The Inquisition was well established in Spain at the time of Cortés’s conquest in the 1520s. A tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition came in the conquistadors’ wake, ultimately established at Mexico City in 1571 with authority to regulate Catholic morality throughout “New Spain.” Most of the Inquisition trials concerned petty breaches of religious conduct, but others dealt with the much more serious crime of heresy. In November 1598, the Inquisition became alarmed about the rise of a group who believed that the Day of Judgment was at hand. Among the group denounced to the Holy Office was Marina de San Miguel, a Spanish-born woman who held a high status due to her mystical visions. Her confessions, offered between November 1598 and January 1599, reveal the degree to which confessions of “deviance” could be extorted from a victim. In March 1601, Marina was stripped naked to the waist and paraded upon a mule. Forced to confess her errors, she was sentenced to 100 lashes with a whip.
Jacqueline Holler, “The Spiritual and Physical Ecstasies of a Sixteenth-Century Beata: Marina de San Miguel Confesses Before the Mexican Inquisition,” in Richard Boyer and Geoffrey Spurling, eds., Colonial Lives: Documents on Latin American History, 1550–1850 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 79–98.
Abstract and Key Words
At the time of European contact in the late 15th century, the Taino were one of the major indigenous peoples of the Caribbean. They were the principal inhabitants of most of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (presently Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas. Within decades after Columbus made landfall in the Caribbean, however, they had been nearly wiped out by disease and enslavement. Preserved pre-Columbian duhos (ceremonial wooden stools) from the Caribbean region, such as this example from the island of Hispaniola are thus exceedingly rare. Scholars differ as to the function of the stools. Some believe they represented seats of authority. Others think they served as altars for votive offerings. Still others argue that the Taino peoples used them as ceremonial trays for making "cohoba," a hallucinogenic snuff prepared for shamanistic rituals.
Library of Congress, Jay I. Kislak Collection