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Why Did the Spanish Inquisition Allow Some Witches to Stay Alive?


The Spanish Inquisition has a reputation for having been very bloody and cruel. However, in some regions of Spain their actions were barely visible and were focused on heretics but not witches. Most of the people accused of witchcraft were actually sent back home and lived as if the Inquisition didn’t exist.

The horror of the trials started in 1478, when King Ferdinand V (1452 – 1516) and his wife, Queen Isabela I (1451 – 1504) requested papal permission to establish the Spanish Inquisition. Although practices like this were known of in 13th century, it was always focused on issues other than witchcraft. 5,000 men and women were accused of witchcraft, but less than 1 percent were sentenced to death.

The Worst Side of the Spanish Holy Inquisition

The cruelest of the Royal Inquisitors was Tomas de Torquemada, who lived between 1420 and 1498. He created a model of the Inquisition concerned with converting people to Christianity and punishing people who didn’t want to follow that path. Most of the victims of their activity were Muslims and Jews. All of the trials, tortures, and hearings were officially arranged to protect the Christian faith.

With time, the grand inquisitor Torquemada became synonymous with the cruelest acts performed in Spain due to the fight for his faith. He tortured and burned thousands of people, but currently he’s one of the legendary people of the Catholic Church and he appears on the altars of many important churches. However, it should be noted that most of the priests who worked for the Holy Inquisition never followed his practices.

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