Secret Mexican diary revealed some secrets of Spanish Inquisition

Last Updated: June 14, 2017
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Mexican diary, which contains handwritten stories about the life and death of the Carvajal family in 16th-Century Mexico, shades a light on many aspects of Spanish Inquisition. The author of the diary is Luis de Carvajal “The Young” who came to New Spain, now Mexico, during the early colonisation of the Americas.

The dark times of Spanish Inquisition touched not only Europe but Americas too. A story of torture, betrayal and persecution is captivating Mexicans almost 500 years after it happened. The life and death of the Carvajal family laid out on the pages of the old priceless diary, which tells the story of the early colonisation of Americas.

The diary became in the spotlight after a decades-long search for a national treasure, at last, it came to an unexpected happy ending.

Luis de Carvajal’s family governed part of northern Mexico and soon made enemies, including a power-hungry viceroy keen to topple them from power. The real problem for him was that fact he was a practising Jew, a crime punishable by death in the times of the Spanish Inquisition.

A view of the manuscript.

The life and death of Jew during the era of Spanish Inquisition in Mexico

The ambitious viceroy wasn’t the only one Jew in the New Spain, soon he became a leader in Mexico’s underground Jewish community. But Inquisition did its job thoroughly – Carvajal was sentenced to death when he was just 30 years old.

The tortures of Inquisition were unbearable, and brave Jew revealed the names of 120 fellow Jewish people. His captors forced him to listen as those “heretics”, which included his own mother, were tortured in the cell next to him.

“He tried to commit suicide because he couldn’t cope with having told them about his family and friends, but didn’t manage it,”

says the historician Alicia Gojman.

An iPhone lies next to the manuscript

The dramatic life of Luis de Carvajal found comfort in poetry, writing verses and prayers to reaffirm his faith in the face of so much cruelty.

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