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1478 November 1, POPE SIXTUS IV (Spain)

At the request of King Ferdinand V ( aka Ferdinand II of Aragon) and Queen Isabella, he issued a Bull Exigit sinceræ devotioni s empowering them to establish to investigate charges of heresy known as the Spanish Inquisition. Unlike the papal inquisition of 1230, this one was totally under royal authority. This tribunal was established ostensibly to root out "backsliding” Jews who had converted, sometimes under duress, to Christianity. Often these Jews - known as New Christians or conversos - succeeded in obtaining high social and political positions which aroused the jealousy on the part of “old Christians”. Thus, although officially religious in nature, the inquisition was a political tool. Specific signs such as no fires on the Sabbath, no eating of pork, washing hands before eating, turning the face towards the wall when dying, etc., were given to root out those who may have continued to secretly practice Judaism. The Spanish inquisition- which spread to all Spanish and later Portuguese (1536) colonies and possessions - was finally disbanded on July 15, 1834. It is estimated that over 300,000 people were tried (not all for Judaizing) and 30,000 executed.




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