- Black Legend
Stories from the Spanish colonies in the Americas that led to the general belief, eagerly endorsed by such rivals as Britain and Holland, that Spain exceeded other nations in cruelty to its subject populations.The 16th-century historians Bartolomé de Las Casas and Garcilaso de la Vega documented the treatment of the Indians in New Spain (Mexico and Guatemala) and Peru, respectively, and laid the foundation for the legend. Though Spain may not actually have surpassed other colonial powers in cruelty, the Spanish conquest clearly reduced the numbers of indigenous peoples rapidly and caused them great suffering.
* * *▪ Spanish historySpanish Leyenda Negraterm indicating an unfavourable image of Spain and Spaniards, accusing them of cruelty and intolerance, formerly prevalent in the works of many non-Spanish, and especially Protestant, historians. Primarily associated with criticism of 16th-century Spain and the anti-Protestant policies of King Philip II (reigned 1556–98), the term was popularized by the Spanish historian Julián Juderías in his book La Leyenda Negra (1914; “The Black Legend”).The Black Legend remained particularly strong in the United States throughout the 19th century. It was kept alive by the Mexican War (Mexican-American War) of 1846 and the subsequent need to deal with a Spanish-speaking but mixed-race population within its borders. The legend reached its peak during the Spanish-American War of 1898, when a new edition of Bartolomé de las Casas (Las Casas, Bartolomé de)'s book on the destruction of the West Indies was published.
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