Spanish Inquisition  

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The Spanish Inquisition was a tribunal established in 1478 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the medieval inquisition which was under papal control. The Inquisition worked in large part to ensure the orthodoxy of recent converts, especially Jews, Muslims and others. Various motives have been proposed for the monarchs' decision to found the Inquisition, such as increasing political authority, weakening opposition, suppressing conversos, and profiting from confiscation of the property of convicted heretics.

The new body was under the direct control of the Spanish monarchy. It was not definitively abolished until 1833, during the reign of Isabella II.

The Inquisition, as an ecclesiastical tribunal, had jurisdiction only over baptized Christians. However, punishments were carried out by civil authorities.


Censorship by the Spanish Inquisition

As one manifestation of the Counter-Reformation, the Spanish Inquisition worked actively to impede the diffusion of heretical ideas in Spain by producing "Indexes" of prohibited books. Such lists of prohibited books were common in Europe a decade before the Inquisition published its first. The first Index published in Spain in 1551 was, in reality, a reprinting of the Index published by the University of Louvain in 1550, with an appendix dedicated to Spanish texts. Subsequent Indexes were published in 1559, 1583, 1612, 1632, and 1640. The Indexes included an enormous number of books of all types, though special attention was dedicated to religious works, and, particularly, vernacular translations of the bible.

See also

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