What was the Spanish Inquisition?

The Spanish Inquisition was a 15th century court established by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to combat heresy and root out “false converts” among the Spanish population. The Inquisition was responsible for prosecuting individuals accused of practicing non-Catholic beliefs, such as Judaism and Islam. Its methods included torture, interrogations, and executions. The Spanish Inquisition was eventually disbanded in 1834.

The exact number of people killed by the Spanish Inquisition is unknown, but estimates range from around 2,000 to as many as 150,000.

The modern church generally views the Spanish Inquisition with a sense of shame. While the Inquisition was a product of its time and was intended to ensure religious conformity, it is now widely seen as an oppressive, cruel, and unjust institution that abused its power. It is condemned for its violence, torture, and suppression of religious freedom.

The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition (Spanish: Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición), commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition (Spanish: Inquisición española), was established in 1478 by the Catholic Monarchs, King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile. It began toward the end of the Reconquista and was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms and to replace the Medieval Inquisition, which was under Papal control. According to modern estimates, around 150,000 people were prosecuted for various offences during the three-century duration of the Spanish Inquisition, of whom between 3,000 and 5,000 were executed

The Inquisition was originally intended primarily to identify heretics among those who converted from Judaism and Islam to Catholicism. The regulation of the faith of newly converted Catholics was intensified after the royal decrees issued in 1492 and 1502 ordering Jews and Muslims to convert to Catholicism or leave Castile, resulting in hundreds of thousands of forced conversions, the persecution of conversos and moriscos, and the mass expulsions of Jews and of Muslims from Spain. The Inquisition was abolished in 1834, during the reign of Isabella II, after a period of declining influence in the preceding century.