartolomé de las Casas, a Dominican friar and one of the first Spanish colonists in the Caribbean, is best known today for his exposé of the horrifying treatment of indigenous peoples by Spanish settlers during the first decades of colonization. First published in a 1550s series of tracts in Seville, the tracts represented the first argument for the rights of American Indians to be treated as fellow human beings, the first argument for the abolition of slavery in the New World, and one of the first attempts to appeal to a universal code of human rights.
The tracts, especially the sensational details of torture, abuse, and murder, spread throughout Europe as evidence of the Spanish abuse of power in the New World. The Library’s new acquisition is the first Latin translation and first illustrated edition of Las Casas’ text, entitled Narratio Regionum Indicarum per Hispanos Quosdam Devastarum Verissimi…, published in Frankfurt in 1598. The work features a powerful series of eighteen copper engravings by Theodor de Bry, depicting abuses of the native peoples.
De Bry never visited the New World, and the images can be seen as prime examples of the “Black Legend” of sensationalistic, anti-Spanish (and anti-Catholic) propaganda used to curb the might of the Spanish empire. This edition of the work of Las Casas advocating for basic human rights for the native populations of the Americas was wildly popular and influential, thanks in part to the images, which retain some of their original power to shock and provoke thought about the treatment of the original inhabitants of the New World.
Post contributed by Will Hansen, Assistant Curator of Collections.
Search The Devil’s Tale
Tag Cloud2011acquisitions 2012acquisition 2013acquisition advertisements advertising African American history archives artistsbooks civilwar conservation diaries digitization documentary dorisduke dukehistory durham durhamhistory economists events film fullframe games Haiti Heschel holidays human rights letterhead literature longcivilrights madmen Mad Men madmenmondays medicine movediary move prep movinghom photography recipes renovation rubensteinstaff scrapbooks sports students women's history zines
The Devil’s Tale Archive
- Bill Brown zine collection, 1981-2011. September 23, 2014
- Center for Justice and Accountability records. September 19, 2014
- Linda Gilbert account and scrapbook, 1894. September 18, 2014
- Frederick B. Nightingale stereographs of China, 1920-1921. September 18, 2014
- Lantern slides and art photos produced by the American Colony photographers illustrating Bible lands, 1910s-1940s. September 16, 2014
- Dealing in hate : the development of anti-German propaganda September 29, 2014
- How we smelled and why September 25, 2014
- River of grass September 25, 2014
- Words of Chan K'in : Lacandon jungle. September 25, 2014
- The heart wants what it wants. September 25, 2014
- The order of service for the consecration of bishops elected at the Southeastern jurisdictional conf (Volume c.1) October 1, 2014
- Favorite recipes / (Volume c.1) October 1, 2014
- Durham cook book ... (Volume c.1) October 1, 2014
- Brochure on Mission Work in Burke Co., (Volume items1 c.1) October 1, 2014
- Assessment for Asheboro Circuit (Volume items1 c.1) October 1, 2014