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The Spanish Inquisition (Warfare)

After the Spanish Reconquista, many different religions lived mostly harmoniously in the Iberian Peninsula. However, many religious conflicts and threats to the crown began to alarm king Ferdinand II of Aragon who pressured Pope Sixtus IV to take action against the infidels, in the form of an inquisition.

With the threat of Ferdinand's army being close to Rome and the possibility of his army's withdrawal, Sixtus agreed to send inquisitors to Spain with the sole purpose to spread Christianity and punish the unbelievers. In the late XV century, several inquisitors, accompanied with a strong guard, began to visit the diverse Spanish settlements.

They all had a basic procedure that started with "El Edicto de Gracia" or the Edict of Grace. After Sunday's mass, the inhabitants were asked to denounce a blasphemer. This method proved to be inefficient as false information, for the sake of killing one's enemy, was very common. Unfortunately, inquisitors used the Edict of Grace for the following 350 years.

Once someone was denounced, he was incarcerated until his case was reviewed by the calificadores (a type of jury). The time of incarceration varied from a few days to two years. The victim was never notified of the charges against him while being in prison causing much confusion to the victim. Many died ignorant of their crime. Once the trial began, a defense council was appointed to the defender who was mostly advise to either provide witnesses to support his innocence or prove the unreliability of his accuser. In order to pressure the victim, torture was applied, but not frequently. In fact, less than 2% of the victims were ever tortured. Once the process concluded, the inquisitors met with the bishop representatives and the consultores, who were biblical experts.

The sentencing depended widely on the crime. It was very uncommon for someone to be burned at the stake, but a mild form of punishment such as flagellation was common. When the crime was against God, the victim's lands or possessions were confiscated and given to the church. In this way, the church grew immensely rich in a short period of time.

The arrival of the Enlightenment slowed the Spanish Inquisition. However, it wasn't until Napoleonic times and his invasion to Spain that the Inquisiton finally ended in the year 1810, though it wasn't officially abolished until 1836.

In total it's estimated that between 800 and 20,000 people were killed because of the Inquisition. Many more were tortured and others had their possessions confiscated. In short, the Inquisition was not a period one would like to live in.

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