Expulsion of Jews from Spain Essay

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Category: Alhambra Decree

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The Jewish Expulsion put an end to one of the most notable and largest settlements in Europe. The main leader behind this dreadful era was Tomas de Torquemada. The King and Queen of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella appointed Torquemada Inquisitor General in 1483. I believe that if Torquemada hadnt become such good friends with the King and Queen and was not as influencing, as he became to be during the expulsion, then he would not have been appointed Inquisitor General and the Spanish Inquisition would not of happened. Before Torquemada came around, kings Fernando I, Fernando II, Alonso VII and Alonso VIII trusted and got along with the Jews.

So much so that they gave the Jews all the same privileges as the Christians. At one point the Jews even had more privileges then the Christians did(, A History of the Jewish People). The turning point came when Ferdinand III and James I were in power. They began immediately to limit is the Jews privileges. They were forced to wear yellow badges on their clothing to keep them from interacting with the Christians. If they did not wear their yellow badge then they would be fined 10 maravedis (gold or silver coins). They were also not allowed to live under the same roof, eat or drink with them, or use the same bath.

It also went as far as Christians were not allowed to drink wine that was made by a Jew and only use medical remedies made by a Christians. Jews were prohibited to appear in public on Good Friday. Although the Jews had limiting privileges they were the ones with the best jobs and most income. They did need the good jobs though, to pay the high taxes and to raise the compulsory loans issued by the king. The Jews had a lot of high status jobs. Some were even aids to the king.

The Jewish community even had their own separate political body (Netanyahu, B.The Orgins of the Inquisitionv). Pedro I favored immensely the Jewish population. His army, court, and servants all consisted of Jews. Although Pedro I protected the Jews, or at least tried to, they still suffered greatly. Many Jewish invested towns were totally destroyed. Torahs were torn to pieces, Jews were always being robbed and 300 Jewish families were taken prisoners to Granada. Pedro I was beheaded by his Henry and Bertrand Du Guesclin on March 14, 1369. When Henry came to the throne as Henry II, there began an era of suffering and persecution leading to their expulsion.

The Jews had officially been reduced to poverty. Despite his hatred for the Jews, Henry still employed Jews, as he could not go with out their services. He had wealthy Jews as his chief tax collectors and financial councilors. The Christians believed they should not be allowed to have such high placing jobs. They asked that Jews should be kept away from palaces, should not be allowed to hold public offices, live apart from the Christians, should not wear expensive garments or ride mules, always wear the yellow badge and not be allowed to have Christian names.

The king only granted the last two requests (The History of Jews: Down From the Earliest Time Period to Modern Times.. In the Cortes of Soria (1380) it was said that rabbis should be forbidden. The penalty was from 6,000 maravedis to death, mutilation, expulsion, or excommunication. The kind ordered that offensive passages should be removed from the Torah or their prayer- books. And who ever did circumcision upon someone else, or helped convert a moor automatically became a slave and the property of the treasury.

Jews never dared to go out in public without a badge for the consequences were far too great (http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Spain#Anti-Jewish_enactments). They were mugged and murdered on public streets. For this reason the king finally decided that it was necessary that if a Jew was found murdered in a town that it was fined 6,000 maravedis. Also since the Christians were making such a fuss about the employment issue, the king was forced to order prohibiting employing Jews as financial agents, or tax-farmers to the king, queen, infants, or grandees. Shortly after this the Council of Palencia passed the law that Jews and Christians were to be completely separated.

Ferrnand Martinez led a huge mob to Seville to force Jews to convert. If they didnt they would be killed. 4,000 Jews were killed and the rest were forced to convert after they saw they had no other choice. In Seville 7,000 Jewish families were living there and two out of the three temples were turned into churches. Many Jews were slain and mugged here also. In Cordova is where the butchery took place the most. The entire Juderia was burned down and a total of 2,000 Jews were left on the ground slain. The riots spread throughout all the Jewish infested cities and most of them were slain.

If they werent killed most of them turned to baptism or sought refuge in forts near the south of Spain so they could escape to Africa. A total of about 1,000 Jews were slain and 11,000 Jews that converted and were baptized. Forced conversions were extremely common. January, in the year 1412 a law with 24 clauses was passed. The purpose was to humiliate and reduce them to poverty even more. By now the Jews werent left with almost any freedoms at all. And for this reason most Jews decided to convert. But now since so many Jews had converted, the new neo- Christians were beginning to be hated also.

New up-risings began and their houses were been torn down. When Ferdinand and Isabella ascended the throne, they worked especially hard to keep the Jews from interacting with the Christians. They even made an Inquisition to test the new converts and made sure they were loyal to the Christian religion. If they were caught not being faithful to the new religion they would be punished. Several months after the fall of Granada, the Alhambra Decree also known as the Edict of Expulsion was issued by Ferdinand and Isabella saying that all Jews of Spain were to leave by the last day of July.

Of course this would have never been issued if it werent for Torquemada. Tomas de Torquemada was a huge fan of the Alhambra Decree and supported it in every way. After he was assigned Inquisitor General by the King and Queen he did everything in his power to make sure it happened. Torquemada established a set of guidelines for all Christians to determine whether or not someone or some family was Jewish (http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Tomas_de_Torquemada): If you see that your neighbors are wearing clean and fancy clothes on Saturdays, they are Jews.

If they clean their houses on Fridays and light candles earlier than usual on that night, they are Jews. If they eat unleavened bread and begin their meal with celery and lettuce during Holy Week, they are Jews. If they say prayers facing a wall, bowing back and forth, they are Jews. (Beth Randell) By using these guidelines, Torquemada killed and captured almost 3,000 Jews during his reign. Ferdinand and Isabella did everything Torquemada wanted and for this reason he was such powerful leader. Also this is why the Alhambra Decree was put in to action.

Torquemada had such a strong hate towards Jews he easily convinced the King and Queen to follow through. In the end all the Jews migrated to other parts of Europe where most of them were welcome. Torquemada died of natural causes in 1498. As you can see if Torquemada had not been around the Edict of Expulsion would not have been so harshly pursued. If anything they Jews would have stayed in Spain, but would have to follow the cruel and unusual punishments set by the Christian population. And maybe most of the Jews would leave on there own, or at least try to find other land where they would be able to live freely.

bibliography: Louisa Muniain World Cultures CAS Mr. Isaac Works Cited Page Hauben, Paul J. The Spanish Inquisition. New York: Wiley, 1969. 1-140. History of Jews in Spain. Wikipedia. 24 Feb. 2008. Wikipedia Foundation. 24 Feb. 2008 http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Spain. Jacob Marcus, The Jew in the Medieval World: A Sourcebook, 315-1791, (New York: JPS, 1938), 51-55 Lindo, Elias H. The History of Jews From Spain and Portugal. New York:

B. Franklin, 1970 Max Margolis and Alexander Marx, A History of the Jewish People, pp.470-476. Milman, Henry H. The History of Jews: Down From the Earliest Time Period to Modern Times. W. J. Widdleton, 2007. Militans, Ecclesia. The Inquisition. Dorset P, 1988. 8-264. Netanyahu, B. The Orgins of the Inquisition. New York: Random House, 1995. 3-1351. Plaidy, Jean. The Spanish Inquisition Its Rise, Growth, and End. New York, N. Y. : The Citadel P, 1967. 15-548. The Spanish Expulsion. Jewish Virtual Library. 2008. The American-Israeli Enterprise. 24 Feb. 2008 http://www. jewishvirtuallibrary. org/jsource/Judaism/expulsion. html.

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