Episode 14 – A Dominican Debacle

Now that we’ve discussed Las Casas at greater length, we can begin to understand the context of the Cancer Expedition of 1549. Fray Luis Cancer, a Dominican protege of Las Casas, decided to go to Florida with nothing but a few other priests, in the hopes that the population would convert. High-minded as it may have been, Cancer’s idea was impracticable, and led to nothing more than his own martyrdom and the deaths of three of his comrades. We end off the episode with a recounting of the shipwrecks of 1554, wherein three Spanish ships sank off the coast of Texas and of all those who washed up on shore only one would survive the ordeal. These two incidents persuaded those in power back in Spain that the Gulf Coast must be pacified by whatever means necessary…

Episode 13 – A Voice Crying Out In the Wilderness

In this episode, we discuss the remarkable life and career of Fray Bartolome de las Casas, Protector of the Indians. We also talk about the debate over the humanity of the Indians, a debate which roiled the intellectuals of Spain and beyond. With a clearer picture of Las Casas’s life and the Dominican campaign for the amelioration of the Indians’ plight, the stage is set for next episode’s recounting of Fray Luis Cancer’s tragic attempt to convert the Floridian natives.

Episode 12 – What Goes Around, Comes Around

A meandering episode for a meandering expedition. This episode covers the expedition of Hernando de Soto, the next in our inglorious series of conquistadors who had tried and failed to tame the North American Continent. Basically, he and his expedition wandered for four years in circles through what is now the states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas. Eventually, after having realized that he failed, de Soto pretty much curled up and died. The greatest legacy of the expedition was their introduction of pigs to the United States.