The Spanish Inquisition: where horrific religious persecution meets 40 year-old British humour.
Saved from the dustbin of history by two gangly Brits and that guy who made Time Bandits, the revival of the Spanish Inquistion has been as rousing a success as that of its countryman, Spanish Influenza. With the delicate political sensibility of Idi Amin and the fashion sense of Gary Oldman in Dracula, the Spanish Inquisition kicked it old school 1478 - 1834.
As every school child knows, Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain funded Columbus' 1492 sailing of the ocean blue. Less well known is their 1492 expulsion of the Spanish Jews.
Why not just convert to Christianity and pay lip service, we hear you ask? The Inquisition was as much a device to deal with protestants as it was an excuse to go around persecuting Jewish converts to Christianity. The conversos (which isn't a kind of sexy Spanish shoe) were pretty much hated by Christians and Jews alike, regarded as traitors and infiltrators.
Not so much.
The Spanish monarchy--a pragmatic bunch and totally not inbred psychotics--dealt with this delicate social issue by burning them at the stake.
Cardinal Francisco Jimenez de Cisneros (Jimmy to his friends) was Grand Inquisitor and host of several successful travel documentaries.
"I want John Cleese to play me."
Feeling that kicking Jews around was overplayed, the good cardinal went to recently conquered Granada in order to convert the Moors. As if being Grand Inquisitor wasn't a big enough feather in his douchebag cap, he held mass forced conversions, caused a revolt, and burned "all Arabic manuscripts in Granada except those dealing with medicine," mostly because the Christian concept of medicine was not dissimilar to the aforementioned stake burning.