- "In 1482, in a monastery in central Spain, a Catholic monk was appointed to the Spanish Inquisition. From this day, Friar Tomas de Torquemada would begin a career renowned for its cruelty and persecution. As head of the Spanish Inquisition, Torquemada was responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Spaniards. Known as the 'Black Legend,' he spread fear throughout Spain. Thousands were arrested, interrogated, and mercilessly tortured. Many more were burnt alive at the stake. In the name of his religion, Torquemada forced almost every Jew out of Spain, destroying their lives forever."
- —Introduction to a Discovery Channel documentary about Torquemada
Tomás de Torquemada, O.P. (1420 – September 16, 1498) was a 15th-century Spanish Dominican friar and the first Grand Inquisitor in Spain's movement to restore Christianity among its populace in the late 15th century. As well as being the Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada was also the confessor to Isabella I of Castile. He is notorious for his zealous campaign against the crypto-Jews and crypto-Muslims of Spain. He was one of the chief supporters of the Alhambra Decree, which expelled the Jews from Spain in 1492. About 2,000 people were burned at the stake by the Spanish Inquisition between 1480 and 1530. In modern times, his name has become synonymous with the Christian Inquisition’s horror, religious bigotry, and cruel fanaticism.