De Las Casas and the 500-Year Struggle for Liberty, by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Among the Spanish conquistadors, a Dominican Friar spoke out against the racism and the mistreatment of North American indigenous people. It’s an inspiring chapter in the history of liberty. From Jeffrey A. Tucker at brownstone.org:

De Las Casas

Spending the holiday week in gorgeous Mexico City has sent my mind reeling with reflection on the great struggle of all time, that for universal rights and liberties and against all forms of tyranny. The beauty of visiting a place like this is that this history is utterly inescapable.

One only needs to visit the city center with the ruins of the Templo Mayor, which was the crowning glory of the Aztec empire. Its construction began in 1325 but was reduced to rubble by Spanish conquistadors in 1521. In its place was built an enormous cathedral – it took fully 200 years to build! – that still stands in all its beauty and majesty today. It is the first great cathedral built in the New World, which was really a very old world with ancient roots.

La Catedral Metropolitana de México built atop of the Templo Mayor

Most of the history we know from the Aztec empire at its height comes of course from Spanish sources, which describe some of the most horrific violations of human rights done in the name of religion that one can imagine. The evidence of the ubiquity of human sacrifice is everywhere evident in the museum – the sharp stone knives, the images of bloody hearts, the screaming – and it is impossible not to be appalled.

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