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Witch hunts have a long history in Europe and the American colonies. Motivations for the accusation of witchcraft could be political, with govnt official sometimes forcing people to accuse others. In Europe the popular view of women as inherently evil and sexual was a driving force behind witch hunts.

The peak of the witch hunt was during the period of the European wars of religion, peaking between about 1580 and 1630. The witch hunts declined in the early 18th century.

The Salem Witch Trials [infographic

The Salem Witch Trials of 1692-1693 were by far the largest and most lethal outbreak of witchcraft hysteria in American history. What exactly were the factors that made Salem stand out? #salemwitchtrials #witchcraft #americanhistory

June 10th, 1692: First Salem witch hanging. In Salem Village in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Bridget Bishop, the first colonist to be tried in the Salem witch trials, is hanged after being found guilty of the practice of witchcraft.

Witch Hunts in Scotland: Scottish Witch Isobel Gowdie and King James' Role in Witch Trials

Illumination from an Medieval manuscript featuring witches on their broomsticks. from Witch Hunts in Scotland: Scottish Witch Isobel Gowdie and King James' Role in Witch Trials by Carolyn Emerick. Click the picture to read :-)

The dark side of the Middle Ages. Inquisitions (1300-1400s) were the church’s effort to eradicate heresy. They went around from town to town finding people they believed were heretics and put them on trial. The most famous part of this was the witch hunt where they suspected innocent people, mainly women, to be witches and put them to death.

The Forfar witches. In 1563 the newly created Church of Scotland made it illegal to either be a witch or to consult a witch in an attempt to stamp out pagan practices. This Act of Parliament was not abandoned until 1736. In between 1563 and 1736 is known from documentary evidence that at least 1,500 people were executed for the crime of being a witch..... (more)