The Spanish Inquisition Essay Research Paper The

The Spanish Inquisition Essay, Research Paper

The Spanish Inquisition officially started in the mid- to

late- fourteen hundreds. The Spanish Inquisition was a country wide

persecution of Jews for which there are several different reasons as

to why it began. The actual reason, or reasons, that motivated the

King and Queen are not known at this time, and may never be known for


Depending on whom you ask, there are different reasons of that

vary in importance for the start of the Spanish Inquisition. Most

historians seem to stress three important reasons which are: Politics,

Economics, and Religion. My own opinion as to which of these reasons

is correct is that it was a combination of Religious and Economic

reasons. This thought will be expanded on at a later time.

Religion was one of the most predominant reasons given for the

start of the Spanish Inquisition. The Jews and Christians already

hated each other prior to the start of the Inquisition :

?It is inevitable that there has been disagreement between

Jews and Christians: The Christians hating the Jews on account of the

Crucifixion; the Jews contemptuous of a sect which had taken their

Religion and grafted a new one on it.?

The Christians were angry because the Jews crucified Christ. The Jews

were angry because the Christians took their religion, changed some

ideas and principles, and called the outcome Christianity. The Jews

and Christians were never friendly after the Crucifixion of Jesus

Christ, and this was just the climax of their hate for each other.

However, the Christians were the ones that were in the position to get

revenge, and they did, by persecuting the Jews to a murderous extent,

and calling it the Inquisition.

Those who did the persecuting and the killing of the Jews were

called Inquisitors. These people did not mind doing the killing or

torturing. Some thought that the Jews were causing sicknesses and the

Black Plague. Others thought that what they were doing was God?s


?It has been said that the zealots of the Inquisition, even in

their greatest cruelty, believed themselves to be justified in what

they did. We are asked to accept as a fact that they were deeply

religious men who honestly and sincerely believed that they were

serving God in what they did. We are told that they believed Jews were

destined for damnation, and that it was their duty to save them from

that no matter what pain they inflicted on the bodies of the Jews here

on Earth.?

The Inquisitors believed that they were saving the Jews for a hideous

fate in the Underworld. They believed that since the Jews were dying

at the hands of one of God?s children who was a follower of God, that

they would get the Wisdom and knowledge of this person, and therefore

go to heaven. Although now, this may incomprehensible, at the time of

the Inquisition, the Inquisitors were not educated in any manner other

than a religious one, and had become highly religious individuals.

This added up to what we would now call blind faith. This means

believing in something for no reason other than religious custom or


The Government and its religious officials wanted to maintain

Limpeza de Sangre or Purity of Blood. They wanted to have a pure and

unified Spanish-Christian race and community, and in order to do so,

they founit necessary to prevent any more intermarriage between

Christians and conversos or Jews that would destroy the possibility of

Limpieza de Sangre. They saw that the only way of ahieving this goal

through the Inquisition. They would kill or drive out all of the Jews

from Spain, and therefore achieve Limpieza de Sangre, or so they

thought. The killed many Jews, but after the three-hundred and fifty

year period of the Inquisitionwas over, many thousands of practicing

Jews were still living in Spain.

Aside from religious reasons, there were also some very strong

political reasons for the Spanish Inquisition. The main political

reason for the Spanish Inquisition was that there was a threat to the

monarchy. The Christians of Spain, who at the time were the majority,

were outraged at the Jews for many reasons, some which refer back to

the religious reasons. The Monarchs of Spain, King Ferdinand and

Queen Isabella, began to realize that if the tension of the citizens

increased a little more, riots and mass killing would break out,

possibly leading to a religious civil war. The method they used to

control the citizens was the Spanish Inquisition. Using the

Inquisition, they were able to soothe and calm the majority of the

Spanish citizens. At the same time, they believed they were removing

the source of the problem. The King, Queen, and the rest of the rest

of the entire government was able to secure their positions in the


The officials were also able to use the Inquisition as a way

to fulfill their personal desires: ?It is to solve their problems and

theirs alone that the Spanish Inquisition was started.? There were

many officials who wanted governmental position that were held by

Jews. After many futile attempts to get these Jews thrown out of

office, the officials had to devise a plan to get the Jews out of

office. The method that they devised was to introduce the Inquisition

to Spain. The officials started to spread rumors that the Jews were

the cause of all misfortunes including any bad weather, crop, or any

other mishap. This was a brilliant plan, since the first Jews that

the public wanted to be killed were the popular and high ranking

officials. This immediately opened up the positions that the

officials desired.

The Government officials were also fearful of these powerful

Jews. Many Jews had risen up in the political rankings through the

years, and this caused other s to fear the potential power of the

Jews. They were assuming that if the Jews became too powerful, that

they would be a threat to Spain, either by threatening the Monarchy as

previously mentioned , or by revolting against the Christian

officials and try and take over or overthrow the government, or even

by starting a religious Holy War with the Christians. The officials

needed to stop this uprising of the Jews. They knew that just rallying

the people for their cause would not be enough, something more

powerful was needed. Their solution is what is now known as the


Another principle reason for the start of the Inquisition was

economics and money. When the idea of the Inquisition was becoming

more widely known of, Spain was not in a very prosperous time. Spain

had used a lot of money and resources during the reconquest of

Granada, and the wars in Spain and Italy. The government began to

realize that they were low on money, and that they needed to replenish

their financial funds, before their signs of weakness were evident to

the public. If that ever happened, the people might take advantage of

the weakness and try to overthrow the government. Therefore, the

officials and monarchs needed to find a way to acquire money. They

were able to get the necessary money using the Inquisition. They

killed hundreds of thousands of Jews and took their possessions,

their money, and anything else they could find. They used these things

to replenish the wealth of the government.

The government officials of the time were also a bit low on

money. They were very greedy, and wanted to be rich as they once were.

They were able to use the Inquisition as a manner of attaining money

and riches. They would hire people or go themselves, and ransack the

houses of Jews. They would kill the inhabitants of the houses, and

take anything they could find, including money, furniture, and


The King and Queen had the same selfish desires as the

officials had. They wanted to get more money for themselves, and they

had to find a quick source it. They did the same thing as the

officials did. They hired people to pillage the houses of the Jews,

and to take their money and possessions.

The Jews were becoming a powerful and rich group in Spain, and

had always been the type of people who wanted to be wealthy and let

everyone know it:

?The Jews…were a people who not only wished to make fortunes

but to flaunt their wealth…. As it was, not only did they rouse the

righteous indignation of Christians on account of the murder of Jesus

Christ, but the envy of those Christians who were less successful.?

The Jews were successful, and everyone in Spain knew that they were.

The Christians were constantly seeing the wealth of the Jews and

became very jealous. The Jews were more important in Spanish Society

than the Christians, and this made some Christians insanely jealous.

The Inquisition was once again used as a method of getting revenge.

My belief as to which of the above reasons was the reason for

the Spanish Inquisition is that it was started for both religious and

economic reasons. One must take into consideration the fact that money

is a tremendously strong force that can drive people to do just about

anything to get it including lie, steal, cheat, and yes, even kill.

This is what took over and controlled the government for three-hundred

and fifty years. The government was money hungry, and had no steady

source of money, so they started to persecuting the Jews.

The reason that the common people started to persecute the

Jews was different. The commoners truly believed in their hearts that

the Jews were sinners against God and that they were destined for

eternal damnation unless they were killed by a Christian.

There were many possible reasons for the start of the

Inquisition. However, as no one knows exactly what was going through

the heads of the King and Queen, or the government officials, or the

religious officials at the start of the Spanish Inquisition, no one

can know for sure the true reason for the start of the Inquisition.


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