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Happy Christmas Day Interesting Facts About The Spanish Inquisition
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The Spanish Inquisition was considered a dark chapter in human history, replete with stories of tyranny and death. In this Buzzle article, we take a look at some of the more interesting facts about the Spanish Inquisition.
If you know anything about history, then the words Spanish inquisition are sure to send chills down your spine. The tales of monstrous tyranny imposed by the sinister Church and state officials, in an effort to wipe out heresy, are both startling and appalling. The stories of the fearful, macabre horrors of the dungeons during the Inquisition have been captured by the powerful prose of Edgar Poe's short story, The Pit and the Pendulum.
All About Inquisitions
Inquisitions were not something new in European history. These Roman Catholic tribunals were established for the discovery and punishment of heresy. These tribunals were marked by the severity of questioning, lack of rights of the accused, and rigorous punishment. While most people associate inquisitions with Spain, these tribunal courts were actually officially started by Pope Gregory IX.
In 1231, Pope Gregory IX issued a decree, that set up a system of tribunal courts that would try heretics and punish them. The decree offered life imprisonment with salutary penance for a heretic who confessed and repented, and capital punishment for those who persisted. The Medieval inquisition, as it was known, later sought to eliminate the Cathars and the Waldensians in southern France.
Apart from the gory tales of torture and execution, what was the Spanish Inquisition all about? Why did it gain so much prominence, and how was it different from other Inquisitions? Here are some interesting facts about the Spanish Inquisition, that may help answer these questions.
How it Began
The Spanish Inquisition, also known as the Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición, was officially established by a papal bull, Exigit Sincere Devotionis. It was issued by Pope Sixtus IV on November 1, 1478.
The inquisition was requested by the sovereigns of Spain, Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand V of Aragon, who were married in 1469 in order to consolidate their kingdoms and form a power base in Spain.
Unlike inquisitions in other regions of Europe in the past―notably in France and Italy, where the Church remained the ultimate authority over the prosecution of heretics―the monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella held civil authority over the Spanish Inquisition.
The Spanish Inquisition was not just limited to Spain, but also spread to Spanish-controlled colonies in the New World, including Mexico.
Tomás de Torquemada, a Spanish Dominican monk, was appointed to the position of Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition. A strict advocate of Church orthodoxy, his religious fervor and obsessive quest to root out heresy in Spain earned him the title of 'The Hammer of Heretics'.
The Catholic sovereigns of Spain wanted a united country, and they believed this could happen only when everyone embraced Catholicism. Heretics were considered traitors to God and King, and therefore deserved death.
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