The Black Legend and its Negative Impact on the Image of Spain

analytical Essay
1265 words
1265 words

The Black Legend in Spain William of Orange once stated, “Spain committed such horrible excesses that all the barbarities, cruelties, and tyrannies ever perpetrated before are only games in comparison to what happened to the poor Indians.” This statement is an example of an attempt to discredit the Spanish. Attempts such as these are known as the Black Legend. The Black Legend was the name given to the concept of cruelty and brutality spread by the Spanish during the 14th and 15th century. This legend demonizes Spain and specifically the Spanish empire in an effort to harm the reputation of them. It was through this propaganda that made other countries look down upon the Spanish empire. The Black Legend threw discredit upon the rule of the Spanish by building biases and prejudices against Catholicism and the Spanish treatment of the natives of South America. The Black Legend mainly exaggerated the treatment of the native people in the regions of the Spanish Empire and non-Catholic people such as Protestants and Jews in its European territories. The Black Legend was an anti-Spanish movement, which was started due to political and religious reasons by Northern European Protestant countries who were Spain’s enemies in order to discredit them. The Black Legend had a very powerful negative effect on the image of Spain. It, along with Spain’s unwillingness to change their ways, led to their downfall, as suggested by historian Anthony Pagden. “The image of the Spanish Empire changed, however, not because the Empire itself changed, but very largely because it failed to.” The Black Legend began to ruin Spain’s reputation to an irreversible extent and king Phillip III didn’t help Spain’s situation, as stated by historian Ch... ... middle of paper ... ...Spain in the Age of Exploration, Seattle Art Museum, 2004 Keen, Benjamin. 1969. The Black Legend Revisited: Assumptions and realities. The Hispanic American Historical Review. volume 49. no. 4 Mintz, S. (2007). The Black Legend, Digital History. Retrieved October 12th 2011 from, Pagden, Anthony, Spanish Imperialism and the Political Imagination, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990, Retamar, Roberto Fernandez. “Against the Black Legend.” Ideologies and Literature 2.10 (1979) Theodor de Bry, SPANISH KILLING NATIVE AMERICANS (1596). Courtesy of WorldArt Kiosk/Kathleen Cohen. Todorov, Tzvetan. The Conquest of America. NY: HarperCollins, 1984.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the black legend demonized spain and specifically the spanish empire in an effort to harm their reputation.
  • Describes keen, benjamin, the black legend revisited: assumptions and realities. the hispanic american historical review.
  • Analyzes how the black legend was promoted by spain's enemies to propagate a dark vision of spain.
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