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Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Las Casas, Gonzalo

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LAS CASAS, Gonzalo (las-cah'-sas), Mexican agriculturist, b. in Oajaca in 1543; d. there in 1601. He was chief judge, and held an Indian commandery in Misteca, province of Oajaca, and gave valuable assistance to the Spanish authorities by his knowledge of Indian dialects, which he learned from his mother, an Indian woman. He directed his attention principally to agriculture, and left several works which are the only ones in existence on the agriculture of the early stages of the conquest. They are “Arte para criar gusanos de seda en la Nueva España” (Granada, 1581; reprinted in a revised form as an appendix to Herrera's “Agricultura,” Madrid, 1690); “La agricultura de los Indios y sus instrumentos agrícolos” (Madrid, 1596); and in manuscript “Defensa de la Conquista y los conquistadores de la Nueva España y como ha de haberse con los naturales” and “Tratado de la guerra con los Chichimecos.”