1536: The Portuguese Inquisition

Man about to be burnt at the stake in Goa (Jacques Grasset de Saint-Sauveur, c. 1797, Public Domain)


The Portuguese Inquisition is launched by papal bull in May 1536. Five years later, king João III extends the Inquisition to the cover the whole Portuguese Empire. Until 1821, the Inquisition investigates more than 50,000 trials and executes around 2,000. The most serious crimes include Judaism, Lutheranism, Islam, heretical opinions, witchcraft and bigamy. 


An independent tribunal is set up in Goa in 1560: The massive institution covers all the Eastern colonies from Sofala on Africa‘s East Coast to Malacca in Malaysia. Brazil is under the jurisdiction of the central tribunal in Lisbon.