Here’s a perennial question facing the idealistic youth of any nation: What would you do if you found yourself surrounded by a violent, unjust system? What if your society was rife with rampant inequality? What if you were a beneficiary of this system – if your privilege came at the cost of others’ suffering?
Bartolomé de Las Casas found himself living in such a society – conquest-era colonial Spain – and he risked everything to speak out.
Would you have done the same?
Would you do the same today?
Ask your students —
Bartolomé de Las Casas and the Atrocities of the Spanish Conquistadors (Free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities): What would you do if you found yourself surrounded by a violent, unjust system? In the early Spanish conquest of the Americas, Bartolomé de Las Casas spoke out.