The Spanish Inquisition as ‘Black Legend’ Propaganda

The agitprop and demonization operations we write about on the pages of Winter Watch are nothing new or modern. In fact, the usual suspects were behind them then just as they are now. Case in point is what is referred to as the “Black Legend.” The principal target was the Spanish Inquisition. It was built into a massive atrocity campaign throughout Europe by Spain’s enemies and opponents.

Oddly, the Frankfurt/Main area of Germany was a hotbed of propaganda against Spain due to the great number of Jews who fled Spain and settled there after Ferdinand and Isabella expelled them in 1492.

It’s a fact of history that Jews aided the Moorish and Berber tribes from North Africa in their entrance into Spain, and they flourished under Muslim rule with some achieving high positions in government. When the Christian Reconquesta was achieved, they began to be suspected of disloyalty to the united Catholic Kingdom of Spain under Ferdinand and Isabella. Much of the basis for the Black Legend is derived from the supposed mistreatment of Jews and Muslim Moors under the rule of Spain’s Catholic kings.

Most Inquisition measures against false conversos (crypto-Jews) took place between 1491 and 1530, as the Reconquista was consolidated. Typically, these populations were expulsed, not executed. True conversos were not persecuted, but instead often advanced themselves and maneuvered into the bureaucracy and noble classes, typically through the age-old methods of marriage and money.

The War of the Alpujarras (1568–1571), a Muslim-Morisco uprising in Granada, ended with the forced dispersal of about half of Castile and Andalusia Moriscos (crypto-Muslims) populations. The coast was regularly raided, and slaves hauled off by Barbary pirates backed by Spain’s enemy, the Ottoman Empire, and the Moriscos and Jews were aiding them.

Between 1560 and 1571, 82% of those accused in Inquistion proceedings were Moriscos. Between 1615 and 1700, cases against Moriscos constituted only 9% of those judged by the Inquisition. Philip IV in 1621 gave the order to desist from attempting to impose measures on remaining Moriscos “unless they caused significant commotion.”

As different geopolitical conflicts developed with the English, Dutch and French, the agit-prop took on a life of its own. Italy developed a virulent black legend agit-prop as Spain occupied various lands in Sicily and southern Italy. The tools used against the Spanish were the printing press combined with lies and fabrications.

Contrived rumors were spread that Spain was planning an alliance with the Turks in an attempt to subjugate the German people. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, since it was actually Spain at the forefront of European defense against the Turks.

One of the most famous and influential agit-props was the “Book of Martyrs” by John Foxe (1516–1587). Many of the themes that are repeated later on are to be found in this text: anyone can be tried for any triviality; the Inquisition is infallible; people are usually accused to gain money, because of jealousy or to hide the actions of the Inquisition; if proof is not found, it’s invented; prisoners are isolated with no contact with the outside world in dark dungeons, where they suffer horrible torture, etc. Foxe warned that this sinister organization could be introduced into any country that accepted the Catholic faith.

The other atrocity agit-prop was the “Exposition of the Arts of the Spanish Holy Inquisition” published in Heidelberg in 1567 under the pseudonym Reginaldus Gonsalvius Montanus.

By and large, the principal writers of that day (like now) would cite and copy each other without doing any real research or even visiting Spain.

French philosopher Montesquieu joined the pile on by describing an inquisitor as someone “separated from society, in a wretched condition, starved of any kind of relationship, so that he will be tough, ruthless and inexorable.”

Satire and ridicule were popular writing styles, which drew Voltaire into the fray. Voltaire advanced the theory that the Spanish monarchy was nothing more than the plaything of the church and specifically the Inquisition.

In reality, there were a number of powerful interests besides the clergy in Spain, including merchants, tradesmen, nobles and military. These would often mitigate the influence of the Inquisition. Many influential Catholic archbishops and clergy were opposed to forced conversions.

In 1673, Francis Willoughby wrote “A Relation of a Voyage Made through a Great Part of Spain.” He summed up the demonization of the Spanish as follows.

Spain is in many places, not to say most, very thin of people, and almost desolate. The causes are:

1. A bad Religion
2. The Tyrannical Inquisition
3. The multitude of Whores
4. The barrenness of the soil
5. The wretched laziness of the people, very like the Welsh and Irish, walking slowly and always cumbered with a great Choke and a long Sword
6. The expulsion of the Jews and Moors
7. Wars and Plantations

The term “inquisition” has become so widely used that it has come to be a synonym for “official investigation, especially of a political or religious nature, characterized by its lack of respect for individual rights, prejudice on the part of the judges and cruel punishments.”

Black Legend propaganda led to the anticlerical ideologies of the left wing, such as socialism, communism and anarchism. It played a role in the mindset of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). It is reminiscent of the staged deceptions and “just make up shit” anti-white (and anti-Muslim) agit-prop we are witnessing today.

It should be noted that Winter Watch writers are neither Catholic nor Hispanic- we have no dog in this but the truth.

What’s the Truth About the Activities of the Inquisition

In terms of the context of unifying Spain after centuries of war and Reconquista, the Inquisition was relatively tame. Far worse abuses were going on elsewhere.

An important point of which most people are unaware: The Inquisition had jurisdiction only over those who claimed to be Christians. Besides Protestants, that would include Conversos, Muslims or Jews who converted to Catholicism. It had no authority over the unbaptized.

Primarily, the philosophy used was suasion, shunning, expulsion and the bully pulpit. The accused had a period of grace in which to repent and confess their false teaching or gross misconduct on their own accord. If this was done, only a mild penance was imposed, never a severe punishment. The objective was to correct the Christians’ errors so that he or she would return to correct doctrine and practice. One’s beliefs were not seriously punished — openly proselytizing “false doctrine” was.

Far from being a star chamber, the accused — if he or she went to court — would write out a list of all their enemies. NONE of these people were allowed to testify against him. He was given trained lawyers and had the right to disallow any judge he thought would be prejudiced against him. (Is this ever done in modern American courts?) False accusations were punished severely. There was a strict protocol. The inquistors were typically lawyers or legal experts.

Citations for the next three paragraphs come from this excellent video documentary – The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition. BBC produced this in 1994, back in the day when it still had some reputation for legitimate truth and historical revisionism.

The Inquisition kept voluminous records of proceedings and on those it was keeping an eye. These records have been the subject of deep research in recent decades. Although the Inquisition had a chilling effect, in most parts of Spain — and especially small towns and rural areas — it had almost no authority or clout. The inquisitors would reluctantly roll into these towns once in a blue moon, but the local priests would not cooperate and would instruct their parishioners to speak no evil about their neighbors, cautioning even against gossip.

Juan Antonio Llorente (1756–1823), a fierce enemy of the Inquisition, whose “Critical History of the Inquisition” of 1817–1819 remains the most famous early work estimated the number of executions carried out during the whole of the period that the Spanish Inquisition existed, from 1483 until its abolition by Napoleon, at 31,912.

Recent scholars, such as Henry Kamen [“The Spanish Inquisition” 2014] conclude: “We can in all probability accept the estimate, made on the basis of available documentation, that a maximum of three thousand persons may have suffered death during the entire history of the tribunal” (p. 253).

Inquisitors did not believe torture produced the truth; therefore, it was rarely used. Research suggests about 1% of the more serious cases were subjected to lighter forms of torture and almost never prolonged or repeated torture. The only genuine iron maiden ever found came from Germany. Torture was widespread among Spain’s enemies. Its use in Spain was a myth.

Most of the Inquisition was, in fact, internal security measures taken during wartime conditions to deal with traitors, criminals and subversives, which were typically found in the crypto-conversos population in Spain and among rebellious Protestants in the Spanish Netherlands. Foreign Protestant agents operated in Spain as missionaries. For example, there was a surge between 1557 and 1562 (early stage of the Dutch Revolt) as the courts in Antwerp executed 103 heretics. There were many non-Catholics killed in religious wars, such as the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), but that had little to do with Inquisition activities.

The Inquisition was also a response to the depopulation of the Spanish coastal towns by Judeo-Muslim criminal slave-trading pirates. Many Muslim ship captains who raided Spanish coastal cities were Jewish.

The most important of these was Sinan, called “The Great Jew,” who would later be called the Muslim name of Kaptan Pasha. He was the leader of Barbarossa’s Muslim fleet. He captured Tunis from Spain in 1534. Much of the Spanish fleet was destroyed by Sinan in 1538. Meanwhile, Portuguese Jews (Morranos) were rearming Turkish Muslims. One of Sinan’s biggest operations was ravaging coastal Catholic districts of South Italy and Sicily in 1553 and hauling off tens of thousands of slaves.

American historian Robert Davis in, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800, concluded that 1 million to 1.25 million Europeans ended up in bondage.

The second major Jewish pirate was Samuel Palache and his brother (aka the “Pirate Merchants”), who left Spain and settled in Fez Morroco. He operated out of Tetuan, a pirate port infestation astride the Strait of Gibraltar. Palache ended up in Holland in 1608, planning for Holland and Morocco to team up against Spain. When Spain and Portugal were united in 1580, the outgunned Inquisition was brought in to deal with this world-class skullduggery.

Witchcraft in Spain

In northern Europe, witches were burned at the stake by the tens of thousands. The Spanish believed witches existed, but were often viewed positively as healers. Ancient cults remained strong in many regions, and the Church rarely had a problem with that. An estimated 50 witches were burned at the stake over 350 years and usually in combination with some other behavior or heresy. There was none of the hysteria that may have gone on elsewhere.

Winter Watch Takeaway

Given the context of what they were dealing with, the Spanish Inquisition “didn’t do nothing wrong”. This is yet one more inversion of history in which the good guys who protected the safety and welfare of their people against predators and renegados, are painted as nasty. In reality they were defacto border patrol and worked to stabilize the Spanish nation and society.

24 Comments on The Spanish Inquisition as ‘Black Legend’ Propaganda

  1. Wow, TNN apologetics for the Spanish Inquisition (!) … This is a very hard piece of revisionist history to sell, in part because today’s Vatican is so oily, globalist and tainted with corruption, not to mention marred by paedophilia, all this Roman Church seediness seeming continuous with centuries of earlier practice … Am sceptical of the Inquisition-indulgent revisionism as it doesn’t fit a lot of personally-experienced European history passed on through generations, tho no doubt lies were told when the reaction came

    Pro-papist propaganda does not seem any less vicious or dubious than the anti-papist propaganda of Protestant fanatics cited in the article, and this topic is maybe more a matter of ‘a plague upon both your houses’ as Shakespeare said, rather than Catholics being the ‘good guys’ (!) as suggested above

    The Roman Church’s contrary-to-nature pushing of ‘celibacy’ seems to have always been a cover for a ‘gay cabal’ – even Pope Francis himself recently admitted it is there – and those often gay men in their robes, with their beloved ‘altar boys’, were for centuries the sponsor of the world’s foremost propaganda operation, the term ‘propaganda’ actually inherited from Roman Church usage, the Vatican Curia department ‘Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fidei’, ‘propaganda for the faith’

    The Vatican – the original globalism, the original anti-nationalist cabal in the West – were the archetype for international mafia activities and corrupt supra-national political influencing more generally

    Part of the reason the ‘Muslim problem’ in Europe strikes a European nerve, is that Europeans within living memory just barely finished their centuries of battles with Vatican extremists mauling the lives of European citizens here, to the point that even Roman Catholic countries often made legislation banning or restricting church activities, Jesuits prohibited etc … so having another large, demanding Abrahamic religious group arriving, and seeking to mold public life per their preferences, seems to recycle an old story here, fundamentalist Muslims following the pushy-Christian timeline with just a few centuries lag

  2. This article was too much for the delicate flowers at reddit history to handle – banned. What’s the real inquistion here?

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    • Ironically, tho, it was the Roman Church and its inquisitors who were the big initial censors, book-burners, and suppressors of alternative thought in Western culture

      Things like reddit are obviously heading into the commode … it is not clear it is worth fighting any battles there, could be as useless as trying to spread truth amidst the CIA-Mossad paedophile editors of Wikipedia

      Due to the ‘de-platforming’ totalitarianism, ‘truth’ and any kind of internet political activism, may possibly be now essentially a young bloke’s game, as it is young tech people who know how to operate and thrive despite the most vicious kinds of censorship imaginable

      It is not easy for us later-in-life folks to navigate the 4chan-etc world, and to shift tactics and venues multiple times per day … this is a battle for tech-savvy youth … also, however much one might criticise the notorious Anglin for being a crude racist etc, he has been an impressive tactician against immense odds, and suppressed dissidents of any stripe can learn from him and other young people fighting the oligarchy’s censorship battalions

  3. Related to Russ’ article above, Andrew Joyce on Unz reviews a book on the huge 1500s battle in Spain within the new Jesuit order, between crypto-Jews and ethnic Europeans, which ended with the Jesuits actually banning descendants of Jews and Muslims from joining the Jesuit order, a ban which remained in effect for 338 years, from 1608 until 1946, during which time Jesuits investigated applicant genealogy for 5 generations previous.

    One fascinating thing, is that the ethnic Europeans defeated the crypto-Jews by using similar tactics, acting as a semi-hidden ethnic mafia, which eventually won the Pope’s ear. This resonates today, with how people talk of Jewish power in the USA, today being undermined not by the Euro-heritage whites, but by Chinese and Hindu groups which also operate as a ‘legal’ mafia of self-interest, their success shown in the Asian dominance now ahead of Jews in USA universities.

    When Ignatius Loyola founded the Jesuits in 1534, he was attracted by the funds he could obtain from crypto-Jewish sources to build up his new organisation. But not long after Loyola’s death in 1556, huge resentment had built up against Jewish influence, and the anti-Jewish party eventually won.

    The book reviewed is, ‘The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews: Jesuits of Jewish Ancestry & Purity-of-Blood Laws in the Early Society of Jesus’ by Robert Aleksander Maryks, the Unz article by Joyce: The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews. Excerpts from Joyce’s article:

    The intensive manner in which crypto-Jews infiltrated key positions in the Society of Jesus, adapting its ideological positions in accordance with their interests, and eventually establishing a monopoly on top positions that extended to the Vatican

    From 1593 to 1608 a power struggle resulted in the defeat of the crypto-Jewish element and the introduction of laws prohibiting the admittance of members of ‘impure blood.’ From 1608 until 1946 this involved a review of the ancestry of any potential member of the Society of Jesus, up to the fifth generation.

    Complaints of native Spanish members of the Society of Jesus, regarding the crypto-Jewish Jesuit elite, are remarkably uniform. Predominant among their concerns was the Jewish tendency towards monopoly, nepotism, arrogance, aggressive ambition, and an air of insincerity in the practice of Christianity.

    • Regarding the idea from Joyce’s article above, that opposition to narrow influence by Jewish factions, is sometimes most effective by other ethnic groups using similar techniques

      It’s a recently popular theme, that the groups growingly rivalling the Jewish group influence structures, are the Chinese and Hindu (and also Vietnamese etc) ethnic influence groups, very quietly building and deploying their own ethnic networks … the process seen for example in the way that Asian students are beginning to dominate USA elite university admissions, and in USA and Canadian economic life

      The Chinese, Hindus etc are not in open polemic or ‘debate’ re Jewish influence as are European and Anglo heritage whites or Muslims … such polemics are, to them, far less clever, than quietly acting in concert with your own ethnic ‘mafia’, and assembling wealth and power for the future

      Striking how speaking of Jewish mafias and Jewish influence groups is said to be ‘anti-Semitic’, yet media in Europe and elsewhere still speak casually of Italian mafias, Albanian mafias etc

      Regarding Hindu and Chinese groups, they also seem to have a particular immunity to being swayed by Jewish-sponsored or Western-oligarch-sponsored ideological movements, the ones that ‘cuck’ white people

      Like Jewish groups, Chinese and Hindus adapt flexibly to local power structures, with even fewer ‘radicals’ who are or appear to be in opposition to those structures, as happens with Jews, who tend to be both ‘court Jews’ for rulers / oligarchs but also ‘opposition’ leaders (fake opposition at times)

      Like Jewish groups, Asian groups have a very high IQ profile … East Asians being even higher than Jews on average, and other groups having high-IQ segments in their diaspora … this is often accented by an Asian hard-work profile matched by no one else, hence Jews are losing the USA elite university primacy

      Chinese, Indians and other Asians, draw on civilisations thousands of years old, and inherently, their social practices and thinking are much less swayed by Western ideological movements such as SJW social justice warriorism, feminist and LGBT movements, obsession with anti-racism, anti-bias virtue signalling etc … tho of course, when resident in the West they take care not to speak at large or publish in a non-approved way … but Asians quietly retain their ethnic-identity sentiments, plus traditionalist etc viewpoints which they pass on wholesale to their children

      As Chinese, Hindus and many other Asians are usually not Christian, they are also quite immune to Jewish arguments about being a ‘chosen people’ etc … they are able to see the Bible as a largely tribal book about a tribal warrior-god, another example of a common genre, with nothing special of import for themselves … Jews are a rival ethnic group, period, whose tactics can be observed and sometimes mimicked when useful, but not anyone ‘central’ to their mind-set

      Chinese and Hindus are also groups enormous in size, with a base of over a billion people each … high-IQ sectors of Chinese and Hindus, easily overwhelm Jewish groups in sheer numbers

      On a private spoken level, Asians will at times express astonishment at the way that European-descended whites, distinctively in the world, do so little to act in ethnic-mafia ways for their own group benefit, in the way that seems natural for most other ethnic peoples … they privately opine that something seems strange in the willingness of Euro-whites to ‘cuck’ against their own interests

      • I find it disturbing that many of the White race seem to be the only ones who walk around with a self destruct button hanging from their chest and are quite willing to push it repeatedly, for God only knows what reason.

        Every other ethnicity harbors great pride in their race and will do all in their power to protect and promote it.

  4. A very intriguing take on the Inquisition and the religious wars + witchcraft mania can be found on the site One Sylvie Iwanova proposes a very different timeline and explanation for much that has occurred on the planet spanning centuries- perhaps. Essentially the Jesuits in league with the rabbinicals.

  5. Joe Atwill’s theory that the Romans invented Christ, is so ridiculous on so many levels, I don’t know where to start.

    Maybe here – the historical fact corroborated by contemporary historians that Christ was born, lived and died in Palestine. He was a real man, not an invention. We number the years based on the year he was born.

    Or here…the eyewitness accounts of thousands of Christian martyrs in the first two Centuries, i.e. Roman converts to Christianity, being tortured and killed for their beliefs, publicly, in the Circus Maximus, the Colosseum, and elsewhere, many of them from noble families, many of them were soldiers, some of high rank. If the Romans invented Christianity, why would they be so keen to ruthlessly suppress it, to the point of murdering Roman citizens who converted to it? Makes zero sense.

    Or here…the catacombs under Rome where Christians were forced to hide and practise their faith in secret, for the very real fear of being murdered. Anyone can visit them – I have – early Christians obviously lived, worshipped and died and were buried there. These make no sense at all, if the religion they were practising was a Roman invention. If they invented a religion for the people to adopt, why persecute them when they actually adopt it?

    Historical revisionism is a welcome, legitimate and much needed endeavour in so many areas that have been whitewashed by the powerful interests who have a massive stake in keeping us all in the dark. Huge kudos to Russ and WW for doing a great job picking the holes in the establishment version.

    Atwill however, is not a revisionist. He is a fabricator.

  6. Finally had a moment to read. This thread (yesterday’s; 2/8 and previous) and today’s thread (2/9) are very good bookends in a larger historical picture. Certainly I am appreciative for having read them both.

    Where I now begin to find confusion in the potential link to this thread:

    Of course, I am not challenging the fine research here; however, I am having a hard time finding the, potential links. Although the Dominicans are normally given the attribution of having founded the Spanish Inquisition, there has been a general acceptance that Jesuits “carried the flame” if you will; an insinuation that the more martial members of the Jesuit faith felt simple scholarship to be less effective than other means of pushing back against Protestant ideas seeping into Catholic ranks (so Catholics still, but becoming more “liberal Catholics”).

    Please let me apologize in advance for my own confusion; I mean no harm to anyone who may pass by here, and find myself just a little unclear. Also, as with Winter Watch’s staff, the author of this post is not a Catholic and has “ZERO side in any debate”; a humble student of history, I am simply seeking answers.


  7. Dear Mr. Winter,

    Here are some information on the Spanish Inquisition for you and your readers to enjoy.








  8. Dear Mr. Winter,

    Here is some more information you and your readers to enjoy concerning the Spanish Inquisition.










  9. The inquisition covered heretics, not protestants. Martin Luther did not compose his 95 theses until 1517. That was the beginning of the Protestant Revolt. Martin Luther, a Catholic priest, was excommunicated from the Catholic church in 1521. So there would be less than a decade for his activities to result in “Protestants” before the inquisition had come to an end.

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