Penn Library

CULTURAL READINGS: Colonization & Print in the Americas


Apologetica historia
Jay I. Kislak Foundation
Bartholomé de Las Casas,
Apologética historia sumaria.

Manuscript, early 19th century.

Arguably one of the truly significant pieces of ethnology to come out of Spanish experiences in the Americas, Las Casas's huge work (almost 4,000 pages in this version) is a dense attempt to present a systematic reading of native culture in the New World and to defend that culture against its detractors. Las Casas, for example, audaciously compares human sacrifice and ritual cannibalism in the Americas with Christ's death and the eucharist.

The work remained unpublished until the 20th century; the present manuscript was probably made for Lord Kingsborough.

[See also in this exhibition, illustrations from Lord Kingsborough's collection]

Viewers and the Viewed

Exhibition Contents | Introduction | Essays | Bibliography & Links


Last update: Monday, 05-Oct-2015 00:02:00 EDT
Send mail concerning this page to: shawcros@pobox.upenn.edu