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In theory anyone who had any Jewish or Moorish ancestor, however remote, was of "impure blood" and suffered accordingly. Moreover they were second class citizens for racial, not religious, reasons.

There was no question about it: according to the rules even the most devout Christian should be punished for having even a single distant ancestor of the wrong race.

The earliest known case judging Limpieza de Sangre comes from the Church of Cordoba.

It explained the procedure to judge the purity of blood of a candidate as follows: Kneeling, with his right hand placed over the image of a crucifix on a Bible, the candidate confirmed not being of either Jewish or Moorish extraction.

In 1870 a decree suppressed all use of blood purity standards in determining eligibility for any government position or licensed profession.

Less formalised discrimination was still present well into the 20th century.

Having collected all the reports, the secretary or the notary must read them all to the council and a vote would decide whether the candidate was approved. Other statutes regulated other religious Orders, the priesthood, Christian guilds, schools, and military and government offices.

A simple majority was sufficient, after which the candidate had to promise to obey all the laws and customs of the Church. Tests of limpieza de sangre began to lose their utility by the 19th century, but in certain religious contexts they continued.

When the Jews and Moors were expelled from Spain towards the end of the fifteenth century, racial legislation was passed to "purify" the blood of the upper classes.

An edict of 8 March 1804 by King Ferdinand VII resolved that no knight of the Military Orders could wed without having a council vouch for the limpieza de sangre of his prospective spouse.

In some places second class citizens were obliged to intermarry well into the nineteenth century because ecclesiastical authorities refused licences for "mixed marriages".

In Majorca for example, xuetas, people descended from conversos and who would have failed the blood purity tests were still considered second class.

No xueta priest was allowed to say Mass in a cathedral until the 1960s. They lived ordinary lives as far as they were allowed to and spoke the local language of where they lived.

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