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Peruvian Inquisition

The Peruvian Inquisition, established on January 9, 1570 and ended in 1820. It was reinstated under King Felipe II of Spain in 1569. The Holy Office and tribunal of the Peruvian Inquisition were located in Lima, Peru.

Unlike the Spanish Inquisition and the Medieval Inquisition, in the Peruvian Inquisition both the state and church were dependent of the Crowns approval to carry out jurisdiction.

Diego de Landa was one of the main priests to investigate and chronicle the cultures of the Indigenous of Latin America. He collected their sacred texts to learn about the people. Then, he promptly burned the sacred texts and killed dissenters in the name of God and conversion to Catholicism. Natives were renamed forcefully and names were chosen randomly from the Spanish culture. Language and writing were restricted to Spanish only.

However, even though the Indigenous people were originally subject to the jurisdiction of the inquisitors, they were eventually removed from the control and not seen as fully responsible for deviation from faith. They were still subject to trial and punishment by the Episcopal inquisition. In the eyes of the church the Indigenous were seen as gente sin razon, individuals without reason.

As a result their trials were separate from other inquisition cases. In spite of that, it still did not stop other people that were of non-Indigenous descent from being accused of other crimes that were against the Church. These crimes could range from heresy, sorcery, witchcraft, and other superstitious practices.

People accused of these crimes were generally individuals who came from a lower status of Peruvian society. Among them were individuals of African descent, mestizos, women, and Jewish or Protestant Europeans seeking refuge from religious persecution.

In 1813 it was first abolished by virtue of a Cortes decree. In 1815 it was reconstituted but their target was now the ideas from the French Encyclopedists and similar texts, and most people who were accused of crimes were only given probation. With the promotion of Freemason Jose de la Serna to the viceroyship, which coincided with the rise of the nationalist faction (as both factions prepared to fight each other in the Peruvian War of Independence), the Inquisition fell apart of its own volition.


Benjamin Keen and Keith Haynes. A History of Latin America Volume 1 Ancient America to 1910. 7th Edition. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.

Henry C. Lea. The Inquisition in Spanish Dependencies; Sicily, Naples, Sardina, Milan, the Canaries, Mexico, Peru, New Granada. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1908.

Teodoro Hampe-Martinez. "Recent Work on the Inquisition and Peruvian Colonial Society,1570-1820". Latin American Research Review. Vol. 31 No.2 (1996).

Cecil Roth. The Spanish Inquisition. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1964.

External links

Henry C. Lea (1829-1909): The Inquisition in 17th-Century Peru: Cases of Portuguese Judaizers from the Internet Modern Sourcebook

"South and Central America: Peru and Chile", from the Jewish Encyclopedia (1901).

Museo de la Inqusicion y del Congreso, located in Lima, Peru.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Peruvian Inquisition

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