"The Inquisition was a Roman Catholic tribunal for discovery and punishment of heresy, which was marked by the severity of questioning and punishment and lack of rights afforded to the accused.
...instituted by Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) in Rome.
...Clergyman would sit at the proceedings and would deliver the punishments.
Punishments included confinement to dungeons, physical abuse and torture.
Those who reconciled with the church were still punished and many had their property confiscated, as well as were banished from public life.
Those who never confessed were burned at the stake without strangulation; those who did confess were strangled first.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, attendance at auto de fe reached as high as the attendance at bullfights.
...However, disputes about Maimonides’ books (which addressed the synthesis of Judaism and other cultures) provided a pretext for harassing Jews and, in 1242, the Inquisition condemned the Talmud and burned thousands of volumes.
In 1288, the first mass burning of Jews on the stake took place in France.
...Conversos (Secret Jews) and New Christians were targeted because of their close relations to the Jewish community, many of whom were Jews in all but their name.
Fear of Jewish influence led Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand to write a petition to the Pope asking permission to start an Inquisition in Spain.
...in Seville more than 700 Conversos were burned at the stake and 5,000 repented.
...An Inquisition Tribunal was set up in Ciudad Real, where 100 Conversos were condemned, and it was moved to Toledo in 1485.
Between 1486-1492, 25 auto de fes were held in Toledo, 467 people were burned at the stake and others were imprisoned.
The Inquisition finally made its way to Barcelona, where it was resisted at first because of the important place of Spanish Conversos in the economy and society.
More than 13,000 Conversos were put on trial during the first 12 years of the Spanish Inquisition.
Hoping to eliminate ties between the Jewish community and Conversos, the Jews of Spain were expelled in 1492...
The next phase of the Inquisition began around 1531, when Pope Leo X extended the Inquisition to Portugal.
Thousands of Jews came to Portugal after the 1492 expulsion.
A Spanish style Inquisition was constituted and tribunals were set up in Lisbon and other cities.
...The Inquisition never stopped in Spain and continued until the late 18th century.
...An estimated 31,912 heretics were burned at the stake, 17,659 were burned in effigy and 291,450 made reconciliations in the Spanish Inquisition.
...Many Jews and Conversos fled from Portugal and Spain to the New World seeking greater security and economic opportunities."
"...It is unknown exactly how much wealth was confiscated from converted Jews and others tried by the Inquisition.
Wealth confiscated in one year of persecution in the small town of Guadaloupe paid the costs of building a royal residence.
There are numerous records of the opinion of ordinary Spaniards of the time that "the Inquisition was devised simply to rob people.
"They were burnt only for the money they had,’ a resident of Cuenca averred.
...In 1504 an accused stated, "only the rich were burnt."
…In 1484…Catalina de Zamora was accused of asserting that "this Inquisition that the fathers are carrying out is as much for taking property from the conversos as for defending the faith.
"It is the goods that are the heretics."
This saying passed into common usage in Spain.
In 1524 a treasurer informed Charles V that his predessor had received ten million ducats from the conversos, but the figure is unverified.
In 1592 an inquisitor admitted that most of the fifty women he arrested were rich.
In 1676, the Suprema claimed it had confiscated over 700,000 ducats for the royal treasury (which was paid money only after the Inquisition's own budget, amounting in one known case to only 5%).
The property on Mallorca alone in 1678 was worth ‘well over 2,500,000 ducats."