Interpreting the Conquest
After Spain’s conquest of Mexico and other American lands, these events inspired books, paintings, and other historical and artistic records. In this section are materials illustrating these interpretations. Some of these items highlight the efforts of Bartolomé de las Casas (1474–1566), an early Spanish historian and Dominican missionary in the Americas, to persuade the Spanish Empire that indigenous peoples deserved humane treatment. Also featured are the spectacular Conquest of Mexico paintings created in the seventeenth century that capture the drama of the original encounter as imagined and interpreted by artists 150 years later.
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