History of the Tribunal of the Inquisition of Lima

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The History of the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition of Lima (1596-1820) consists of two volumes and was published in Santiago in 1887, by José Toribio Medina. The books contain records of judicial proceedings, correspondence between inquisitors, certificates related to the administration and functioning of the institution and orders issued by the Council of Inquisition to the court of Lima. The documents cover from the creation of the court by Viceroy Toledo in 1569 to its final dissolution in 1820.
José Toribio Medina, Chilean diplomat and polygrapher, carried out monumental research work on the Spanish Inquisition in the colonies of America during his diplomatic functions in Spain in 1884. He visited the castle of Simancas, where the archive of the Spanish Inquisition was located, and there began a meticulous process of compilation and transcription of files related to the Spanish colonies in America.
The Historia del Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición de Lima ended up having nine volumes between 1887 and 1899 covering the tribunals of the Santo Oficio in Lima, Chile, the Philippine Islands, Mexico, Cartagena de Indias and the Provinces of El Plata. His approach was to provide a compilation of documents to facilitate the construction of the history of the Spanish colonies in America, rather than to perform a particular analysis and interpretation of the Inquisition.
The Holy Office of Lima, similar to its counterparts elsewhere in the Americas, initially persecuted “new Christians” who secretly continued to practice Judaism. However, he did not get involved in the indigenous world. From the auto-da-fé of 1639, the court extended its jurisdiction to protect the morals of society, worrying about cases of sorcery, bigamy, religious applicants and other sexual crimes.
Medina’s collection of documents has been of great use to scholars of American history, allowing a deeper study not only of religion and politics, but also of the mentality, economic structure of colonial society, and the mechanisms of coercion used by the colonial state.

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