The Inquisition refers broadly to a number of historical movements orchestrated by the Pope and aimed at securing Papal religious and financial authority in Europe through the conversion, and sometimes persecution, of alleged heretics.
In Spain and Portugal, the auto da fes and pre-decided trials of accused heretics often ended with men and women being burned alive. Spanish missionaries would later import the Inquisition to the New World, convicting and killing Central and South Americans who refused to convert to Catholicism from the early sixteenth century onward.
There were four major movements, starting with the Medieval Inquisition in 1184 and ending with the Spanish Inquisition in 1834.
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