Founded in 1478 Spanish Inquisition was aimed at maintaining Catholic orthodoxy, detecting and dealing with religious heresy. Even though religious motives were certainly predominant, the majority of historians also point to the combination of economic and political motives. During the period of its existence Spanish Inquisition was under control of the Spanish monarchy.
It was founded by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. They wrote a letter to the Pope asking for a permittion to start Inquisition in Spain. The first thing they did was the arrest of the most notable figures in Seville and the Conversos (secret Jews). The first Tribunals were opened in Valencia, Catalonia and Aragon. Later, the Inquisition proceeded to Toledo and Barcelona. Two monks Juan de San Martin and Miguel de Morillo were heading the Inquisition in Spain. The Inquisitor-general was Tomas de Torquemada. During the first 10 years of Spanish Inquisition, more than 12 000 Conversos were put on trial.
Punishements Used in Inquisition
Inquisitors employed extremely severe methods of torture. Listed below are only some of the punishments most commonly used during Spanish Inquisition:
A wooden framed shoe was put on the victim’s foot. It was tightened slowly and methodically crushed the person’s bones.
The Judas Chair
This method is considered to be the most brutal and humiliating. Judas Chair has a shape of a pyramid. The naked person is placed on top of it and his or her anus or vagina is placed on the very point of the seat. The task of the Inquisitor is to lower the victim very slowly.
The Strappado is also one of the cruelest punishments used during the period of Inquisition. It is known for having different variations. The person’s hands are tied behind his back and he or she is suspended in the air by a rope attached to his hands. In the second variant the victim’s hands are tied in the front and the weight is attached to his or her ankles.
Between three to five thousand people died during the 350 years of Inquisition. This period is marked by the severe punishments and the lack of rights of the accused. These are the main reasons why Inquisition is considered to be a regrettable part of human history.
Thus the freedom of religion didn’t exist on the territory of Spain. Spanish Inquisition was abolished in 1834 and has left a significant sign in the world history.