The Spanish Inquisition was initiated in 1478, was very active about 50 years, slowed, then slowed significantly with Enlightenment in Spain, and was finally abolished in 1834. Prior to the Spanish Inquisition, Jews had been ordered to convert to Catholicism or leave. Some estimate that about 40,000 Jews emigrated and 40,000 converted. The original impetus for the Spanish Inquisition was to identify and punish Jews who were not sincere in their conversion. It soon encompassed Muslims and eventually Protestants, homosexuals, and witches.
Investigation could include torture to acquire a confession. Punishment could include fines, public penance, or execution (burned alive if impenitent). One estimate is that the death penalty was imposed on 40% of early cases and only 3% of later cases. Some estimate 3,000 to 5,000 executions in all with 2,000 in the first 50 years.
The Spanish Inquisition had precedents in earlier Inquisitions.
What was this, the Spanish Inquisition?
Judy Blume -- In the Unlikely Event
The word conjured up images of the Spanish Inquisition, of torture, the whip and the rack.
Cassandra Clare -- City of Ashes
It was the Spanish Inquisition, here-comes-the-Hindenburg bad kind of history.
Eoin Colfer -- Artemis Fowl
"Imbuing violence with holy meaning," wrote the historian Iris Chang, "the Japanese imperial army made violence a cultural imperative every bit as powerful as that which propelled Europeans during the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition."
Laura Hillenbrand -- Unbroken
It was like a page torn from some storybook, from some historical novel about the captivity of Babylon or the Spanish Inquisition.
Elie Wiesel -- Night
…he struggles and gets nothing but a boot in his face, to see the mediocrity snatch from him, one after another, the chances he’d give his life for, to see the mediocrity worshipped, to miss the place he wants and to see the mediocrity enshrined upon it, to lose, to be sacrificed, to be ignored, to be beaten, beaten, beaten—not by a greater genius, not by a god, but by a Peter Keating—well, my little amateur, do you think the Spanish Inquisition ever thought of a torture to equal this?
Ayn Rand -- The Fountainhead
I hope you’re getting the Spanish Inquisition out of your system now.
Stephenie Meyer -- Twilight
Cold Sassy is the kind of town where schoolteachers spend two months every fall drilling on Greek and Roman gods, the kings and queens of England, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, Marco Polo, Magellan, Columbus, the first Thanksgiving, Oglethorpe settling Georgia, and how happy the slaves were before the War.
Olive Ann Burns -- Cold Sassy Tree
Yeah, devoted-like the Spanish Inquisition.
W. William Winokur -- The Perfect Game
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Not when compared to the riots of the Urban Wars, the torture chambers of the Spanish Inquisition, a test ride on the XR-85 moon jet.