16 Apr 2022


Born in Blood & Fire: A Concise History of Latin America

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Book Report

Words: 464

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Question 1: Compare and contrast the debates of both Juan Gines de Sepulveda and Bartolomé de Las Casas in their justification of conquest. What constitutes a “just war” & an “unjust war” against the natives in the New World according to them? (Write at least a paragraph for each side & include a quote or two with references from the essays)

Bartolomé de Las Casas was against the cruelty that the Spaniards had towards the Indies. Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, on the other hand, was in support of the Spanish wars. Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, the believed that Spanish wars of victory in the Americas were typical of just wars (Chasteen, 2011). Sepúlveda was using a philosophical approach in his attempt to justify his decision to enslave the Indies. Sepúlveda perceived that the Indians were irrational, and their inferiority qualifies them to be slaves (Chasteen, 2011). Philosophically, Indians were considered as brutes. Thus they were supposed to serve the most civilized people (Ojibwa, 2011).

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According to Bartolomé de Las Casas, Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda actions were unjust. Thus, his war against the Indies was unjust. Las Casas was arguing from a theological point of view. Las Casas stated that Christianity ought to be spread through kindness and example but not by the sword (Ojibwa, 2011). Las Casas indicated that Spaniards ought to focus on spiritual aspects in America rather than economy and politics. In that respect, they had no right whatsoever to subject the Indians to war (Ojibwa, 2011). 

Question 2: How did the Inter Caetera resolve the conflict between the Portuguese and the Spanish kingdoms?

Inter Caetera primarily led to the resolution of land disputes between the Portuguese and the Spanish nation. It stipulated the land ownership rights. In the Inter Caetera, the rights and privileges of Spain were also clearly stated. However, later on, it was realized that the pope (Alexander IV) had favored the monarchs (Chasteen, 2011). This led to the formation of a new treaty called the Treaty of Tordesillas that was instrumental in resolving the land conflicts between the two nations (Cummins & Kounnie, 2016). 

Question 3: What purpose did the Requirement serve?

As stated earlier, the Inter Caetera helped in ceasing land disputes between Portugal and Spain. Nonetheless, the signing of the new treaty following the overruling a decision by Alexander IV led to sustainable peace between the Portuguese and the Spaniards (Cummins & Kounnie, 2016). 

Question 4: How was disease a “formidable ally” of the Spanish conquest? Include quote/ examples.

The Spanish quest for complete power over the Indians was buffered by the fact that the Indians were so susceptible to some diseases like smallpox. This disease was endemic and had caused fear and panic among the Indians (Chasteen, 2011). The survivors of disease were left with marks that made them scary. Because of this fear, the courage of many Indians declined, and the Spanish colonialists took advantage of the situation to demonstrate their power (Crosby, 1967). 


Chasteen, C. J. (2011). Born in Blood and Fire: a Coinscise History of Latin America. (3rd ed.) New York: Norton,cop. 

Crosby, W. A. (1967). Conquistador y Pestilencia: The First New World Pandemic and the Fall of the Great Indian Empires. T he Hispanic American Historical review, Duke University Press 47(3), 321-337. 

Cummins, S., & Kounine, L. (2016). Cultures of Conflict Resolution in Early Modern Europe . Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. 

Ojibwa. (2011). The Great debate: Native American Netroots. WordPress . Retrieved from http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/1014.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Born in Blood & Fire: A Concise History of Latin America.


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