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Revival of the Spanish "Black Legend": The American Repudiation of Their Spanish Heritage

Douglas T. Peck
Revista de Historia de América
No. 128 (Jan. - Jun., 2001), pp. 25-39
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20140059
Page Count: 15
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Revival of the Spanish "Black Legend": The American Repudiation of Their Spanish Heritage
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Abstract

La "Leyenda Negra" relacionada con la temprana conquista española tuvo una base histórica aparentemente válida para aparecer en escena. Algunos de los conquistadores principales de los primeros años del siglo XVI como Cortés, Pizarro, y el peor de todos, Hernando de Soto, cometieron actos insensibles y brutales contra los nativos relativamente desamparados. Esta imagen limitada y oscura de la conquista española temprana fue iniciada y difundida a través de Europa primeramente por escritores humanistas populares franceses e ingleses que no eran amigos del régimen español. En los siglos XVIII, XIX y los primeros años del XX, la Leyenda Negra española se extinguió cuando se hizo evidente que los nativos en las colonias españolas vivían tan bien o mejor que ellos en otras colonias europeas, desde el punto de vista humanitario y de derechos legales. La Leyenda Negra española fue revivida en el siglo XX cuando los historiadores, así como escritores humanistas, filosóficos y moralistas, una vez más, dirigieron su atención a un examen de la conquista temprana del Nuevo Mundo. Este estudio examina la historia de la Leyenda Negra española para determinar su viabilidad de dar una imagen verdadera y precisa de la conquista española. /// The "Black Legend" related to the early Spanish conquest had a seemingly valid historical basis for appearing on the scene. Some of the leading conquistadors of the early sixteenth-century such as Cortés, Pizarro, and the worst of all, Hernando de Soto, committed senseless and brutal acts against the relatively helpless natives. This limited and dark picture of the early Spanish conquest was initiated and spread throughout Europe primarily by popular French and English humanist writers who were no friends of the Spanish regime. In the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth century, the Spanish Black Legend died out when it became apparent that the indigenous natives in Spanish colonies fared as well or better from a humanitarian and legal rights standpoint than those in many of the other European colonies. The Spanish Black Legend was revived in the twentieth century when historians, as well as humanist, philosophical, and moralist writers, once again turned their attention to an examination of the early conquest of the New World. This study examines the history of the Spanish Black Legend to determine its viability in presenting a true and accurate picture of the Spanish conquest.

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