Posted 28 января 2022,, 06:46

Published 28 января 2022,, 06:46

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Witches and sorcerers executed 400 years ago pardoned in Catalonia

Witches and sorcerers executed 400 years ago pardoned in Catalonia

28 января 2022, 06:46
The Parliament of Catalonia (Spain) passed a resolution to pardon thousands of women who were executed for witchcraft about 400 years ago. The day before, similar decisions were made in Scotland, Switzerland and Norway.

According to the BBC , the process of "forgiveness" began with the adoption of a manifesto called "They weren't witches, they were women", signed by more than 100 European historians.

Scholars have calculated that between 1580 and 1630 about 50,000 people across Europe were sentenced to death for witchcraft. Almost 80% of the convicts were women.

However, Catalonia was an exception, and witch-hunts continued there until the 18th century. And the first European law against witchcraft was adopted in 1424 in the Catalan city of Lleida.

According to Pau Castel , a professor of modern history at the University of Barcelona, witch-hunts were more common in Catalonia because the rural areas were under the absolute rule of feudal lords, and a person's confession alone was sufficient proof of guilt. At the same time, the scientist added that, paradoxically, in cases where the court was led by the Inquisition, the accused were often released for lack of evidence.

Interestingly, in Europe in the Middle Ages, witches and sorcerers were mainly blamed for the sudden death of children or natural disasters and crop failures.

Unlike the rest of Europe, witches in Catalonia were hanged, not burned at the stake. Castell says this could be because it was cheaper and valuable firewood wasn't wasted.

Some Catalan villages even hired their own witch hunters. One of these was John Casabruhas, who "worked" in the village of Syant. His investigations and allegations led to the execution of 33 women. When the Inquisition later discovered that most of the women were innocent, Casabrujas was burned at the stake.

According to historian Nuria Morello , the main accused were people practicing traditional medicine or women living without families, who were treated with particular suspicion.

The most infamous witchcraft trial in Spain took place in the village of Sugarramurdi in Navarre, where it was alleged that men and women, including priests, practiced witchcraft in a large cave.

Before the trial began in 1609, a total of 7,000 people came under suspicion in nearby Logroño - an astonishing number considering that even today Sugarramurdi has only about 230 inhabitants.

Two thousand suspects confessed to witchcraft, almost three-quarters of them were children, but almost all later retracted their words. As a result, 11 people were convicted, of which five died in prison while awaiting execution. The remaining six - four women and two men - were burned at the stake.

The adoption of a resolution on the pardon of witches is not the only step taken by the Catalan authorities in an attempt to rehabilitate the executed. Four children's playgrounds in the Catalan village of Palau Solita y Plegamans have been named after convicted witches, with plans to name other Catalan streets and squares after murdered women.