Torquemada, Tomas De
Torquemada, Tomas de the first inquisitor general of Spain, was born in 1420, and was a monk of the Order of St. Dominic at Torquemada, Spain, and prior of the monastery of Santa Cruz at Segovia. He was appointed by Ferdinand and Isabella inquisitor-general in 1483; and confirmed in that post Oct. 17 of that year by pope Innocent VIII; who gave him the title of "confessor of sovereigns." In the course of sixteen years he gave to the flames no less than eight thousand eight hundred victims, besides executing nearly as many in effigy, condemning ninety thousand to perpetual imprisonment and other severe punishments, and expelling from Spain above eight hundred thousand Jews. In his later years his authority was curtailed by the appointment of four colleagues by order of pope Alexander VI. He died at Avila, Sept. 16,1498. See Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, s.v.