Tomás de Torquemada Biography
Birthday: October 14, 1420 (Libra)
Born In: Castile, Spain
Tomás de Torquemada was a Dominican friar and the first grand inquisitor in Spain. His homogenizing religious practices led to the expulsion of thousands of Muslims and Jews from Spain in the late 15th century. The nephew of a noted theologian, Juan de Torquemada, he initially joined the San Pablo Dominican monastery. In 1452, Torquemada became the prior of Santa Cruz at Segovia and went on to hold the office for 22 years. During his tenure, he became familiar with Queen Isabella I and soon became her confessor and adviser. He was convinced that the existence of Islamic converts and Jewish converts would hinder the social and religious life of Spain. As a result, he became a supporter of the Alhambra Decree that resulted in banishment of the Jews from Spain in 1492. His final years were marked by widespread complaints which led Pope Alexander VI to employ assistant inquisitors. Torquemada died in 1498, after spending fifteen years as Spain's grand inquisitor.