Historical Term: Auto da fe

“Auto da fe (auto da fe Span., act of faith). The ceremony accompanying the execution of condemned heretics during the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal. Pope Sixtus IV first authorized the Spanish monarchy to name inquisitors in a bull of 1478.  The Inquisition lasted until 1813, when it was suppressed by the Cortes de Cadiz. Restored by Ferdinand VII in 1814, it was suppressed again in 1820, only to be reinstated three years later. The last auto da fe took place in 1826; the Inquisition was finally abolished in 1834.”

Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.

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