The Spanish Inquisition was the longest and most ruthless inquiry of faith of
all time. Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and all non-Catholic religions were
besieged by persecution from the Spanish government. Although it was not
intended, thousands of innocent Spaniards were tortured and killed once the king
and queen of Spain established the Inquisition.
An Inquisition is a very complex process, and at first, seemed innocuous.
Inquisitions were designated to be a series of tribunals (courts) held to push non-
Catholics to repent and turn to Catholicism. Catholic leaders regarded their faith
as a superior religion, and desired for everyone to become Catholic and establish
one homogeneous belief (Bachrach 10). The holy office, which is also known as the
Papacy, was the highest authority over Catholic countries. In order for an
Inquisition to be issued the Holy Office, or the Pope, must grant permission
(Bachrach 12). The Papacy instituted Inquisition in certain countries to counter any
threat against Catholicism. An Inquisition was initially intended to prevent civil
disruption, social corruption, and bloodshed (Bachrach 12). This, however, was not
the case. The Church began to empower government officials called Inquisitors to
essentially hunt down “unbelievers” and quietly question them about their faith
(Bachrach 12). Nearly all of the questioned citizens would refuse to co-operate.
This infuriated the Inquisitors and the Holy Office, and harsh punishments
gradually increased. These despicable Inquisitions originally began circa 1200 A.D.
and different Inquisitions continued until nearly 1850 A.D. (Bachrach 13). The
Spanish Inquisition, the cruelest of all, seemed an innocent way to convert Jews
and other minority groups at first, but it took a drastic turn to violence.
Why and how did the Spanish Inquisition commence? King Ferdinand and
Queen Isabella were the rulers of Spain at the start of the Inquisition (Coffin 82).
Isabella was a devout Catholic. When she went to confession, her confessor,
Thomas de Torquemada would frequently condemn other religions. One morning,
while Queen Isabella was at her confession, de Torquemada pleaded for her to
exterminate all heresy from her kingdom (Coffin 83). She willingly consented. King
Ferdinand, and other prominent political leaders, were hesitant at...