Florida State University Journal of Transnational Law & Policy


Religious freedom has always constituted a problem in Spain. It can be said that over the centuries, there has only existed intolerance and even on several occasions, persecution. Clearly, the times in which respect and peaceful coexistence occurred in Spain among the three principal religions were limited and fleeting. Unfortunately, even Spanish constitutional history is replete with examples of religious intolerance. From the Cddiz Constitution of 1808, liberal in its politics, but tremendously repressive with respect to religion up until the present day, there have been scarcely twentyfive years of "religious freedom." Recalling the period prior to the first constitution, religious freedom was virtually nonexistent. Moreover, the historical obsession with political and religious unity overshadowed what little freedom existed. This desire for unity has itself been the source of significant and weighty problems, for both politics and religion, throughout most of Spanish history. When this quest for unity is mentioned, the name of Torquemada, the Inquisition, or the exploits of the Duke of Alba in the Netherlands are certain to come to mind rather than Toledo and the coexistence of three religions within its walls. Nevertheless, as this essay sets forth the pre-Constitutional and Constitutional history of Spain, it chronicles a development, if intermittent, towards a modem law of religious freedom.