Spanish Jews

Spanish Jewry goes back to at least 965 BCE, the time of the Roman Empire and era of King Solomon. Jewish history has felt a lot of sufferings and persecutions throughout time, and the events that took place in the Spanish Inquisition should be remembered as one of the most cataclysmic and darkest events in the history of the Jewish people.

The timeline describes how the Jewry was coerced to leave and was expelled. There social life, freedom and right taken away by the different councils which include the Council of  Elvira Granada (The first known council of the Christian church in Spain) and the Council of Toledo (The First Council of Toledo was called in 397 and lasted for almost three years. There were 18 councils of Toledo that was organized) by forced conversion of Jews to Christian Catholics, prohibition of marriage between a Christian and a Jew, strict subjection to Roman law and Jews were banned from public office, they were forbidden to build synagogues, celebration of Jewish feast days was forbidden, Non-compliance resulted in severe penalties such as Burning-at-the-Stake and in 615 AD A decree ruled all Jews must adopt the Catholic faith.

The most brutal killings happened On July 30, 1492, the entire Jewish communities, numbering around 300,000 people, were expelled from Spain. Thousands of refugees died while trying to save themselves and their families. Jewish passengers trying to leave by ship were charged extortionate sums by its captains and were dumped overboard in the middle of the ocean. Hearsays, about Jews swallowing gold and diamonds before leaving Spain were knifed open by bandits hoping to find treasures in their stomachs.

The Spanish Inquisition was led and masterminded by Thomas de Torquemada. Its goal was to cleanse the Church of heretics in Spain and abroad. As appointed Confessor to Queen Isabella, he used his position and influences to spread his ideas and vision of the upcoming Inquisition. Hesitant at first, King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile were yet convinced and gave the order to begin the Spanish Inquisition. The Inquisition was accepted at first as an agent of public protection, but the Inquisition quickly became a public menace because of the relentless suffering it brought and brutal killings of the Jews.

Some of the Spanish Jews, who ended up in Turkey, were lucky because they were accepted with open arms, unlike those who ended up in Portugal who in the end suffered the same faith as those who stayed in Spain. They were expelled in Portugal and thousands were forced to convert .Non-adherence means death.

Jews, who ended up in Turkey, North Africa, Italy Portugal, and the Arab world, were known as Sephardim, The descendants of Jews who left Spain and Portugal The word “Sephardim” comes from the Hebrew word for Spain, Sepharad.

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