Guide to Brazil

The lesser-known story of the Brazilian Inquisition

After terrorizing much of Spain and Portugal, the inquisition spread to many of these countries' colonies in Africa, Asia, and the Americas — including to Brazil

brazilian inquisition
Inquisition scene. Image: Shutterstock

When the Portuguese landed in Brazil in 1500, among the first things they did was hold a mass and plant a crucifix on the beach where they made first contact with the land’s native people, an area now located in the northeastern state of Bahia. The act symbolized the conquest of the territory by the Kingdom of Portugal, which was intrinsically linked to the Catholic Church.

Along with explorers and pioneers, Brazil soon began to receive a wave of Catholics keen on spreading the word of God to this new land. These Jesuits were explicitly tasked with catechizing...

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