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The Politics of Light: Al-Kindī's Geometrical Optics and the Vindication of the American Tropics in Bartolomé de las Casas's Apologética historia sumaria (1527–1561)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter concerns early modern Europe's changing and contradictory certainties about the region of the globe we know as the belt of the tropics. It examines the remarkable view of Amerindian nature and culture to be found in a philosophico-technical treatise titled "Apologetic Summary History, Concerned with the Qualities, Disposition, Description, Heaven, and Earth of these Lands, as well as with the Natural Dispositions, Polities, Republics, Manners of Life, and Customs of the Peoples of these Western and Meridional Indies, Whose Sovereign Domain Belongs to the Monarchs of Castile". Las Casas's broad generalizations about the Indians have earned him numerous enemies and critics to this day, but anyone willing to venture beyond the simplistics of the justly famous Brevissima relaçion dela destruyçion delas yndias will find a powerful mind at work in the Historia de las Indias and Apologética historia.

Keywords: Apologética Historia Sumaria; Bartolomé De Las Casas; Europe

10.1163/ej.9789004179745.i-272.10
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004179745.i-272.10
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