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12 Feb Anniversary of Isabella's 1502 proclamation against remaining Muslims

Recall that the 1492 re-conquest of the Iberian peninsula by Ferdinand and Isabella didn't happen overnight.
In many areas Muslims had been living under Catholic rule for generations already, and were called Mudejars.
But tolerance was a limited commodity then, as now, and a decade after the reconquista Isabella proclaimed a much tougher stance towards the >500K Muslims who hadn't already fled or converted.

Proclaimed in Sevilla on 12 Feb 1502, Isabella decided to impose a conversion-or-expulsion decree against the Muslims.
According to the edict, all Muslim males aged 14 or more, or females aged 12 or more, should convert or leave by the end of April 1502. Slaves were excluded in order to respect the rights of their owners. Church officials argued that it was for their own good.

Leaving was not a real option -- Portugal had outlawed Islam in 1497, and the edict nixed moving to Valencia or Catalunya, with a lot more fine print in the order--because the authorities really wanted everyone to convert. Those who went through the motions but continued practicing Islam at home were called Moriscos and became kindling and fodder for the Inquisition. (the Jewish parallel were the Marranos.)

As Castile spread over the other kingdoms in Iberia in the following decades, things just got even worse.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forced_conversions_of_Muslims_in_Spain

Posted by
111 posts

As a side comment on the Spanish Inquisition, so mentioned and so famous, it has to be said that it was probably the more lenient one in all of Europe. The Calvinists in Switzerland and Germany killed thousands for religious reasons, France in its war against the Catars killed way more people than the Spanish Inquisition, England killed also thousands of catholics and protestants for the same religious "discrepancies"...and so on. In 350 years the number of persons executed by the Spanish Inquisition is calculated between 5 to 10,000, while in England the number of people killed for religious reasons was around 264,000, a similar figure to those under the influence of the Protestants in Europe. Furthermore, the Sp Inq was quite well organized, with defendants and prosecutors, a trial and the possibility of recurring the result of the trial, and under the supervision of the King, what did not happen in other places.

The Spanish Inquisition, as the Spanish Flu (another false statement) was politically used against the enormous power of Spain in those centuries, what we call now "fake news".

Posted by
6056 posts

Mike I think your figure for England is incorrect. From a quick google it looks like it relates to ALL executions not just those for religious purposes, and is based on guesstimates rather than actual records. Happy to be corrected.

Posted by
111 posts

Hi Emma, you are correct, that number includes the number of people that were killed during all wars between Catholics and Protestants in what is today the UK. I´ve done further research, and just a 4% of the trials (Spain was practically the only country that celebrated proper trials, with defense and prosecution) of the Spanish Inquisition resulted in a death penalty, as most of the punishments were minor (money, sent to row in the ships, prison). And, as an example, of the total of 40 to 60,000 "witches" sentenced to fire in Europe, just 300 were in Spain (Germany killed an estimate of 25,000 "witches", France over 4,000, Poland around 10,000, Switzerland over 4,000, the UK around 1,500...). In sum, the "black legend" was widely extended (and remains in our days, as the Spanish flu) by the enemies of the Catholic kings in Spain. Just as it happens today :)!!

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111 posts

Adding to this, and contrary to the idea of many travelers about a "religious and catholic" Spain, at present just a 61% of the Spaniards consider themselves catholics and 11% attend Sunday religious services. The gap is even bigger among the young generation, 85% of Spaniards under 25 do not believe in any religion or supernatural being.

But, paradoxically, we LOVE our traditions, that have a very strong religious origin, and stick to them fiercely. Practically all our festivities are based on a certain Catholic Saint and despite our non-beliefs, participating in processions or any other form of celebration that involves a degree of "catholicism" is almost a must. Of course, there´s always music, wine and any other form of alcoholic beverages and dancing involved...

Posted by
4162 posts

In many places around the world, the most significant or impressive building(s), the largest, grandest, most ornate are the cathedrals, churches, mosques, shrines, etc. For sightseers, they’re often a point of orientation in a city, and many tunes, an attraction, complete with souvenirs. There’s still influence there.

Posted by
255 posts

Back to the Inquisition. Logroño was one of the Inquisitions main seats. It was in charge of the Basque Country (sorry Mikel).

In 1610 they burned 11 people and 7 in effigy for being witches. They were the last people to be burned at the stake by the Inquisition in Spain.

Posted by
111 posts

Yes, until not so long ago part of the Basque Country was under the Diocese of Calahorra, an important Riojan town. Not any more, each province has it´s own diocese.

Posted by
4610 posts

Yes, there were major instances of religious persecution in Europe, particularly in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

Regarding instances within Christianity, there were wars and killings on both Protestant and Catholic sides, but some of the most notable persecutions resulted in more Protestant deaths or expulsions.

The most notable were the actions of Louis XIV or France in revoking the Edict of Nates. Many French Huguenots left France and settled in Germany, England and what is now the USA.

The 30 Years War largely in Germany during the 17th Century was largely a religious war started when the Catholic Holy Roman Emperor tried to suppress Protestants. The war expanded and included many European powers and millions on either side died.

English monarchs were generally far more tolerant of minority faiths than other European leaders.

Posted by
1996 posts

It appears 17th century "Black Legend" propaganda is still alive and well in the Anglo-Saxon education 🙄

Posted by
6056 posts

Sorry to disappoint Carlos but most people in the U.K. ( Anglo Saxon or not) will not have much knowledge of the Spanish Inquisition other than as a turn of phrase “ What is this? The Spanish Inquisition?” Or if they of an age, a Monty Python sketch “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”.

Any Spanish history of that period that we might be aware of would relate to Catherine of Aragon and the Spanish Armada, not much else because our history of that period is taught through the “lens” of the Tudors. From memory we actually did more on the Spanish Civil War.

Regarding anti catholic history that is taught in more detail but also in the context that to an extent we had “equal opportunity bigotry”. Catholics killed Protestants, Protestants killed Catholics. The one obvious exception is the history of Ireland which is a hell of a lot more bloody with consequences that we are still dealing with. This should be taught more in schools because I think many British people don’t have much of a concept of the history and why our nations/relations are how they are. ( Doing my family tree I have just discovered that the Irish Catholic branch of my family has a planted Protestant ancestor, awkward! I can hear my Nan spinning in her grave)

Funnily enough I had never heard the phrase “black legend” in relation to Spain until today when bizarrely it has come up twice. Listening to a BBC radio 4 program it was used in relation to the Borgias in Italy. The theory being they weren’t any more blood thirsty than other powerful families of the time but being Spanish they were viewed with suspicion and defamed by various popes. Listen to “You’re Dead to Me’ to hear more.

Posted by
1512 posts

These are all interesting comments, and as one mentions above, the WASP version of reality is so ingrained into American and British consciousness that it's irremovable. Let me also point out that when I highlight incidents of Catholic inhumanity it does not follow that I think that Protestants or Muslims or Saivites or Vaishnavas are not also horribly cruel in their own measures -
I've tried pointing out how Calvinist and Puritan and Lutheran et al are the perpetrators of great suffering in previous posts, but those threads tend to get removed quickly.

It seems a little bit indicative of that ingraining that here when I've drawn attention to a Catholic iniquity, we are able to dwell on it for a bit, but when I put out something about how awful Luther and his gang were, the replies are like the moment in Monty Python when the dad says 'let's not argue and bicker about who killed whom -- this is supposed to be a happy occasion'.

I'll also add that this is a key part of Rick Steves' appeal as a travel educator -- he always finds the silver lining in the dark violent storm clouds that constitute European history.

Posted by
111 posts

So interesting posts. On these times of despair for travelers and to those in the industry and around it, it´s refreshing to read posts that show us other aspects of the countries we visit. Countries are what they are now because they have a history behind, and knowing this history helps us understand the country in a better way.

Posted by
24640 posts

"Black Legend" is a new phrase to me...

Posted by
1605 posts

Countries are what they are now because they have a history behind,
and knowing this history helps us understand the country in a better
way.

Possibly my favourite sentence I've read this week. Not only are my visits to Europe enhanced because of this philosophy, but travel at home and even my own city are far more enjoyable now that I pay attention to the stories of how we got here. Good sentence Mike, and good post avirosemail, I enjoy your this day in history posts.

Posted by
315 posts

"Black Legend" is a new phrase to me...
It's a phrase first coined by Spanish rightist would-be historians to explain a kind of paranoia — viz. they cannot understand why the exploits of Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizzaro, and all the other conquistadores, are now so regarded by the rest of the world with so much opprobrium. Their thinking is that Spain's attempts to bring Christianity and civilization to the Americas is being unfairly regarded as cruel, callous and cowardly— when, in their reality — they should be applauded. It's a way of thinking in Spain which nearly died out in the 1980s (i.e. post-Franco) which is now being resuscitated by those who would like to see Spain reach for, and at least regain, some of its former 'glory' and self-respect. A bit like the Make America Great Again project.

As a sidenote: Neil Young's song, 'Cortez the Killer,' released in 1975, was banned in Spain until 1983.

Posted by
1996 posts

Bill, I think what you might be referring to is actually the Spanish White legend (another term to add to your dictionary), which was an attempt by Francoists to idealise the Spanish Empire. What I refer to is completely different.

One need only to look at Hollywood and ask the question "Why do Spaniards make such good bad guys?"

Posted by
1512 posts

To me this 'Black Legend' complex of issues is part of the oversimplified story of the rise of the British Empire at the expense of other colonial enterprises, and then its replacement by the USA and the spread of Coca Cola Culture -- that story arc always assumes that Catholic Europe was corrupt and decrepit and could only be replaced, not reformed --
even though the main figures in the drama that Protestants tell themselves were not intending, at first, to start a rival religious structure but to fix the existing one, as many many other reformers within Catholicism were also working towards.

It's so easy to follow the path which sees the current situation as the inevitable culmination of some larger plan or natural evolution, and make the status quo the yardstick (or meter stick) by which we measure other possibilities -- those are all contingent, while ours is the standard. No one is immune from depending upon just-so stories, as the history of the Bible shows -- no matter where you find yourself, you can come up with a way of understanding the Bible that explains/justifies how you got there.

Posted by
6056 posts

Not wanting to complicate matters(!) but the reference to the black legend in connection to the Borgias was anti-Spanish but the absolute opposite of anti-Catholic. It was only very briefly touched upon but the theory was that the Catholic Church in Rome didn’t think the Spaniards were Catholic “enough” because of the long history Islam and Judaism in the country prior to the inquisition.

Carlos, regarding Spanish bad guys in Hollywood, try being British: or more specifically, English!. The ultimate Hollywood cliche but on a positive note it kept Jeremy Irons and Alan Rickman in work for years.

Posted by
1996 posts

In the end, they are all dubbed with Spanish actors anyway, once they reach our cinemas lol!