Each merchant on disembarking [leaving] goes only to the house of the young man who is his host, except those who have made frequent journeys to the town and know its people well; these live where they please. The host then sells his goods for him and buys for him, and if anyone buys anything from him at too low a price, or sells to him in the absence of his host, the sale is regarded by them as invalid [not legally recognized]. This practice is of great advantage to them…. We stayed there three days, food being brought to us three times a day, and on the fourth, a Friday, the qadi [judge] and one of the wazirs [Arab official] brought me a set of garments. We then went to the mosque and prayed…


  1. Identify Supporting Details What details in the text reveal to you that Battuta and other travelers were treated well by the people of Mogadishu?
  2. Determine Author's Purpose Why do you think Battuta recorded this description of Mogadishu in his travels?
  3. Analyze Interactions How did Battuta's faith affect his travels and his interactions with other Muslims?

[ The Destruction of the Indies, Bartolomé de Las Casas ]


Bartolomé de Las Casas was a Roman Catholic priest born in Seville, Spain, in 1484. In his youth, he met Christopher Columbus and traveled to the West Indies. There, he observed the conquest of the Americas and was horrified by the treatment of Native Americans by the conquistadors.

Las Casas dedicated his long life to protecting Native Americans from Spanish abuse. On several occasions, he returned to Spain to plead their case before the Spanish throne. His writings and discussions shocked Spanish leaders who attempted to pass laws to protect the Native Americans. The conquistadors' friends at court, however, often had the policies reversed. Below is an excerpt from a 1542 work detailing the abusive policies of the Spanish.

Primary Source

There are two main ways in which those who have traveled to this part of the world pretending to be Christians have uprooted these pitiful peoples and wiped them from the face of the earth. First, they have waged war on them: unjust, cruel, bloody and tyrannical [using power unjustly] war. Second, they have murdered anyone and everyone who has shown the slightest sign of resistance…. This latter policy has been instrumental [an important tool] in suppressing the native leaders, and, indeed, given that the Spaniards normally spare only women and children, it has led to the annihilation [complete destruction] of all adult males….

The reason the [Spanish] have murdered on such a vast scale and killed anyone and everyone in their way is purely and simply greed. They have set out to line their pockets with gold…. The Spaniards have shown not the slightest consideration for these people, treating them (and I speak from first-hand experience, having been there from the outset) not as brute animals–indeed, I would to God they had done and had shown them the consideration they afford their animals–so much as piles of dung in the middle of the road. They have had as little concern for their souls as for their bodies, all the millions that have perished having gone to their deaths with no knowledge of God and without the benefit of the Sacraments [sacred right of the Christian church]….

The indigenous [native to a region or country] peoples never did the Europeans any harm whatever; on the contrary, they believed them to have descended from the heavens, at least until they or their fellow-citizens had tasted, at the hands of these oppressors, a diet of robbery, murder, violence, and all other manner of trials and tribulations [great sorrows].


  1. Determine Central Ideas How did Las Casas view the conquest of the Americas?
  2. Determine Author's Purpose Why do you think Las Casas wrote this detailed account about the treatment of Native Americans by the Spanish?
  3. Draw Inferences How might Spanish leaders have responded to Las Casas's description of the conquistadors?

End ofPage 941

Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments