Friday, Apr. 08, 2011

The Spanish Inquisition

For centuries under Muslim rule, the Iberian peninsula was a melting pot of faiths and cultures, known for its enlightenment and tolerance. But that would definitively change as a reinvigorated Spanish monarchy launched the Reconquista. With only a few Muslim redoubts remaining, the Supreme Council of the Inquisition, or the Suprema, was created in 1483 to further the restoration of Catholic orthodoxy in Spain. Chief among those brought to trial were conversos (Jews and Muslims who had abandoned their faiths for Christianity) whose adherence to their new religion seemed suspect. During the proceedings, people accused of heresy were often tried without counsel, were tortured and thousands were sentenced to death. The Inquisition also made its way to the Americas and was only officially brought to an end in the 19th century.