Online lecture to examine the Spanish Inquisition


New Mexico’s history is a melting pot of cultures – each one filled with triumphs and controversies.

These are the stories State Historian Rob Martínez enjoys delving into.

In 2018, Martínez’s office teamed up with the History and Literary Arts Department at the National Hispanic Cultural Center to present the lecture series, “Tertulia Histórica Albuquerque.”

State Historian Rob Martínez

At 2 p.m. June 19, he will present an online lecture “No One Expects the Spanish Inquisition in New Mexico: A History.”

The event is free and registration is required at

The Spanish Inquisition was a powerful office set up within the Catholic church to root out and punish heresy throughout Europe and the Americas.

Beginning in the 12th century and continuing for hundreds of years, the Inquisition is infamous for the severity of its torture and persecution of Jews and Muslims.

Its worst manifestation was in Spain, where the Spanish Inquisition was a dominant force for more than 200 years, resulting in some 32,000 executions.

Martínez will look at the Inquisition as a whole and also focus on Mexico and New Mexico.

“This is a series I created because it’s for everybody and anyone to learn about New Mexico history,” Martínez says. “COVID hit and we continued the series online and it’s been great.”

Martínez became State Historian in 2019, after six years as Deputy State Historian.

The lectures run about 45 minutes.

Martínez says he tries to get participants to step out of our world and into that of the Spanish Inquisition.

“They do things differently there,” he says. “We live in a modern ‘separation of church and state.’ Most civilizations before us didn’t have that separation.”

Martínez has spent decades researching and traveling.

He says there are a few myths about the Spanish Inquisition.

“People think this was the only one,” he says. “There were at least four more. Another myth is that the Inquisition (only) went after Jews and Muslims. It (also) went after baptized Catholics.”

Martínez spends time preparing the lecture and says he wants it to be “visually stimulating.”

“I also want it to be correct,” he says. “Once we’ve finished one lecture, I start to work on the next.”


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