Tomás de Torquemada

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Tomás de Torquemada
BirthplaceValladolid, Spain
Grand Inquisitor

Torquemada, Tomás de


Born c. 1420 in Valladolid; died Sept. 16, 1498, in Ávila. Head of the Spanish Inquisition.

Torquemada, a Dominican monk, was the confessor of Queen Isabella. He was appointed grand inquisitor of Castile and Aragon in 1483 and also of Valencia and Catalonia in 1486. As grand inquisitor, he was responsible for drawing up the code and judicial procedure of the Inquisition and for establishing its various tribunals. Known for his extreme cruelty, he made common use of the auto-da-fé, condemning more than 10,000 persons to death by that method.

Torquemada initiated the persecution of Muslims and Jews in Spain. In 1492 he succeeded in having the Jews expelled.