Posted by: | 20th Oct, 2008

span 364

It has been very interesting reading the three very different but still very much connected books. They all represent different point of views but have similarities on a broader scale. Each author in their own individual way preserved a part of history with their encounters. Regardless, if readers agree or disagree with their perspectives, the authors allowed their audience (past or present) to enter a world that was full of conquest, exploration, evangelization, transculturation, attempts at preservation, exploitation of human life, material goods (gold etc.)and much more.

Cabeza de Vaca was writing a letter to the king of Spain wanting to explain his reasons for the failure of his journey. However, it is within this chronicle that the audience can read between the lines and truly discover some wonderful knowledge of the indigenous way of life and culture, how unfairly they were treated by the Europeans and the challenges the Spanish had with the newly encountered environment. As modern day readers we are also able to see how Spain, at this time, viewed the indigenous people, their traditions and everyday life.

Las Casas also wrote a letter to the king of Spain, but took a very different point of view than Cabeza de Vaca. Although both authors are from Spain, they did not see the conquest or treatment of the indigenous people the same way. Las Casas was not against converting the indigenous people, but he did disagree strongly with the manner in which the Spanish were treating the indigenous.

I found Garcilaso de la Vega’s point of view the most interesting because it is a rare perception on the events which took place. The indigenous culture was one of oral traditions and in comparison to the European documentation of the Spanish/New World encounters there is very little written documentation from an indigenous point-of-view.

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