The Spanish Inquisition
The Spanish Inquisition...
The Spanish Inquisition
The Spanish Inquisition took place
between 1478 and 1834 in Spain. The inquisition was supposed to consolidate
power in the monarchy however this was achieved through brutal means. The Spanish
Inquisition was started by Ferdinand II a Catholic Monarch. The inquisition’s
primary purpose was to replace the medieval inquisitions and also maintain
Catholic conformity within the kingdom. It was also meant to identify heretics
among the population who converted from Islam and Judaism to Catholicism("The
Spanish Inquisition - History Of Spain - Don Quijote").
Methods used to enforce Inquisition
As mentioned earlier, the Spanish
Inquisition was achieved through brutal means which included torture. Torture
was used to get a confession and not punish the accused. Some of the torture
used was starvation where the individuals were denied food until they
confessed. The other means of torture was through forcing the accused to drink
and hold a vast amount of fluids including water. Some were tortured through
the use of burning coals on their bodies. The methods, however, did not always
The other means of torture was
Strappado. It is a form of torture that began in the Medieval Inquisition where
the hands of the accused were tied behind their back with a rope that would be
attached to a pulley or looped to the ceiling. The individual would them be
raised such that he would be hanging on his hands. The hanging would force the
shoulders out of their sockets. The torture would also add a series of jerking
the individual up and down and adding some weights on the ankles which would
magnify the pain(Freeman).
Other than Strappado, the rack was
another known torture method. An individual would be tired both hands and legs
to rollers at both ends of the frame. The handle then would be rolled with a
handle which in turn would increase the stretch, and if more rolling continued,
the individual being tortured would be dislocated and torn at the joints. An individual
watching this process would confess even before being touched(Freeman).
The Inquisitors extracted confessions
because they had a belief that it was their duty to do so. If an individual
finally confessed truthfully, they would be forgiven, but he would be forced to
perform penances like wearing multiple and heavy crosses and also pilgrimages.
In case the individual refused to confess he would be imprisoned for life. If
an individual confessed then retracted their confession and return to the heretical
ways, they were to be abandoned to the secular arm where anyone could execute
Consequences of the inquisition
The inquisition had several
implications and most of which were negative. One of the effects was a 0.11%
lower annual population growth. The average yearly population is 0.3%, but
during the 300 years’ period, the population growth decreased(Vidal-Robert
The other consequence was the hindrance
to the economic growth. The Inquisition played a considerable role in censorship
which curbed scientific inquiries. As a result, the literary creativity
dampened. One of a few notable individuals who faced the consequences after
going against the censorship and inquisitiveness was Galileo Galilei. Galileo
was summoned by the Roman Inquisition in 1632 to answer for the Copernican
system which had been deemed by the church as heretical. As punishment, he was
placed under house arrest and to never speak about the issue again(Madden).
Another consequence of the Inquisition
was one faith-based nation. The whole process aimed to unite the individuals to
practice Roman Catholic, and if they did not do so, they were ejected out of
the society through various means. As a result, pure Roman Catholicism was
achieved and support from the pope. The inquisition also ensured that the
education in Spain was controlled and that no Spaniard was allowed to study
abroad. The result of this was a poor understanding between the Spaniards and
foreigners. The inadequate knowledge could be attributed to a difference in
mindset, culture, and lack of interaction(Madden).
Finally, the Spaniards feared being
falsely accused of heresy. Therefore, any change that took place in the country
took a very long time to adapt. The fear also explains the reasons as to why,
even in the present day, Spaniards may be the first to see a change on the way,
but they are usually the last one to adapt to this change(Vidal-Robert
Comparison with a recent event in
The Spanish Inquisition could be put
into contrast with the Islamic State (IS) which started to gain recognition in
2014. The Spanish Inquisition involved brutal torture on the accused who were
forced to act by the system or get faced out. The same is seen with the IS
where they are a religious based organization, looking to form spread their
Islamic ideologies, and if one does not conform to them, they are tortured. The
two also share a common characteristic where they used complex systems to
administer and to rely more on bureaucrats(Anthony). They are intolerant to
heretics and instead advocate for the oppression of the alternative religions.
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