Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Auto-da-fe

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AUTO-DA-FE (Act of Faith), a public solemnity of the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal, at which the sentences of the court were read; those who were declared innocent were formally absolved, and the condemned were handed over to the secular power for punishment. The day chosen was usually some Sunday between Trinity and Advent. The first auto-da-fe was held by Torquemada at Seville in 1481; the last was probably that mentioned by Llorente, the historian of the Inquisition, as having been solemnised in Mexico in 1815. See Inquisition.