Tomás de Torquemada
Tomás de Torquemada[a] (October 14, 1420 – September 16, 1498), also anglicized as Thomas of Torquemada, was a Castilian Dominican friar and first Grand Inquisitor in Spain's movement to homogenize religious practices with those of the Catholic Church in the late 15th century, otherwise known as the Spanish Inquisition, which resulted in the expulsion from Spain of thousands of people of Jewish and Muslim faith and heritage.
Tomás de Torquemada
Tomás de Torquemada
|Born||October 14, 1420|
|Died||September 16, 1498 (aged 77)|
Ávila, Kingdom of Castile
|Relatives||Juan de Torquemada (cardinal) (uncle)|
Mainly because of persecution, Muslims and Jews in Spain at that time found it socially, politically, and economically expedient to convert to Catholicism (see Converso, Morisco, and Marrano). The existence of superficial converts (i.e., Crypto-Jews) was perceived by the Spanish monarchs of that time (King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella) as a threat to the religious and social life of Spain. This led Torquemada, who himself had converso ancestors, to be one of the chief supporters of the Alhambra Decree that expelled the Jews from Spain in 1492.
Torquemada was born on October 14, 1420, either in Valladolid, in the Kingdom of Castile, or in the nearby village of Torquemada.  He came from a family of conversos (converts from Judaism); his uncle, Juan de Torquemada, was a celebrated theologian and cardinal, whose grandmother was a conversa. The 15th Century chronicler Hernando del Pulgar, a contemporary to de Torquemada and himself a converso, recorded that Tomás de Torquemada's uncle, Juan de Torquemada, had an ancestor, Álvar Fernández de Torquemada, who was married to a first-generation conversa.
Torquemada entered the local San Pablo Dominican monastery at a very young age. As a zealous advocate of church orthodoxy, he earned a solid reputation for learning, piety, and austerity. As a result, he was promoted to prior of the monastery of Santa Cruz at Segovia. Around this time, he met the young Princess Isabella I, and the two immediately established religious and ideological rapport. For a number of years, Torquemada served as her regular confessor and personal advisor. He was present at Isabella's coronation in 1474, remained her closest ally and supporter and even advised her to marry King Ferdinand of Aragon in 1469 to consolidate their kingdoms and form a power base he could draw on for his own purposes.
Establishment of the Holy Office of the InquisitionEdit
Torquemada deeply feared the Marranos and Moriscos as a menace to Spain's welfare by both their increasing religious influence and their economic domination of Spain. The Crown of Aragon had Dominican inquisitors almost continuously throughout much of the 14th and the 15th centuries. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella petitioned Pope Sixtus IV to grant their request for a Holy Office to administer an inquisition in Spain. The Pope granted their request and established the Holy Office for the Propagation of the Faith in late 1478.
The papal bull gave the sovereigns full powers to name inquisitors. Rome retained the right to formally appoint the royal nominees. Henry Charles Lea observed that the Spanish Inquisition in both Castile and Aragon remained firmly under Ferdinand's direction throughout the joint reign.
The Pope went on to appoint a number of inquisitors for the Spanish Kingdoms in early 1482, including Torquemada. A year later he was named Grand Inquisitor of Spain, which he remained until his death in 1498. In the fifteen years under his direction, the Spanish Inquisition grew from the single tribunal at Seville to a network of two dozen Holy Offices. As Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada reorganized the Spanish Inquisition (originally based in Castile in 1478), establishing tribunals in Sevilla, Jaén, Córdoba, Ciudad Real and (later) Saragossa. His quest was to rid Spain of all heresy. The Spanish chronicler Sebastián de Olmedo called him "the hammer of heretics, the light of Spain, the savior of his country, the honor of his order."
Torquemada saw that the condemned were made to wear a sanbenito, a penitential garment worn over clothing, bearing a design that specified the type of penitence, if any. Heretics who relapsed into heresy, and were sentenced to burn alive, wore a sanbenito with designs of flames or sometimes demons, dragons and/or snakes on it. Those who did not relapse, and were sentenced to hang, wore St. Andrew's cross.
The Treaty of Granada (1491), as negotiated at the final surrender of the Muslim state of Al-Andalus, clearly mandated protection of religious rights, but this was reversed just over 3 months later by the Alhambra Decree of March 31, 1492. Under the new Decree, approximately 40,000 Jews were expelled from Spain with only their personal possessions. Approximately 50,000 other Jews received a Christian baptism to remain in Spain. Many of them, derogatorily dubbed "Marranos" by the Old Christian majority, secretly kept some of their Jewish traditions. They were one of the chief targets of the Inquisition, but it also pursued anyone who would criticize it.
There are various estimates of the number of victims of the Spanish Inquisition during Torquemada's reign as Grand Inquisitor. Hernando del Pulgar, Queen Isabella's secretary, wrote that 2,000 executions took place throughout the entirety of her reign, which extended well beyond Torquemada's death.
During his final years, Torquemada's failing health, coupled with widespread complaints, caused Pope Alexander VI to appoint four assistant inquisitors in June 1494 to restrain the Spanish Inquisition. After fifteen years as Spain's Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada died in the monastery of St. Thomas Aquinas in Ávila on September 16, 1498, and was interred there. His tomb was ransacked in 1832, only two years before the Inquisition was finally disbanded. His bones were allegedly stolen and ritually incinerated in the same manner as an auto-da-fé.
- "Definition of MARRANO". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
- "Crypto-Jews", My Jewish Learning Archived 2014-10-29 at the Wayback Machine
- Ott, Michael (1912). Catholic Encyclopedia. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company. . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.).
- "Meditations, or the Contemplations of the Most Devout". World Digital Library. 1479. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
- Falk, Avner. A Psychoanalytic History of the Jews, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996, p.508 ISBN 0838636608
- "Tomas De Torquemada | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
- von Dehsen, Christian (2013). Philosophers and Religious Leaders. Routledge. p. 188. ISBN 9781135951023.
- Gerli, E. Michael (2013). Medieval Iberia: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. p. 794. ISBN 9781136771620.
- Whitechapel, Simon (2003). Flesh Inferno: Atrocities of Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition. Creation Books. p. 52. ISBN 9781840681055.
- Fernando del Pulgar (1789). Claros varones de Castilla. G. Ortega.
- Lea, Henry Charles. A History of the Inquisition of Spain, 4 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1906-07), 1:27-28
- The Age of Torquemada, by John Edward Longhurst (1962), from vlib.iue.it (European University Institute)
- Carr, Matthew (2009). Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain. New Press. pp. 51–57. ISBN 978-1-59558-361-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Wolf, A (1909). Life of Spinoza (Spinoza's Short Treatise on God, Man and his Well Being. London: Adam and Charles Black. pp. 4–5.
- Henry Kamen, The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997), 60
- Murphy, Cullen (17 January 2012). God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 352. ISBN 9780547607825.
- Duran, Alphonsus Maria, Why Apologize for the Spanish Inquisition?, (Eric Gladkowski, Ed., 2000). ISBN 0-9702235-0-1.
- Goldberg, Enid A. & Itzkowitz, Norman, "Tomas de Torquemada" (A Wicked History), (Scholastic Books, 2008) ISBN 1-4351-0322-X
- Kamen, Henry, The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision, (Yale University Press, 1999). ISBN 0-300-07880-3.
- Lea, Henry Charles, The history of the Inquisition of Spain, (Macmillan, 1906–07) Wikisource:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages/Volume I
- Sabatini, Rafael, Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition, (Bretano's 1913; reprinted BiblioLife, 2009). # Paperback: 304 pages, Publisher: House of Stratus; New edition (31 May 2001) # Language English # ISBN 1-84232-834-4 # ISBN 978-1-84232-834-7
- Taunton, Ethelred Luke (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica. 27 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.).
- Walsh, William Thomas, Characters of the Inquisition, (Tan Books and Publishers, 1987). ISBN 0-89555-326-0 .
|Catholic Church titles|
| Grand Inquisitor