Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Heresy Trial ( 16th and 17th Century) Records
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (55.46 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Scope and Contents
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Existence and Location of Originals
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

  • Contributing Institution: Society of California Pioneers
    Title: 16th and 17th Century Heresy Trial Records
    Identifier/Call Number: C058493
    Physical Description: 1 folder 1 Folder with three separate files
    Date (inclusive): 1600-1700
    Abstract: This file contains the hand bound, handwritten accounts of several heresy trials that took place in Guatemala (1685?), Manila (1759), and Guexetano (1742) located in Mexico and South America, during the Spanish rule of much of the New World.
    Language of Material: Spanish; Castilian .

    Scope and Contents

    This file contains the hand bound, handwritten accounts of several heresy trials that took place in Guatemala (1685?), Manila (1759), and Guexetano (1742) located in Mexico and South America, during the Spanish rule of much of the New World. These are the original documents and they are in fair condition but should be handled with extra care while being used for research. The diaries are written entirely in Spanish, but the file contains a mention of a transcriptions to English being made by a Priest at the University of San Francisco in 1979, but the location of those transcriptions is unknown at this time.

    Biographical / Historical

    From the early days of the Catholic Church, its bishops had the right of inquisition (the right to inquire) on matters of faith and morals. Bishops had the power to try heretics for matters of faith. Their authority included the power to administer capital punishment to heretics, excommunicate and conduct autos de fé. The Church had taken the position that "once a Catholic, always a Catholic". One could convert to Catholicism, but once a member of the faith it was forbidden to leave the fold. Shortly before the Albigensian Crusades (1212-1220) Pope Innocent III delegated three Cistercian monks to go to Tolouse and take action against the heretics in Aix, Arles, Narbonne, and the neighboring dioceses. Their actions led to the creation of the title of "Inquisitors of the Faith." The Inquisition as an instrument to investigate heresies and to protect faith existed for a considerable time before Pope Gregory IX (1227-1242) formalized it. Pope Paul III in 1549 instituted the Supreme Tribunal, an Episcopal tribunal, composed of six cardinals or "Inquisitors General" who directed the institution from headquarters in Rome. Prior to this, the pope himself presided over the (apostolic) tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition. Apostolic inquisitors were bishops or other appointees of the pope; they could come from any rank or any monastic orders, but usually Franciscans or Dominicans served as apostolic inquisitors. An apostolic Inquisition, with Dominican and Franciscan inquisitors, existed in parts of the Iberian Peninsula prior to the reign of the Catholic majesties, Ferdinand and Isabella. These inquisitors did not operate in the kingdoms of Castile and León until the request of the Catholic majesties. Ferdinand and Isabella sought a homogeneous population, one possessing one religion and culture. In order to achieve homogeneity, Ferdinand and Isabella felt that they had to eradicate two groups from their lands: Judaizantes ( this term refers to those who observed or professed the Jewish faith; it is used as a synonym of Jews) and Moriscos (Moors). They were considered heretics and regarded as a discordant element in their kingdoms. Under the prompting of Isabella's confessor, Tomás de Torquemada, grandson of a Jewess, the Catholic majesties requested Pope Sixtus IV to establish the Holy Office in their kingdoms. The pope complied with the request in 1478, but withdrew his permission when he heard of the abuses that were occurring in Spain. He reinstated it in 1480 on receipt of a sizable contribution for his other activities. In 1484 Torquemada became the first "Inquisidor General" in Spain. The Holy Office of the Inquisition was established in Portugal in 1536. It did not come into complete control of the Jews in Lusitania until 1547. In the decades prior to 1547 Jews and conversos (converts) and "New Christians" fought for their lives and the privilege of leaving Portugal at first with and ultimately without their possessions. In 1580 Philip II took over the Portuguese throne. Spain ruled Portugal until 1640, when Portugal regained its sovereignty. Although the Portuguese and Spanish Inquisitions operated independently, for many years after 1580 the Spanish inquisitors officiated in Lisbon because the Spaniards considered the Portuguese too lenient in their treatment of Jews, Moors, and other heretics. Jews residing in Portugal accurately anticipated the arrival of Spanish inquisitors to Portugal, and in 1580-1581 many Jews crossed the border into Spain. Many others wended their way to the New World. Although the Spanish Inquisition has achieved the greatest historical notoriety, the Portuguese institution was regarded as being more rigorous and cruel. The Portuguese inquisitors were sadly known as "devours of human flesh." (http://sefarad.org)

    Existence and Location of Originals

    Society of California Pioneers 101 Montgomery Street, Suite 150 Presidio of San Francisco San Francisco, California 94129 Phone: (415) 957-1849

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Source and date of aquisition unknown.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Catholic Church--Administration.
    Spanish inquisition