The Inquisition in Colombia
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. The Palace of Inquistion, built to serve as the court and jail, was completed in 1770 (it became a museum in 1924 and still remains unchanged to this day).
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.
However, from 1570-1700, the Cartagena Tribunal only executed 3 people and held approximately 1100 trials, in comparison to Lima, which executed 31 people and held 2200 trials, and Mexico which executed 47 people and held approximately 2400 trials.
When Cartagena declared its complete independence from Spain on November 11, 1811, the inquisitors were urged to leave the city. The Inquisition operated again after the Reconquest in 1815, but it disappeared entirely when Spain surrendered six years later to the troops led by Simón Bolívar.
Records of the Inquisiton in Colombia
Procesos de fe, 1612-1799:Professions of faith of persons tried by the Holy Office of the Inquisition of Cartagena.
Pleitos civiles relativos a Cartagena de Indias, 1634-1864:Civil lawsuits relative to the Tribunal de Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) during the Inquisition.