The Spanish Inquisition Essay

2859 words - 11 pages

Political power acts as a foundation for society through persuasion. This influential ability controls the thoughts and actions of society as a whole, and who is in control heavily determines how successful their influences will be. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were the political rulers of Spain during the late 15th century, and remained in control up until the early 16th century. They craved unity for their country, and would do anything they could to achieve their desired conformity. Spain was to be united under one flag, one form of ruler, and one religion; those who did not oblige, became targets. For more than three hundred years, the Spanish Inquisition hovered over Spain, inciting fear and inflicting brutality upon those accused of heresy. A heretic was viewed as a contagious, rotted soul, lacking spiritual integrity. Their unholy actions spread like a disease; infecting anyone else in its path. Jews, Muslims, and Protestants, specifically Lutherans, each had their turn being victimized by the Spanish Inquisition. That being said, the King and Queen devote majority of the Inquisition’s years and efforts towards abolishing those of the Jewish and Islamic faiths. The goal was to rid Spain of these trivial beings, and society was influenced to believe that this would help political leaders achieve unity within the country. The Spanish Inquisition was purely driven by political desires, using religion as it’s gateway towards a unified country of power and prosperity.
Before the Spanish Inquisition was established, Spain was occupied by a dominant Christian society, but certain areas also consisted of Jewish and Muslim societies. The lack of religious agreement upon the country sparked anti-Semitic attitudes, and created mass conflict. The Christian’s shunned Jewish societies specifically because of ancient crimes regarding the crucifixion of Christ. They claimed that those of the Jewish faith were responsible for Jesus’ death, and therefore they were unable to be trusted. The expansion of Jewish communities infuriated the Christian society, pushing them towards their breaking point. In 1391, anti-Semitic violence broke out in Castile, and spread across many other areas in Spain such as Barcelona, Saragossa, and Valencia. Mobs entered the Jewish communities to burn synagogues, invade homes, rape the women, and kill the dominant Jewish rulers that were recognized. The Jews of Spain were given an ultimatum; evacuate, or convert to Christianity. Nearly half of them agreed to convert their faith, and they were baptized in order to show their true commitment to the Church. Those who converted were referred to as Conversos or “New Christians”. This ultimatum that those of the Jewish faith were given satisfied Christian societies, but it soon became apparent that the Conversos were not acting accordingly in respect to the Christian belief system. Although they attended church and participated in Christian traditions, behind...

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