In 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain sponsored Christopher Columbus and his voyage to the New World. But in 1477, they were behind something far more infamous. In that year, the Spanish monarchs petitioned Pope Sixtus IV to revive the Inquisition, targeting Muslims and Jews. So began the reign of terror known as the Spanish Inquisition.
The Spanish Inquisition occurred in the larger enterprise of ecclesial and secular courts imposing conformity to the Roman Catholic Church and stamping out all dissent. Rome sponsored inquisitions as early as the eleventh century. But the Spanish Inquisition was unique.