Beginning in 1478, the Spanish Inquisition systematically silenced any citizen who held views that did not align with the king’s. Using the powerful arm of the government, the grand inquisitor, Tomas de Torquemada, and his henchmen sought out all those who held religious, scientific, or moral views that conflicted with the monarch’s, punishing the “heretics” with jail sentences; property confiscation; fines; and in severe cases, torture and execution.
One of the lasting results of the Spanish Inquisition was a stifling of speech, thought, and scientific debate throughout Spain. By treating one set of scientific views as absolute, infallible, and above critique, Spain silenced many brilliant individuals and stopped the development of new ideas and technological innovations. Spain became a scientific backwater.
As an old adage says, those who cannot remember the…
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