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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.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Black Legend, visit Britannica.com.
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