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Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions
The Inquisition was a Roman Catholic tribunal convened for discovery and punishment of heresy. It was marked by its severity of questioning, punishment and elimination of any rights to the accused. Most associate the Inquisition with Spain and Portugal. It was actually instituted by Pope Innocent III (1198 A.D.-1216) in Rome. A later pope, Pope Gregory IX established the Inquisition, in 1233, to combat the heresy of the Albigenses, a religious sect in France. The Albigenses taught that Jesus the Christ was God but that He only appeared as a man while on earth. They also taught that the Catholic church of the time was corrupted by its power and wealth. Their asceticism and humility compared to the great affluence of the Roman Catholic clergy helped to bring many converts to this evangelistic movement. Some of them did hold some heretical views similar to the Gnostics who taught that matter is evil and that emancipation comes through gnosis (knowledge).
By 1255 the Inquisition was fully activated throughout Central and Western Europe. It was never instituted in England or Scandinavia.