Cayetano Ripoll was a schoolteacher of humble means, executed in Valencia in 1826 by the Spanish Inquisition — the final victim of that infamous ecclesiastic tribunal.
Torture during the Inquisiton
Ripoll was accused of teaching Deism to his students in Ruzafa — an act of heresy that would be harshly punished. In the early 19th century, the Inquisition was mostly a relic, and Ripoll’s sentencing and execution were widely and roundly condemned throughout Europe. That didn’t matter to the Archbishop of Valencia, though, and on July 31st, 1826, Cayetano Ripoll was hung, his body dropped into a barrel painted with symbolic flames, and the barrel then thrown into an incinerator.
Ripoll had been a patriotic soldier who fought in the war against the invading Napoleonic forces. He was taken by the French army as a prisoner, and during his time in a French jail, exposed to liberal ideas. Deism was considered heresy, because it claimed a belief in God should come through reason and observation, not blind faith.
A plaza in Valencia, near the end of Blasco Ibáñez, is dedicated to the memory of Ripoll and this black date in Valencian history (location).