Anton de Montesinos Statue in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Anton de Montesinos was among the first Dominican friars to arrive in Santo Domingo in 1510. He soon became outraged by the Spaniard’s inhumane treatment of the Taíno, the indigenous people of Hispaniola. At great personal risk, he delivered a damning sermon about the atrocities on December 21, 1511. The reaction by Spanish bureaucrats was swift and negative. They were reliant on the enslaved natives to operate their gold mines. They appealed to Ferdinand II to extradite the heretic. When Montesinos returned to Spain, however, he convinced the Spanish king that the brutality was wrong. This lead to the proclamation of the Laws of Burgos in 1512. Leyes de Burgos prohibited future abuses and outlined how the Taíno should be treated. This 49 foot recreation of Montesinos’ sermon was created by sculptor Antonio Castellanos Basich and erected along the riverfront El Malecón in 1982.

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Paseo Presidente Billini & Calle 19 de Marzo, Santo Domingo 10210, Dominican Republic

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