Portuguese Inquisition

Portuguese Inquisition

The Portuguese Inquisition was formally established in Portugal in 1536 at the request of the King of Portugal, João III. Manuel I had asked for the installation of the Inquisition in 1515, but was only after his death that the pope acquiesced. It was a Portuguese analogue of the more famous Spanish Inquisition.


However, many place the actual beginning of the Portuguese Inquisition during the year of 1497, when many Jews were expelled from Portugal and others were forcibly converted to Catholicism. As in Spain, the major target of the Portuguese Inquisition was mainly the Sephardic Jews who had been expelled from Spain in 1492 (see Alhambra decree); after 1492 many of these Spanish Jews left Spain for Portugal but were eventually targeted there as well.

As in Spain, the Inquisition was put under the authority of the King. It was headed by a Grand Inquisitor, or General Inquisitor, named by the Pope but selected by the king, always from within the royal family. The Grand Inquisitor would later nominate other inquisitors. In Portugal, the first Grand Inquisitor was Cardinal Henry, who would later become King. There were Courts of the Inquisition in Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra, and Évora.

It held its first auto da fé in Portugal in 1540. Like the Spanish Inquisition, it concentrated its efforts on rooting out converts from other faiths (overwhelmingly Judaism) who did not adhere to the strictures of Catholic orthodoxy; as in Spain, the Portuguese inquisitors mostly targeted the Jewish "New Christians," "conversos"," or "marranos"."

The Portuguese Inquisition expanded its scope of operations from Portugal to Portugal's colonial possessions, including Brazil, Cape Verde, and Goa, where it continued as a religious court, investigating and trying cases of breaches of the tenets of orthodox Roman Catholicism until 1821.

The activity of the courts was extended to book censure, divination, witchcraft and bigamy under João III. Book censure proved to have a strong influence in Portuguese cultural evolution, keeping the country uninformed and culturally backward. Originally oriented for a religious action, the Inquisition had an influence in almost every aspect of Portuguese society, political, cultural and social.

The Goa Inquisition, another inquisition rife with antisemitism and anti-Hinduism that mostly targeted Jews and Hindus, was established in Goa in 1560 by Aleixo Dias Falcão and Francisco Marques, who occupied the palace of the Sabaio Adil Khan.

According to Henry Charles Lea [Henry Charles Lea, "A History of the Inquisition of Spain", vol. 3, Book 8.] between 1540 and 1794 tribunals in Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra and Évora resulted in the burning of 1,175 persons, the burning of another 633 in effigy, and the penancing of 29,590. But documentation of fifteen out of 689 [António José Saraiva, Herman Prins Salomon, I. S. D. Sassoon, "The Marrano Factory: The Portuguese Inquistion and Its New Christians 1536-1765", 2001, p. 102] Autos-da-fé has disappeared, so these numbers may slightly understate the activity.

The Portuguese inquisition was extinguished in 1821 by the "General Extraordinary and Constituent Courts of the Portuguese Nation" .

The Portuguese Government will make available online until 2010 a great part of the archives of the Portuguese Inquisition [ [http://dn.sapo.pt/2007/07/12/artes/papeis_inquisicao_net_apoio_mecenas.html Archives of the Inquisition will be available online - in Portuguese] ] .

ee also

* Goa Inquisition
* Judeo-Portuguese
* Sephardic Jews
** New Christians
** "Converso"
** "Marrano"
** Crypto-Jews
* Ladino
* Sebastião de Melo, Marquis of Pombal
* Lusophobia
* History of the Jews in the Netherlands
** Sephardic Jews in the Netherlands
* History of the Jews in Latin America
* History of the Jews in England
** History of the Marranos in England



*Alexandre Herculano, "História da Origem e Estabelecimento da Inquisição em Portugal" ( _en. History of the Origin and Establishement of the Inquisition in Portugal, translation of 1926).

External links

* [http://ttonline.iantt.pt/dserve.exe?dsqServer=calm6&dsqIni=Dserve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqDb=Catalog&dsqCmd=overview.tcl&dsqSearch=(RefNo='PT-TT-TSO') Index of the court proceedings and other documents of the Portuguese Inquisition (in Portuguese)]

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