The Inquisition in Colombia

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Initially the Inquisition in Colombia was under control of the tribunal in Lima, since Colombia was part of the Viceroyalty of Peru at that time.  However due to the vast area the Lima Tribunal covered, a tribunal was established on February 5, 1610 in Cartagena, Colombia.  It was a prominent port, where foreigners seeking to enter Spain's American possessions might be expected to land, and where it was, therefore, desirable to have means for detecting and punishing heresy. The Cartagena tribunal had jurisdiction over a vast area, including the bishopries of Cartagena, Panama, Santa Marta, Puerto Rico, Popayan, Venezuela, and Santiago de Cuba.

There were many Jews in Cartagena and its vicinity, and they were quite visible; but often the tribunal was more involved in disputes among the inquisitors than in persecuting heretics and Jews. (Conflicts were frequent among the various ecclesiastical factions, which arranged themselves into two hostile groups. The Franciscans, the Augustinians, the Mercedarios, and the Jesuits formed one party, and the Dominicans supported by the bishop constituted the other party). The sixty-three procesos of Jews before the tribunal in Cartagena indicate that all were born in Portugal; nine of them were tortured and only one was sentenced to serve in the galleys sailing between Puerto Bello and Spain. African slaves accused of witchcraft were much more frequent victims of the tribunal.