A public ceremony during which the sentences upon those brought before the Spanish Inquisition were read and after which the sentences were executed by the secular authorities. The first auto-da-fé took place at Sevilla in 1481; the last, in Mexico in 1850. The ceremonies, which became increasingly elaborate and spectacular, were normally staged in the city plaza, often in the presence of royalty.
“Jews or suspected Jews would be seized, thrust into inquisitional dungeons, interrogated (occasionally under torture), and sentenced to a variety punishments, ranging from terms of penitential service to imprisonment or to “relaxation,” that is, death.
Thus, even in its earliest phase, between 1479 and 1481, in a ferocious reign of terror, nearly four hundred individuals were burned at the stake for heresy in the city of Seville alone.
Throughout Castilian Andalusia, some two thousand persons were burned alive, seventeen thousand others were “reconciled,” that is, spared the death penalty but subjected to such punishments as imprisonment, confiscation of property, and debarment from all employment, public and private, Their wives and children faced destitution.”
Oliver CROMWELL & Menasseh Ben Israel
The context for the actions of Cromwell and Menasseh involved Protestant
millenarianism and Jewish messianism, religious toleration, and the good of the state.
Belief in the millennium and in the Second Coming of Christ was long-standing but received fresh impetus after the Reformation.
Jewish conversion would be a witness to Christ, and a reproof to the church of Rome – it would herald or coincide with the Second Coming. On the other hand, some Jews believed that their messiah would appear when they had been scattered throughout the world