The Spanish Inquisition Essay

1106 Words Oct 28th, 2007 5 Pages
The Spanish Inquisition became an infamous event in history that would interest and shock people for centuries to come. King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella of Spain started the Spanish Inquisition in September of 1480; however, it was two years earlier in the November of 1478 that Pope Sixtus IV actually authorized the two monarchs to set up and start the Inquisition. (The Spanish Inquisition, n.d.)

The Inquisition mostly dealt with the conversos, or "Jews who had converted either under duress or out of social convenience, and were suspected of secretly practicing the Jewish faith." (The Spanish Inquisition, n.d.) While this is given as a definition of conversos, some people believe that the majority of conversos were excellent
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("The Spanish Inquisition:," n.d.) Isabella looked upon this removal of about 170,000 of her subjects as a "pious duty". (The Spanish Inquisition, 2007) Under Torquemada's reign the Inquisition spread. By about 1538 there were 19 courts in cities such as Seville, Cordova, Villareal, and Toledo.

They began in Seville and arrested conversos, where more than 700 were burned and 5,000 repented. Trials, or tribunals were held in Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia. An "Inquisition Tribunal" was set up in Toledo in 1485 and between the years 1486 and 1492, 25 auto-da-fés were held and 467 people were burned at the stake and more were imprisoned. (The Inquisition, 2007)

When a person was accused, they had a "term of grace" for thirty to forty days where they could voluntarily confess their sin and atone for that sin. After that grace period was used up, they had a trial and if the judges found the accused guilty of the offense, the person was imprisoned. The accused's trial occurred only in the presence of two disinterested priests and the defense was in the hands of a lawyer. Witnesses were sworn in and if one lied they would be seriously punished- death being a possibility. (Blotzer, 1910) If a person was found guilty at the trial they could be burned at the stake. (Madden, 2003) These trials were called auto-da-fé, or Act of Faith, and would happen in a public place such as the main square in a town. After
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