Today In Jewish History

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In 1492, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain signed a decree expelling all Jews who refused to convert to Christianity. Tomas de Torquemada served as “Grand Inquisitor,” charged with uncovering those who continued to practice Judaism in secret (called Conversos or Marranos — “pigs”). In the ensuing Inquisition, an estimated 32,000 Jews were burned at the stake in elaborate public ceremonies, and another 200,000 were expelled from Spain. At the time, Jews held many prominent posts in Spain; Rabbi Don Yitzhak Abrabanel, who served as finance minister, reportedly offered Queen Isabella the astronomical sum of 600,000 crowns to revoke the edict. Abrabanel was unable to prevent the expulsion and was exiled along with his people.

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