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Alhambra Decree of 1492 (Spanish Edict of Expulsion of the Jews) - גירוש יהדות ספרד

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Project under construction..... you are invited to add the profiles of the leaders of the Jewish Spanish communities in 1492

The Alhambra Decree (also known as the Edict of Expulsion; Spanish: Decreto de la Alhambra, Edicto de Granada) was an edict issued on 31 March 1492, by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain (Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon) ordering the expulsion of practising Jews from the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon and its territories and possessions by 31 July of that year. As a result of the Alhambra decree and persecution in prior years, over 200,000 Jews converted to Catholicism and between 40,000 and 100,000 were expelled, an indeterminate number returning to Spain in the years following the expulsion.

Photo: Copy of the Alhambra Decree, signed by The Monarchs of Spain, March 29, 1492

גירוש ספרד היה סילוקם בכפייה בשנת 1492 של יהודי ממלכות קסטיליה ואראגון אשר סירבו להתנצר. גירוש בתנאים שונים מעט הוחל חמש שנים מאוחר יותר, בשנת 1497, על יהודי פורטוגל. עוד שנה אחר כך, בשנת 1498, גורשו גם יהודי ממלכת נווארה. הגירוש התבצע מכח צו שנחתם בידי פרדיננד השני מלך ארגון ואשתו, המלכה איזבלה הראשונה מקסטיליה, ב-31 במרץ 1492 ופורסם ב-29 באפריל. נאסרה בחוק ישיבתם של יהודים בקסטיליה ואראגון, והם הועמדו בפני הברירה להתנצר או לעזוב עד ל-31 ביולי, ז' באב ה'רנ"ב.

The Alhambra Edict was formally and symbolically revoked on 16 December 1968, following the Second Vatican Council and a full century after Jews had once more been allowed to openly practice their religion in Spain and synagogues had been allowed to be used as places of worship under Spain's Laws of Religious Freedom.

In 1924, the regime of Primo de Rivera granted Spanish citizenship to the entire Sephardic Jewish diaspora. In 2014, the government of Spain passed a law allowing dual citizenship to Jewish descendants who apply, in order to "compensate for shameful events in the country's past." Thus, Sephardi Jews who are descendants of those Jews expelled from Spain due to the Alhambra Decree, and can prove it, can "become Spaniards without leaving home or giving up their present nationality."

Royal Edict of the King and Queen of Aragon, THE ALHAMBRA DECREE, 31 MARCH 1492

European context

From the 13th to the 16th centuries European countries expelled the Jews from their territory on at least 15 occasions. Spain was preceded by England, France and some German states, among many others, and succeeded by at least five more expulsions.

The Edict

The Edict went public during the week of April 29, 1492. The charter declared that no Jews were permitted to remain within the Spanish kingdom, and Jew who wished to convert was welcome to stay. The power of wealthy Spanish Jewry was inconsequential. Whether a Jew was rich or or poor did not matter, they all still had to convert or leave. Ferdinand's plans for Spain, as distorted by the Christian racism prevalent in late 15th Century Spain, did not include the one group that had done so much to serve the state.

Dispersal

The Spanish Jews who chose to leave Spain instead of converting, dispersed throughout the region of North Africa known as the Maghreb. In those regions, they often intermingled with the already existing Mizrahi Arabic or Berber speaking communities, becoming the ancestors of the Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian and Libyan Jewish communities.

Many Spanish Jews also fled to the Ottoman Empire, where they were given refuge. Sultan Bayezid II of the Ottoman Empire, learning about the expulsion of Jews from Spain, dispatched the Ottoman Navy to bring the Jews safely to Ottoman lands, mainly to the cities of Thessaloniki (currently in Greece) and İzmir (currently in Turkey). Many of these Jews also settled in other parts of the Balkans ruled by the Ottomans such as the areas that are now Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia. Bayezid II was alleged to have quoted that: "Those who say that Ferdinand and Isabella are wise are indeed fools; for he gives me, his enemy, his national treasure, the Jews."

Throughout history, scholars have given widely differing numbers of Jews expelled from Spain. However, the figure is likely to be below the 100,000 Jews who had not yet converted to Christianity by 1492, possibly as low as 40,000. Many went to Portugal, gaining only a few years of respite from persecution. The Jewish community in Portugal (perhaps then some 10% of that country's population) were then declared Christians by royal decree unless they left.

Such figures exclude the significant number of Jews who returned to Spain due to the hostile reception they received in their countries of refuge, notably Fez (Morocco). The situation of returnees was legalized with the Ordinance of the 10 of November 1492 which established that civil and church authorities should be witness to baptisim and, in the case that they were baptized before arrival, proof and witnesses of baptism were required. Furthermore, all property could be recovered by returnees at the same price at which it was sold. Returnees are documented as late as 1499. On the other hand, the Provision of the Royal Council of 24 of October 1493 set harsh sanctions for those who slandered these New Christians with insulting terms such as tornadizos.

Listado del nombres Sefardies

Conversions

A majority of Spain's Jewish population had converted to Christianity during the waves of religious persecutions prior to the Decree—a total of 200,000 converts according to Joseph Pérez. Ensuring the definite conversion of such a large convert population was one of the main objectives of the expulsion of practicing Jews. Of the 100,000 Jews that remained true to their faith by 1492, an additional number chose to convert and join the converso community rather than face expulsion. Recent conversos were subject to additional suspicion by the Inquisition, which persecuted religious heresy with a strong focus on Judaism. Additionally, Limpieza de Sangre Statutes instituted legal discrimination against converso descendants, barring them from certain positions and forbidding them from emigrating to the Americas. Such measures slowly faded away as converso identity was forgotten and this community merged into Spain's dominant Catholic culture. There were, however, a few exceptions, most notably the Chuetas of the island of Majorca, whose discrimination lasted into early 20th Century.

A Y chromosome DNA test conducted by the University of Leicester and the Pompeu Fabra University has indicated an average of nearly 20% for Spaniards having some direct patrilineal descent from populations from the Near East which colonized the region either in historical times, such as Jews and Phoenicians, or during earlier prehistoric Neolithic migrations. On the other hand, genetic studies have dispelled local beliefs in the American South West that Spanish Americans are the descendants of Conversos.

Initiator & Signatories of the Alhambra Decree, march 31, 1492:

Leaders and notable figures of the Spanish/Portuguese Jewish communities during the expulsion era