The Spanish Inquisition

Simon Lemieux examines the hard facts about the Inquisition and counters the common caricature.

The Spanish Inquisition is commonly associated with torture, cruelty and oppression; and it is often seen as a forerunner of the secret police of modern dictatorships. Yet how accurate is this picture of an institution set up in the late 15th century to root out heresy and unbelief in that land? This article aims to place the Spanish Inquisition in its correct historical context. To do this, there follows firstly an outline of its main aims, methods of operation and historical development, secondly an overview of the historiography of the institution, and finally an examination of the ways in which one can view the Inquisition.

Origins and Aims

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