Catalonia Pardons 1,000 Executed For Witchcraft

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

BARCELONA (Worthy News)— The parliament of Spain’s Catalonia region has pardoned up to 1,000 people, most of them women, executed for witchcraft between the 15th and 18th centuries.

The resolution passed by a substantial majority of 114 in favor, 14 against, and six abstentions.

It was supported by Catalonia’s pro-independence and left-wing parties in the parliament, who said those targeted were “victims of misogynistic persecution.”

The move followed similar gestures in Scotland, Switzerland, and Norway after 100 European historians signed a manifesto titled: “They weren’t witches, they were women.”

Catalonia was one of the first regions in Europe to carry out witch hunts.

It was also considered one of the worst areas for executions. “We have recently discovered the names of more than 700 women who were persecuted, tortured, and executed between the 15th and 18th centuries,” said the groups behind the resolution.

Alleged witches were often blamed for the sudden deaths of children or poor harvests, and identified by the ‘Devil’s mark’ or ‘Witch’s teat’.

Those found guilty of witchcraft faced execution by hanging, beheading, or being burned at the stake.

Historians say between 1580 and 1630 about 50,000 people were condemned to death for witchcraft across Europe, of whom about 80 percent were women.

Experts suggest that while witch-hunts raged across northern Europe, in Spain the Inquisition had its hands full rooting out “heresy” among Jews and Muslims. Many were forcibly converted to Christianity, in violation of Scripture which emphasizes the free choice of people to accept faith in Christ.

The Inquisition was sceptical about allegations of witchcraft.

Catalonia was the exception, however, and witch-hunts persisted well into the 18th century there. What is thought to be the first European law against witchcraft was passed in the Catalan city of Lleida in 1424.

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