Spanish Inquisition


Good afternoon. Welcome to your local news program on
station WBLUM. This Is Jane reporting live with help from
our at-the-scene correspondant, Shari.
 Today we will be discussing the reign of Ferdinand and
Isabella of Spain as well as the Spanish Inquisition.
 Now we will go to our correspondant in Spain who is ready
to interview the King and Queen. Are you there Shari?
 ( move to change places. Get microphone.)
 Yes I am. Thank you Jane. For those of you just tuning in,
I'm here live in Spain with King Ferdinand and Queen
Isabella for their first interview ever!
Shari: Can we start this off with a formal introduction?
Isabella: I'm Queen Isabella I and this is my husband and 

co-monarch, Ferdinand II. 

Shari: Okay. How about your birthdays and when you will die.
Isabella: I was born on April 22, 1451, the daughter of
King John II of Castile. I'm going to die November 24,
Ferdinand: I was born on March 10, 1452. I am the second
son of King John II of Aragon. I'm going to die on
February 23, 1516.
S: Okay. So when did you guys get married?
F: I remember it was in the fall...(look perplexed like
you're trying to remember)
I: I can't believe you don' t remember our wedding day! It
was October 19, 1469!! (cross your arms and turn your
back to him)
S: Oops! I didn't mean to get you into trouble, Ferdinand!
I'll change the subject. I understand that this marriage
was pretty important for the unification of Spain.
Weren't you two from different kingdoms of Spain? [Time
out. You guys might want to follow this on page 5 of your
 booklets.] Back to the question.
F: I was from Aragon. After my older brother died, I was
named heir to the throne. In 1479 I took over. 

I: I was from Castile. After the unsuccessful rule of my
brother Henry, I became queen of Castile and Leon on
December 13, 1474.
S: I see. So you guys brought almost all of Spain under one

F&I: Yeah.
S: This must have done a lot for Spain. Now your country
was more powerful since it was united and not split up
into many tiny kingdoms. After your marriage, Spain
became a definite military presence. Good job!
 Ferdinand, you were really involved in the foreign affairs
 of the country. Didn't you really establish the final
phase of the Reconquista?
F: Yes. I tried to bring Portugal into our kingdom but
failed, so then, the only area left that wasn't under our
rule was Granada. 

S: Okay. Don't give away too much. We'll get to the
Reconquista later on in our program.
 I understand that you weren't as much of a religious nut
as your wife.
F: I was a good Christian, but I just couldn't totally make
the church my life. But of course I supported Isabella
with whatever she believed in for the religious well
being of our country.
S: Isabella, you were in charge of the internal affairs of
your country. 

I: Yes. I had many plans to improve Spain. In fact, I made
many military and religious improvements.
S: I understand that you were very involved in the
Reconquista. You came up with an improvement in the
military hospitals and the tranportation of supplies. You
also came up with the idea to send bells to the front
lines for psychological warfare against the Moors since,
according to the Koran, they were forbidden to hear the
ringing of bells. You also helped encourage the troops by
giving out awards of valor to exceptional soldiers and
you also sent personal letters of encouragement to the

I: What can I say.
S: You also helped put Spain back together religiously. You
got rid of gambling and prostitution in the army camps
and sent more priests and monks instead. You also came up
with something called an Inquisition.
I: Spain's religious status was terrible. Practically
everyone had forgotten the ways of the Catholic Church! I
did everything in my power to fix that.
S: Ferdinand and Isabella, you're called the "Catholic
Kings". I didn't have to give much thought to the reason
why you were given this title.
 (talk to the class) If Isabella's religious improvements
and Ferdinand's complete support weren't enough to earn
them this title, they were very powerful in the church.
They had a close relationship with and influence over the
papacy. Isabella was able to control who was put in
clerical positions and she frequently opposed the Pope.
With the Concordat of 1482, Ferdinand and Isabella
restricted the power of the Pope in Rome over the Spanish
Church. Ferdinand also became leader of the powrful
knights that belonged to the church.
 Isabella, I understand that you were also very interested
in Spanish exploration.
I: Yes. In fact, it was I who really gave consent to
Christopher Columbus to begin his voyage.[see page 6 in
the booklet]
S: You were in Granada when he came to you. At first you
 refused him. Why?
I: Well, it was very unlikely that he'd find a path to the
Indies especially since his earlier voyages had been
unsuccessful. Also, the King of Portugal had refused him
before he came to me. 
S: There have been many people who have said that you
 financed Columbus's voyage with the jewels off your
neck. However, I believe it is more practical to replace
jewels with Jews. Many believe that you payed for his
expedition with the confiscated property of Jews who were
subject to the Inquisition. Do you have anything to say
about this?
I: No.
S: Some people believe that Columbus was a Marrano and that
 the majority of his crew were other Marranos, Conversos
 and Jews. Did you know about this?
I: I have no comment on that matter.
S: Ferdinand and Isabella, thank you so much for your time.
 This has been Shari reporting live from Spain. Back to
 Jane in the studio.
 Thank you, Shari! 

Now we will further discuss the subject of the Reconquista. 

 The Moors had taken over Spain from the Visigoths as we
learned earlier. Later, several Christian states began to
appear in the north. These Christian states started to
reconquer Spain. 

 The Reconquista officially began in 722 with the first
battle between the Muslims and a Christian monarch. The
Reconquista, or Reconqeust, was not a continuous war;
rather, it was battles of Muslim rulers vs. Christian
monarchs spread out over seven centuries. 

 Most of the Reconquista was completed by the 13th century.
Only the southern Kingdom of Granada remained in Moorish

 Ferdinand and Isabella wanted to totally control the
Iberian penisula. Therefore, in1482, when they were
comfortable with their new country, they began the
reconquest of Granada. Granada finally surrendered on
January 2, 1492. All of the Iberian peninsula was under the
control of Ferdinand and Isabella except for Portugal which
remained a separate kingdom. 

 When Granada came under the rule of Ferdinand and
Isabella, all Jews and Moors were expelled. Even Jews who
had accepted Christianity were given only a month to leave.
 Now we come to the second segment of our program - The
 The Inquisition was a church court instituted to seek out
and persecute heretics. The institution of the Inquisition
is defended by Saint Augustine who uses Luke 14:23 to allow
the use of force against these heretics.[see page 7 of your
booklets. Would someone read?] The verb 'compel' implies

 At first, the Inquisition was used by secular rulers in
their lands because heretics were seen as a threat to the
social and religious order. Later, in the Second, Third and
Fourth Lateran Councils, the papacy established
imprisonment and confiscation of property as a punishment
for heresy. The Councils threatened to excommunicate any
secular rulers who failed to punish heretics in their lands.
 In 1231, Pope Gregory IX instituted the Papal Inquisition.
He ordered convicted heretics to be arrested by the secular
authorities and then burned. He also established that
heretics should be searched out and tried in the church
court. For this purpose, he appointed inquisitors and then
later gave this job to the Dominican and Fraciscan friars.
We learned earlier that the Dominicans' main job was to
preach against heresy.
 The first Inquisitions were in central Europe. Later, it
spread to France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The tribunal
was also used in England.
 In 1588, the Congregation of the Roman and Universal
Inquisition was established. The Roman Inquisition was not
as severe as the Spanish Inquisition. Under Pope Paul IV,
the Inquisition was used to get rid of Protestantism. In
1908, the Roman Inquisition was renamed the Holy Office by
Pope Pius X and it's purpose was to watch over the faith
and morals of the entire Roman Catholic Church. In 1965,
Pope Paul VI again reorganized it as the Congregation for
the Doctrine of the Faith whose purpose was to promote
keeping the faith rather than fighting those who do not
keep it. 
 The Spanish Inquisition is by far the most infamous of the
Inquisitions throughout history. It was most successful
because of it's strong ties with the crown. 

 Queen Isabella, in her attempts to improve the religious
position of Spain, requested a special method to persecute
heretics such as the newly converted Jews and Muslims, the
marranos and moriscos [see page in your booklets]. In 1478,
the Queen convinced Pope Sixtus IV to authorize an
Inquisition in Spain. 

 Pope Sixtus authorized Ferdinand and Isabella to choose,
bishops and other clerics to conduct investigations on
these "new Christians" who were suspected of secretly
practicing their original religion. On September 27, 1480,
two dominican friars, Juan de San Martin and Miguel de
Morillo, were appointed by Ferdinand and Isabella to be the
first inquisitors. 

 At first, when the marranos heard about the Inquisition,
they tried to move but were stopped by the lords of their
lands. These lords were threatened with excommunication if
they did not search for the marranos. This was when the
Inquisition finally got into full swing. The lords
confiscated the discovered marranos' property and land
which were put in the royal treasury. 

 This first wave of the Inquisition was so severe but so
effective, that Ferdinand and Isabella wouldn't relax it
even though Pope Sixtus thought that it was too powerful
and that San Martin and Morillo were too cruel. Pope Sixtus
pleaded with the king and queen to remove the cruel men. To
get rid of any opposition from the Pope, in 1483, Isabella
made Pope Sixtus appoint the first grand inquisitor, or
inquisitor-general. This was a compromise; San Martin and
Morillo were removed, but the appointment created church
ties to the Inquisition.
 The first grand inquisitor was Tomas de Torquemada [go to
page ]. Shari, our at-the-scene correspondant is waiting
live with Senor de Torquemada. Shari?
(change places and get microphone)
 Thanks, Jane. Senor de Torquemada has graciously agreed to
give station WBLUM this exclusive interview!
Shari: Senor de Torquemada...may I call you Tomas?
T de T: Si. 

S: Thank you. Tomas, born in 1420 and you're going to die
on September 16, 1498. Correct?
T: Si. 

S: Even though you were very well known for your hatred of
the Jews, some say that you come from a Jewish background.
 Is this true?
T: I've heard these rumors also. 

S: I heard that your grandfather married a Jewish girl who
had just converted. That would make your paternal
 grandmother a "new Christian". This caused a hatred of
the Jews in you. Why?
T: I haven't got a clue.
S: Why don't you tell our viewers a little bit about your
early life as a Dominican friar?
T: I spent the early years of my life studying in Valadolid
as a Dominican friar. In my later years, I became the
head of a monestary in Segovia [see the map on page of
your booklets]. In 1474, I became the confessor and
advisor to Ferdinand and Isabella. 

S: Yes. Didn't you develop a close relationship with
Isabella at that time?
T: Si. I was able to influence Isabella and convince her to
create an Inquisition. I helped her convince Ferdinand as
well. I also convinced them to expel all of the Jews who
hadn't converted from Spain in 1492.
S: On October 17, 1483, at the age of 63, you were
appointed grand inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition.
T: My main goal was to make the Inquisition more
S: You certainly did that! You are infamous for your
cruelty as an inquisitor and persecutor. How does that
make you feel?
T: (forcifully) It means I did my job right!!! (bang your
fist on the table)
S: During your 15 year term as grand inquisitor, more than
14 thousand Jews and marranos were burned at the stake.
 You accused noblemen, government officials, even
 bishops, that were of Jewish descent of being marranos!
T: Si. Perhaps you will remember the archbishop, Hernando
de Talavera? He used to be a confessor of Queen Isabella.
I accused him of Judaizing [see your booklets, page ]
 because he had Jewish blood in him. I made him walk the
 walk of the converts barefoot and bareheaded through the
 city. He caught fever from it and died in prison five
days later. Served him right.
S: It's come to my knowledge that you built many more
tribunals throughout Spain.
T: Si. The tribunal was the court used by the Inquisition
to put the accused on trial. The members of my supreme
council ran these tribunals. 

S: Yes. There were a total of 15 tribunals in Spain alone!
If you look on your maps on page of your booklets, you'll
see that you couldn't go very far without hitting a
tribunal. They were in almost all of the major cities.
T: I also wanted to give more stability and uniformity to
the tribunals so I created an inquisition constitution
called the "Complacion de las Instrucciones". 

S: Please look at page of your booklets for an exerpt
 discussing the sentences of an inquisition trial.
S: Didn't you set a trap for the marranos?
T: I wouldn't call it a trap. All I did was announce that
any marranos who came forward and confessed voluntarily
 would be granted absolution, or forgiveness, and could
 continue to live in peace after paying a small fine. 

S: You forgot to mention that these people weren't released
until they told you the names of other marranos who hadn't
 come forward and that shortly after they were released,
 they were rearrested and brought to trial.
T: (shrug your shoulders) Hey. All in the name of the
S: Didn't you also write the 37 Articles by which marranos
could be recognized? Would someone please read page in the
T: This helped discover many marranos. Now, if anyone saw a
 neighbor do one of these actions, they'd run straight to
the tribunal to tell us and we'd arrest the marrano and
put him or her on trial.
S: You were a very powerful man. You were second to only
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.
T: This is true.
S: Tomas, I want to thank you for your time. This has been
a most interesting interview! Back to you, Jane!
 Thank you, Shari! This just in - a trial of the
Inquisition is about to take place. We have live coverage
right now. I'll be back later to explain what we've seen.
Shari, are you there?
 Yes, Jane. The tension in the air here is so thick, you
could cut it with a knife. There's Tomas de Torquemada
himself! It looks like he's going to be conducting this
trial(sitting at teacher's desk.) Oh, look! Here comes the
prisoner and a Spanish policeman(walk in the door to the
center of the class ans stand before the desk. Prisoner
walks first). The prisoner looks like a marrano. He's
wearing the traditional sanbenito. The sanbenito is a
yellow, knee-length robe with a black cross on it, known as
the "garment of shame". He looks terrible!
Police: Of course he looks terrible! He's half-dead,
half-starved and he's been tortured for the last three
Shari: It looks like the trial is about to begin.
(T de T rises and walks to front of desk facing the
prisoner who is pushed to his knees by the policeman.
Prisoner hangs his head.)
T de T: You have sinned!!! You are deserving forevermore of
the title, heretic! You agreed to be baptized when you
 converted from Judaism, but even after that sacred act,
you continued to go against the doctrines of the church!
Nor did you openly confess or regret your sins!!! Only
after imprisonment and torture did you finally confess
that you have been practicing Judaism secretly! You have
not yet repented for your sins. I, in the name of our
merciful Lord, will give you one last chance to repent
for your sins so that in your death, your soul may go to
heaven. If you do not repent, your soul will burn forever
in the fires of HELL!!!
Prisoner: (raises head defiantly) I will NOT repent!!
T de T: You know that your sentence is to die by fire. Do
you not?
Prisoner: I do.
T de T: You also know that if you do repent before your
death, you will bestrangled before you are burned.
Prisoner: I do.
T de T: If you do not repent, you will be burned alive. 

Prisoner: I know. 

T de T: Rise now.
(Prisoner rises and looks T de T in the eye)
T de T: I give you a final chance to repent your sins.
Prisoner: I will NOT repent! I would rather die as a Jew,
than live as Christian! No, I will not believe in your
false religion! Not even in my last breaths! The G-d of
Moses is the one true G-d!!!
T de T: (to policeman) Take him away! Nevermore shall we
hear his heresies!!!
(Policeman pulls prisoner out the door. Right when reaching
the door, the prisoner cries out . . .Shema Yisrael, Hashem
Elokainu, Hashem Echad!!! . . . then the door SLAMS behind
 Due to the violent nature of the next scenes, this program
has been censored.
 The procedure of an Inquisition trial is a very detailed
and organized one. After the building of any tribunal, a
period of one month was allowed for any heretics to give
themselves up with the promise of a lighter sentence. After
this grace period, all Chrisians were commanded under the
threat of excommunication to expose any heretics and inform
the tribunal of their identities. Accusations and
denunciations were accepted from anyone, even criminals and
other heretics. 

 The exposed heretics were arrested secretly and thrown
into the Inquisition prisons. The prisons were small, dark,
damp, and often underground. Food was payed for with the
prisoner's own money. There was very little of it and it
was of extremely poor quality. The only drink permitted to
prisoners was water. All complaints, cries, sobs or
whimpers were met with the lashing of a whip. In these
prisons, the torture took place. 

 The purpose of the torture was to get the prisoner to
admit and confess to the sin the inquisitors were accusing
him or her of. After the prisoner confessed, he or she
could then be sent on to trial. After each infliction of
pain, the inquisitors would ask the prisoners if they were
ready to confess. If they did not confess, the torture was
continued. Torture was not restricted by sex or age. There
are records of both 13 year old girls and 76 year old women
being torured. Even pregnant women were not exempt. 

 There were many different types of torture. Since lunch
was a while ago, I think it's okay if I describe some of
them. Many of the types of torture are depicted on page of
the booklet. 

 With foot roasting, the prisoner was tied right in front
of a blazing fire, sitting with his feet out in front of
him. Oil was then poured over his feet and then his feet
were pushed into the fire. If any of you were ever sprayed
with hot oil, you'll realize how painful this is.
 The hoist was a simmple rooe and pulley. The prisoner's
feet were weighted, his hands were tied behind his back and
the other end of the rope was pulled, lifting the prisoner
in the air. 

This often dislocated shoulders and pulled arms out of
 Water torture is not as simple as it sounds. The prisoner
was layed flat on a board and tied to it so that it was
impossible to even move his head. Then, the prisoners' nose
was plugged up so that the only passage of air was through
the mouth. Then, a damp cloth was stuffed in his mouth and
water was continuously dripped in. The prisoner, gasping
for air, would try to breath through the cloth but instead,
would only succeed inpulling it further down his throat,
strangling himself. The Torturers would pull out the cloth,
along with a lot of blood and then start over a gain until
he confessed.
 The rack was a board that the prisoner was layed down on,
His limbs, neck and chest were encircled by rope. Rods were
put beween the rope and the skin and then twisted, forming
a tournequet so tight that it cut through the flesh to the

 There were also other methods of torture: stretching of
limbs, burning with live coals, and squeezing of fingers
and toes until the bones were crushed.
 Punishments for heresy depended on the size of the sin one
was accused of. For a minor sin that the heretic repented
for, the heretic was forced to written a confession in
public and then pay a fine to the royal treasury. He was
also forced to give gifts to government officials and the
nobility. Confiscation of propety was also a common
 The heretics had to wear sanbenitos[see page ] to their
trial. As a punishment, some heretics were forced to wear
this garment of shame for a longer period, sometimes even
for life. After the term of wearing the Sanbenito was up,
it was hung in the heretics local church for all to see for
all generations with the name of the heretic sewn on to it.
This brought shame on all of the descendants of the heretic
and prevented them from ever holding a high position in the
church or government.
 For more serious crimes, there was life imprisonment or a
term as a galley slave in the royal fleet.For the most
serious crimes, the punishment was burning at the stake.
The church did not want to be involved in death so all
deathsentences were carried out by the secular powers and
NOT the church. The church justifies burning heretics from
the following passage that was said by Jesus. Please go to
page 7 in the booklet. Would someone read?
 If you repented for your sin and believed in the Christian
doctrines, the secular powers would strangle you right
before throwing you into the fire, making death less
painful. However, if you didn't repent and continued your
beliefs, you were burned alive at the stake. Burning at the
stake is the only sentence where the heretic didn't repent.
 Many times, a heretic would be discovered after he died
already. In these cases, the inquisitors would dig up the
bones of the deceased and burn them along with the other
 The auto-de-fe was the act of faith. This was the trial of
many heretics at one time. Sometimes they were made into
public celebrations.
 The heretics would be led through the streets in their
sanbenitos, carrying the torches to be used to burn many of
them at the stake, while being cursed and spit at by the
crowds. The auto-de-fe was held in the main square of the
city. When the heretics on trial got there, they were
displayed infront of the crowds for all to see. There they
were interrogated by the inquisitors about the nature of
their sins, if they confessed, and if they wish to repent. 

 At these auto-de-fes, the sentences were announced and
carried out. The extreme heretics were immediately burned
at the stake. The other sinners who repented, were forced
to kneel befire the inquisitor who retold them the
doctrines of the Catholic church. While they knelt, they
had to answer "Yes, I believe" while other clergymen hit
the sinners on their shoulders with sticks. After these
ceremonies, there were great parties, mucis, food, and

 The Inquisition came to many places. The Phillipines,
Guatemala, Peru, Mexico. But it never existed in Brazil. 

 The Inquisition was introduced to the Spanish colonies in
the New World in 1569. Tribunals were set up in Mexico city
and Lima. The King and Queen of Spain and the Pope tried to
keep Moors and Jews out of the Spanish colonies by making
everyone one who came there prove that they were Christian
for the past 4 generations. 

 The Inquisition was used against the Jews and marranos
in the New World who had come there after the epulsion from
Spain. In total, there were 129 auto-de-fes and
from1581-1776, 77 people were burned at the stake.
 The Indians were not originally persecuted because they
were condidered to be incapable of rational judgement and
therefore, could not be punished for following the 'wrong'
 The epulsion from Spain marks the definate end of the
Golden Age in Spain. Ferdinand and Isabella issued an edict
of expulsion [see page in booklet] stating that they had
already moved the Jews to a separate area and introduced an
inquisition, but it was not enough. Now they were going to
expel the unconverted Jews and the marranos. The Jews had
from March 30, 1492 until July, to get out of Spain and
never return. 

 They were permitted to take with them all the goods they
wantd, but they couldn't take any gold, silver, or money
out of the country.More than 200 thousand people were

 Don Isaac Abravanel was one of the most famous Jews to be
effected by the anti-Semitism on the Iberian peninsula. He
was raised in Portugal by wealthy and prominent parents.
His entire family, including himself, held important
positions in the Portuguese government. He was the
secretary of the treasury of King Alfonso. 

 When Alfonso's son took over, he accused Abravanel of
conspiring against him. Abravanel had to flee to Spain in
1483. King Ferdinand recognized his abilities and made him
secretary of the treasury of Spain. 

 In 1492, Abravanel had to move again because of the
expulsion from Spain. He finally settled in Venice, Italy
and lived there until his death in 1503. The reason why he
is so important is because he wrote an autobiography. His
story gives us perspective from a Jew's eyes of the
terrible persecution and anti-Semitism of that time.
 After the expulsion, 120 thousand Jews went to Portugal.
After 6 months there, the king made all of the Jews slaves.
 Some Jews went to Muslim countries, but the Muslims
wouldn't let the Jews into their cities so many of them
returned to Spain and converted. 

 Eventually, some ships from Genoa came to Spain to take
away the Jews, but the crews were terrible to the Jews and
sold them to pirates. 

 Many Jews went to Naples where they were welcomed by the
marranos and given money and food by the government. 
 After the Jews left, Spain's economic system collapsed.
Without the Jews contributing to society, Spain began its
journey downhill. This was Isabella's mistake. She though
that by persecuting and getting rid of the Jews that she
was helping her country spiritually. Little did she know
however, that at the same time she was hurting her country
economically and socially.
 Today, there is an annual conference of the New Mexico
Historical Society commemorating the expulsion of the Jews
from Spain. At this conference, they trace their
geneologies and discover many previously unknown relatives.
New mexico is where a large portion of the marranos settled
after the expulsion. Many of them still practice Jewish
customs secretly. One woman still holds Shabbos services in
a "secret synagogue" which is a cellar. She won't tell
anyone where it is located and she won't talk about Judaism
to outsiders.

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