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The Basque Witch Trials

By Anastasia F-B

The trials of the Basque witches at Longrono, near Navarre, in northern Spain, which began in January 1609, was almost certainly the biggest single event of its kind in history. By the end some 7,000 cases had been examined by the Inquisition. The first phase ended in 1610, with a declaration of auto da fe against thirty-one of the accused, eleven of whom were burned to death. Thereafter proceedings were suspended until the inquisitors had a chance to gather further evidence, on what they believed to be a widespread witch cult in the Basque region. Alonso de Salazar Frias, the junior inquisitor and a lawyer by training, was delegated to examine the matter at length. Armed with an Edict of Grace, promising pardon to all those who voluntarily reported themselves and denounced their accomplices, he travelled across the countryside. As was usual in cases of this kind, denunciations flowed in. Frias finally returned to Longrono with ‘confessions’ from close on 2000 people, 1,384 of whom were children between the ages of seven and fourteen, implicating a further 5000 named individuals. The evidence gathered covered 11,000 pages in all.

Read the original article at: Ana the Imp

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