• Wed. Mar 29th, 2023

The Spanish Inquisition: The Truth Behind the Black Legend (Part II)


Feb 11, 2023

Some of the controversial organizations in historical past, the Spanish Inquisition has been poorly understood by most of the people. This era of spiritual persecution, which passed off between 1478 and 1834, has traditionally been shrouded in delusion and misconceptions. For regardless of common perception, this group was neither medieval nor completely Spanish in nature.

Learn The Spanish Inquisition: The Truth Behind the Black Legend (Part I) .

Embarking of the Moriscos at Valencia, by Pere Oromig. ( Public domain )

The Therapy of the Moors In the course of the Spanish Inquisition

The Spanish Inquisition was a darkish chapter in historical past that noticed the persecution not solely of Jewish converts, but in addition of the  Moriscos, a time period used for baptized Moors. These Moorish converts from Islam had been concentrated primarily within the kingdoms of Granada, Valencia and Aragon, and had been suspected of secretly sustaining their outdated religion, regardless of having accepted baptism.

Nevertheless, the coverage in opposition to the Moorish group was totally different than that enacted in opposition to the Jews. The Moors, who made up a big portion of the the Aristocracy in each Valencia and Aragon, posed a formidable problem to the Spanish Inquisition as pursuing them would have meant going in opposition to the financial pursuits of the ruling lessons. In the meantime, in Granada, the Spanish Inquisition was cautious of sparking a revolt at a time when the Turks dominated the Mediterranean.

Tensions reached a boiling level in the course of the reign of Philip II within the mid-Sixteenth century, inflicting the beforehand peaceable Christianization of the Moors to show violent with the brutal suppression of the Alpujarras revolt. Executions and deportations of Moors skyrocketed, with Moors changing into the first goal of persecution in the course of the Spanish Inquisition, as documented by famend historian Henry Kamen.

“From the 1570s, in Aragon and Valencia the Moors shaped the majority of the persecutions of the Inquisition,” defined Kamen. “Within the court docket of Granada itself, the  Moors represented 82% of the accused between 1560 and 1571.”

The expulsion of the Moors by Gabriel Puig Roda. (Joanbanjo / CC BY-SA 3.0)

The expulsion of the Moors by Gabriel Puig Roda.  (Joanbanjo /  CC BY-SA 3.0 )

The Expulsion of the Moors from Spain

On April 9, 1609, Philip III issued a decisive decree expelling all  Moriscos that despatched shockwaves all through the dominion. This daring resolution was executed in phases between 1609 to 1613, beginning with the Moors within the Kingdom of Valencia, earlier than spreading to Andalusia, Extremadura, Castile, Aragon and  Murcia. All in all, about 300,000  Moors had been pressured to go away their houses, with Valencia and Aragon shedding a 3rd and a sixth of their populations, respectively.

The explanations behind this historic resolution had been quite a few and complicated, however the root trigger was clear. Regardless of over 50 years of pressured conversions to Christianity, the Moorish group nonetheless refused to combine with the remainder of the inhabitants. The Alpujarras revolt solely fueled suspicions, and due to a recession attributable to a drop in assets coming from the Americas, the Christian inhabitants grew resentful of the rich  Moors.

Fictitious image of a supposed inquisitorial torture chamber during the Spanish Inquisition. The 18th century engravings of Bernard Picart were part of the black legend created around stories about the Spanish Inquisition. (Public domain)

Fictitious picture of a supposed inquisitorial torture chamber in the course of the Spanish Inquisition. The 18th century engravings of Bernard Picart had been a part of the black legend created round tales in regards to the Spanish Inquisition.  (Public domain )

The Unfold of the Black Legend of the Spanish Inquisition

Within the late Sixteenth century, Spanish political exiles akin to Gonzalez Montano and the notorious Antonio Perez, former secretary of Philip II, fueled the flames of the Black Legend. The European media lapped up the sensational anti-Spanish propaganda. Spanish scholar Henry Kamen has attributed the unfold of this slander to Spain’s bitter maritime rivalry with Britain and France, and the will of Netherlands and northern Italy to finish Spanish political dominance.

Within the 18th century, the haunting engravings of French artist Bernard Picart depicted inquisitorial  torture and triggered outrage all through Europe, although they solely confirmed a fraction of the fear happening on the Iberian Peninsula.

The torture strategies utilized by the Spanish Inquisition had been past brutal, designed to inflict intense bodily ache on the accused with a purpose to extract confessions. Though the confession spared the accused from capital punishment within the case of heresy, the Inquisition stays a darkish chapter in Spanish historical past.

Torture and Punishment In the course of the Spanish Inquisition

The Spanish Inquisition was infamous for its brutal strategies of torture, which included the pulley, the fabric and the rack. The pulley was a torture methodology whereby accused victims had been hung from the ceiling by their wrists and weighed down by weights on their ankles. This is able to trigger intense ache, and even dislocation, as they had been all of the sudden raised and dropped.

Also referred to as  water torture , the fabric concerned tying the sufferer to an inclined ladder with their head decrease than their ft and forcing them to swallow water poured from a jug. This offered the impression of drowning. This might be repeated with as much as eight buckets of water. In the meantime, the rack was a brutal methodology of torture, whereby the sufferer’s wrists and ankles had been sure and twisted tighter and tighter utilizing a lever.

In precise truth, the Spanish Inquisition used torture much less typically than different up to date European courts. Spanish students, akin to Henry Charles Lea and Henry Kamen, have used clear statistical knowledge to verify that torture was solely utilized in 1% or 2% of instances in the course of the hardest occasions of the Spanish Inquisition up till 1530 and solely within the busiest courts.

The Enlightenment of the 18th century perpetuated the Spanish “Black Legend,” with Juan Antonio Llorente, a former secretary of the Holy Workplace in Madrid, changing into one among its most distinguished disseminators. Together with his work, “Essential Historical past of the Spanish Inquisition,” Llorente make clear some vital components, albeit alongside statistical inaccuracies.

The notorious Black Legend of the Inquisition has lengthy been related to situations of torture and abuse, in addition to the court docket’s enrichment via the confiscation of these accused. Whereas it is true that belongings had been seized to cowl the bills of arrest and trial, students Ramón Carande and Fernand Braudel asserted that the Holy Workplace by no means operated as a enterprise. They’ve acknowledged situations of abuse in opposition to Jewish converts between 1480 and 1725.

Portrait by Antonio Ponz of former secretary of Philip II, Antonio Perez, who helped spread the Black Legend about the Spanish Inquisition in England and France. (Public domain)

Portrait by Antonio Ponz of former secretary of Philip II, Antonio Perez, who helped unfold the Black Legend in regards to the Spanish Inquisition in England and France. ( Public domain )

Reality and Fiction Inside Spanish Inquisition Statistics

The Spanish Inquisition is shrouded in misconceptions in regards to the variety of fatalities it triggered. Nevertheless, it is vital to notice that execution for heresy was not the one type of punishment in the course of the Inquisition. Imprisonment, fines and different penalties had been additionally frequent, to not point out the long-lasting stigma confronted by the households of the accused. This is the reason the idea of “purity of blood,” or not having Jewish or Moorish heritage, was so extremely valued in Spain in the course of the seventeenth century.

The primary statistics in relation to the victims of the Spanish Inquisition got here from Pulgar, Palencia and Bernáldez, who claimed that between 1481 and 1488 there have been about 2,000 individuals executed in Andalusia – largely Jews baptized who renounced their new religion. These figures have since been refuted. Later within the nineteenth century, J. A. Llorente’s assertion that 9.2% of these accused of  witchcraft had been executed in the course of the Spanish Inquisition was additionally confirmed false.

“The Inquisition Tribunal” of the Spanish Inquisition as depicted by Francisco de Goya. (Public domain)

“The Inquisition Tribunal” of the Spanish Inquisition as depicted by Francisco de Goya. ( Public domain )

In 1986, specialists Contreras and Henningsen printed the outcomes of a examine on 50,000 inquisitorial instances from 1540 to 1700 – a time of serious affect for the  Spanish Inquisition . They concluded that just one.9% of defendants had been sentenced to dying by the stake. In the meantime, Escandell claimed that from 1478 to 1834 (the re-founding and eventual abolition of the Inquisition), just one.2% of the accused had been sentenced to dying by the courts.

Whereas many historians agree that the  Spanish Inquisition  was one of many darkest intervals in Spanish historical past, lasting from the late fifteenth century to the early nineteenth century, it is also vital to notice that the strategies used weren’t uniquely merciless or illiberal for his or her period.

They had been, in truth, akin to these utilized by courts in different European international locations akin to Germany, Italy, Portugal, England or France. Neither was the Inquisition can’t be blamed for Spain’s perceived “cultural backwardness” in the course of the Sixteenth to seventeenth centuries. Certainly, many students have truly known as this era the Golden Age of Spanish tradition.

High picture: Martyr of Fanaticism by José de Brito depicts a younger lady being tortured in the course of the Spanish Inquisition. Supply:  Public domain

This text was first printed in Spanish at  Ancient Origins en Español  and has been translated with permission.

By Mariló TA

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