Antonio de Montesinos, Malecon, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Share Antonio de Montesinos (Dominican friar) He became a Dominican friar at the convent of St. Stephen in Salamanca, where he may have studied. He was part of the first band of Dominicans to come to Hispaniola island, in September 1510, under the leadership of Pedro de Cordova. On December 4, 1511, de Montesinos preached an impassioned sermon criticizing the practices of the Spanish colonial encomienda system, and decrying the abuse of the Taíno people on Hispaniola. Listing the injustices that the indigenous people, de Montesinos proclaimed that the Spanish on the island "are all in mortal sin and live and die in it, because of the cruelty and tyranny they practice among these innocent peoples" The sermon outraged the conquistadors, including Admiral Diego Columbus (son of Christopher Columbus) and other representatives of the king. The 38th Master of the Order of Preachers, from 1508 to 1518, born at Gaeta, Italy in 1468, was then Tommaso de Vio, a.k.a. Thomas Cajetan or sometimes Gaetano Right hand side : Shield of the Dominican Order , whose 1st Master was Saint Dominic in 1216.They were fundamental in the running for around six centuries of the Roman Catholic Inquisition as well as in the adamant defence of the aboriginal American Indians under Spanish and Portuguese rulers well for over three centuries till the independence of some 20 countries South of the actual U.S.A. at the beginnings of the 19th Century. Their protests resulted in an order from King Ferdinand the Catholic that Montesino and other Dominicans who supported him should be shipped back to Spain. Initially Ferdinand referred to the preaching of Montesino as "a novel and groundless attitude" and a "dangerous opinion [that] will do much harm to all the affairs of that land". While in Spain, however, Montesinos and his companions were able to persuade the king of the correctness of their position. As a result, the king convened a commission which promulgated the Laws of Burgos, the first code of ordinances attempting to protect the indigenous people, regulate their treatment and conversion, and limit the demands of the Spanish colonizers upon them. Montesinos' sermon also had a formative impact upon Bartolomé de las Casas, who heard it firsthand. Las Casas became well-known for his advocacy of the rights of indigenous peoples of the Americas.