Monday, March 30, 2015

This Day in Christian History: March 30

This Day in Christian History: March 30

March 30, 1492: Jews Expelled from Spain During the Spanish Inquisition

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue...and 200,000 Jews were expelled from Spain.

Columbus wrote in his diary:
"In the same month in which their Majesties [Ferdinand and Isabella] issued the edict that all Jews should be driven out of the kingdom and its territories, in the same month they gave me the order to undertake with sufficient men my expedition of discovery to the Indies." 

This date became as important to Jewish History as it was to American history.

The Spanish inquisition began in 1478 when the Spanish monarchs decided that Catholicism should be the faith of the nation, and began to regulate religion. Everyone must convert to Catholicism, or leave Spain.

Ferdinand and Isabella, Monarchs of Spain
At the time of the 1492 edict, there were around 200,000 Jews living in Spain, and all these people
now somehow had to leave. What followed was tragedy. Days before the edict was issued, rumors developed around Spain proclaiming that Jews had swallowed jewels and gold. As a result, many Jews were knifed to death and cut open in hopes of finding treasures inside their corpses. Ship captains would charge exorbitant amounts of money to transport Jews out of Spain, only to dump them overboard like needless boxes of cargo in the middle of the ocean.

Of the dozens of expulsions the Jews experienced throughout their history, Spain's remains the most infamous.

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