Chapter Six

The Spanish Jew-The Sephardim

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Once again, my many thanks to those on the Internet for providing excellent information.  
 

 

SECTION I. What is a Jew?  

When writing about what constitutes being a Jew, one must remember that there are many people with both personal and religious views on the subject, some objective and some subjective.  For those who are Jewish or consider themselves to be Jews, the importance cannot be understated.  As for myself, I offer the following as a series of self-revelations based upon some study, but personal revelations none the less.  I will leave the final outcomes and decisions of what is right and wrong on the matters discussed here with the professional historians and DNA experts.  

As the writer of this chapter, the content has had an extraordinary impact upon me.  The research of the Sephardim necessary to prepare for its writing required a review of issues spanning thousands of years of Jewish history.  Ultimately, as the scribe I found myself reflecting upon Israel as an ancient nation and Judaism, its religion, its reason for being.  Eventually, the loss of nationhood and its implications to a people left without a land to call their own crept into my psyche.  The realization of it had a profound effect upon me.  It raised many questions in my mind.  How can a people exist without a country, a home to call their own?  What would it be like to be a permanently stranded, unwanted guest?  Why was it so important to the Jews to maintain a separate and distinct religion and culture in so many foreign lands, over these many thousands of years?  How could a people endure such millennia of hatred, mistreatment, injustice, cruelty, rape, torture, murder, and savagery when they could have simply assimilated into their host countries and ended much of the persecution?  How could a people have such faith in their G-d as to believe that they would eventually be returned to the land He intended for them to possess?  Relative to many of these questions, I remain perplexed.  However, I’m left with an impression of a people that have an indomitable spirit and a faith worthy of their G-d.  I’m also humbled by their strength and commitment to their beliefs.  

As the reader will soon become aware, being a Jew has always come with a very, very high price.  Since the beginning, when Israel was first unified as the “12 Tribes” and later as a divided Israel (Israel and Judea) the Jewish nation has been under constant siege by various entities (Empires, surrounding tribes, Christianity, Islam, etc.).  The result has been a nation plagued by war, destruction, and outright slavery.  The people of the “Promised Land” have suffered repeated destruction of their most sacred places, the forced removal from their homeland on many occasions, and restriction from the return and resettlement of their lands.  

Throughout the centuries they’ve been held in captivity by various nations and in many locations.  While in captivity  the Jewish people have suffered grave injustices, rejection, exclusion, oppression, murder, rape, forced religious conversion, their children forcefully removed from their custody and care, endured cultural and religious re-education, and in many cases the children were never returned to their rightful parents (Stolen).  Think of this people of Jewish ancestry and/or religious self-identification continually being coerced and forced to convert to alien religions by torture and duress (Under pain of death).  Would you endure it?  Could you endure it?  

The aftermath of those thousands of years of unyielding outside pressure and attempted religious and cultural obliteration has only resulted in the increased faith in their G-d, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  In the end, after living hell on earth they’ve returned to the land of their fathers, Israel.  These thousands of years of oppression has left them weary and often times hostile toward the world of non-Jews.  

Given the aforementioned, the importance of establishing a basis of agreement for the concept of, “what is a Jew” is of paramount importance for those who uphold and love Judaism.  This becomes all important to those who have fought and died to keep Judaism alive and intact as a religion and culture.  When one looks at the question through the lens of Jewish history with its turbulent and destructive outcomes, inclusion and exclusion become very real issues.  For those concerned with the protection and survival of Judaism, who should and should not be accepted as a legitimate Jew is a question of great urgency.  As history informs them there exists a constant potential that their religion and culture may be taken from them at any moment.  For those wishing to be accepted as Jews, the questions of who is and who is not a Jew are also of great importance.  This is an essential element of “who” they see themselves as, and “who” they are.  

For both Jewish religious authorities and the modern state of Israel, the “Anusim,” the descendents of those tens of thousands of Jews that left the observance of Judaism for other religious or non-religious practices, represent a modern-day dilemma.  To maintain some semblance of order, structure, and definition for a modern Jewish state and culture, Jews are forced to establish boundaries for who is and who is not a Jew.  For the Anusim, that legal category of Jews in halakha (Jewish law) who were forced to abandon Judaism against their will, typically while forcibly converted to another religion, the matter of being an accepted Jew has become an arena of heated debate.  Their acceptance by observant Jews has been, and is problematic.  This applies in a very personal way to, we Sephardic Jews which became Conversos.  

For the numerically large number of Sephardic Jewish communities of Spain, both accepted and unaccepted, being a Jew has become an issue of religious and cultural self-identification.  

The American Journal of Human Genetics in December of 2008 stated that 19.8 percent of modern Iberians (Spaniards and Portuguese) have DNA reflecting Sephardic Jewish ancestry.  The 2008 population census of Spain stood at 46,063,000.  This could mean that approximately 9, 120,500 individuals in Spain may be of Jewish ancestry.  Thus, some portion of the "Anusim" whether "coerced", "forced", or voluntarily converted (Conversos) is at the crossroads of religious and cultural identification.  For some, this has become a crisis of identity.  What of the tens of millions of the descendents of the non-observant Conversos in the Spanish New World?  If all of these are rejected by their fellow Jews (Observant) and the modern state of Israel, do they become a loosely affiliated, unwanted, 2nd tier of Jewish wannabes?  Picture a 21st Century with tens of millions of Conversos aligned with little Israel in a partnership of shared ancestry, religion, culture, and history.  Issues, issues, and all of those greater issues!  

It is easily understood that the great majority of those who are not Jewish have little interest in the subject.  And then there are the haters, those who tend to see everything Jewish as evil and bad.  Obviously, this chapter is not written for them.  It is in fact written for those who are interested in Spanish history, its people, and those many outcomes that derived from the actions taken Spain as a new nation, by its official religion (Catholicism), Monarchy and nobility, and its people.  

From the Sephardim of Spain and Portugal (c. 1490s C.E.) arose the Conversos, those that converted to Catholicism (Christianity) and left the observance of Judaism for fear of the loss of property, livelihood, torture, and/or death.  Perhaps genuinely accepting the Christian Messiah was the genesis of their choice.  Whatever the cause, a schism has existed between the observant Jew and the Conversos for millennia.  This is one more reason that the presenting of this chapter has been extraordinarily difficult, akin to walking barefoot on broken glass.  

Firstly, in an effort to provide some understanding of what it means to be Jewish, one must establish a succinct and structured view for the reader of what constitutes being Jewish.  The basis of which must be an agreed upon construct by the interested parties.  That is to say, while the Jewish peoples share a common beginning they also differ culturally and genetically.  The beginning was the spring or tribes (Genetics) that brought forth Judaism.  Of interest is the fact that the answer to what is an acceptable form (Rabbinical agreement) of Judaism (Religion) may be based upon a decision embraced and promulgated by a few members of today’s Judaism, who are in part grafted into the original community of Israelite tribes from non-original gene pools.  However, in all fairness it must be noted that the very survival of both modern Israel (The state) and Judaism is a result of this observant, modern-day, mixture of original and grafted on peoples of observant Judaism.  

With this in mind, it is commonly understood that he/she is a member of the Jewish people and cultural community whose traditional religion is Judaism and who may or may not trace their origins through the ancient Hebrew people of Israel to Abraham.  There are also questions about Jewish identity and considerations of Jewish self-identification which are constantly being explored.  This is because issues related to Jewish personhood have religious, cultural, genealogical, personal, historical, and political implications.  Therefore, the definition of who is a Jew varies according to what is being considered.  It may be based on normative religious statutes, self-identification, or other concerns.  The definition depends on many aspects of Jewish identity which can include characteristics of ethnicity or conversion.  

For a simple definition, a person is Jewish by birth or may become a Jew through religious conversion.  It is reported that about 80% of Jewish males and 50% of Jewish females trace their ancestry back to the Middle East.  The remainder entered the “Jewish gene pool” through conversion, intermarriage, or other means.  Those who did intermarry often left the faith in a few generations.  But many converts became interwoven into the Jewish genealogical line.  One can reflect upon the iconic convert, the biblical Ruth, who married Boaz and became the great-grandmother of King David.  Ruth began as an outsider.  However, you can’t be much more Jewish than of the bloodline of King David.  

If left there it might seem to be a simple matter.  But it’s not and never will be.  One must accept that when dealing with something as special and personal as religion and its affiliation, there will be differences of opinion.  And there are!  In the application of a definition among the differing branches of Judaism this may include the issue of mixed parents, conversion, and historical loss of Jewish identity (As in the case of Spain’s Conversos).  Jewish ethnic divisions also refer to a number of distinctive communities within the world's ethnically Jewish population, although considered one single self-identifying ethnicity.  

Self-identifying ethnicity as it relates to cultural identity is the identity or feeling of belonging to, as part of the self-conception and self-perception to nationality, ethnicity, religion, social class, generation, locality and any kind of social group that have its own distinct culture.  In this way cultural identity is both characteristic of the individual and also of the culturally identified group.  Therefore, cultural identity is similar to and overlaps with identity politics.  

There are distinctive ethnic divisions among Jews, most of which are primarily the result of:  
·      
Geographic branching from an originating Israelite population  
·      
Mixing with local populations  
·      
Subsequent independent evolutions  

From biblical times, cultural and linguistic differences between Jewish communities, even within the area of ancient Israel and Judea are observed both within the Bible itself as well as from archeological remains.  In more recent human history, an array of Jewish communities were established by Jewish settlers in various places around the Old World, often at great distances from one another resulting in effective and often long-term isolation from each other.  

During the millennia of the Jewish Diaspora the communities would develop under the influence of their local environments such as:  
·      
Political (Political environment)  
·      
Cultural (Jewish culture is the international culture of the Jews.  Since the formation of the Jewish nation in biblical 
      times the international community of Jewish people has been considered a tribe or an ethno-religious group rather
      than solely a religion.)  

·      
Natural (Natural environment)  
·      
Populational (The area that is used to define a sexual population is defined as the area where inter-breeding is
      potentially possible between any pair within the area.  The probability of interbreeding is greater than the probability
      of cross-breeding with individuals from other areas.  Under normal conditions, breeding is substantially more
      common within the area than across the border.)
 

Today, manifestation of these differences among the Jews can be observed in Jewish cultural expressions of each community, including:  
·      
Jewish linguistic diversity (Sephardic Ladino Vs. Ashkenazi Yiddish)  
·      
Culinary preferences  
·      
Liturgical practices (Liturgy is the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its
      particular beliefs, customs and traditions.)  

·      
Religious interpretations  
·      
Degrees and sources of genetic admixture (Genetic admixture occurs when individuals from two or more previously
      separated populations begin interbreeding.  Admixture results in the introduction of new genetic lineages into a
      population.  It has been known to slow local adaptation by introducing foreign, un-adapted genotypes (known as gene
      swamping).  It also prevents speciation by homogenizing populations.)  

·      
Genetic studies regarding today’s Jews are part of population genetics.  This discipline is used to better understand
      the chronology of migration and complements the results provided by history, archeology, language or paleontology.
      The interest of these studies is to investigate the origins of various Jewish populations.  In particular, they investigate
      whether there is a common genetic heritage among various Jewish populations.

 

SECTION II. What is a Sephardim?  

Secondly, we must acquaint the reader with what is meant by Sephardim.  For the purpose of this chapter, a short explanation must be given explaining what is a Sephardic Jew and where they came from.  For simplicity’s sake, we have provided an accepted view of how Sephardic Jews are defined.  They were those Jews living on the Iberian Peninsula prior to 1492 C.E. and who experienced tragic events when the Edict of Expulsion was signed by their Most Catholic Majesties, King Ferdinand of Aragón and Queen Isabella of Castille and León.  

The “Jews of Spain” are known as Sephardic Jews or simply Sephardim.  They are a Jewish ethnic division whose ethnogenesis and emergence as a distinct community of Jews coalesced on the Iberian Peninsula as a permanently displaced and relocated collective.  As Sephardic communities were established throughout Iberia, in what is known today as Spain and Portugal, they evolved distinctive Sephardic characteristics:

·       Identity

·       Style of liturgy

·       Law

·       Customs

·       Diasporic identity  

Their community was brought to an end starting with the issuance of the Alhambra Decree by Spain's Catholic Monarchs in the late 15th Century C.E., resulting in executions, mass conversions, and a combination of internal and external migrations.  However, an estimated 13,000 to 40,000 Jews live in Spain today.  In the latest population census in Israel Sephardim represented the majority around 55%, with Ashkenazim at 45%.  

Interestingly, the Sephardim are the less well known of the Jewish peoples.  It has been suggested that Jews settled in the land of Sepharad or Sefarad, as Spain was called in Hebrew language, very early.  There are three much discussed, possible migration scenarios from the Holy Land which introduced the Jews into Iberia.  Each has its reasons for being correct and each has its drawbacks.  According to the oldest Jewish traditions it is suggested that the first Jews arrived in Spain in one of King Solomon's fleets with Hiram's Phoenicians in B.C.E.  Their mission was to conduct business with Tarsus.  These appear to be the same boats of Tarsus that the biblical prophet Jonah boarded and which must have arrived at the Tartessos of the Guadalquivir.  

A second tradition suggests their arrival as refugees in Spain occurred soon after the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple in 587 B.C.E.  These joined their compatriots who had come earlier during the Phoenician trading era.  Though all this is possible, there is little hard evidence to support it.  

The third and more accepted explanation is to assume that the first Jewish settlements in the Iberian Peninsula took place after Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E.  The war against Rome and the complete destruction of the Temple opened up the great Jewish Diaspora (dispersion) throughout the Mediterranean.  The Diaspora could have easily reached Roman Hispania (Spain) in the 1st Century C.E.  

Notes:  

An important piece of 1st Century C.E. information is Saint Peter's epistle to the Romans about his visit to Spain.  This could indicate the presence of Jewish communities on the Peninsula.  Also at this time, Jonathan ben Uziel (Died the 26th day of Sivan, June, year unknown) identified Spain with the Biblical Sepharad which resulted in Spanish Jews referring to one another as "Sephardic."  

There is also a legend among the Sephardim that the city of Toletum or Toledo, the capital city of Visigoth Spain, was founded by Jewish refugees from Jerusalem.  A popular etymology has been used to explain its name, pronounced by the Jews Tolaitola, to be derived from the Hebrew word "tolatola" exile, or, according to another explanation, from "toledoth" or generations.  The Sephardim considered this city a second Jerusalem and recreated what could be called a new Palestine around it.  It is believed by some that the towns of Escaluna, Maqueda, Jopez, and Azeque were built on the adjacent lands in memory of the Palestinian Ashkalon, Makedda, Joppa (Yafo) and Azeka.  

There are many Sephardic families such as the Ibn-Daud and Abrabanel (Abravanel) who proudly claimed their descendance from the house of King David, Solomon's father.  

The father of Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s current (2015) Prime minister and celebrated Israeli historian, Benzion Netanyahu has placed Spain’s 1492 C.E. Jewish population at 225,000.  Others have estimated that on July 30, 1492 C.E., the entire Jewish Community had an approximate population of between 225,000 and 230,000.  This represented perhaps 2% of Spain's population at the time.  While the numbers may be disputed, it is claimed that of this estimated Jewish population, 50,000 were baptized Catholic (Conversos) and remained.  

Historically, the native language or native dialect of Sephardic Jews was Ladino, a Romance language derived from Old Spanish.  It incorporates elements from all the old Romance languages of the Iberian Peninsula, Hebrew, Aramaic, and in the lands receiving those who were exiled Ottoman Turkish, Levantine Arabic, Greek, Bulgarian, and Serbo-Croatian vocabulary.  The traditional vernacular language of North African Sephardim was Haketia, a form of Judeo-Spanish.  It was also derived from Old Spanish and heavily influenced by Hebrew, Aramaic, and Maghrebi Arabic.  The ex-Converso Western Sephardim traditionally spoke Spanish and/or Portuguese, or a mixture combining elements of both.  

As mentioned earlier, one example of the Sephardic families is the Abravanel family.  It is one of the oldest and most distinguished Jewish families of the Iberian Peninsula.  These can trace their origin from the biblical King David.  It is reported that members of this family lived in Seville, Córdoba, Castille-León, and Calatayud.  Additionally, Jewish communities were founded in Carthago Nova (Cartagena), Granada, Saragosse, Aragón, and other areas of the Iberian Peninsula.  Don Judah Abravanel, its most prominent representative, once lived in Seville.  Don Judah was said to be a treasurer and tax-collector under Sancho IV (1284 C.E.-1295 C.E.) and Ferdinand IV (1295 C.E.-1312 C.E.).  

These are some examples of other Sephardic surnames names from Portugal and Gibraltar which show the changes made over the years: Abeasis, Abecassis, Abensur, Abitbol, Aboab, Abohbot, Absidid, Abudarham, Acris, Adrehi, Aflalo, Albo, Alkaim, Amar, Amram, Amselem, Amzalak, Anahory, Asayol, Askenazi, Assayag, Athias, Atrutel, Auday, Azancot, Azavey, Azerad, Azuelos, Azulay, Balensi, Banon, Baquis, Barchilom, Baruel, Berlilo, Benabu, Benady, Benaim, Benamor, Benarus, Benatar, Benbunan, Benchaya, Benchetrit, Benchimol, Bendahan, Bendelack, Bendran, Benelisha, Beneluz, Benhayon, Beniso, Benitah, Benjamim, Benjo, Benmergui, Benmiyara, Benmuyal, Benoalid, Benoliel, Benrimoj, Benros, Bensabat, Bensadon, Bensaloha, Bensaude, Benselum, Bensheton, Bensimon, Bensliman, Bensusan, Bentata, Bentubo, Benudis, Benyuli, Benyunes, Benzacar, Benzaquen, Benzecry, Benzimra, Berdugo, Bergel, Bibas, Blum, Bohudana, Brigham, Brudo, Buzaglo, Bytton, Cagi, Cansino, Cardoso, Carseni, Castel, Cazes, Cohen, Conquy, Coriat, Cubi, Danan, Davis, Delmar, Elmaleh, Esaguy, Esnaty, Farache, Ferares, Finsi, Foinquinos, Fresco , Gabay, Gabizon, Garson, Hadida, Hassan, Hatchuel, Israel, Kadoshi, Katzan, Labos, Laluff, Laredo, Lasry, Lengui, Levi, Malca, Maman, Marques, Marrache, Martins, Massias, Matana, Megueres, Melul, Moreira, Mor-Jose, Mucznik, Muginstein, Muller, Nahon, Namias, Nathan, Obadia, Ohana, Oliveira, Pacifico, Pallache, Pariente, Pimienta, Pinto, Querub, Roffe, Ruah, Rygor, Sabath, Salama, Sananes, Saragga, Schocron, Sebag, Segal, Sequerra, Serfaty, Serequi, Serrafe, Seruya, Sicsu, Tangi, Tapiero, Taregano, Taurel, Tedesqui, Tobelem, Toledano, Tuati, Uziel, Varicas, Wahnon, Waknin, Wolfinsohn, Zafrany, Zagury.  

Jewish society dictated the origins of ancient Jewish names within the Jewish community.  Patronymics, such as David ben (son of) Joseph or Sarah bat (daughter of) Aaron were used.  Jewish legal documents in synagogues such as the ketubah (marriage contract) have Jewish names in this form. 

Specialists in this field believe that it is possible to trace the events of Jewish history by studying the names used by Jews in certain times and locations.  To establish Sephardic Jewish surnames originating in Spain and Portugal the origins and meaning of family names, locations, and a wide variety of sources have been used where the names are cited.  In medieval Spain Jews used Hebrew names.  After the Muslim conquest of Iberia, Arabic became the spoken language (8th Century C.E.-12th Century C.E.) Jewish names became more Arabic sounding.

From the end of the Golden Age, the beginning of the Reconquista (The era during which Christian Kings enlarged Spanish Christian territory), and until the July 1492 C.E. expulsion, Jews used a variety of name spellings.

 

Of those surviving Jewish surnames, lists of unique medieval spellings of names must be browsed to determine if they have survived after 500 years.  To accomplish this, the following points had to be first clarified:

1.   Name spellings

2.   Surnames can be written in many different languages.

3.   Medieval scribes and notaries such as those of the royal court wrote down names as they heard or understood them.

4.   During these periods of time, names did not yet have a fixed orthography.  The methodology for the writing a language which includes rules of spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, word breaks, emphasis, and punctuation was not yet a fixed process.  Thus, it happened that one single document might contain two or three different spellings of a same name.  As a result, a surviving name may have many, many different spellings.  

Another part of the name process is the separating of names from their numerous prefixes in order find out the surviving name.  Prefixes which have been found include:

·       A/The: A, Al, Ça, Des, Dez, El, Ha, L’, La, Sa

·       Father of: Abo, Abu, Abul, Bu

·       From: D’, De, De la, Del, Den

·       Qualifier or title: Bel, Bien, Bon, Buen, Don

·       Son of: Ab, Abe, Aben, Abi, Abin, Abn, Amna, Apen, Auen, Aven, Avin, Bar, Bem, Ben, Eben, Em, En, Euen, Even, Ibn, Haben, N’, Na, Uen, Ven  

These prefixes are in several languages such as, Arabic, Aramaic, Hebrew, Catalan, and Spanish.  Many are resulting deformations or contractions of originals such as N’ for Ibn.  

With the exception of some Iberian aristocrats, wealthy people, and prosperous merchants surnames were not used by most Jews.  When Jews did adopt family names in the 18th and 19th centuries C.E., the choice was frequently patronymic (a name derived from the name of a father or ancestor, typically by the addition of a prefix or suffix), and first names thus became family names.  

Prior to the Napoleonic era in Eastern Europe of the Early-19th Century C.E., most of the Ashkenazi Jews (Jews of central or eastern European descent) from countries captured by Napoleon (Including Russia, Poland, and Germany) were ordered to use surnames due to a need for tax collection.  Soon after Napoleon’s defeat many Jews eliminated surnames and returned to "son of" names.  
 

SECTION III. What is an Ashkenazi Jew?  

Thirdly, the most well known of the Jewish people in the world are the Ashkenazi Jews or “the Jews of Germany.”  This Jewish ethnic division is thought to have coalesced around the end of the 1st millennium C.E. in the Holy Roman Empire.  The traditional language of Ashkenazi Jews consisted of various dialects of Yiddish (Originated during the 9th Century C.E. in Central Europe.  This provided the nascent Ashkenazi community with an extensive Germanic based vernacular fused with elements taken from Hebrew and Aramaic, as well as from Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages.).  

The Ashkenazi established communities throughout Central and Eastern Europe.  This has been their primary region of residence and where they evolved their distinctive characteristics and diasporic identities until recent times.  It has been estimated that in the 11th Century C.E., Ashkenazi represented only 3 percent of the world's Jewish population.  However, by 1931 C.E., this group accounted for 92 percent of the world's Jews, at approximately 16.7 million just prior to the Holocaust.  This may be explained in part by the disruption of Sephardic Jewish life in Spain and the expulsion of that large Jewish population in 1492 C.E.

 

Some relatively recent statistics vary for the contemporary demography of Ashkenazi.  These vary between 10 million and 11.2 million.  One calculation of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews implies that Ashkenazi make up less than 74% of Jewry worldwide.  There are other estimates which place Ashkenazi Jews as at about 75% of Jews worldwide.  

Just as the Sephardim made great contributions to Iberia and later Spain when she became a great empire, the Ashkenazi have done the same for Europe in its culture and in most fields of endeavor.  This includes art, literature, music, philosophy, scholarship, and the sciences.  It is also a fact that Jews have made quite a remarkable and disproportionate contribution to the rest of humanity.  Unfortunately, the Holocaust’s genocidal impact during World War II resulted in the mass murder of approximately 6 million Jews.  It devastated the Ashkenazi and their Yiddish culture.

 

SECTION IV. What is a Jewish Converso?  

Fourthly, Spanish laws of the 14th and 15th centuries C.E. became increasingly oppressive toward observant Sephardic Jews.  This will be discussed at some length in the timeline that follows.  The circumstances dictated the forced conversion of Jews to Catholicism.  Many simply accepted forced conversion to Christianity as a means for saving their lives and fortunes.  Obviously conversion was a most attractive alternative to torture and/or death.  Again, it should be emphasized here that while many middle class Jews outwardly adopted Christianity to avoid the penalties of the egregious laws, they continued observance of Judaism in secret.  This would become problematic for the Catholic Church, the nobility, and the populous at large.  

In the case of my progenitors, the de Riberas, they were Sephardim.  At issue is the reality that they eventually lost their Jewish identity due to conversion.  As Spanish Jews living in 15th Century C.E. Spain, they were subject to actions taken by the Crown and Church in which many Spanish Jews converted (Conversos in Spanish) to Roman Catholicism voluntarily or were forced to convert.  

At this juncture it should be noted that many Sephardim chose not to abandon their Judaism.  Some fled to North Africa, Italy, and Navarre (Then a kingdom on the border between Spain and France).  Many more went to Portugal, though Portugal itself would soon demand conversion and thousands of Jews there would also undergo baptism.  

There have been many labels applied to converted Sephardim Conversos, Marranos, New Christians, Crypto-Jews, Secret Jews, and Anusim.  Each had its reason for application.  

The term Converso is taken from “Conversus,” a Latin word meaning “the converted.”  Here the matter becomes more complicated.  It had application to two groups of Jewish converts to Christianity and their descendants.

1.     The first group to convert did so as a result of the 1391 C.E. massacres in Spain and the zealous proselytizing efforts of the following decades.

2.     A second group did so as a result of the decree by the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, in 1492 C.E.  This would force the expulsion of all Jews who refused to accept Christianity, thus causing many to seek baptism.  Their ranks had swelled to an estimated 50,000.  Of Spain's 125,000 to 200,000 (Another estimate) Jews, these accepted baptism.  They joined approximately 225,000 descendants of the Conversos of previous generations.

3.     In Portugal, a third group was converted by force by King Manuel in 1497 C.E.  

The term “Marrano” was also applied across Iberia (Spain and Portugal) to the descendants of Jews baptized into Catholicism and suspected of secret adherence to Judaism.  Marranos also appeared with the first riots in the Juderias (Jewish quarters) of Spain.  There have been various suggested origins for the term Marrano.  Some have suggested that originally it was a term of contempt meaning "swine", now in general use.  Some say that it was likely a reference to the Jews' reluctance to eat pork, but this is doubtful.  

Another view is that it stems from the Hebrew phrase “marit ayin”.  This is a very important concept, as it may lead to the prohibition of certain acts.  Marit ayin or maris ayin, the “appearance to the eye", is a concept in halakha (Jewish law in Ashkenazic) or "the path" or "the way of walking".  Marit ayin can be defined as the act of avoiding of the doing of something which may raise suspicion that an individual has violated Jewish law (The collective body of Jewish religious laws derived from the Written and Oral Torah).  It may also suggest that someone might misinterpret the act, thus causing that person to violate “halacha.”  It is important here to understand that it is dependent on circumstances which might otherwise be permitted.  

It is far most likely that Marrano is from the Spanish word meaning swine or pig.  Given the hatred of the Jews at the time, it imparted the sense of loathing conveyed by the word.  It is not clear if secretly practicing Jews also called themselves "Marranos."  Later, Jewry used the term as a badge of honor and not of shame and used it to refer to their community.  

In an effort to distinguish Christian Jews from native Iberian Christians the term "New Christians" was also applied.  Some of these Conversos had sincerely embraced the Church and intermarried with so-called “Old Christians” becoming the New Christians.  Originally, the term New Christian carried no intrinsic pejorative connotation.  However, later with the increasing power of the Catholic Inquisition came the concept of "limpieza de sangre," or cleansing the blood.  It referred to those who were considered pure "Old Christians", without being tainted by the blood of Jewish or Muslim ancestors.  This was meant as a clear signal to all who heard it, that those who were labeled by it were of Jewish background.  Here another important point must be made.  Those New Christians who secretly observed Jewish practices after their conversion to whatever degree possible were not regarded as voluntary apostates by the non-converted Jewish community.  

These Marranos or Conversos were also called “Crypto-Jews” if they were deemed Judaizers, those who claim the necessity of continued obedience to the Law of Moses found in the first five books of the Christian Old Testament.  That is to say, a smaller number continued secretly in their old Jewish beliefs, under cover of Catholicism.  

Some of these Marranos chose to remain invisible as “Secret Jews” in many European countries.  Over the centuries they evolved their own form of Judaism, built from the remnants left to them after generations of isolation from the rest of the Jewish world.  They kept only a few words of Hebrew, notably "Adonai" (Hebrew "Lord", i.e., G-d) which was sometimes used as a password.  And they may have celebrated only two holidays, Passover and Yom Kippur.  Jewish customs that could lead to trouble with the Inquisition, such as circumcision (A death sentence at various times in Spain's history) and the prohibition against eating pork (Inquisitors forced people to eat pork to prove they were not Jewish), were given up.  Some families were left with only a few customs, the echoes of Jewish ancestors long since forgotten.  

Near the end of World War I, some descendants of these Jewish remnants were discovered in isolated villages in Portugal.  But historians have traditionally considered their survival an exception.  Outside Portugal the religious practice of Crypto-Jews decayed within a few generations to fragments of prayers and other elements of ancient observance (A refusal to eat pork).  According to historians the phenomenon had for the most part died out by the end of the 1700s C.E.  

Given the aforementioned conditions under which Sephardim chose to live, the outcomes had their effects.  One of which is the problem with how a person’s Jewish background and status can impact his/her being acceptance as a Jew.  This is not a simple question without problems for all involved.  Therefore, in the end it must be examined in the context of the basic laws of Israel.  Being Jewish has many implications to the faithful.  

Others in the Sephardic Community prefer the term "Anusim," (sometimes without differentiation of singular and plural, e.g.) to the terms Conversos, Marranos, or Secret Jews.  Anusim is the typical Hebrew name for Marranos and has been favored in other communities and by some scholars.  

For the many Sephardim as ethnic Jews, there are some who continued practicing some aspects of Judaism in secret for many generations and some who did not.  The underlying question for those in authority over observant Jews is whether the Sephardim as Anusim became New Christians by coercion out of fear or embraced Christianity willingly out of choice.  At issue is whether they did so by force or by choice.  In a strict sense, if by choice, the result may be the practice of a different religion other than Judaism.  The circumstances related to an individual’s “community life”, is considered as being of great importance.  

One example is being unaware of Jewish parents could or possibly should affect a person’s status as being Jewish or non-Jewish.  In the area of Diaspora identity, the identity of Jews among themselves and by non-Jews throughout the Jewish Diaspora is a consideration.  There is also the claim to Israeli citizenship and its implications, which must be considered.  

The following statement was made by the much revered and famous Maimonides (Rambam) 1135 C.E.-1204 C.E., a 12th Century C.E. Jewish sage, “that although one should allow oneself to be put to death rather than abandon one's faith in times of persecution, "nevertheless, if he transgressed and did not choose the death of a martyr, even though he has annulled the positive precept of sanctifying the Name and transgressed the injunction not to desecrate the Name, since he transgressed under duress and could not escape, he is exempted from punishment." 

It is reported that there have been rulings by rabbis in accordance with the aforementioned.  Therefore, New Christians who remained in their countries because of their inability to escape and flee, were considered full Jews but only if they conducted themselves in accordance with the precepts of Judaism, even if only doing so in private.  To the extent that this has been established, their shehitah (The slaughtering of mammals and birds for food) could be relied upon, their testimony in law cases accepted, and their wine was considered kosher (Foods that conform to the regulations of Kashrut (Jewish dietary law).  

To the average person the idea of Sephardim, Marranos, and Crypto-Jews may seem odd to comprehend, the splitting of hairs and all of that.  I leave these decisions to others with a far greater understanding than I have of Judaism and what the greater community of “Observant Jews” accept or do not accept as being appropriately Jewish.  However, the aforementioned views suggest the strong need for the observant Jewish communities to arrive at some understanding as to what is or is not acceptable for one being considered a Jew.  We are now in the 21st Century, such decisions will have a potential impact upon tens of millions of Old World and New World Anusim.  

Granted, for some the ideas presented here are too strange to accept.  But for me and my journey in life, these things touch the soul.  I can’t simply walk away from who I am, or what I may have been, or will be.  What of the understanding of the Jewish heritage of my children?  To be cheated out of one’s birthright (Observant Jew) is an unpleasant thing.  We Hispanos of the American Southwest who have found ourselves to be Sephardim are now grappling with these ideas, concepts, and issues.  It is no easy matter to understand or accept a change to one’s historic identity and at the same time accept the loss of a sacred faith, religion, and culture.  For me, the struggle continues….  

It must be remembered that before the late 19th Century C.E. the Jews in the New World’s Spanish America (South, Central, and North America) were overwhelmingly Sephardim.  Yet today, it is estimated that Sephardic Jews make up only a small percentage of the Jewish population worldwide.  For the Sephardim of the Americas the specifics of Jewish demography and the study of its statistics are important, as the results are large and complex.  It is abundantly clear that there exists credible evidence that Spanish Jews can trace their roots to Iberia.  Almost all other Jews in North America are Ashkenazim and the Ashkenazic Jews trace their ancestry to Northern and Eastern Europe, as do most European Americans.  Therefore, simple distinctions between the two groups become major differences.  

As for my family, the history of New Mexico Crypto-Judaism began in the Sixteenth Century C.E.  Many New Christians or their immediate descendants arrived in the northernmost parts of New Spain seeking their fortune along the frontier.  They selected the lands along the Rio Grande, its tributary creeks, and upland villages.  The new arrivals settled the areas from El Paso northward to what is today New Mexico and southern Colorado.  It is understandable that many chose these very remote areas because they feared becoming targets of the Inquisition as accused Judaizers or simply because they were New Christians.  It is also logical that others came as part of colonial settlement expeditions that released them from the exclusionary requirements which limited their success unlike those of pure Old-Christian bloodlines.  

The New Christian community or Crypto-Jews probably reached its zenith in the 17th Century C.E.  It is suggested that there were twenty thousand Europeans in 17th Century (After 1821) Mexico including parts that are now within the United States.  Approximately one tenth of them were possibly New Christians.  

One prominent example of New Christians arriving in the region and members of families known to have Judaized, were the sons of Luis de Carvajal.  It would appear that these families married primarily among themselves, maintaining their identity to the present day.  

In all fairness, given the religious intolerance and persecution of the day, it is probable that the overwhelming majority of Conversos were not Crypto-Jews.  In addition, community life and the proximity to other Observant Jews left these unable or unwilling to pass along meaningful components of an explicitly Jewish way of life.  Yet, some suggest that there were some fifteen hundred families in New Mexico who were part of this Crypto-Jewish tradition.  

To be sure, some of these families would have lost all knowledge of their Jewish heritage, culture, traditions, and practices over the many hundreds of years.  However, today many Sephardic descendants are now aware of the history of Judaism in Spain and the presence of many Conversos in the early Spanish settlement of the region.  Many contemporary New Mexico Hispanos have demonstrated that their ancestors include individuals who were prosecuted by the Inquisition for loyalty to the “Law of Moses.”  Other individuals are convinced that their families, as Jews, have kept some traditions alive.  

History attests that 17th Century C.E. New Mexicans came to the attention of the Holy Office of the Inquisition.  In the late 1600s C.E., the governor of New Mexico and his wife were accused of practicing Judaism; soon thereafter the same charge was leveled against a soldier and bureaucrat named Francisco Gómez Robledo (Robledo is one of my family lines), who was also said to have a tail, this supposedly the mark of a Jew.  All were examined by the Holy Office.  All were acquitted.  By the time the Inquisition was abolished in Mexico, 1812 C.E.-1820 C.E., it had put to death approximately one hundred accused Crypto-Jews and many suspected Judaizers languished behind bars.  Thank G-d, by this time the odious, dreaded Catholic Holy Office was finally ended.  

Crypto-Jews or Secret Jews seems to be the most well-known term for the area of the Southwest.  The Anusim appear to have links to villages from central New Mexico to southern Colorado.  Many discussions of these links include areas along both banks of the Rio Grande south into Texas.  From these regions come interesting remembrances of what appear to be Jewish practices among Hispanos.  Unfortunately, many are dismissed.  The stories underscore the probability which suggests that Crypto-Jews had fled north from Colonial Mexico in the 17th Century C.E. to escape the Inquisition.  The question is whether it is possible that almost 400 years later; Jews in New Mexico's isolated Hispano villages secretly managed the feat of preserving their forefathers' faith?  

In the 1980s C.E., a rather bright, intelligent man named Stanley Hordes became New Mexico's state historian.  Hordes received a Fulbright-Hays fellowship to examine the Inquisition in Mexico.  Pouring over archives there and in Spain, he found the surnames of accused Crypto-Jewish families and the alleged details of their Mosaic rites.  The Religion of the Crypto-Jews provides a list of Crypto-Judaic customs, based on Inquisition records.  His methodical work presented logical finding regarding Sephardic Jewish customs and practices.  What makes these findings difficult to convey is the fact that at the time of his research and analysis historians and other interested parties knew little of the life of the Sephardim of the New World or Iberia.  

Throughout the Diaspora, Sephardic Jews have eaten food made with olive oil, chickpeas, and other Mediterranean ingredients.  Ashkenazic foods such as bagels, borscht kugel, and lox are not traditionally part of their diet.  Yiddish, with its German and Slavic components, has nothing to do with Sephardic Ladino, which mixes Hebrew with medieval Spanish, Turkish, and Moroccan.  Here we have two distinctly different Jewish communities with their own cultures, foods, histories, languages, and religious practices.  Further, it has been by and large Ashkenazi researchers attempting to understand the Sephardim and their Conversos.  Not an easy mix.  

New Mexico Hispanos have loved the land for several hundred years.  They remember the small villages of the past.  That imagery of long ago is evoked by the paintings and coffee table books.  These Hispano New Mexicans regularly review old family records at the Santa Fe, New Mexico archives.  Baptismal, burial, and marriage documents provide centuries of information for them.  There is other paperwork held by Church and government officials throughout the area such as judicial records and documents pertaining to the Inquisition.  Hordes used all of these in his Sephardic determinations.  He approached his work without prejudice or religiosity, but as a scholar and researcher attempting to unfold Jewish history and make some sense of its Sephardic people in the New World.  

Further, he examined their customs included bathing on Fridays and afterward donning clean clothes; ritually disposing of the blood drained from slaughtered fowl; fasting on Yom Kippur; eating tortillas (which are unleavened) during Passover; burning hair and nail clippings; circumcising sons (or merely nicking the penile shaft).  

There were other areas of possible New Christian influences explored by various people.  An elderly couple, Emilio and Trudi Coca (One of my family lines), living in New Mexico visited Latino graveyards where they found and photographed headstones inscribed with surprising first names.  An example is Adonay (Adonai is the Hebrew word for "Lord").  These cemeteries contained both headstones with crosses and six-pointed stars similar to the Star of David.  

There was also the use the local term "Manito," a "shortened diminutive of Hermano," to refer "to New Mexico's Indo-Hispanos and Indo-Hispanas whose historical threads are anchored in the Colonial period.  However, the term also refers to "Crypto-Jews" among the Manitos.  For me, it is interesting that my mother referred to our family many times as being Manitos.  Her recollection of the term was one of great fondness and inclusion.  

Given names may be a more reliable support for a Crypto-Jewish background.  Names such as Sara, Raquel, Rosa, and Betsab, for women and Aron, Abran, Adan, Efren, Eliso, Jacobo, and others for men meet that level of support.  "Adonay" is sometimes used as a given name, paralleling the use of "Jesus" as a popular given name among Hispanos.  This would be anathema to traditional Jews, of course.  Most of these personal and family names are well attested outside the New Mexico group.  However, the presence of "Adonay" and of Old Testament names to the exclusion of Gospel names would be striking in any Hispano context.  It is also easier to trace than many of the practices, possibly allowing some historical perspective.  But conversely it is also easily open to alternative explanations.  As in the case of the personal names, some note an emphasis on the Hebrew Bible stories to the exclusion of New Testament stories.  

There was also the sense that many New Christians felt themselves to be different from the mass of Catholic Hispanos and was included within study finding.  Some individuals reported a parent advising them that they were not really Christians.  Others stated that they never attended church.  There were those who claimed they were not baptized or that their families waited as long as possible before having them baptized.  Also, some told of never taking communion or not being confirmed.  It was reported by some that they were advised not to pray to Jesus or worship Saints or the trinity, instead, they were told to concentrate only on G-d.  

Sabbath observances are the most common and striking religious observance reported by participants.  The lighting candles on Friday night are often an action that is not understood to be a "Jewish" practice, as candles must be lit on Friday evening before sunset to usher in the Jewish Sabbath.  Lighting Shabbat candles is a rabbinically mandated law.  Typical reports noted that women lit candles in bowls in an interior part of the house, or that draperies were drawn.  Other Saturday-Sabbath reports note that the men did not go to church on Sunday, but gathered in a building or in the fields on Saturday.  Some reported that the men worked on Sunday but not on Saturday.  

Then there were the food practices.  The avoidance of pork was frequently mentioned.  The acts of slaughtering animals after checking a knife for sharpness before slitting its neck, and allowing the carcass to hang upside down until all the blood drained out was disclosed.  Some recall avoiding meat with milk, not eating eggs with blood-spots, soaking, salting and soaking the meat, and covering the blood of slaughtered animals with dirt.  Use of Kosher wine was also reported.  

Playing a gambling game with a top, sometimes called pon y saca "Put in and take out" often cited as a Hanukkah-like practice, as is lighting one more candle or luminaria bonfire each night, starting over a week before Christmas, so that there are flames at Christmas.  The observance of a feast or fast in honor of "Esther" is often cited.  The baking of pan de semita "Semitic bread" is reported at Easter, heavy bread that did not rise.  

Some individuals noted that the Spanish in a specific place resembled their village’s Spanish more than Castilian, Mexican or any of the Latin American dialects.  Indeed, some refer to the distinctive dialect of the New Mexico villages as "Ladino.”  On a personal note, I was once in Beverly Hills listening to a movie star explaining her career.  Behind me sat an elegant, elderly couple.  They were speaking a form of Spanish which sounded vaguely familiar and similar to that spoken by my mother and grandmother’s during their conversations in Spanish, when I was young.  I asked if they were from Spain and what dialect of Spanish they were speaking.  They smiled and explained that they were Sephardic Jews and speaking Ladino.  I left the conversation there.  

Others have described traditions that include gathering nail clippings, sweeping to the center of a room, next day burial, mourning for a year, bathing after contact with the dead, covering the mirrors in a house of mourning, leaving pebbles on graves, and circumcision.  

There were some earlier indications of awareness of these traditions, to be sure.  Some Rabbis reported inquiries.  Items from the 1880's and just prior to 1920 C.E. there seems to have been an awareness of Jewish heritage.  Fray Angelico Chavez of New Mexico, a Hispano Scholar, was certainly aware of the New Christian heritage of many families descended from Spanish-period colonials, and perhaps reflected on the continuing meaningfulness of this heritage in comments on the similarity of his New Mexico homeland to ancient Palestine.  Although preceded by research on southern Texas "Chicano Jews", the first articles specifically relating to New Mexico Crypto-Judaism began to appear in the 1980's C.E.  Since 1985 C.E., there seems to be a growing awareness in research and journalism.  

Whether one wants to accept that Sephardic non-Observant Jews have existed in the Spanish New World for hundreds of years, that choice is left to the reader.  Nor is the use of the terms for converted Sephardim such as Conversos, Marranos, New Christians, Crypto-Jews, Secret Jews, and Anusim of great importance.  What is of importance is the fact that there has been an awakening by many in the world of their Jewish ancestry and an interest in becoming acquainted with the legacy of that relationship.  

My progenitors, the de Riberas, were Sephardim.  At issue is the reality that they eventually lost their Jewish identity due to conversion.  As Spanish Jews living in 15th Century C.E. Spain, they were subject to actions taken by the Crown and Church in which many Spanish Jews converted (Conversos in Spanish) to Roman Catholicism voluntarily or by forced.  At this juncture it is worth noting that many Sephardim chose not to abandon their Judaism.  Some fled to North Africa, Italy, and Navarre (Then a kingdom on the border between Spain and France). Many more went to Portugal, though Portugal itself would soon demand conversion and thousands of Jews there would also undergo baptism.  Unlike these, the de Riberas chose conversion.

 

SECTION V. The Inquisition  

To understand the Jew, one must understand the world which surrounded, engulfed, and almost overcame them.  Over its history, humanity has witnessed countless mass murders in various nations and cultures.  The reasons have been as trivial as physical appearance or as complex as competing religious beliefs and political persuasion.  Since the beginning of time, aggressive majorities have struck out against defenseless minorities.  The 20th Century C.E. witnessed Nazis in Germany, Imperialist Japan, the Communists of Soviet Union and China, the Tutsis in Africa, and others killing many needlessly.  The Spanish Inquisition was a precursor to these and a blot on Spanish history.  It remains a very tragic part of that nation’s past.  Its lessons are there to learn from and to teach the generations to come so that evil of this kind will never happen again.  These acts of governmental and religious barbarism and persecution were to have a critical impact upon Spain and those she brutalized.  Since its time, the Inquisition has influenced many of the peoples of the world.  I’m sure the Nazis found the Inquisition a fine teacher.  It is hoped that this lesson of governmental and religious intolerance and the suffering it inflicted will never be forgotten or repeated.  

One cannot escape the fact that the cruel actions of the Inquisition were requested by the Spanish Crown and carried out in concert with the Roman Catholic Church.  It was directed at many peoples, Muslims, Jews, and numerous others.  However, the majority of Catholic Christians were spared during this period.  As the facts reveal, the Church was unbending in its treatment of the Sephardic Jews.  It sanctioned the various forms of cruelty and punishment used on these helpless people.  The blatant lies told by false accusers were accepted as truth.  

One must remember that anti-Semitism existed in Spain for many reasons.  Over the centuries the Spanish Jews had become very wealthy and prominent in their communities, causing envy.  It has been speculated that the chief cause of the Inquisition was due to this envy.  Earlier, Moorish rulers in Spain had extended the hand of friendship to them but not to Catholic Spaniards.  This caused the average Spaniard and clergy to have a great deal of suspicion toward the Jews.  The practice known as Jewish usury was also unpopular with the Christians.  

The Spanish Jew, was Iberian and yet, not quite so.  He/she lived life wrapped in the religious cocoon of Judaism.  It formed the Jewish world view and outward demonstration of that interpretation.  Jewish laws, foods, language, and culture permeated the every action of the Jewish community, setting it apart from the average Iberian and later Spaniard.  It was as if the Jews had painted a large, visible target on themselves making all aware that they were Jewish first and Spaniard second.  It was easy for Jew haters to find them, denounce them, heap indignities upon them, and kill them.  

As indignities grew, the Jews were forbidden to associate freely with Christians, expanding the chasm of misunderstanding and misinterpretation even larger.  Later, their residences were restricted to certain limited quarters.  This further alienated the Jewish community geographically, making their world one of enforced separation due to misconceived evil practices on the part of the Jews, from which Catholics must be saved.  Also, they were subject to irksome, sumptuary regulations (Laws designed to restrict excessive personal expenditures in the interest of preventing extravagance and luxury.), such as, being debarred from all display in dress, forbidden to carry valuable ornaments or wear expensive clothes.  This was to be the Jewish penance for having worked hard, playing by the rules of the nobility, and having earned enough money to live well and prosper.  The final outcropping of this punishment was that the Jews were to be held up to scorn.  They were compelled to appear in a distinctive, unbecoming garb, the badge or emblem of their social inferiority.  What then is the purpose of wealth if one is not allowed to enjoy its fruits?  

The Jews were also interdicted from following certain professions and callings.  They could not study or practice medicine, apothecaries, nursing, or be vintner, grocer or tavern keeper.  Jews were forbidden to act as stewards to the nobility or as farmers.  Collection of public revenues was forbidden them.  It is no coincidence that Jews were cut-off from all ability to make a living or to excel in what they knew best.  The system was now rigged against them.  The only thing left to them was a difficult, hard life of public ridicule and punishment with the only out being conversion to Catholicism.  The intended curtailments were meant to ensure religious conformity, which meant Catholicism.  

The inquisition was organized so that a high council of five apostolistic inquisitors assisted the Grand Inquisitor.  This served as the Chief Inquisitorial court in the land.  There were nineteen lesser courts that operated in Spain and three others that worked in the Spanish colonies.  A council of administration, La Suprema, was added later. This body had jurisdiction over all measures concerning the Christian faith.  The council, similar to the high court, was run by the Inquisitor General. He had direct access to the sovereigns and exercised absolute and unlimited power over the whole population.  No rank of nobility escaped his jurisdiction.  What this meant was that the nobility, should it be so inclined to show pity upon a Jewish friend, was itself to become the target of the Church and Crown.  By February of 1482 C.E., seven additional inquisitors were commissioned by the Pope.  

By that year, many indignities had already been inflicted upon Jews and the others.  One of the Spanish Inquisition’s leaders, Torquemada, was rigid and unbending and understood no compromise.  This psychological profile made him an effective administrator of his duties.  His rigidity served him well in his passionless pursuit of those who he believed would destroy the Church.  The human carnage of his inquisition is a testament to Torquemada’s efficiency.  There was no compromising with Old Christian or New Christian nobles regarding political considerations associated with a favored New Christian noble or valued Observant Jewish merchant.  

Between 1484 C.E. and 1498 C.E., Torquemada set down the basic procedures of the Inquisition in a series of Instrucciones.  These instructions provided the inquisitors with a structured, organized approach to the work of the saving the faith.  The Instructions were amended in 1488 C.E. to say that the inquisitors could confine a man to his home or to another institution such as a convent or hospital.  The fortunate result was that many prisoners served sentences very comfortably, paying for the privilege, no doubt.  One can only guess why such a kindness was allowed.  By the year 1492 C.E., the Grand Inquisitor actively supported the expulsion of the hated, openly practicing Jews and Marranos (Converted Jews) from a newly united Spain.  Thomas de Torquemada would die before the Inquisition’s end.  But after him, several other Inquisitor Generals would force the Inquisition farther along the road of anti-Semitism, increasing the bitterness of the Inquisition to prove their loyalty to Christianity and to Spain.  

The Inquisition had been first accepted as an agent of public protection.  But it quickly became a public menace.  Allowing anybody, rich or poor, criminal or exile, to accuse anyone they thought was a heretic created a confused and fearful population.  Informers were encouraged to accuse those they suspected, but the accused were never confronted by their accusers, and the convicted were not allowed to appeal to the Pope.  In this circumstance nobility, political power, fame, wealth, position, closeness to the upper clergy or the Pope himself, were of no value to those attempting to right the wrongs of the Church and its Inquisition.  With all avenues for outside influence upon the Church for mitigation closed off, those accused were left to the loving kindness of the Christian apparatus of the Church and its adherents on earth.  

There were many different ways of proving a heretic.  Some were sufficiently broad and almost anyone could be guilty of them.  Others were directed toward a specific sector of the population.  Presumptive proofs of guilt were as clearly defined as they were commonplace.  It was enough that a suspect wore his best suit on the Jewish Sabbath.  If the accused ate with Jews, he/she was obviously guilty.  If he/she was said to have washed a corpse in warm water, his/her end was assured.  If the accused named his children with Hebrew names, he was surely guilty.  Habits sustained by countless converts, sincere or not, were their undoing.  

For Moors, bathing was presumed to be prima facie evidence of apostasy.  The phrase "The accused was known to take baths” is common in the records of the Inquisition.  If ones’ ancestors had Jewish blood, that person could be taken as a heretic.  To avoid the rigors of the Inquisition and social ostracism, a person had to prove that not only was he/she a faithful Catholic, but that he was not a convert, and that his ancestors had all been Catholic.  This process was known as "The cleanliness of one's blood."  The cleanliness of one’s' blood gave way for Lope de Vega's quote: "I am a man, although of humble breed, clean of blood and never stained by Hebrew or Moorish."  Thus, a Spaniard of questionable blood (Converso) was forever suspect and to be carefully watched for any possible return to the error in his/her ways, Judaism.  

One perplexing problem for the Inquisition was that many noble families of Spain had intermarried with Jews. Therefore, these were more suspect by the Inquisition than the common people.  It is believed that King Ferdinand was of Jewish blood from his mother's side and that Torquemada had descended from Jews who had converted.  Both were Conversos, but only two of many.  

Here, I provide an excellent example of a Sephardic Jewish family of Conversos, the Mendoza.  They were of high position, powerful, and with a well-documented history.  The Mendoza’s wielded considerable power, especially from the 14th to the 17th centuries C.E. in Castille.  Members of the family were of a line of Spanish nobles originating in the province of Álava in the Basque country from the town of Mendoza.  The Tower of Mendoza in Álava is located in that mountainous region of Álava which is bounded by the kingdoms of Castille, Aragón, and Navarre.  Before the 13th and 14th centuries C.E. the area was loosely controlled by Navarre, and retained its own distinctive customs and traditions.  

The purpose of this information is to show the degree of probable Converso intermarrying that these families would have exercised.  

The town of Mendoza and the province of Álava itself was also a battlefield, where the noble families and rival clans of the area such as the Ayala, Orozco, and Velasco clashed.  But once the region joined Castille inter-clan warfare would end, as their interests were then on gaining position and privilege within Castille.  This family is an excellent example of Spanish Jews marrying into elite Spanish gentile families and then intermarrying with Converso families throughout generations.  

They can be traced back to the House of Haro, another powerful clan of the Basque country.  The House of Haro was the most powerful family of Castille during the Middle Age and strongly supported the expansionist policies of Alfonso VI of Castille.  Alfonso VI (Before June, 1040 C.E.-June 29/July 1, 1109 C.E.), nicknamed “the Brave” or “the Valiant.”  He was King of León from 1065 C.E., King of Castille, and de facto King of Galicia from 1072 C.E.  

As a reward, Íñigo (The origin of Íñigo is Enneco, a pre-Roman native root) López (Floruit 1040–1076 C.E. and died by 1079 C.E.?) was made the first Lord of Biscay by King García Sánchez III, of Navarre (November 1016 C.E.-September 1, 1054 C.E.).  Íñigo's government of Biscay began between 1040 C.E. and 1043 C.E.?  The exact date is not known and this was not a hereditary right.  At some point in time, he received or possibly inherited the rank of count (comes in Latin) and the style "by the grace of God" (gratia Dei).  In 1051 C.E., when García Sánchez granted fueros to Biscay, he officially associated Íñigo with him in the decree, as the head of the local aristocracy (omnes milites), recognizing the rights and privileges of the monasteries.  Íñigo is further associated with monastic renovation by his making or confirming the donations of the churches (monasteria) of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Santa María de Mundaca, and Bermeo to San Juan de la Peña, and of Axpe de Busturia and San Martín de Yurreta to San Millán de la Cogolla.  

While Íñigo’s origins are obscure, the name “Haro” is known to be a Jewish surname meaning "mountaineer."  It is possible that he may have been a son of Lope Velázquez de Ayala, a lord in Álava, Cantabria and nearby parts of Biscay.  He married Toda Ortiz (Fortúnez), probably a daughter of Fortún Sánchez, the godfather of García Sánchez.

 

His father-in-law and García Sánchez both died in the Battle of Atapuerca in 1054 C.E. and Íñigo may have succeeded the former as tenente (lord "holding" the government on behalf of the king) in Nájera.  Documents place his rule in Nájera between 1063 C.E. and 1075 C.E., often through a vicar.  Besides Biscay and Nájera, Íñigo also ruled Durango.  

In 1076 C.E., after the assassination of Sancho Garcés IV and the division of Navarre by the armies of his cousins, Sancho I of Aragón and Alfonso VI of León and Castille, Íñigo accepted the overlordship of the Leónese-Castillian monarch.  In the surviving text of the fuero given to Nájera that year Íñigo's eldest son, Lope, appears swearing fealty to Alfonso, but he is not recorded in documents as count in Biscay until 1079 C.E.  These dates being the termini ad et post quem of his death ("limit after which").  He is last recorded in a donation he made to San Millán on behalf of his late wife.  In the donation he names as their children, beside Lope: García, Galindo, Mencía, and Sancho, who died young.  

Íñigo's grandson, Diego López II de Haro, called the Good or the Bad (b. 1162 C.E.-October 16, 1214 C.E.) was the son of Lope Diaz I de Haro, count of Nájera (b. 1126 C.E.-1170 C.E.) and of countess Aldonza.  He was a first rank magnate in the kingdom of Castille under King Alfonso VIII (1158 C.E.-1214 C.E.).  Diego played a decisive role in the rise of the Haro dynasty, as well as in the development of the Haro nobiliary identity.  The Haro’s were to dominate the Castilian political society during the entire 13th Century C.E.

 

In the early 1500's C.E., the Haro family married paternally into the House of Sotomayor.  Ferrando or Ferran De Saavedra is recognized as the founder of the House of Sotomayor, recorded in the year 698 C.E.  Ferrando De Saavedra built the castle of Eris, in the Parish of Saavedra.  Saavedra is a surname of Galician origin with strong Jewish roots, despite coming from the Gothic word “Saa,” it shows its Semitic roots which tend to be part of names such as Isaack, Abrahaam, etc.

 

The title of Conde De Los Patrimoniso De Galacia was held by Ferrando De Saavedra.  He married Dona Ildaura Arias, Senora of the House of Arias who was a descendant of the Suevan King Ariamiro and had two sons, Arias Ferrandez de Saavedra and Sorred Ferrandez De Saavedra both were related to Don Pelayo and served as captains of his auxiliaries in the glorious reconquest of Spain.  Ferrando died in the Battle of Guadalete fighting against Saracen (A generic term for Muslims widely used in Europe during the later medieval era.) invaders with Don Rodrigo the last of the Western Gothic (Visigoth) Kings on November 11, 711 C.E.  The Haro’s established a branch that would go on to hold dominion over the Marquesado del Carpio established in 1559 C.E. by King Phillip II of Spain.  

According to the Converso defender, Lope de Barrientos, the Mendoza family were of Jewish descent and came from the same stock as another great aristocratic family, the Ayala.  By 1332 C.E., the Mendozas had been in the region for at least a century.  During the reign of Alfonso XI (1312-1350 C.E.) the province became part of the Kingdom of Castille.  The Mendozas participated in Castillian politics thereafter as advisers, administrators, and clerics.  With that annexation and by virtue of the Mendoza family’s status as knights and free men, they became Castillian nobility and hidalgos.  The highest nobility became direct vassals of the king.  All members of the noble class were knights, administrators, or lawyers, and served in the administration of the realm.  The larger families had the responsibility of forming and maintaining a local army that could be made available if called upon by the king.  

The term hidalgo appeared in the 12th Century C.E. as fidalgus or Castillian hidalgo.  It was most probably a contraction of “hijo de algo,” son of something. It was applied to all nobles, but more commonly to the lesser nobility as distinct from the magnates.  This would have included the “ricos hombres”, vassals of the king or count.  These magnates, called ricos hombres (i.e., rich or powerful men) in the west and barones in Catalonia, functioned as his chief counselors.  They provided the bulk of royal military forces.  There were nobles of the second rank, known variously as infanzones, caballeros or cavallers.  Generally speaking these were vassals of the magnates.  

This category would also have included the Castillian commoner knights or “caballeros villanos.” Caballeros Villanos were higher tier troops associated with the Castillian rural troop tree.  They were mounted soldiers usually equipped with spears, small one-handed weapons, heater or kite shields, and padded leather and/or mail armor.  These were the highest tier unit in the cavalry branch of their troop tree.  To be sure they were no match to higher tier noble knights.  However, they provided a competent medium cavalry.  These hidalgos enjoyed some privileges but were dependent on rents or offices.  

By the 15th Century C.E., they would have been thought to be of Old Christian descent, thus distinguished from Muslims and Conversos.  As it relates to the Mendoza family this was clearly not the case.  They were of the Exilarchs, of the Davidic descent of the Royal Houses of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Davidic Royal Line of Judah.  These had formed the rulership of Judah from Zerubbabel’s time.  

Note: The Exilarchs were of the Davidic Royal Line of Judah and formed the rulers of Judah from Zorobabel.  The lineage was from the biblical Zorobabel or Zerubbabel through the Exilarchs, down to the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.  

Exilarch: Title given to the head of the Babylonian Jews, who, from the time of the Babylonian exile, were designated by the term "golah" (see Jer. xxviii. 6, xxix. 1; Ezek. passim) or "galut" (Jer. xxix. 22).  The chief of the golah or prince of the exiles held a position of honor which, recognized by the state, carried with it certain definite prerogatives, and was hereditary in a family that traced its descent from the royal Davidic house.  The origin of this dignity is not known.  The first historical documents referring to it date from the time when Babylon was part of the Parthian empire, and it was preserved uninterruptedly during the rule of the Sassanids, as well as for several centuries under the Arabs.  

A chronicle of about the year 800—the Seder 'Olam Zuṭa—fills up the gaps in the early history of the Exilarch by constructing an account according to which the first Exilarch was no less a person than Jehoiachin, the last king but one of the house of David, whom the Exilarchs regarded as their ancestor.  

The first Mendoza to occupy a position of some importance in Castille was Gonzálo Yáñez de Mendoza.  He fought in the Battle of Río Salado in 1340 C.E. and the siege of Algeciras in 1344 C.E., during the Reconquista against the Islamic kingdoms of Spain.  He also served as chief huntsman to King Alfonso XI. Gonzálo settled in Guadalajara where he ruled after marrying the sister of Íñigo López de Orozco. Orozco was originally from Álava.  He had received the post of mayor as a reward for his military services to the king.  This pattern was replicated in the family several times.  As the Mendoza’s served their king in war, they earned prestigious positions within the kingdom.  By virtue of these positions, they married into wealth and power.  

The son of Gonzálo, Pedro González de Mendoza (1340 C.E.-1385 C.E.) participated in the Castillian Civil War siding with his stepbrother, Henry II over Pedro the Cruel.  The fortunes of his family were greatly aided by these actions as Henry's line eventually won out.  Edward the Black Prince took Pedro prisoner in the Battle of Najera.  Henry was eventually released after Edward left Pedro's side to return to England.  

Pedro is also remembered as a hero in the Battle of Aljubarrota, another crushing Castillian defeat.  When King John I's horse died, Pedro provided the king his horse so that he could flee.  With no way to escape, Pedro was killed in the battle.  His services were remembered and the Mendoza family continued to grow in power and wealth.  

Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (1367 C.E.-1404 C.E.) the tenth head of the House of Mendoza was appointed the Admiral of Castille by King Henry III.  He fought against the Portuguese fleet for possession of the Strait of Gibraltar as commander of the fleet. Interestingly, of the three engagements he commanded, his forces lost them all.  He was the son of Pedro González de Mendoza I and Aldonza López de Ayala.  Diego inherited the wealth of his father Pedro.  He first married King Henry II’s illegitimate daughter María, who died during giving birth to their daughter, Aldonza de Mendoza.  She later became the Countess of Arjona.  

Later, he married León or Lasso de la Vega (1394 C.E.) an exceptionally powerful and well-connected widow and head of house of the prestigious “House of Lasso de la Vega” a descendant of the rich and powerful counts of La Vega.  

Note: The following information is taken from Sephardim.Com for the purpose of educating the reader about Spanish names and how they relate to Sephardic origins.  These follow the various families with which the Mendozas intermarried, show the possibility of Sephardic origins, and offer information of the ongoing connectivity of the Sephardim.   

Vega (da, de, dela) (46) (47)  

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants.  The source of this information is also available.

(47) From the book, "SEPHARDIM, The Spirit That Has Withstood the times", contains the names of Sephardim from Curacao.  

In August 1398, their son Íñigo López de Mendoza was born. He would become the first Marquis of Santillana. That marriage united both family titles under the House of Mendoza.  In reward for this and other expressions of loyalty, King Henry made multiple donations and grants to him, and gave Diego rule over the town of Tendilla in 1395.  When he died, Diego was considered among the richest men in Castille.  

Juana de Mendoza married Alonso Enríquez (1354-1429) who was Lord of Medina de Rioseco and Admiral of Castille. Alonso Enriquez de Castilla Guadalcanal (1354-1429) was the son of Fadrique Alfonso, 25th Master of the Order of Santiago, and an unnamed lady.  The Portuguese Fernando Lopez wrote in connection with events that occurred in 1384, that the Admiral was the son of a Jewess.  The "Memorial of old things" attributed to the dean of Toledo, Diego de Castilla, stated that Frederic had Alonso from a Jewess from Guadalcanal called Paloma.  

Enriques(3)(5)(11)(12)(14)(17)(28b)(31/2/4)(45)(46)  

(3) From the burial register of Bethahaim Velho Cemetery, Published by the Jewish Historical Society of England. (~)

(5) Sephardic names extracted from the book, "Finding Our Fathers", by Dan Rottenberg.  Each name is followed by a short biography and references for additional information.  This book is a fine reference for those interested in learning Jewish genealogy research.  The publication explains how and where to conduct research and can be purchased on this site through Amazon.com

(11) List of (mostly) Sephardic brides from the publication, "List of 7300 Names of Jewish Brides and Grooms who married in Izmir between the Years 1883-1901 & 1918-1933. (~)

(12) List of (mostly) Sephardic grooms from the publication listed above (Izmir lists provided by Dov Cohen, Nof Ayalon Israel).  Email address dkcohen@neto.net.il (~)

(14) From the publication, "Los Sefardes", by Jose M. Estrugo.  Published by Editorial Lex La Habana, 1958.  (Apellidos corrientes entre los Sephardies) (~)

(17) From the book, "Hebrews of the Portuguese Nation", by Miriam Bodian. (~)

(28b) "Portuguese" of Santiago del Estro. The list provides the year of arrival and entry point into Argentina. Apellidos de los Portugueses de Santiago del Estero. (~)

(45) Apellidos de Judios Sefardies (Surnames of the Sephardic Jews) from the site Comunidad Israelita Pincipado de Austurias.

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants.  The source of this information is also available.

(47) From the book, "SEPHARDIM, The Spirit That Has Withstood the times." Contains the names of Sephardim from Curacao.

(48) The "Rise and Fall of Paradise", When Arabs and Jews built a Kingdom in Spain.  Sephardic names.  

His father was murdered in 1358 in the Alcázar of Seville, on the orders of his brother Peter.  Alonso was the founder of the lineage of Enriquez, and is the first Admiral of Castille of his family since 1405, and first lord of Medina de Rio Seco.  

Alonso's paternal grandparents were King Alfonso XI the Just, a nephew of King Henry II and cousin of King Juan I and León or de Guzman.  He was a brother of Pedro Enriquez de Castilla, Count of Trastámara, Lemos, Sarria, Constable of Castille and beadle greater Santiago.  His other sisters were Eleanor of Castille and Angulo Enriquez of Cordova, who married the Marshal of Castille Diego Gomez Sarmiento.  

Sarmiento (5) (14) (23) (29) (46)  

(5) Sephardic names extracted from the book, "Finding Our Fathers", by Dan Rottenberg. Each name is followed by a short biography and references for additional information.  This book is a fine reference for those interested in learning Jewish genealogy research.  The publication explains how and where to conduct research and can be purchased on this site through Amazon.com

(14) From the publication, "Los Sefardes", by Jose M. Estrugo.  Published by Editorial Lex La Habana, 1958.  (Apellidos corrientes entre los Sephardies)(~)

(23) From the book, "Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews", by David Gitlitz.  The names of the Sephardim (and their residences) mentioned were, sometimes, involved with the inquisition.  There were other names which are not listed here because the author did not identify those names as Sephardic. (~)

(29) "Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa. Tiene Vd. sangre judia? (~)

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants.  The source of this information is also available.  

In 1389, John I of Castille gave Alonso the area around Aguilar de Campos.  In later years, he managed to extend his territory.  Until 1402, he served the King as a commander and administered the castle of Medina de Rioseco.  

In 1387, Alonso married Juana de Mendoza y de Orozco.  

Orozco (6a) (29) (46)  

(6a) Reports the names of people who appeared before the inquisition in the New Spain. (~)

(29) "Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa.  Tiene Vd. sangre judia? (~)

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants.  The source of this information is also available.  

Reports of the names of people who appeared before the inquisition in the New Spain:

"Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa.  Tiene Vd. sangre judia?  

It is conjectured that it must have been at the behest of his wife, which, upon the death of her brother, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, who held the post of Admiral of Castille, that the title of Admiral passed on to her husband.  Alonso ended up being the most famous admiral in the family, winning many sea battles.  

In 1407, he defeated the combined fleet of Tunis (Hafsid), Granada (Nasrid) and Tlemcen (Capital city of the Zianid kingdom).  This was his last major sea battle.  Afterward, he inspected the fleet and led military actions on land, such as the capture of Antequera in 1410.  He was deeply involved in the court politics and social life.  

The poet and biographer Fernán Pérez de Guzmán, a contemporary of Alonso's, described him as medium sized, chubby, red-haired, discrete, and not a talker.  The historian Esteban de Garibay (1533-1600) described him as hot-tempered and quickly irritated.  Some occasionally referred to Alonso Enríquez as the son of a "pig" (Family of converted Jews), Nuptials and offspring.  

His marriage to Juana de Mendoza resulted in thirteen children:

▪ Fadrique Enriquez (first-born, c. 1388) married to Mariana Fernandez de Córdoba and Ayala.  

Córdoba de (23) (41) (46)  

(23) From the book, "Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews", by David Gitlitz.  The names of the Sephardim (and their residences) mentioned were, sometimes, involved with the inquisition.  There were other names which are not listed here because the author did not identify those names as Sephardic.

(41) "Conversos on Trial" by Haim Bienart. A well written story of the Converso community of Ciudad Real, to include the Converso inquisition trials in the Mid-15th Century.  This book contains a list of names, sometimes providing the names of relatives, house locations, and professions.  A fine resource for those with ties to Ciudad Real.

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants.  The source of this information is also available.  

Ayala de (23) (36) (45) (49)  

23) From the book, "Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews", by David Gitlitz.  The names of the Sephardim (and their residences) mentioned were, sometimes, involved with the inquisition.  There were other names which are not listed here because the author did not identify those names as Sephardic.

(36) Sephardic names extracted from the book, "Noble Families among the Sephardic Jews" by Isaac Da Costa, Bertram Brewster, and Cecil Roth.  This book provides genealogy information about many of the more famous Sephardic families of Iberia, England and Amsterdam.  For those tracing Sephardim from Spain to England or to Amsterdam, this book can be most valuable. Many name changes and aliases are provided.  This reference documents the assimilation, name changes and conversion of many Sephardic families in Spain, England, and the Netherlands.  There is also a large section dealing the genealogy of the members of Capadose family that converted to Christianity.

(45) Apellidos de Judios Sefardies (Surnames of the Sephardic Jews) from the site Comunidad Israelita Pincipado de Austurias.

(49) From the book, "The Expulsion of the Jews from Spain", by Haim Beinart.  This reference describes in detail the adventures of Sephardim in escaping the inquisition during the period the expulsion.  Many vignettes.  Rich in names and history at a personal level.  Many names in this publication are not recognizable as Jewish.  Only those names recognizable and labeled as Jewish or converso are listed here.  There are many hundreds of other names in the glossary that deserve your research.  

▪ Enrique Enríquez de Mendoza (died c. 1489) parent of Toledo and Enriquez Enriquez de Guzman, Count of Alba de Liste title since August 8, 1451 by John II of Castille.  

▪ Pedro Enriquez who died as a child and not be confused with Pedro Enriquez de Quinones, son of his brother Frederic Enriquez (From which descend Enríquez de Ribera, and Marquis of Tarifa since 1514).

▪ Beatriz Enríquez (?-1439) Married Pedro de Portocarrero and Cabeza de Vaca, lord of Moguer, son of Martin Fernandez Portocarrero, lord of Moguer IV, and Eleanor Cabeza de Vaca.  

Portocarrero (29)  

(29) "Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa.  Tiene Vd. sangre judia?  

Cabeza de Vaca (29)  

(29) "Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa.  Tiene Vd. sangre judia? She was buried in the Convent of Poor Clares of Mudejar style Moguer.  

▪ León or Enríquez married in 1410 and Rodrigo Pimentel Alonso Téllez de Meneses, Count of Benavente II.  

Tellez (29)  

(29) "Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa.  Tiene Vd. sangre judia?  

▪ Aldonza Enríquez. In 1410, she married with Rodrigo Alvarez Osorio.  

Alvárez (13) (46)  

(13) From the book, "The Jews of New Spain", by Seymour B. Liebman.

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants. The source of this information is also available.  

Osorio (2) (3) (5) (6c) (7) (18) (23) (29) (36) (40) (46) (47)  

(2) From the records of Bevis Marks, The Spanish and Portuguese Congregation of London.

(3) From the burial register of Bethahaim Velho Cemetery, Published by the Jewish Historical Society of England.

(5) Sephardic names extracted from the book, "Finding Our Fathers", by Dan Rottenberg.  Each name is followed by a short biography and references for additional information.  This book is a fine reference for those interested in learning Jewish genealogy research.  The publication explains how and where to conduct research and can be purchased on this site through Amazon.com

(6c) Reports the names of people who appeared before the inquisition in El Peru.)

(7) From the book, "A History of the Marranos", by Cecil Roth.)

(18) From the book, "The Sephardim of England", by Albert M. Hyamson.

(23) From the book, "Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews", by David Gitlitz.  The names of the Sephardim (and their residences) mentioned were, sometimes, involved with the inquisition.  There were other names which are not listed here because the author did not identify those names as Sephardic.

(29) "Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa.  Tiene Vd. sangre judia?

(36) Sephardic names extracted from the book, "Noble Families Among The Sephardic Jews" by Isaac Da Costa, Bertram Brewster, and Cecil Roth.  This book provides genealogy information about many of the more famous Sephardic families of Iberia, England and Amsterdam.  For those tracing Sephardim from Spain to England or to Amsterdam, this book can be most valuable.  Many name changes and aliases are provided. This reference documents the assimilation, name changes and conversion of many Sephardic families in Spain, England and the Netherlands.  There is also a large section dealing the genealogy of the members of Capadose family that converted to Christianity.

(40) The Circumcision Register of Isaac and Abraham De Paiba (1715-1775) from the Archives of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation of Bevis Marks (London, England).  Family names include those circumcised, God fathers, and God mothers.  There are also short sections of additional circumcisions 1679-99 (40a), Marriages 1679-89 (40b), and births of daughters 1679-99(40c)

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants.  The source of this information is also available.

(47) From the book, "SEPHARDIM, The Spirit That Has Withstood the times" contains the names of Sephardim from Curacao.  

▪ Isabel Enriquez (?-1469).  Married Juan Ramirez de Arellano, lord of the Cameros.  

Ramirez (6a) (23) (29) (31/1/2) (31/1/3) (41) (45)  

(6a) Reports the names of people who appeared before the inquisition in the New Spain. (~)

(23) From the book, "Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews", by David Gitlitz.  The names of the Sephardim (and their residences) mentioned were, sometimes, involved with the inquisition.  There were other names which are not listed here because the author did not identify those names as Sephardic. (~)

(29) "Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa.  Tiene Vd. sangre judia? (~)

(31) Sephardic names from the magazine "ETSI".  Most of the names are from (but not limited to) France and North Africa.  Published by Laurence Abensur-Hazan and Philip Abensur. Subscriptions are available.  If your family comes from the area served by ETSI, this magazine is worthwhile.  <http://www.geocities.com/EnchantedForest/1321> (31/volume number/issue number) For example (31/3/8) = Esti volume 3, issue8. (~)

(41) "Conversos on Trial" by Haim Bienart.  A well written story of the Converso community of Ciudad Real, to include the Converso inquisition trials in the mid 15th century.  This book contains a list of names, sometimes providing the names of relatives, house locations, and professions.  A fine resource for those with ties to Ciudad Real. (~)

(45) Apellidos de Judios Sefardies (Surnames of the Sephardic Jews) from the site Comunidad Israelita Pincipado de Austurias.  

de Arellano (29) (46)  

(29) "Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa.  Tiene Vd. sangre judia? (~)

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants.  The source of this information is also available.  

▪ Inés Enríquez.  Married Juan Hurtado de Mendoza, Lord of Almazan.  

▪ Blanca Enriquez married to Pedro Nunez de Herrera, lord of Herrera and second Lord of Pedraza.  

Nunez de Herrera (5) (13) (23) (28) (41)  

(5) Sephardic names extracted from the book, "Finding Our Fathers", by Dan Rottenberg.  Each name is followed by a short biography and references for additional information.  This book is a fine reference for those interested in learning Jewish genealogy research.  The publication explains how and where to conduct research and can be purchased on this site through Amazon.com

(13) From the book, "The Jews of New Spain", by Seymour B. Liebman. (~)

(23) From the book, "Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews", by David Gitlitz.  The names of the Sephardim (and their residences) mentioned were, sometimes, involved with the inquisition.  There were other names which are not listed here because the author did not identify those names as Sephardic. (~)

(28) From the book, "Judios Conversos" (Jewish Converts) by Mario Javier Saban. Los antepasados Judios de las familias Argentinas.  This work contains many Sephardic names and family trees within its 3 volumes.  Many of the individuals listed appeared before the inquisition and were secret Jews.  Some later converted and intermarried.  He description "Jew "and "Portuguese" appear to be used interchangeably.  Only those names that were identified as Sephardic Jews or descendant from Sephardic Jews or in some cases, new Christians that married into Sephardic families are listed here.  It is possible that some Sephardic names not well identified are not listed.  If you have Sephardic/Portuguese family roots in early Argentina, research these volumes.  Many of the names listed here represent the famous names of Jewish/Sephardic Argentina.  Wonderful family trees, well detailed, are provided in the three volumes. (~)

(41) "Conversos on Trial" by Haim Bienart.  A well written story of the Converso community of Ciudad Real, to include the Converso inquisition trials in the mid 15th century.  This book contains a list of names, sometimes providing the names of relatives, house locations, and professions  A fine resource for those with ties to Ciudad Real. (~)  

A daughter of this marriage, Elvira de Herrera y Enríquez, married Pedro Fernández de Córdoba, Lord of Aguilar V, being parents, among others, Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, the Great Captain.  

Fernández de Córdoba (23) (41)(46)  

(23) From the book, "Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews", by David Gitlitz.  The names of the Sephardim (and their residences) mentioned were, sometimes, involved with the inquisition.  There were other names which are not listed here because the author did not identify those names as Sephardic. (~)

(41) "Conversos on Trial" by Haim Bienart.  A well written story of the Converso community of Ciudad Real, to include the Converso inquisition trials in the mid 15th century.  This book contains a list of names, sometimes providing the names of relatives, house locations, and professions.  A fine resource for those with ties to Ciudad Real. (~)

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants.  The source of this information is also available.  

▪ Married Constanza Enriquez Juan de Tovar, Lord of Berlanga.  

Constanza Enriquez Juan de Tovar  

Tovar (9) (29) (30) (37) (46)  

(9) From the book, "Precious Stones of the Jews of Curacao Jewry 1657-1957. (~)

(29) "Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa.  Tiene Vd. sangre judia? (~)

(30) "Raizes Judaicas No Brasil" by Flavio Mendes Carvalho.  This book contains names of Sephardim involved in the inquisition in Brazil.  Many times date of birth, occupation, name of parents, age, and location of domicile are also included.  Included in this list are the names of the relatives of the victims.  Many of the victims were tortured to death or exiled so their lines might end here. (~)

(37) Sephardic names from the book, "A Origem Judaica dos Brasileiros", by Jose Geraldo Rodrigues de Alckmin Filho, who personally provided the text.  This publication contains a list of 517 Sephardic families punished by the inquisition in Portugal and Brazil. As familias punidas pela Inquidicao em Portugal e no Brasil. (~)
(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants.  The source of this information is also available.  

▪ Maria Enriquez (?-1441), Married to Juan de Rojas and Manrique, lord of Monzón Campos and fit in 1431, mayor of Castille and doncel Hijosdalgo the king, who took part in the Battle of La Higueruela in The Vega of Granada, next to John II of Castille and the Constable Alvaro de Luna.  

de Rojas (7) (19a) (21) (23)  

(7) From the book, "A History of the Marranos", by Cecil Roth. (~)

(19) From Vol. 1, "A History of the Jews in Christian Spain", by Yitzhak Baer.

(19a) Volume II. (~)

(21) From the book, "Crisis and Creativity in the Sephardic World: 1391-1648", by Gampel. This book lists Sephardic movers and shakers during the period. (~)

(23) From the book, "Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews", by David Gitlitz.  The names of the Sephardim (and their residences) mentioned were, sometimes, involved with the inquisition.  There were other names which are not listed here because the author did not identify those names as Sephardic. (~)  

Manrique (29) (40) (45) (46)  

(29) "Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa. Tiene Vd. sangre judia? (~)

(40) The Circumcision Register of Isaac and Abraham De Paiba (1715-1775) from the Archives of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation of Bevis Marks (London. England).  Family names include those circumcised, God fathers, and God mothers.  There are also short sections of additional circumcisions 1679-1699

(45) Apellidos de Judios Sefardies (Surnames of the Sephardic Jews) from the site Comunidad Israelita Pincipado de Austurias.

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants. The source of this information is also available.  

▪ Mencia Enriquez (?-1480), Who married in 1430 with Juan Fernandez Manrique de Lara, Count de Castañeda since 1436  

de Lara (3) (5) (20) (30) (36) (46)  

(3) From the burial register of Bethahaim Velho Cemetery, Published by the Jewish Historical Society of England. (~)

(5) Sephardic names extracted from the book, "Finding Our Fathers", by Dan Rottenberg.  Each name is followed by a short biography and references for additional information.  This book is a fine reference for those interested in learning Jewish genealogy research.  The publication explains how and where to conduct research and can be purchased on this site through Amazon.com

(20) From the book, "A Life of Menasseh Ben Israel", by Cecil Roth.  This book contains names from the Sephardic community of greater Amsterdam.  Amsterdam was a major haven and transfer point for Sephardim and Morranos leaving Iberia. (~)

(30) "Raizes Judaicas No Brasil" by Flavio Mendes Carvalho.  This book contains names of Sephardim involved in the inquisition in Brazil.  Many times date of birth, occupation, name of parents, age, and location of domicile are also included. Included in this list are the names of the relatives of the victims.  Many of the victims were tortured to death or exiled so their lines might end here. (~)

(36) Sephardic names extracted from the book, "Noble Families Among The Sephardic Jews" by Isaac Da Costa, Bertram Brewster, and Cecil Roth.  This book provides genealogy information about many of the more famous Sephardic families of Iberia, England and Amsterdam.  For those tracing Sephardim from Spain to England or to Amsterdam, this book can be most valuable.  Many name changes and aliases are provided.  This reference documents the assimilation, name changes and conversion of many Sephardic families in Spain, England and The Netherlands.  There is also a large section dealing the genealogy of the members of Capadose family that converted to Christianity. (~)

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants.  The source of this information is also available.  

▪ Rodrigo Enriquez, whom his mother in his will of 1431, leaves some property, calling him "my son, the Archdeacon Rodrigo Enriquez."  He was buried in the Cathedral of Palencia.

Out of wedlock had an illegitimate son:

▪ Juan Enriquez, whom his father, before going to Seville, he left as captain general of the fleet as it was a "tried and true knight."

▪ Don Íñigo López de Mendoza y de la Vega, Marquis of Santillana (August 19, 1398-March 25, 1458) was a Castilian politician and poet who held an important position in society and literature during the reign of John II of Castille.  

He was born at Carrión de los Condes in Old Castille to a noble family which figured prominently in the arts.  His grandfather, Pedro González de Mendoza I, and his father, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza Admiral of Castille, were both poets with close ties to the great literary figures of the time: Chancellor Lopez de Ayala, Fernán Pérez de Guzmán and Gómez Manrique.  

His mother, Doña León or de la Vega, was a wealthy heiress belonging to the House of de la Vega.

de la Vega (46) (47)  

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants.  The source of this information is also available.

(47) From the book, "SEPHARDIM, The Spirit That Has Withstood the times." Contains the names of Sephardim from Curacao.  

Lopez de Mendoza's father died when he was five years old, which brought his family into financial difficulties. Part of his childhood was spent living in his grandmother's household, and in the home of his uncle, the future Archbishop of Toledo.

As a youth, he spent time in the court king Alfonso V of Aragón, where he was exposed to the work of poets in the Provençal, Valencia and Catalan traditions, the classic Humanist works of Virgil and Dante Alighieri, and the lyricism of troubadours such as Enrique de Villena.  

In 1412, Don Íñigo married a wealthy heiress, Catarina Suárez de Figueroa.  With this union, he acquired great fortune and became one of the most powerful nobles of his time.  His sixth son from the marriage would one day become Cardenal Mendoza.

Suárez de Figueroa (6a)  

(6a) Reports the names of people who appeared before the inquisition in the New Spain. (~)  

As a politician, Don Íñigo remained loyal to Juan II throughout his life, for which he was richly rewarded with land and the title of Marquis of Santillana in 1445, after the First Battle of Olmedo.  When his wife Doña Catarina de Figueroa died, the Marquis retired to his palace of Guadalajara to spend the rest of his life in peaceful study and contemplation.  

Children

·       Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, 1st Duke of the Infantado

·       Pedro Lasso de Mendoza, señor del valle del Lozoya

·       Íñigo López de Mendoza, 1st count of Tendilla  

Mencía de Mendoza, married Pedro Fernández de Velasco, 2nd Count of Haro de Velasco (23) (46)  

(23) From the book, "Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews", by David Gitlitz.  The names of the Sephardim (and their residences) mentioned were, sometimes, involved with the inquisition.  There were other names which are not listed here because the author did not identify those names as Sephardic. (~)

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants.  The source of this information is also available.  

Lorenzo Suárez de Mendoza y Figueroa, Conde de la Coruña  

Pedro González de Mendoza, cardinal and confidant of Queen Isabella I of Castille

Juan Hurtado de Mendoza, señor de Colmenar, El Cardoso y El Vado  

María de Mendoza married Pero Afán de Ribera, Conde de los Molares  

Ribera (5) (17) (29) (45) (46)  

(5) Sephardic names extracted from the book, "Finding Our Fathers", by Dan Rottenberg.  Each name is followed by a short biography and references for additional information.  This book is a fine reference for those interested in learning Jewish genealogy research.  The publication explains how and where to conduct research and can be purchased on this site through Amazon.com

(17) From the book, "Hebrews of the Portuguese Nation", by Miriam Bodian. (~)

(29) "Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa.  Tiene Vd. sangre judia? (~)

(45) Apellidos de Judios Sefardies (Surnames of the Sephardic Jews) from the site Comunidad Israelita Pincipado de Austurias.

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants. The source of this information is also available.  

León or de la Vega y Mendoza, married Gastón I de la Cerda, 4th Count de Medinaceli  

de la Cerda (33b) (46)  

(33b) "Crypto-Jews under the Commonwealth", by Lucien Wolf. (~)

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants. The source of this information is also available.

Pedro Hurtado de Mendoza, señor de Tamajón (May 3, 1428-January 11, 1495) was a Spanish cardinal and statesman.  He was born at Guadalajara in New Castille, the chief lordship of his family.  He was the fourth son of Íñigo López de Mendoza, marqués de Santillana, deceased 1458, and one of the cadet brothers of Diego Hurtado de Mendoza.  

During these years he became attached to Mencia de Lemos, a Portuguese lady-in-waiting of the Consort queen, a Portuguese princess.  

de Lemos (7) (8)  

(7) From the book, "A History of the Marranos", by Cecil Roth. (~)

(8) From the book, "Jews in Colonial Brazil", by Arnold Wizhitzer. (~)  

She bore him two sons, Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar Mendoza, who was once selected to be the husband of Lucrezia Borgia  

Borgia (29)  

(29) "Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa.  Tiene Vd. sangre judia? (~)  

, and another, who was named Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, 1st Count of Melito in Italy, not to be confounded with other people mentioned also above and who was the grandfather of the princess of Eboli of the reign of Philip II of Spain.  

By Inés de Tovar, a lady of a Valladolid family, he had a third son (Juan Hurtado de Mendoza y Tovar) who afterwards emigrated to France.  

de Tovar (9) (29) (30) (37) (46)  

(9) From the book, "Precious Stones of the Jews of Curacao Jewry 1657-1957. (~)

(29) "Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa.  Tiene Vd. sangre judia? (~)

(30) "Raizes Judaicas No Brasil" by Flavio Mendes Carvalho.  This book contains names of Sephardim involved in the inquisition in Brazil.  Many times date of birth, occupation, name of parents, age, and location of domicile are also included. Included in this list are the names of the relatives of the victims . Many of the victims were tortured to death or exiled so their lines might end here. (~)

(37) Sephardic names from the book, "A Origem Judaica dos Brasileiros", by Jose Geraldo Rodrigues de Alckmin Filho, who personally provided the text.  This publication contains a list of 517 Sephardic families punished by the inquisition in Portugal and Brazil.  As familias punidas pela Inquidicao em Portugal e no Brasil. (~)
(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants.  The source of this information is also available.  

In 1468 Pedro became Bishop of Sigüenza.  In 1473 he was created cardinal, was promoted to the archbishopric of Seville and named chancellor of Castille.  During the last years of the reign of King Henry IV he was the partisan of the Princess Isabella, afterwards queen.  

With León or de la Cerda, the cardinal had the following offspring:  

Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar y Mendoza, (1466–1523), 1st Count of the Cid and 1st Marquis of Cenete.  

Doña Ana de Mendoza y de la Cerda, Princess of Eboli, Duchess of Pastrana, (in full, Spanish: Doña Ana de Mendoza y de la Cerda ), (June 29, 1540-February 2, 1592) was a Spanish aristocrat, suo jure 2nd Princess of Mélito, 2nd Duchess of Francavilla and 3rd Countess of Aliano.  She was considered one of Spain's greatest beauties, despite having lost an eye in a mock duel with a page when she was young.  

Ana, also known as Princess of Eboli, Countess of Mélito and Duchess of Pastrana, married Rui Gomes da Silva,  

Gomes da Silva (1) (30)  

(1) From the civil records of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (~)

(30) "Raizes Judaicas No Brasil" by Flavio Mendes Carvalho.  This book contains names of Sephardim involved in the inquisition in Brazil.  Many times date of birth, occupation, name of parents, age, and location of domicile are also included. Included in this list are the names of the relatives of the victims.  Many of the victims were tortured to death or exiled so their lines might end here. (~)  

1st Prince of Éboli when she was twelve years old (1552), by recommendation of Prince Philip.  Her husband was Prince of Éboli and minister to the King.  She was considered one of the more accomplished women of her time, and although she had just one eye, Ana was regarded as one of the most beautiful ladies in Spain.  

Ana had ten children by this marriage:

Diego (c.1558–1563)  
Ana de Silva y Mendoza (1560–1610) married 1572 to Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, 7th Duke of Medina Sidonia;  

Pérez de Guzmán (36)  

(36) Sephardic names extracted from the book, "Noble Families Among The Sephardic Jews" by Isaac Da Costa, Bertram Brewster, and Cecil Roth.  This book provides genealogy information about many of the more famous Sephardic families of Iberia, England and Amsterdam.  For those tracing Sephardim from Spain to England or to Amsterdam, this book can be most valuable.  Many name changes and aliases are provided.  This reference documents the assimilation, name changes and conversion of many Sephardic families in Spain, England and The Netherlands.  There is also a large section dealing the genealogy of the members of Capadose family that converted to Christianity. (~)  

Rodrigo de Silva y Mendoza (1562-1596), 2nd duke of Pastrana;  

Pedro de Silva y Mendoza (c. 1563);  

Diego de Silva y Mendoza (1564-1630), 1st marquis of Alenquer  

Ruy de Silva y Mendoza (1565-), 1st marquis of La Eliseda  

Fernando de Silva y Mendoza, later Pedro González de Mendoza (1570-1639)  

Maria de Mendoza y Maria de Silva (c. 1570)  

Ana de Silva y Mendoza (1573–1614)  

Íñigo López de Mendoza y Quiñones, (born Guadalajara, Kingdom of Castille, 1440 – died Granada, Spain 20 July 1515) was the first Marqués de Mondéjar, and second Conde de Tendilla.  He was known as El Gran Tendilla, and was a Spanish noble of the House of Mendoza.  He was the son of Íñigo López de Mendoza y Figueroa, the first Conde de Tendilla, and the grandson of the poet Íñigo López de Mendoza, 1st Marquis of Santillana.  Succeeding his father in 1479 as Conde de Tendilla, he entered the Royal Court at Toledo in 1480 to show his loyalty to the Catholic Monarchs and offered his services for the ongoing conquest of Granada.  It was in the Granada War that he first showed his military prowess.  

Íñigo’s brother, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza y Quiñones later became a cardinal.  

His nephew, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar y Mendoza, the son of Cardinal Pedro González de Mendoza, who educated Íñigo, served under him during this time.  He was there named Alcaide de Alhama de Granada and was made, at his own expense, to defend those lands against the armies of Muley Hacén from 1484-1485.  

After the defeat of Boabdil and conquest of Granada in winter of 1492, King Ferdinand named Íñigo Governor of Alhambra and Captain General of Granada.  During his tenure as governor, Conde Íñigo subdued the first Moorish uprising in Granada (1500-1502), which was brought about by the forced mass conversions enacted by Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros.  He later would command troops against further uprisings in Alpujarras along with King Ferdinand and the "Gran Capitan", Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba.  

In September of 1512, Íñigo obtained the title of Marqués de Mondéjar from Ferdinand II of Aragón. The title was later nominally ratified by the queen, Juanna la Loca.  

Íñigo's first wife was Maria Lasso de la Vega y Mendoza. Maria was from the House of Lasso de la Vega and brought as her dowry, part of the village of Mondéjar.  Maria died childless in 1477.  

Íñigo took up his second wife, Francisca de Pacheco y Portocarrero, daughter of Juan Pacheco, the first Marquis de Villena.  

Pacheco (1) (2) (3) (5) (6a) (7) (8) (14) (18) (26) (29) (30) (36) (37) (40) (40a) (40b) (41) (46)  

(1) From the civil records of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (~)

(2) From the records of Bevis Marks, The Spanish and Portuguese Congregation of London. (~)

(3) From the burial register of Bethahaim Velho Cemetery, Published by the Jewish Historical Society of England. (~)

(5) Sephardic names extracted from the book, "Finding Our Fathers", by Dan Rottenberg.  Each name is followed by a short biography and references for additional information.  This book is a fine reference for those interested in learning Jewish genealogy research.  The publication explains how and where to conduct research and can be purchased on this site through Amazon.com

(6a) Reports the names of people who appeared before the inquisition in the New Spain. (~)

(7) From the book, "A History of the Marranos", by Cecil Roth. (~)

(8) From the book, "Jews in Colonial Brazil", by Arnold Wizhitzer. (~)

(14) From the publication, "Los Sefardes", by Jose M. Estrugo.  Published by Editorial Lex La Habana, 1958. (Apellidos corrientes entre los Sephardies)(~)

(18) From the book, "The Sephardim of England", by Albert M. Hyamson. (~)

(26) From the book, "Die Sefarden in Hamburg" (The Sephardim in Hamburg [Germany]) by Michael Studemund-Halevy. German names are due to inter-marriage (~)   birth. (~)

(29) "Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa.  Tiene Vd. sangre judia? (~)

(30) "Raizes Judaicas No Brasil" by Flavio Mendes Carvalho.  This book contains names of Sephardim involved in the inquisition in Brazil.  Many times date of birth, occupation, name of parents, age, and location of domicile are also included.  Included in this list are the names of the relatives of the victims.  Many of the victims were tortured to death or exiled so their lines might end here. (~)

(36) Sephardic names extracted from the book, "Noble Families Among The Sephardic Jews" by Isaac Da Costa, Bertram Brewster, and Cecil Roth.  This book provides genealogy information about many of the more famous Sephardic families of Iberia, England and Amsterdam.  For those tracing Sephardim from Spain to England or to Amsterdam, this book can be most valuable. Many name changes and aliases are provided.  This reference documents the assimilation, name changes and conversion of many Sephardic families in Spain, England and The Netherlands.  There is also a large section dealing the genealogy of the members of Capadose family that converted to Christianity. (~)

(37) Sephardic names from the book, "A Origem Judaica dos Brasileiros", by Jose Geraldo Rodrigues de Alckmin Filho, who personally provided the text.  This publication contains a list of 517 Sephardic families punished by the inquisition in Portugal and Brazil.  As familias punidas pela Inquidicao em Portugal e no Brasil. (~)
(40) The Circumcision Register of Isaac and Abraham De Paiba (1715-1775) from the Archives of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation of Bevis Marks (London. England).  Family names include those circumcised, God fathers, and God mothers.  There are also short sections of additional circumcisions 1679-99

(40a), Marriages 1679-89

(40b), and births of daughters 1679-99(40c) (~)

(41) "Conversos on Trial" by Haim Bienart.  A well written story of the Converso community of Ciudad Real, to include the Converso inquisition trials in the Mid-15th Century.  This book contains a list of names, sometimes providing the names of relatives, house locations, and professions.  A fine resource for those with ties to Ciudad Real. (~)

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants.  The source of this information is also available.  

Portocarrero (29)  

(29) "Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa.  Tiene Vd. sangre judia? (~)  

The couple had seven children together:  

María de Mendoza, born in 1489, married the Conde de Monteagudo in 1503.  

Luis Hurtado de Mendoza y Pacheco, the future Third Conde de Tendilla also became a friend and advisor to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.  

Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, the first Viceroy of New Spain and the second Viceroy of the Perú.  

María Pacheco, wife of Juan López de Padilla, the comunero.  

López (3) (5) (6a) (6b) (6c) (7) (9) (13) (14) (18) (20) (21) (23) (28) (28a) (28b) (28c) (28e) (28f) (28i) (29) (40a) (41) (45) (46)  

(3) From the burial register of Bethahaim Velho Cemetery, Published by the Jewish Historical Society of England. (~)

(5) Sephardic names extracted from the book, "Finding Our Fathers", by Dan Rottenberg.  Each name is followed by a short biography and references for additional information.  This book is a fine reference for those interested in learning Jewish genealogy research.  The publication explains how and where to conduct research and can be purchased on this site through Amazon.com

(6a) Reports the names of people who appeared before the inquisition in the New Spain. (~)

(6b) Reports the names of people who appeared before the inquisition in New Granada. (~)

(6c) Reports the names of people who appeared before the inquisition in El Peru. (~)

(7) From the book, "A History of the Marranos", by Cecil Roth. (~)

(9) From the book, "Precious Stones of the Jews of Curacao Jewry 1657-1957. (~)

(13) From the book, "The Jews of New Spain", by Seymour B. Liebman. (~)

(14) From the publication, "Los Sefardes", by Jose M. Estrugo.  Published by Editorial Lex La Habana, 1958. (Apellidos corrientes entre los Sephardies)(~)

(18) From the book, "The Sephardim of England", by Albert M. Hyamson. (~)

(20) From the book, "A Life of Menasseh Ben Israel", by Cecil Roth.  This book contains names from the Sephardic community of greater Amsterdam.  Amsterdam was a major haven and transfer point for Sephardim and Morranos leaving Iberia. (~)

(21) From the book, "Crisis and Creativity in the Sephardic World: 1391-1648", by Gampel.  This book lists Sephardic movers and shakers during the period. (~)

(28) From the book, "Judios Conversos" (Jewish Converts) by Mario Javier Saban.  Los antepasados Judios de las familias Argentinas.  This work contains many Sephardic names and family trees within its 3 volumes.  Many of the individuals listed appeared before the inquisition and were secret Jews.  Some later converted and intermarried.  The description "Jew "and "Portuguese" appear to be used interchangeably.  Only those names that were identified as Sephardic Jews or descendant from Sephardic Jews or in some cases, new Christians that married into Sephardic families are listed here.  It is possible that some Sephardic names not well identified are not listed.  If you have Sephardic/Portuguese family roots in early Argentina, research these volumes.  Many of the names listed here represent the famous names of Jewish/Sephardic Argentina. Wonderful family trees, well detailed, are provided in the three volumes. (~)

(28a) List of Portuguese Jews expelled from Buenos Aries, 1603.  The list also contains the name of the vessel and date of arrival in Argentina.  Los "Portugueses" Judaizantes expulsados de Buenas Aires. (~)

(28b) "Portuguese" of Santiago del Estro. The list provides the year of arrival and entry point into Argentina. Apellidos de los Portugueses de Santiago del Estero. (~)

(28c) "Portuguese" of Córdoba. Apellidos de los Portugueses de Córdoba.  The list provides the entry point and the year of arrival. (~)

(28e) "Portuguese" of Talavera (1607).  The list provides entry point and the year of arrival. (~)

(28f) "Portuguese" of La Rioja.  The list provides entry point and the year of arrival. (~)

(28i) "Portuguese" of Jujuy.  The book provides the entry point and the year of arrival.

(29) "Sangre Judia" ("Jewish Blood") by Pere Bonnin.  A list of 3,500 names used by Jews, or assigned to Jews by the Holy Office (la Santo Oficio) of Spain.  The list is a result of a census of Jewish communities of Spain by the Catholic Church and as found in inquisition records.  Los Apellidos estan sacados de las listas de penitenciados por el Santo Oficio, de los censos de las juderias y de otras fuentes que indican claramente que la persona portadora del apellido es judia o judeoconversa.  Tiene Vd. sangre judia? (~)

(40a), Marriages 1679-89 (40b), and births of daughters 1679-99(40c) (~)

(41) "Conversos on Trial" by Haim Bienart.  A well written story of the Converso community of Ciudad Real, to include the Converso inquisition trials in the mid 15th century.  This book contains a list of names, sometimes providing the names of relatives, house locations, and professions.  A fine resource for those with ties to Ciudad Real. (~)

(45) Apellidos de Judios Sefardies (Surnames of the Sephardic Jews) from the site Comunidad Israelita Pincipado de Austurias.

(46) "Diciionario Sefaradi De Sobrenomes" ("Dictionary of Sephardic Surnames"): This reference provides thousand of Sephardic names of immigrants to Brazil.  The authors have attempted to provide the ports of departure of these immigrants. The source of this information is also available.  

de Padilla (6d) (28) (41)

(6d) Reports the names of people who appeared before the inquisition in Rio de La Plata. (~)

(28) From the book, "Judios Conversos" (Jewish Converts) by Mario Javier Saban.  Los antepasados Judios de las familias Argentinas.  This work contains many Sephardic names and family trees within its 3 volumes.  Many of the individuals listed appeared before the inquisition and were secret Jews. Some later converted and intermarried.  The description "Jew "and "Portuguese" appear to be used interchangeably.  Only those names that were identified as Sephardic Jews or descendant from Sephardic Jews or in some cases, new Christians that married into Sephardic families are listed here.  It is possible that some Sephardic names not well identified are not listed.  If you have Sephardic/Portuguese family roots in early Argentina, research these volumes.  Many of the names listed here represent the famous names of Jewish/Sephardic Argentina.  Wonderful family trees, well detailed, are provided in the three volumes. (~)

(41) "Conversos on Trial" by Haim Bienart.  A well written story of the Converso community of Ciudad Real, to include the Converso inquisition trials in the Mid-15th Century.  This book contains a list of names, sometimes providing the names of relatives, house locations, and professions.  A fine resource for those with ties to Ciudad Real. (~)  

Bernardino de Mendoza y Pacheco, Captain of the galleys of the Mediterranean.  

Francisco de Mendoza y Pacheco, Bishop of Jaén.  

Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, poet, prose writer and ambassador of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.  

The supporting evidence illustrates that the Mendoza family, as other Conversos of Sephardic Spanish Jewish ancestry, did in fact intermarry with Spanish nobility.  From the 12th to 17th Centuries C.E., Jews prospered in Spain, although, the Jewish expulsion of the 15th Century C.E. is a sad chapter in Spanish history.  As the following sections will show, the inevitable waves of anti-Semitism finally swept across medieval Europe and eventually found their way into Spain. Envy, greed, and ignorance had led to rising tensions between Christians and Jews in the 14th Century C.E.  During the summer of 1391 C.E., urban mobs in Barcelona and other towns poured into Jewish quarters, rounded up Jews, and gave them a choice of baptism or death. Most chose baptism.  The king of Aragón, who had done his best to stop the attacks, later reminded his subjects of well-established Church doctrine on the matter of forced baptisms, namely that they were not acceptable and were not permanent.  He decreed that any Jews who accepted baptism to avoid death could return to their religion.  But what does this mean in real terms?  

Would a Converso want to publically return to the outward practice of Judaism given the conditions of persecution?  Would anyone given the circumstances be willing to accept a death sentence?  To be sure some did. However, the vast majority remained converted.  Through the Inquisition and its great evil, the Jews suffered much due to the many fantastic lies that were told to the king and queen about them.  Unfortunately, many were believed.  The Jewish stay in Spain ended in 1492 C.E. when the Church and the Spanish monarchy conspired to pass laws intended to unite Spain, but to strip Jews of their wealth and exile them.  One fact that cannot escape the obvious is that many of those in Spain’s power elite could have helped the unfortunate Sephardic Spanish Jews, but to their own undoing.  The questions regarding why they did not, will always be with us.  Was it that they didn’t want to help?  Perhaps, it was that they couldn’t.  

It is probable that a great number of the royal families of Iberia and perhaps, most European royalty descended by female lines from the first Navarrese Dynasty which was in part of Iberian Jewish descent.  This would include Queen Isabella’s Castillian ancestors Alfonso XI and Pedro the Cruel, John I of Portugal, John of Gaunt, Eleanor of Aragón, etc.  As in the case of some portion of the Iberian population and a large number of Iberian nobility, Queen Isabella had Jewish ancestry.  Three of her great-great-grandparents had Iberian (Sephardic) Jewish roots.  

The House of Trastámara was a dynasty of kings in the Iberian Peninsula, which first governed in Castille beginning in 1369 C.E. before expanding its rule into Aragón, Navarre, and Naples.  They were an illegitimate cadet line of the House of Burgundy.  The line of Trastámaran royalty in Castille ruled throughout a period of military struggle with Aragón.  It is believed that their family was sustained with much inbreeding, which led to a series of disputed struggles over rightful claims to the Castillian throne.  his lineage ultimately ruled in Castille from the rise to power of Henry II in 1369 C.E. through the unification of the crowns of the Catholic Monarchs or Reyes Católicos, Queen Isabella I of Castille and King Ferdinand II of Aragón.  They were both from the House of Trastámara and were second cousins, being both descended from John I of Castille; on marriage they were given a papal dispensation to deal with consanguinity by Sixtus IV.  

The founder of Trastámara Dynasty Henry II of Castille was a son of Castillian King Alfonso XI and his mistress of Jewish Converso origin Eleanor of Guzman.  His grandson Henry III of Castille married Katherine of Lancaster whose mother was a daughter of Castilian King Pedro the Cruel and his Jewish Converso mistress/wife Maria de Padilla.  Ines Pirez, a mistress of John I of Portugal and mother of Afonso, 1st Duke of Braganza was also a Jewish Converso.  

As discussed earlier, the illustrious Mendozas certainly had Jewish ancestry.  Henry Kamen in "The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision" (1997) on page 32 states that in 1560 C.E. Cardinal Francisco Mendoza y Bobadilla was so upset by the refusal of two military orders to accept two of his relatives that wrote as a memo to King Felipe II "Tizon de la Nobleza de España" (Blot on the Spanish Nobility).  The purpose of this memo was to prove that the entire Spanish nobility had Jewish ancestry.  According to Kamen, the "Tizon" was never disproved and that it was reprinted later as a tract attacking the nobility until the 19th Century C.E.  

The Jewish ancestry of New Mexico (Now part of the United States) founder Don Juan Pérez de Oñate y Salazar (husband of Hernán Cortés' granddaughter, Isabel de Tolosa Cortés Moctezuma) can no longer be disputed.  Oñate's great-grandfather was known Converso Pedro de Maluenda, who helped fund Cortés' expedition.  Pedro de Maluenda's great-grandmother was Maria Nunez Ha-Levi (wife of Juane Garcés de Maluenda), sister of the Chief Rabbi of Burgos Saloman Ha-Levi, who converted to Christianity in 1391 C.E. and was later appointed Archbishop of Burgos.  

So prominent were the Ha-Levi descendants (who had married into many "Old Christian" families such as Mendoza, Guzman, Toledo and Ossorio, to name a few) that King Felipe III issued a royal decree accepting their purity of bloodline (limpieza de sangre).  Felipe did this in recognition of a papal dispension (The action allows for individuals to be exempted from a specific Canon Law) issued in 1596 C.E., by Pope Clement VIII.  The papal dispension was issued in recognition of the services provided by the Ha-Levi descendants to the Church and because they were believed to be from the same Hebrew tribe as the Virgin Mary.  

Following the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 C.E., the practice of the Jewish religion was punishable by death.  Jews remaining in Spain were forced to hide their identity and pass themselves off as good Catholics.  Yet many held tenaciously to their own traditions, and were able to pass them down from generation to generation.  Other could not or did not.  

It was fear that drove many Conversos to name their descendants names like Jesús, Cruz, or Jesús María.  They wanted to show how “muy Católicos” or “very Catholic” they were.  Most probably they had no rabbis to minister to them and were forced to hold onto our traditional beliefs, rituals, and practices by passing them from generation to generation by word of mouth.  Of course, some of these traditions got lost or underwent changes along the way.  Some of the practices of Marranos would hardly be recognized by traditional Jews, today.  Ultimately, the Hebraic tradition died out in the Iberian Peninsula.  It was no longer the tradition of descents from the houses of Levi or of Aaron.  Imagine descendants of Jews pursued by the Spanish Inquisition, still clinging to their faith, no matter what the cost.  What courage, what honor, what faith.  

Why remain invisible as Secret Jews in many European countries?  The Inquisition was expert at ferreting out what it called Judaizers, or practitioners of "La Ley de Moisés" or The Law of Moses.  Many of those who became this type of Catholic were Marranos.  They did so to put off the Church's spies.  Marranos had to constantly prove themselves to Catholics.  As Secret Jews during the early years, with the Church spying they did the best they could under difficult circumstances.  They never felt it was safe to reveal themselves.  Some who fled to Holland during the Inquisition, in the early 1500's C.E., stayed hidden there for four hundred years.  In 1920 C.E., most who decided it was safe to come out openly as Jews did so only to find that the world hadn’t changed, twenty years later nearly all were killed in the Nazi Holocaust.  

In connection with the trial of Gabriel de Granada by the Inquisition in New Spain(1642 C.E.-1645 C.E.), now Mexico, there appear as "accomplices" in the observance of the Law of Moses and as Judaizing heretics, Dona Maria, Dona Catalina, Clara, Margarita, Isabel, and Dona Blanca de Rivera, all of whom seem to have been natives of Seville.  Another person mentioned in the same connection is Diego Lopez Rivera, a native of Portugal.  The name is frequently written "Ribera."  

To scholars who understand such matters, one man, Villarreal, prided himself upon his semi-priestly ancestry.  None of the victims of the Inquisition was more distinguished than Manuel Fernandez Villarreal; he had studied at the University of Madrid and served in the army, rising to the rank of Captain.  He was sent to Paris as Consul General.  While there, he became a friend and admirer of the great Cardinal Richelieu.  

In 1650 C.E., he was sent to Lisbon on a visit.  Just as he was on the point of being sent abroad on a mission, he was denounced to the Inquisition by a certain literary friar, a rabid personal enemy of his.  Searching inquiries revealed the fact that this eminent public servant was not only of New Christian blood (Converso), but also a devoted adherent of the faith of his fathers.  He had worked to obtain some amelioration in the Conditions of the New Christians in Portugal; he publicly condemned the rigor of the Inquisition, boasted that he was of the tribe of Levi, and had been in the habit of going to Rouen to celebrate the Passover with his wife.  Accordingly he was condemned.  As a member of the nobility, he was spared the additional indignity of being burned; but on December 1, 1652 C.E., he was garroted.  The king, for whom he had worked so devotedly, did nothing to protect him.  

In 1658 C.E., informers denounced to the Lisbon Inquisition an illustrious group including one Chavez, a Captain in the Portuguese Army; members of the Villarreal family, kinsmen of the martyred statesman-poet of that name.  The statesman’s son, Jose de Villarreal, became Professor of Greek at Marseilles towards the close of the century and was the author of the work Escada de Jacob (Jacobs Ladder), still in manuscript.  

Jose da Costa Villarreal was Proveditore General, or Comptroller General, to the armies of the King of Portugal.  A charge of Judaizing was brought against him in 1726 C.E.  When he was about to be arrested a great fire broke out.  Profiting by the confusion, he embarked for England on one of his ships which happened to be in harbor.  With as much property as he could collect and seventeen members of his family, including his aged parents, Jose fled to England.  The total value of the fortune which they thus brought with them was said to exceed L300, 000.  Immediately on their arrival in London, the family openly declared their Judaism.  The males underwent circumcision, led by the elderly father (Then seventy-fourth).  All assumed Hebrew names to replace those which they had been given at baptism; and those who had wives saw to it that their marriages were re-solemnized in synagogue.  As a thank-offering for their escape, large sums were given to charity; and a school for Jewish girls, which still exists under the name Villarreal School, was endowed.

Two other Conversos were Abraham Rodrigues de Rivera and Jacob Rodrigues Rivera.  Members of this Spanish-Jewish family appear in American history at an early date.  The family seems to have come from Seville, Spain, though some members of it have been traced to Portugal; many were settled in New Spain before the middle of the 17th Century C.E.  

Abraham Rodrigues de Rivera is another bearer of the name "Rivera" in that region of North America (United States); born in Spain; died in Newport, R. I., 1765 C.E.  His family, even while still resident in Europe, was closely related to the Lopez family, afterward intimately associated with the history of Newport.  In fact, he was a brother-in-law of Diego Jose Lopez of Lisbon, the father of Aaron Lopez; and Moses Lopez, a son of Diego, married Abraham's daughter Rebecca.  Abraham Rivera was married twice in Europe.  He had a son by his first wife and a son and a daughter by the second.  He arrived in America with his family early in the 18th Century C.E., settling in New York.  According to Marrano custom, a remarriage took place in that city, and the first names of the entire family were changed.  The original names are unknown, but those assumed were Abraham (by the father), Isaac and Jacob (by the sons), and Rebecca (by the daughter).

 

As early as 1726, Abraham Rodrigues was enrolled as a freeman of the city of New York, being designated as a merchant.  He took an interest also in the congregation of that city, his name appearing in the minutes of 1729 C.E.  He was naturalized in 1740 C.E.  After the death of his second wife, he married a lady named Lucena.  After her death he and his entire family moved from New York to Newport.

 

Jacob Rodrigues Rivera, a merchant, was born about 1717 C.E. and died at Newport February 18, 1789 C.E.; son of Abraham Rodrigues.  He accompanied his father to New York when a mere child.  Entering upon a mercantile career, he went to Curaçao, where he married into the Pimentel family.  He returned to New York with his wife, where his daughter Sarah was born.  She subsequently married Aaron Lopez.  Rivera was naturalized in New York in 1746 C.E., moving to Newport about 1748 C.E.  There, he soon became one of the leading merchants.

 

He introduced the sperm-oil industry in America, which soon became one of the principal sources of Newport's prosperity.  Jacob owned extensive spermaceti factories, and was a large importer of manufactured goods.  He was a public-spirited citizen and his name figures in connection with the Redwood Library as early as 1758 C.E.  An observant Jew, he was one of the three who, in 1759 C.E., purchased the land on which the Newport synagogue was erected.  He appears as one of the organizers of a Hebrew club at Newport in 1761 C.E

 

Owing to business reverses, he was obliged to compromise with his creditors so as to obtain a release from his debts.  Later on, however, he again prospered and a story is told of his inviting his creditors to dine with him.  Each creditor found under his plate the amount of his claim, with interest.  In 1773 C.E., he was named one of the trustees of the Jewish cemetery at Savannah, Ga.  Both he and his wife appear in the diary of Ezra Stiles.  When the Revolution broke out, Rivera espoused the Colonial cause and was among those who, in 1777 C.E., moved to Leicester, Mass.  He remained there until 1782 C.E.  His stay is referred to by Emory Washburn in his history of the place.  He finally returned to Newport, where his integrity and benevolence were universally esteemed.  Jacob's fortune at the time of his death exceeded $100,000.  The monument over his grave in the old cemetery at Newport may still be seen.  His son Abraham died in New York, leaving an only son, named Aaron Rivera, who settled in Wilmington.

 

Hispano Conversos of the American Southwest  

What is clear to me is that in 1492 C.E., the Spanish Inquisition forced more than 200,000 Jews to choose between forced conversion to Catholicism or expulsion.  To be sure, many, many Conversos sincerely embraced Catholicism and its religious system.  However, it is also true that many who became Crypto-Jews were insincere converts, appearing to be devout Catholics but secretly maintaining Jewish rituals in their homes.  

Many Hispanos of the American Southwest (New Mexico) who are in some way associated with Crypto-Judaism believe we are descended from Crypto-Jews.  One must remember that we Converso descendants face this new found knowledge with confusion, angst, but yet wanting to celebrate our Sephardic history and culture.  

My personal goal has been to better understand these lost and dispersed remnants of Jewish migrations and to perhaps one day rejoin my Jewish people in a more meaningful way.  Secondarily, my interest is one of family.  To understand these lost and dispersed remnants of Jewish migrations helps me to clarify more than extended family rumors about being of a Converso background.  Through this search, I’m rejoining the Jewish people, my Jewish people. Just as Yom Kippur, the holiest of Jewish holidays, has special meaning for Crypto-Jews, one day it may have the same for me.  More than five-hundred years after the Spanish Inquisition forced our families into Catholicism, I want to understand their experience and perhaps embrace Judaism as more than a religion.  

As we all know life has many twists and turns.  Things come to our awareness via many avenues; my Jewish lineage is one example.  Two distinct threads come to mind.  In the 1950s, when I was a young boy, I can remember my mother commenting on several occasions that we were “Manitos”, a different kind of Spaniard.  It wasn’t what she said.  It was how she said it.  Perhaps, it was the tone of her voice, lower and quieter than normal.  There was something in the way she expressed it.  It was to remain our little secret.  To be sure older New Mexico Hispanos use the local term "Manito," a "shortened diminutive of “Hermano," to refer "to New Mexico's Hispanos whose New World history and culture are a part of the Colonial period.  Of greater importance here, is the context in which I offer the word Manito.  That is to say that it also refers to "Crypto-Jews" among the Manitos.  

The second thread came years later.  As I’ve written about earlier, in the late 1970s, I was in Beverly Hills listening to a movie star explaining her career.  Behind me sat an elegant, elderly couple.  They were speaking a form of Spanish which reminded me of my mother and grandmother’s conversations in Spanish when I was young.  I asked if they were from Spain and what dialect of Spanish they were speaking.  They smiled and explained that they were Sephardic Jews and speaking “Ladino”.  Some note that Sefardi Spanish resembled their Spanish more than Castillian, Mexican or any of the Latin American dialects.  Some also, refer to the distinctive dialect of the New Mexico villages as "Ladino”.  Are these interesting coincidences or fate?  

The third thread involves recent genetic research which has shown that many Latinos of the American Southwest may be descended from Anusim (Sephardic Jews who converted to Roman Catholicism).  Experts on Jewish genetics have said that fewer than 1% of non-Semites, but more than four times the entire Jewish population of the world, possess the male-specific "Cohanim marker" (Not carried by all Jews, but is prevalent among Jews claiming descent from hereditary priests), and 30 of 78 Latinos tested in New Mexico (38.5%) were found to be carriers.  

DNA testing of Hispanic populations has also revealed that between 10% and 15% of men living in New Mexico, south Texas, and northern Mexico have a Y chromosome that traces back to the Middle East.  However, there is no certainty that these lineages are Middle Eastern.  They may also be of earlier Phoenician and later North African influences.  Tunisians also rank very high with the Y chromosome marker that is related to Cohanim.  At this juncture, it is important to note that many believe that there are specific Jewish DNA markers.  However, with so much Moorish and Phoenician settlement in Spain one cannot tell the religion of the bearers ancestors.  Therefore, a problem exists for establishing one’s Jewish origins.  The final and most promising answer, a definitive DNA test, does not answer the question of Sephardic ancestry either.  Instead, the answer can only be found via many clues and factors which taken together may establish a probable conclusion.  That is the possibility and/or probability that these passed down their true faith to their children, the hidden Jews of New Mexico, who carried on this legacy for many centuries.  It could not have been easy.  

In a wider context, the “Hidden Jews” of New Mexico share many personal experiences as present-day descendants of the original settlers of New Mexico.  However, as Crypto-Jews we have discovered our true past and are actively searching for our ancestors with a special pride in their unique Jewish religious and cultural identity.  The expulsion of fellow Jews from Spain has meaning to the descendants of New Mexican Crypto-Jews who are researching their own religious past and hopefully can begin to rebuild a community identity which includes Observant Jews.  This quest ultimately begins with the research of regional customs.  

In the Mid-1980s C.E., people with Spanish surnames began talking about strange customs that were decidedly out of place in the region's overwhelmingly Catholic culture.  Those reports would lead to testimonials from South Westerners of Iberian descent claiming kinship with Jewish victims of the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal.  Some of these people would say that though outwardly they were raised as Christians, their parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents were secretly observant Jews.  Such stories are now common in the American Southwest.  

The curse of heresy never left these families.  A document was written on September 11, 1741 C.E. at Saltillo, New Spain (Mexico).  The author with the title El Bach Pedro Regaldo Baez Trevino quoted the following, "In the state of Nuevo León there is a General who is a descendent of a person whom had been punished during the Spanish Inquisition and whom had been given penance wearing a San Benito.  The General’s forbearer left him a legacy not easily hidden or removed which ensured that the person wearing it would be a public spectacle.  

Note:  The San Benito is a garment of clothing known as a san benito used by the Catholic authorities as an instrument of punishment in both Spain and Portugal.  This article of clothing drew incredible shame upon those who were forced to wear it as a form of punishment.  Designed as a knee length robe, fashioned similar to a tunic.  Hence, the San Benito originates both in appearance and in name from the Christian monk (later ‘Saint’) Benedict.  The garment was that of a standard design, with the exception of the decorative.  Over time the garment evolved into a hooded long robe or scapular, this being the idea of Torquemada, the Inquisitor General.  Both the tunic and robe were made of a coarse fabric (mention has been made of wool) that covered the front and back of the wearer generally only long enough to cover the knees.  The panels were connected over the top, and an opening was accessible for the wearer’s head.  Depending on the style fabricated, the garment would occasionally remain open at both sides.

 

SECTION VI. Jewish persecution Timelines  

Here we will attempt to understand the history of the Jew and those conditions over the millennia which set international Jewry on the course it has taken and why Jews feel rather set upon.  We will also explore the religious circumstances under which the Sephardim Conversos find themselves.  

Since its inception Israel has been attacked, sacked, and destroyed many times by the nations of Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, and others.  These timelines will be dealt with later in the chapter, as they relate more to the ongoing scattering of the “Twelve Tribes of Israel” and its impact upon DNA implications of being a Jew.  Its people have been enslaved and taken into captivity by great powers on many occasions.  Yet, this strong, resilient people have held to their religion, its laws, observance, and to their G-d.  

332 B.C.E.: I’ve chosen to begin at 332 B.C.E. in this section for establishing the long-term view of Israel’s historical situation as it’s easier and less cumbersome to develop.

The question which begs answering is why would great powers be the least bit concerned with an ancient city like Jerusalem?  The capital of Israel is located approximately 27 miles inland from the coast, thus it has no harbor, a must for great powers.  And it has no natural resources to speak of, these being needed for internal consumption and trade purposes.  Most of it was built on the ruins of older structures.  This is easily understood when one reviews Jerusalem’s construction which appears to be a gigantic fortification.  From the structure's dimensions, the thickness of its walls, and the size of the stones, what else could it be?  Why in the world would this city have been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times?  One can only guess.  

One possible answer is that Israel had three important trade routes.  These were the Way of the Sea, the Ridge Route, and the King’s Highway.  They facilitated commerce between Anatolia (Anatolian Peninsula), Egypt, and Mesopotamia (The “land between rivers" is a name for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates River system which corresponds to modern-day Iraq, Kuwait, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, and southwestern Iran.).  One can gather from these advantageous routes that their exploitation and control would interest competing powers to occupy Jerusalem.  Additionally, there was a need to secure them as they were also potential invasion routes.  

All conquerors must pay for their wars.  They must raise funds through taxation or the use of treasures already stored away for such purposes.  However, it would be far easier to pillage and plunder their intended victims as an efficient way to obtain needed funds and resources.  Occupation and slavery of only the number of populous needed would soon follow as a way to control and facilitate maintenance of protected trade and invasion routes.  If these are indeed the answers, hatred of the Jews due to their religious zeal and fierce determination to worship their G-d are not the reasons for Israel’s being set upon on so many occasions.  Surely, in the minds of each conqueror finding a religious excuse for the taking of another’s land, wealth, and power would prove advantageous.  How better in the ancient world to do this than to prove the supremacy of one nation’s god or gods and the subservience of the G-d of the Jews.  Therefore, the need for financing these invasions would be a convenient excuse for being rid of its troublesome population.  The expression “politically astute” comes to mind.

 

Syrian-based Seleucid rulers of Israel  

332 B.C.E.: As part of the ancient world conquered by Alexander the Great of Greece in 332 B.C.E., Israel’s land remained a Jewish theocracy under the Syrian-based Greek Seleucid Empire.  This was the Hellenistic state founded by Seleucus I Nicator following the division of the empire created by Alexander the Great and ruled by the Seleucid dynasty.  

199 B.C.E.: Later in 199 B.C.E., the Seleucid dynasty occupied Israel’s Judea.  

175 B.C.E.: In 175 B.C.E., Antiochus Epiphanes proclaimed himself king.

168 B.C.E.: By 168 B.C.E., Antiochus Epiphanes led an attack on Egypt and also sent a fleet to capture Cyprus.  Before reaching Alexandria, Gaius Popillius Laenas, a Roman ambassador, delivered a message from the Senate directing Antiochus to withdraw his armies from Egypt and Cyprus.  

167 B.C.E.: 167 B.C.E., in weighing his options, Antiochus Epiphanes quickly withdrew from Egypt.  His defeat left him enraged.  

While Antiochus was engaged in Egypt rumors had spread of his death.  Seizing on the opportunity, the deposed Jewish High Priest, Jason, led a surprise attack on the city of Jerusalem with a force of 1,000 men.  The High Priest appointed by Antiochus, Menelaus, then fled Jerusalem.  Believing Judea was in revolt Antiochus set out from Egypt, attacked Jerusalem, and restored Menelaus.  He then ordered his soldiers to kill anyone they found.  This resulted in a massacre of men, women, and children.  In three days, forty thousand died and the approximately the same number were sold into slavery.  

To further consolidate his empire and strengthen his hold over the region, Antiochus sided with the Hellenized Jews.  These Jews practiced a form of Judaism that combined Jewish religious tradition with elements of the Greek culture.  He then outlawed Jewish religious rites and traditions kept by Observant Jews, ordering them to worship Zeus as the supreme god.  This was anathema to the Jews causing them to refuse.  Antiochus next sent his army to enforce his decree.  Because of Jewish resistance the city was destroyed.  Many more were slaughtered and a Greek military citadel called the Acra was established.  

Not long after, the king sent an Athenian senator to force the Jews to abandon their religion and customs.  They were no longer to live by the laws of their G-d.  To show his commitment, he profaned the temple in Jerusalem by bringing in things that were forbidden and covering the altar with abominable offerings (Pigs) prohibited by Jewish law.  He then dedicated it to Olympian god, Zeus.  Antiochus next commanded Jews to no longer identify themselves as Jews, to stop keeping of the Sabbath, and to cease the celebration of traditional feasts.  Later, a decree was issued ordering neighboring Greek cities to enforce the same rules against the Jews.  They were to coerce the Jews into partaking in the sacrifices to Zeus and put to death any who would not consent to the adoption of Greek customs.  

Soon, two Jewish women were arrested for having circumcised their children.  They were publicly paraded through the city carrying their babies and then thrown from the top of the city wall.  Others Jews had assembled in nearby caves to observe the Sabbath in secret.  These were informed on, arrested, and burned to death.  

166 B.C.E.: In 166 B.C.E., the Jews angered by these attacks and injustices by Antiochus Epiphanes rose in revolt.  

164 B.C.E.: The Jews next entered the city of Jerusalem and purified the Temple in 164 B.C.E.  These events are commemorated each year by the festival of Hannuka.  

147 B.C.E.: More Hasmonean victories would follow in 147 B.C.E.  The frustrated Seleucids finally restored autonomy to Judea, as the land of Israel.  

142 B.C.E.: By 142 B.C.E., the Hasmonean Dynasty was established, led by Mattathias of the priestly Hasmonean family and later by his son, Judah the Maccabee.  

129 B.C.E.: With the collapse of the Seleucid kingdom in 129 B.C.E., Jewish independence was achieved.  The Hasmonean dynasty would last about 80 years.  The kingdom would regain boundaries, but not quite as extensive as those of the time of Solomon.  Also during the period, political consolidation was accomplished under Jewish rule and life in Israel flourished.  

Comments:  

To place the actions of the Seleucid Empire toward Israel in its proper light, the emphasis of these efforts was political rather than religious, whether or not they manifested themselves as a religious affront.  The actions taken were to further consolidate the empire and strengthen its hold over the region.  To this end, the Hellenistic Seleucids used excessive force and coercion in their crimes against Israel, its people, and their religious beliefs and practices in an effort to end resistance.  While the Empire’s actions may have been anti-Jewish, it would appear that they were much more politically motivated that religion-based.

 

Roman Persecution of the Jews from 63 B.C.E. forward  

76 B.C.E: Alexander Jannaeus died in 76 B.C.E.  

67 B.C.E.: Before Alexander Jannaeus’ widow, Alexandra Salome died in 66 B.C.E., she named Hyrcanus as successor to the kingship of Judea as well.  Pompey’s conquest of Jerusalem spelled the end of Jewish independence and the incorporation of Judea into the Roman Republic as a client kingdom.  To this end, he sacked Jerusalem, entered the Temple and defiled it.  

66 B.C.E. to 63 B.C.E.: Alexander Jannaeus’ widow, Alexandra Salome, had succeeded to the rule of Judea and installed her elder son Hyrcanus II as High Priest 66 B.C.E. to 63 B.C.E.  

63 B.C.E.: Rome's involvement in the Judea dates from 63 B.C.E.  It followed the end of the Third Mithridatic War, when Rome made Syria a province.  After the defeat of Mithridates VI of Pontus in 63 B.C.E., the proconsul Pompeius Magnus or Pompey the Great was asked to intervene in an internecine war between Hyrcanus II, a member of the Hasmonean dynasty and his rival the Jewish High Priest and future King of Judea.  He was at odds with Aristobulus II for the throne of the Hasmonean Kingdom.  Hyrcanus II was the eldest son of Alexander Jannaeus, King and High Priest, and Alexandra Salome.  

6 C.E.: Subsequently, during the 1st Century B.C.E., the Kingdom of Herodian was established to act as a client kingdom for Rome.  By 6 C.E., certain areas became the province of the Roman Empire.  Judea as a province would become the scene of continued unrest after its founding.  Problems would occur during the Census of Quirinius (The enrollment of population of the Roman provinces of Syria and Judaea, for tax purposes, in 6 C.E.-7 C.E.) and the several wars which would be fought in its history known as the Jewish-Roman wars.  

70 C.E.: The Roman Army destroyed Jerusalem, killed over 1 million Jews, and took approximately 100,000 into slavery and captivity.  Rome then scattered many from what was then called Palestine (Judea) to other locations in the Roman Empire (Including Spain).  

Circa 115 C.E.-117 C.E.: Jews in Cyprus, Cyrene, Egypt, and parts of Mesopotamia revolted against the Roman Empire in what is known as the Kitos War.  This caused the death of several hundreds of thousands of Romans and Jews.  The Roman legions eventually crushed the rebellions.  

130 C.E.: In 130 C.E.-131 C.E., Emperor Hadrian (76 C.E.-138 C.E.) visited Roman Judaea and the ruins at Jerusalem (Which were left over from the First Roman-Jewish War of 66 C.E.-73 C.E.).  Hadrian's original intention was possibly to rebuild Jerusalem as a Roman colony such as Vespasian had done earlier to Caesarea Maritima.  

132C.E.-135C.E.: Hadrian's anti-Jewish policies (Assimilation policies by means of cultural and political Hellenization) triggered a massive anti-Hellenistic and anti-Roman Jewish uprising in Judaea led by Simon bar Kokhba.  This Jewish revolt took place in the 16th year of Hadrian's reign and Bar Kokhba from 132C.E.-135C.E.  Bar Kokhba severely punished any Jews that refused to join him.  It began under the Roman governor Tineius (Tynius) Rufus who had requested an army be sent to crush the resistance.  

132 C.E.: The remaining Jews in Israel continued their resistance against Roman occupation.  Bar Kochba’s uprising led to a hopeless, fruitless three-year campaign against the Empire.  Epitaphs and coins from this early period celebrate these activities.  Of the many Jews accepted Bar Kochba as the Messiah, about a half-million were killed.  Thousands were sold into slavery or taken into captivity.  The remainder were exiled from Palestine and scattered throughout the known Roman world.  These added to what is now called the "Diaspora."  Judaism was to no longer to be recognized as a legal Roman religion.  

133 C.E.: It was in 133 C.E. that Hadrian called upon General Sextus Julius Severus and transferred him to Judea from Britain.  More troops were brought from as far as the Danube.  Members of the Fifth Macedonian Legion and the Eleventh Claudian Legion took part in the war.  

Roman losses were very heavy.  Marcus Cornelius Fronto (100 C.E.-Late-160 C.E.s) a Roman grammarian, rhetorician, advocate, and suffect consul of 142 C.E. compared the casualties to those of the earlier British uprising.  It is possible the XXII Deiotariana suffered serious losses during the Jewish rebellion and was disbanded during the Bar Kokhba revolt.  Some believe that an entire legion was destroyed in the rebellion.  In fact in Hadrian's report to the Roman Senate he omitted the customary salutation, "If you and your children are in health, it is well; I and the legions are in health."  This absence of language would suggest that Roman losses were very heavy.  

135 C.E.: By 135 C.E., Hadrian's army put down the rebellion.  According to Lucius or Claudius Cassius Dio (c. 155 C.E.-235 C.E.) the Roman consul and noted historian who published a history of Rome [80 volumes, beginning with the legendary arrival of Aeneas in Italy; the volumes then documented the subsequent founding of Rome (753 B.C.E.), the formation of the Republic (509 B.C.E.), and the creation of the Empire (31 B.C.E.), up until 229 C.E.], the overall Judea war operations left 580,000 Jews killed and 50 fortified towns and 985 villages razed to the ground.  

It has been recorded that Hadrian saw as the Jewish religion as the cause of continuous rebellion and attempted to root it out.  Therefore, he prohibited Torah law, the Hebrew calendar, and executed Judaic scholars.  Hadrian had the sacred scroll ceremonially burned on the Temple Mount.  After the war, Hadrian renamed Jerusalem, Aelia Capitolina after himself and Jupiter Capitolinus, the chief Roman deity.  From the Babylonian Talmud we find that after the war Hadrian continued his persecution of Jews.  Here again, we have a conquering nation viewing Jewish religion as an impediment to conquest, not the reason for conquest.  

He also decided to make Israel a Roman province.  Hadrian searched ancient history to find an appropriate name.  An extinct people that were unknown in Roman times, called the "Philistines", were uncovered.  By the time of the Babylonian captivity of Judea in 586 B.C.E., both the Philistines and Canaanites disappeared as distinct peoples.  These had once dwelled in "Palestina” or Palestine and were known enemies of the Israelites.  The term Palestine is a translation of the Hebrew word “Pelesheth” and refers to the southwestern coastal area of Israel.  This land once occupied by the Philistines was called Philistia (the Way of the Philistines, or Palestine).  The central highlands surrounding the area were called Canaan.  Israel is now often called Palestine which is a derogatory term used by her enemies in the past.  

Using the Latin spelling of the name, Hadrian invented the new name: "Palestina."  The name was meant to remind the Jewish people of their old foes.  His greater intent was to erase any trace of Jewish history.  In his attempt to eliminate the memory of Judaea, Hadrian renamed the province “Syria Palaestina” (After the hated Philistines).  Adding insult to injury, the Jews were restricted from entry into the rededicated capital.   As a result f his harshness, when Jewish commentators mention Hadrian, they do so always with the epitaph "may his bones be crushed".  To underscore Jewish feelings for Hadrian, the expression was never used with respect to Vespasian or Titus who destroyed the Second Temple.  

135 C.E.: Roman persecution of the Jews expanded.  They were forbidden from practicing circumcision, reading the Torah, eating unleavened bread at Passover, etc.  A temple dedicated to the Roman pagan god Jupiter was erected on Temple Mountain in Jerusalem and a second temple was built on Golgotha, just outside the city for the god Venus.  

200 C.E.: In 200 C.E., the Roman Emperor Severus forbade religious conversions to Judaism.  

Comments:  

With the Romans, the scale of persecution and killing of the Jews had only increased.  Here again we find a conquering nation intent upon total domination of another.  The motivation was to keep Judea and its capital of Jerusalem under the control of Roman soldiers, thus ensuring that the surrounding regions of Syria, Egypt, etc. were held in the tight fist of Roman power.  Politics, trade, and taxes were at the core of Roman policy, not religion.  The fact that Jews were motivated by religion to remove the Roman yoke from their necks and thus caused Rome endless problems was the irritant and not the cause.  However, the eventual restrictions upon their religion followed that of previous empires.  Res ipsa loquitur, "the thing speaks for itself."  

What should now be clear to the reader, Israel as an undivided nation, later Israel and Judah as two separate nations, and finally Judah and Jerusalem have been victims of successive conquest by many nations.  Whatever the reasons cited, the Jews suffered enslavement and dispersion throughout the empires of each of the conquering nations.  In the case of the last conquest by Rome in 70 C.E., it resulted in the resettlement of many Jews in Hispania (Roman Iberia).  There, they joined Jews that had been earlier arrivals and the Jews of Judah and the others gradually became Sephardim, Spanish Jews.

 

Jewish Persecution across Christian Monarchies, Nations, and States  

305 C.E.: The church Synod of Elvira was an ecclesiastical synod held at Elvira in the Roman province of Hispania Baetica, now Granada in southern Iberia (Spain) from 305 C.E.-306 C.E.  It banned marriages, sexual intercourse, and community contacts between Christians and Jews.  

306-337 C.E.: As I began researching this thing we, today, call the “Church”, it became clear to me that its beginnings were more a series of stumbles than a hard march forward.  It was from 306-337 C.E., while the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great reigned, that Christianity began to transition to becoming the dominant religion of the Roman Empire.  This was by and large due to Emperor Constantine seeing himself as an “emperor of the Christian people.”

311 C.E.: By April of 311 C.E., the “Great Persecution” had officially ended.  This was when Galerius, senior emperor of the Tetrarchy, issued an edict of toleration.  There has been much speculation that Galerius' reversal of his long-standing policy of active persecution of Christians may be attributed to actions on the part of one or both of the co-Caesars.  The Edict granted Christians the right to practice their religion.  Caesar Constantine in the Western empire and Caesar Licinius in the East were also signatories of the edict of toleration.  

313 C.E.: By 313 C.E., Constantine and Licinius issued the Edict of Milan which decriminalized Christian worship.  The Church would gradually become an institution of the Roman Empire.  

315 C.E.: Constantine published the Edict of Milan in 315 C.E., which extended religious tolerance to Christians.  However, the Jews lost many of their rights with this edict.  They were no longer permitted to live in their homeland, Jerusalem, or to proselytize.  

Comments:  

The Jews had their earlier removal and permanent restriction from habitation of their homeland by a Pagan Rome reinforced later by a Christian Rome.  How little the Christians had learned from their Messiah.  

325 C.E.: Emperor Constantine convoked the First Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E. and its Nicene Creed included a belief in "one holy catholic and apostolic Church".    

325 C.E.: The Council of Nicea decided to separate the celebration of Easter from the Jewish Passover.  They stated: "For it is unbecoming beyond measure that on this holiest of festivals we should follow the customs of the Jews.  Henceforth let us have nothing in common with this odious people...We ought not, therefore, to have anything in common with the Jews...our worship follows a...more convenient course...we desire dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews...How, then, could we follow these Jews, who are almost certainly blinded."  

337 C.E.: Christian Emperor Constantius created a law which made the marriage of a Jewish man to a Christian punishable by death.  

339 C.E.: Converting to Judaism became a criminal offense.  

343 C.E.-381 C.E.: The Laodicean Synod approved Cannon XXXVIII: "It is not lawful (for Christians) to receive unleavened bread from the Jews, nor to be partakers of their impiety."  

367 C.E.: Saint Hilary of Poitiers referred to Jews as a perverse people who God has cursed forever.  Saint Ephroem referred to synagogues as brothels.

379 C.E.-395 C.E.: Emperor Theodosius the Great permitted the destruction of synagogues if it served a religious purpose.  Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire at this time.  

380 C.E.: Emperor Theodosius I made Nicene Christianity the state church of the Roman Empire with the Edict of Thessalonica of 380 C.E.

 

Notes:

 

Constantine became a great patron of the Church and set a precedent for the position of the Christian emperor within the Church and the notion of orthodoxy, Christendom, ecumenical councils and the state church of the Roman Empire declared by edict in 380 C.E.  These actions would strengthen the position of those who believe the term "Christian Church" or "Church" applies only to a specific historic Christian institution (e.g., the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Oriental Orthodoxy).  However, the other dominant view that the Christian Church constitutes the whole group of people belonging to the Christian religious tradition throughout history remains strong.  Generally used by Protestants, in this understanding the "Christian Church" does not refer to a particular Christian denomination, but to the body of all believers.

 

Christians, particularly Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox churches identified the Christian Church to be a visible structure.  Later, the Protestants would understand the Church to be a more of an invisible reality.  For these it is not identified with any earthly structure or individual denomination.  Still others felt the Church was identified with particular groups that share certain essential elements of doctrine and practice, though they are divided on other points of doctrine and government.  

A more apt view of the matter would be to say that the relationships between the Christian Churches (A work in process), such as they were, and states of medieval Europe constituted a variety of relationships.  The so-called Christian Church was in a state of flux and transition and was attempting to work out power sharing with various monarchies in Europe.  Thus, the decisions taken by monarchies and other states regarding the Jews were by necessity joint state/Church decisions.  In short, each side wished to reach an accommodation with the other, one in which its power was not lessoned.  The suffering, torment, and deaths of Jews were simply a result of a decision and not the driving force.  

380 C.E.: The bishop of Milan was responsible for the burning of a synagogue; he referred to it as, "an act pleasing to God."  

5th Century C.E. to the 16th Century C.E.: Later, during the end of Roman authority in the West in the 5th Century C.E. and the beginnings of the Reformation in the Early-16th Century C.E. (Medieval period from the 5th Century C.E. to the 15th Century C.E.), the relationship between the Church and the feudal states went through a number of developments.  The struggles for power between kings and popes shaped the Christian world.  

No single powerful secular government emerged in the West after the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th Century C.E.  However, the Catholic Church was the central ecclesiastical power in Rome.  During this power vacuum, the Church grew to become the dominant power in the West.  

415 C.E.: The Bishop of Alexandria, Saint Cyril, expelled the Jews from that Egyptian city.  

415 C.E.: Saint Augustine wrote "The true image of the Hebrew is Judas Iscariot, who sells the Lord for silver.  The Jew can never understand the Scriptures and forever will bear the guilt for the death of Jesus."  

418 C.E.: Saint Jerome, who created the Vulgate translation of the Bible, wrote of a synagogue: "If you call it a brothel, a den of vice, the Devil's refuge, Satan's fortress, a place to deprave the soul, an abyss of every conceivable disaster or whatever you will, you are still saying less than it deserves."  

489 C.E.-519 C.E.: Christian mobs destroyed the synagogues in Antioch, Daphne (near Antioch) and Ravenna.  

528 C.E.: Emperor Justinian (527 C.E.-564 C.E.) passed the Justinian Code.  It prohibited Jews from building synagogues, reading the Bible in Hebrew, assembling in public, celebrating Passover before Easter, and testifying against Christians in court.  

535 C.E.: The Synod of Claremont decreed that Jews could not hold public office or have authority over Chrstians.  

538 C.E.: The 3rd and 4th Councils of Orleans prohibited Jews from appearing in public during the Easter season.  Canon XXX decreed that "From the Thursday before Easter for four days, Jews may not appear in the company of Christians."  Marriages between Christians and Jews were prohibited.  Christians were prohibited from converting to Judaism.  

561 C.E.: The bishop of Uzes expelled Jews from his diocese in France.  

612 C.E.: Jews were not allowed to own land, to be farmers, or enter certain trades.  

613 C.E.: Very serious persecution began in Visigoth Spain.  Jews were given the options of either leaving Spain or converting to Christianity.  Jewish children over 6 years of age were taken from their parents and given a Christian education.  

692 C.E.: Cannnon II of the Quinisext Council stated: "Let no one in the priestly order nor any layman eat the unleavened bread of the Jews, nor have any familiar intercourse with them, nor summon them in illness, nor receive medicines from them, nor bathe with them; but if anyone shall take in hand to do so, if he is a cleric, let him be deposed, but if a layman, let him be cut off."  

722 C.E.: Leo III outlawed Judaism.  Jews were baptized against their will.  

855 C.E.: Jews were exiled from Italy.  

10th Century C.E.: By 10th Century C.E., the Church had expanded its power and acceptance.  In this same period, secular kingdoms gained power.  Quite naturally conditions remained for a power struggle between Church and Kingdom over ultimate authority.  Under these circumstances both had to maintain the checks and balances of power.

 

Comments:

 

Essentially, the earliest vision of Christendom was a vision was that of a Christian theocracy.  This was a view of government founded upon and upholding Christian values, whose institutions were spread throughout and over with Christian doctrine.  During this period, members of the Christian clergy would wield political authority.  Relationships between political leaders and the clergy varied.  At times, national and political divisions were subsumed under the leadership of the Catholic Church as an institution.  This became the model for church-state relations and was accepted by various Church and political leaders in Europe.  These conditions made the problem of the Jew more complex.

 

If a situation arose in Christendom which involved the Jews, the parties (Church and a particular state) would negotiate the use of power over these unfortunates.  Here, it must be said that neither Church nor state felt a moral or religious obligation to treat Jews in a Christ-like fashion.  The treatment of Jews and meting out of punishment were processes which were refined with each incident.  Dependent upon the Church and state personalities involved, actions and considerations toward the Jews became less a matter of right and wrong than what was acceptable to each side given a specific set of circumstances.  At times the clergy was less inclined to increase punish of the Jews.  At other times, the monarchs wished to destroy entire communities of Jews.  Each side changed its view of needed punishment upon a whim.

 

When rampaging Christians became angry with the Jewish population and destroyed homes and property, took Jewish lives, and threatened the peace and tranquility of a town or city, monarchs were forced to act.  This they would do with or without the help of the Church.

 

European monarchs and their in-state Church representatives would make decisions about the Jewish problem locally, unless the Jewish solution was of sufficient magnitude that it needed the guidance of Rome.  

1050 C.E.: The Synod of Narbonne prohibited Christians from living in the homes of Jews.  

1078 C.E.: "Pope Gregory VII decreed that Jews could not hold office or be superiors to Christians."  

1078 C.E.: The Synod of Gerona forced Jews to pay church taxes.  

1096 C.E.: The First Crusade was launched in this year.  Although the prime goal of the crusades was to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims, Jews were a second target.  As the soldiers passed through Europe on the way to the Holy Land, large numbers of Jews were challenged: "Christ-killers, embrace the Cross or die!"  12,000 Jews in the Rhine Valley were killed in the first Crusade.  This behavior continued for 8 additional crusades until the 9th, in 1272 C.E.  

1099 C.E.: The Crusaders forced all of the Jews of Jerusalem into a central synagogue and set it on fire.  Those who tried to escape were forced back into the burning building.  

1121 C.E.: Jews were exiled from Flanders (Now part of present-day Belgium)  

1130 C.E.: Some Jews in London were allegedly killed by a sick man.  The Jewish people in the city were required to pay 1 million marks as compensation.  

1146 C.E.: The Second Crusade began.  A French Monk, Rudolf, called for the destruction of the Jews.  

1179 C.E.: Canon 24 of the Third Lateran Council stated: "Jews should be slaves to Christians and at the same time treated kindly due of humanitarian considerations."  Canon 26 stated that "the testimony of Christians against Jews is to be preferred in all cases where they use their own witnesses against Christians."  

1180 C.E.: The French King of France, Philip Augustus, arbitrarily seized all Jewish property and expelled the Jews from the country.  There was no legal justification for this action.  They were allowed to sell all movable possessions, but their land and houses were stolen by the king.  

1189 C.E.: Jews were persecuted in England.  The Crown claimed all Jewish possessions.  Most of their houses were burned.  

Comments  

It is reasonable to conclude that Christianity as represented by various Christian sects, and in particular the Catholic Church, did little to protect the Jews of the Old World and Europe.  Together with the Christian kingdoms, the clergy presented intolerant views of the Jews.  In concert with many Christian kingdoms the Church sponsored and supported continuing reigns of terror against the Jewish populations over the centuries even before Spain came into being.  

The limiting or complete removal of Jewish religious and cultural observances by the Church and nobles was an effort to eliminate Judaism as a religious practice and to gradually remove Jewish cultural life from its adherents.  Further, forced conversion of the Jews and removal of children from their families and placing them with Christians in an effort to re-educate them toward a Christian way of life can be seen as intolerance.

Restrictions in the ownership of land, farming, and other trades severely restricted the ability of Jews to earn a living.  Limiting where and when Jews could gather ended any hope of Christian and Jewish religious understanding or reconciliation.  

Subjugation and enslavement of the Jews by Christian authorities provided a world view of them as being less than human or most certainly of far less value than their Christian counterparts.  This would open the door to ongoing and condoned practices within the Christian kingdoms which encouraged terrorism, raping, robbing, torturing, and killing of members of the Jewish populations.  These would culminate with giving ownership of the Jews to the various Christian monarchs and nobles as property to be done with as they saw fit.  Later, the 20th Century Nazis could rationalize their behavior against the Jews based upon previous Church and State practices.

 

Visigoth Persecution in Iberia  

Life for all Iberian peoples on the Peninsula was difficult.  One great power after another fought over the land and its promise.  The last great power to hold Spain was Rome.  As she declined after 700 years of occupation the Germanic Visigoths became Spain's new masters.  What followed was oppression of the Jews.  Later, the Muslims were to arrive.  

409 C.E.: This quiet peninsula which was a Roman province since the reign of Augustus (63 B.C.E.-14 C.E.) was invaded by the barbarians (Germanic Tribes) about the year 409 C.E.  The prosperity and wealth were ended by the many outrages of the savage Germanic tribes.  The Peninsula soon ceased to be a Roman province.  

409 C.E.-481 C.E.: The struggle with the Romans over Iberia was to last seventy-two years (409 C.E.-481 C.E.).  During that period, it was understandable that the Visigoths would give little thought to the Jews.  Iberians, including the Jews would have suffered only from the devastations of the ongoing war.

411 C.E.: It was in the year 411 C.E., when the German barbaric tribes, the Suevi, Vandals, Alans, and Silingi, finally took possession of the Iberian Peninsula after they had plundered and devastated it for two years.  Having become tired of a nomadic life the Germanic tribes settled themselves in the once paradise-like lands which were now desolate.  The Suevi settled in Galicia, in the north-western portion of the Peninsula, the Vandals in the center of the country, the Alans in Lusitania and Carthagena, and the Silingi in Andalusia (Boetica).  The Romans stayed only in present day Catalonia, Aragón, and Navarre.  

414 C.E.: In the latter part of the year 414 C.E., these were joined by Ataulph, King of the Visigoths, who came to Spain from Narbonne, in Gaul.  Ataulph brought with him a large army of Goths and became the first Visigothic King on Iberian soil.  These Christian professing Goths founded a new kingdom in Spain which lasted nearly three hundred years.  

414 C.E.-419 C.E.: Gothic dominion lasted only five years (414 C.E.-419 C.E.).  Wallia, the second in secession after Ataulph, surrendered nearly the whole of conquered Spain to the Romans.  He was content to select as the residence of his followers the country of Septimania (A territory of seven districts on the Garonne extending to the sea).  This he received as a present from the Roman Emperor.  

481 C.E.: It was in Septimania that the Visigothic state of Tolosa sprung up, while Roman dominion maintained its existence in Spain until 481 C.E.  

481 C.E.-531 C.E.: In the succeeding fifty years (481 C.E.-531 C.E.), Visigoth Spain appears to have been little more than an appendage of the Tolosanian kingdom in Gaul than a stand-alone kingdom.  The center of Visigothic power would have remained in Gaul.  Therefore, laws applicable to the Jews must have an older history arriving from Visigoths in Gaul.  During these years the Jews remained relatively untouched the Visigoth laws.  An interesting fact is that the Jews at Arles which belonged to the Visigoths still possessed the right of Roman citizenship in the beginning of the 6th Century C.E.  This in itself suggests that the Visigoths had not as of yet begun to place their attention upon the Jews.  This would come later and with great concentration.  

531 C.E.-711 C.E.: When the Spanish Visigothic kingdom acquired independence, religious hatred became stronger and violence against the Jews increased.  Thereafter, their existence during the next three centuries (531 C.E.-711 C.E.) was filled with oppression, viciousness, and horror.  

531 C.E.: It was only in the reign of the Visigothic king Theudas (531 C.E.) that Spain separated from Gaul as a special kingdom.  He chose Barcelona as the seat of his government.  

Late-6th Century C.E.: Late in this 6th Century C.E., that the Visigothic Kingdom in Spain distributed the Jews through the country allowing them a few freedoms.  As the Visigoths were engaged feverishly in the struggle of Catholicism against the doctrines of Arius, Jews were again allowed to celebrate their own Sabbaths and festivals, circumcise their children, perform marriages after the Jewish custom, strictly observe Jewish dietetic laws, and occasionally convert Iberian slaves to Judaism.  Rome (Catholic Popes) of the time appears to have been indifferent regarding these activities, as the Jews were relatively isolated.  

586 C.E.-601 C.E.: The Visigothic King of Spain, Recared I. (586 C.E.-601 C.E.), promulgated a series of restrictive laws against the Jews (Leges Visigothorum xii. tit. 11, Lex 4-12.  Canciani iv. pp. 185-187).  He prohibited baptized Jews from offending the Christian faith, through word or deed and they could not leave the country.  Those who remained Observant Jews despite of all their suffering, he prohibited from the celebration of the Passover, the Sabbaths, and other festivals.  Jewish marriage ceremonies, the circumcision of the children, and the making of any distinction between clean and unclean food was ended.  He deprived Jews of the right to testify against Christians in a court or to cite a Christian before a judge, and all this under penalty of being burned at the stake or stoned to death.  

In the event that the king found Jews guilty of any of these offenses, they could also become slaves for life and forfeit their property.  He further ordered that no Jew should have a Christian servant.  Also, if a Jew circumcised his Christian slave, the servant was to be freed and the property of the Jew was to be forfeited to the king’s exchequer.  Jewish servants, whether male or female, were to be given their freedom if they became Christian converts.  

601 C.E.-603 C.E.: Liuva (601 C.E.-603 C.E.), the son and successor of Recared, did not ameliorate any of the Anti-Jewish laws.  He was murdered by his successor, Witteric (603 C.E.).  

603 C.E.-610 C.E.: Under King Witteric (603 C.E.-610 C.E.), the enemy of the Catholic clergy, the Jews breathed more freely.  They remained largely forgotten in the midst of the contest of Catholicism against the doctrines of Arius.  King Witteric was murdered in 610 C.E.  

610 C.E.-612 C.E.: Unfortunately, King Gundemar (610 C.E.-612 C.E.) was an instrument of the clergy.  The lot of the Jews would later become even more sorrowful under his successor Sisebut.  

612 C.E.-620 C.E.: The fanatical Sisebut (612 C.E.-620 C.E.) being swayed by the clergy, possessed an iron-like stubbornness of character and terrorized the Spanish Jews.  He confirmed the cruel ordinances of Recared and proceeded with cruel tyranny.  Sisebut immediately ordered in 614 C.E., that every Jew abstaining from having himself or his children and servants baptized for more than one year, would be punished with a hundred blows, banished from the country, and deprived of his possessions.  He went even further.  By murder, the rack, and sever treatment he compelled 90,000 Jews to become baptized Christians.  Those most obstinate were treated in the cruelest manner possible and deprived of their property.  These were not permitted to escape from the country, since he had the frontiers strictly watched so that Jews could not escape.  

This so-called Christian was in fact a monster who promulgated a law to maintain these measures against the Jews under the prospect of the flames of hell-fire at the last judgment for which all his successors would have to swear at the commencement of their reign.  Sisebut’s cruelty against the Jews caused such horror that even fanatical clergy disapproved.  The celebrated Isidore, Archbishop of Seville, although himself a fanatic, says in his history of the Goths, “Sisebut had, in his persecution of the Jews, displayed, it is true, zeal for the cause of God, but not a wise one, because he employed violence, whereas conviction could only be justified by good reasons.”  Isidore later presiding over the fourth Synod of Toledo, succeeded to have a canon law passed that in future no Jew should be compelled to be baptized.  Unfortunately, the comparatively mild canon law was not followed.  

620 C.E.: Sisebut’s son, Recared II (620 C.E.) reigned for only a few months and could exercise no influence over the condition of the Jews.  It was only under his successor that the rigor was relaxed.  

620 C.E.-631 C.E.: Visigothic King Swinthila (620 C.E.-631 C.E.) moved to lessen the power of the clergy.  While he contended against them and the nobles, the Jews could again live more easily.  The Jews had some peace when the clergy didn’t rule.  

631 C.E.-636 C.E.: After the expulsion of Swinthila, Sisenand (631 C.E.-636 C.E.) ascended the throne.  He protected and was sustained by the clergy.  Archbishop Isidore, of Seville, was mildly disposed towards the Jews and possessed the highest degree of consideration for their plight.  As such, he later influenced the clergy and enforced a milder treatment of them.  At the Synod, called at Toledo in the year 633 C.E., sixty-nine bishops appeared.  Via seventy-four enactments which were passed, the rights of Jews were regulated under the presiding Isidore.  To be sure, Isidore was a zealous, fanatical Catholic and wrote a work concerning the conversion of the Jews.  However, he only recommended mild measures.  Isidore died in the same year with the king (636 C.E.).  

636 C.E.-640 C.E.: Chinthila (636 C.E.-640 C.E.) was the next successor.  He was also a tool of the clergy.  In 637 C.E., Chinthila promulgated a decree that all the Jews, without exception, should leave the kingdom.  Unfortunately, Isidore was no longer alive to influence the clergy to adopt a milder course of action.  

638 C.E.: During a Synod held in 638 C.E., an extension was decreed and solemnly confirmed by these demented clergy.  This was that every king would obligate himself by an oath to sustain in full rigor the decrees of Chinthila against the Jews before he could ascend the throne.  This, together with all the prior resolves of the councils, also held that the curse of Heaven and everlasting hell-fire would be upon successors to the throne, should any of them be bold enough to act contrary to the ordinance.  

694 C.E.: The 17th Church Council of Toledo, Spain defined Jews as the serfs of the prince.  This was based, in part, on the beliefs by Chrysostom, Origen, Jerome, and other Church Fathers that God punished the Jews with perpetual slavery because of their alleged responsibility for the execution of Jesus.

 

Comments  

It is wholly appropriate to say that Germanic and other Iberian Christians were somewhat unkind to Jews, as the record speaks for itself.  To say that the Invader/Germanic Christianized tribes which comprised no more than 1%-3% of the population were unpleasant to the Jews over the course of 300 (411 C.E.-711 C.E.) years is an understatement.  Words such as abused, degraded, enslaved, humiliated, murdered, persecuted, tormented, and tortured seem more appropriate for the treatment by Germanic and other Iberian Christians and the Catholic Church of the Iberian Jewish populations.  It has been stated that the Sephardi Jewish population of Spain, was by and large native born converts rather than migrants.  As such, this should have made them more acceptable to the Iberian Christians.  

Additionally, the Germanic Christian kingdoms were complicit with the Church in the orchestrated and sanctioned theft of Jewish property when the Jews chose not to convert to Christianity or the nobility had need of money.  

It should be said that these Germanic rulers of the time were still considered “foreigners” by many ordinary native Iberians (All tribes).  Their formal conversion to Catholicism from the Arian heresy that rejected the idea that Jesus was co-equal or co-eternal with G-d the Father (Contesting the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity and that Christ was both human and divine) had only been an initial step designed to appeal to the Catholic majority and integrate the different elements of the population into one society.  The harsh anti-Jewish measures adopted by the last Visigothic king were made to appeal to Christians and unite the kingdom in the face of the Islamic invaders who were originally welcomed by the Jews, initially regarding them as liberators.  

Here, it is important that we place any assistance given by the Jews to the African Islamic invaders in its proper context.  One can gather from the aforementioned that the Jews of Iberia had some cause for rejoicing when the potential for removing the yoke of the Germanic kingdoms and the Catholic Church from their necks might be accomplish by the latest invader.  It might be said that the Christian treatment of the Jews earned them their difficulties under the African Islamists.

 

Islamic (Moorish) Persecution

Medieval or Middle Ages Iberia (5th Century C.E.-15th Century C.E.)  

From the 5th Century C.E. through the 15th Century C.E., Iberia (Spain and Portugal) suffered from intermittent warring between its Christian princes for supremacy resulting in expansion, contracting, and weakening of these kingdoms.  Later, it would embark upon that very long and savage struggle between African Islam and Iberian Christianity for religious dominance of the Iberian Peninsula.  The result was a constant state of political and territorial fragmentation, dissolution, and restructuring.  The Jews were that unwelcomed minority attempting to survive, and at times, thrive under both Islamic and Christian majorities but found both difficult to obtain and maintain.

 

Therefore, it would be naive to imply that Medieval Iberia was simply the scene of a unique, pleasant encounter among these three religions Christianity, Islam, and Judaism and their civilizations intent upon respectful intercourse.  Their relationship was instead one of brutal opposition and very limited accommodation.  Each had its place at the table of Iberia’s march toward the future as the nations of Spain and Portugal, some more equal than others.

 

However, in fairness two of those parts, Arab-Berber Islam and Sephardi Jewry, they did result in a multi-cultural semi-synthesis for a period of time which emerged following the Islamic invasion, conquest, and colonization of Iberia.  In contrast to this statement it must be added that following the later conquests by the Islamist Almoravids and the Almohades, Christians and Jews were barely tolerated.  Their religions were regarded as “inferior.”  These inferiors were forced to convert or pay exorbitant tribute to remain “protected peoples (dhimmis).”  Inferiors were forced to pay a “head tax,” only Muslims were exempt.  Broadly speaking this uneven relationship left behind a sporadic legacy marred by hatred for these Islamic invader/colonists and the brutality and enslavement that they brought with them.

 

However, even under these hostile circumstances it is believed that the more literate Jews, who’s Hebrew closely resembled Arabic, were more able to adapt to the new Islamic state than their Christian counterparts.  They quickly adjusted and began to specialize in activities and professions that conquerors regarded as beneath them.  These included trade, tax collecting, administration, and “defiling” work (E.g., Leather work).

 

http://www.artwallpaper.eu/Paintings/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/27/1840/Paintings-of-the-Islamic-Civilization-66.jpgGeographically speaking, Islamic rule in Iberia should be seen as limited and enduring for a shorter period of time in Galicia, Asturias, the Basque country, Aragón, and much of Catalonia.  The Andalucia was the exception.  There it the colonization was continuous for a longer period of time.  As a result, a large number of sites bear Arabic place names which start with either the article “al” (The) or the prefix “Beni” (Sons of).  Such sites would suggest a strong concentration in the south of Andalucia and along the Mediterranean coasts in today’s provinces of Murcia and Valencia.

 

Religious intolerance exercised by the triumphant Iberian kings of Christendom and the eventual extension of their excessive religious zeal and that of their Church, would end with the expulsion of the Jews (1492 C.E.) and Muslims (1609 C.E.) and/or their forced conversion to Christianity.  In all fairness, these steps were seen by the eventual winners of Iberia as necessary.  It was to eliminate resistance to the new order being brought about by Spain and to achieve political consolidation and religious unity of the Peninsula.

 

711 C.E. to 1492 C.E.: The Islamic invasion, capture, and enslavement of the Iberian Peninsula led to the presence of Medieval Al-Andalus, also known as Islamic Iberia or Muslim Spain.  It would endure in various parts of the Peninsula from 711 C.E. to 1492 C.E. and leave its mark primarily in Castille and Andalucia.  It brought upon the Iberian Christian Kingdoms (Eventually Spain and Portugal) a violent past which marked the history, language, place names, and society of the countries long after the last of the invading and enslaving Islamic forces were ripped from the Peninsula.

 

711 C.E.-Late-15th Century C.E.: From 711 C.E. through the end of the 15th Century C.E., the Islamists expanded their presence on the Iberian Peninsula and the world.  How they accomplished this is of great interest, both from an internal Islamic perspective and an external non-Islamic perspective.

 

Comments:

 

From the very beginning of the Islamic domination of Iberia there existed considerable antagonism between that minority (Relative to population size) of Arab overlords and their predominantly Berber affiliates.  It was the Berbers who provided the majority of the resources for the invasion.  It should be noted that they were regarded with contempt by the Arab ruling class who felt racially superiority to them and believed themselves far better connected with the Caliphs in Damascus and later in Baghdad due to their purity of faith.  This disdain probably found its roots in the fact that many of the Berbers had been pagans and remained so, or had converted to Byzantine Christianity before accepting Islam.  This would suggest that conversions were nominal, to say the least.  Yet, these still joined the “Islamic Crusade” after their conversion to Islam.

 

The majority of the Berbers lived in Morocco and Mauretania.  This is the reason they are referred to as Moros (Moors), a term that continues in use today and is more prevalent than muselmanes (Muslims) or árabes (Arabs) in contemporary Spanish.  The Berbers had long been in contact and familiar with the south-eastern corner of Iberia which was separated from the Moroccan coastline by the narrow strait of Gibraltar.  This made them invaluable.

 

Thus, an Islamic controlled hierarchical order was established by the Arabs, who sat at the top.  This was so, even though the Berbers (Islamic adherents) were joint conquerors and had provided the majority of the soldiers and closest Arab support.  These were followed by Iberian converts to Islam (Muladies) whose station was at a lower level.  At the very bottom were the infidel (Jews and Christians), no matter how significant their contribution to the arts and sciences they were still non-Muslims.  They were only to be tolerated until fully integrated through conversion or killed.  
 

I think the Christians of the many lands invaded and conquered by Islamic crusaders would find it ironic to hear today’s Muslim voices of Islam referring to the West as Christian Crusaders.  Clearly, the West was under siege by invading Muslims intent upon the subjugation, enslavement, and conversion of Christian, not the other way around.  Today’s, Muslim Brotherhood can be proud of itself and its marketing spin capabilities in this matter of condemning the West’s current activities in the Middle East as Christian Crusades.  Although, one must add that ISIS or ISIL has done much damage as of late to the “Islam Brand,” with its beheadings of Christians, others, and non-orthodox Muslims.

 

711 C.E.: As regards the Jews, the Islamic invasion of 711 C.E. freed them from Visigothic oppression which began in 409 C.E. with the invasions of Iberia by the Germanic tribes and ended with the granting of the independence of the Visigoth Kingdom and Roman removal in 475 C.E.-476 C.E.  However, it placed them under the hard hand of another oppressor, Islam.  

Comments:  

In an effort to find common ground with the invaders the Jews collaborated with their new masters by guarding castles and cities.  The Sephardi also acted as tax collectors.  Herein lays the basis of the problem for which the Sephardic Jews would suffer greatly later in Spanish history.  The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” is an ancient proverb which suggests that two opposing parties can or should work together against a common enemy.  The Jews heeded this proverb.  Acting as agents for the Islamic invaders to the detriment of the Iberian Christian populations under their control, would sow the seeds hatred and compound the problem of anti-Semitism which would remain to haunt the Spanish Jews for the next thousand years.  

As for the Islamist Arabs and Berbers, it is factual that they needed the cooperation of both Jews and Christians to control Iberia.  This is the only reason that the Muslims accommodated the needs of the indigenous people’s at any given time.  Therefore, this in no way excuses the reality of the enormous destruction brought about by the three Islamic invasions that repeatedly sought to control rule over Iberia (Later Spain and Portugal).  To be sure, the Iberians were reduced to second class citizens in their own homeland.  This is of course, if Islamic treatment of Christians and Jews which included forced rape, marriage, and conversion, heavy taxation, slaughter, and murder are accepted as the lot of second class citizens.

 

711 C.E.-716 C.E.: The conquest of Iberia was accomplished in a remarkably short period of time, only five years.  At the time of the first conquest in 711 C.E.-716 C.E., the Muslims constituted a minority of the Iberian population which numbered approximately 7 million Christians, Jews, and others.  This would account for the abnormal moderation and so-called enlightenment practiced by the Islamists until numerical superiority by the oppressed was no longer an impediment to complete Islamization.  Much as today’s Islamic peaceful coexistence gives way periodically to activities such as genocide (The Armenians 1915 C.E.), nation subversion and take-over (Hezbollah in Lebanon 1992 C.E. to Present), Islamic terrorism (Name a nation), and complete Islamization (Christian purging in Syria 2015 C.E.).

 

As stated earlier, the African Islamist conquest of Spain was aided greatly by internal divisions among the Iberian Christians, especially the land-owning class of Visigoth nobles.  Prior to the conquest, much of the original Christian population had little vested interest in continued Visigothic rule.  Even among the Visigoth ruling class, several found it expedient to cooperate with the new Islamic rulers to preserve both property and privilege.  In addition, little in Iberian society would change for the average man or woman after the Islamic invasion and colonization.

 

The newly won Islamic territory would be given the name Al-Andalus and placed its capital in Córdoba.  It became a dependency of the Omayyid Caliphate of Damascus.

 

8th-Mid-11th Century C.E.: Iberia’s so-called Islamic period of tolerance for the three great monotheistic religions often referred to as “Las Tres Culturas” would gradually contract and eventually be extinguished by the Mid-11th Century C.E.  This was due to repeated invasions of the Peninsula by radically severe Muslim adherents from the Islamic-Berber tribes.  These brought with them a fanaticism reminiscent of today’s Al-Qaeda, Taliban, and ISIS/ISIL.  Only later did a resurgence of limited Islamic tolerance of Christians occur.  In fact, the fanciful term “Golden Age,” referencing a specific period in Islamic Iberia can only be correctly applied to a relatively short period from the 8th to the Mid-11th Century C.E.  This is even more accurate when applied to the Christian North of the country for a period of more than three hundred years (1050 C.E.-1390 C.E.).  In short, it’s an over-sold, wishful, historical lark most probably promulgated by European and American centers of higher education and their employees in need of monies provided by Arab petrodollar donors.

 

750 C.E.-929C.E.: Islamic Iberia was by and large the Emirate of Córdoba (750 C.E.-929C.E.).

 

Mid-8th Century C.E.-End of-11th Century C.E.: From the second half of the 8th Century C.E. to the end of the 11th Century C.E. Jewish life as Dhimmis improved greatly while they contributed to scholarship.  The Sephardic Spanish Jews’ status as Dhimmis, non-Muslims, allowed them to live in a land governed by Muslims.  This provided the Jews with very limited autonomy, a narrow set of rights with which to practice their religion, and a limited protection by their Muslim rulers which was subject to change at a moment’s notice.  And it must be remembered that this was not free.  The specific tax called the jizya was levied on the Dhimmis in order to receive those benefits.  Today, we would call this extortion.  Its origin is in the Qur'an.   It offers that Dhimmis who did not pay this tax, should either convert to Islam, or face the death penalty (Qur'an 9, 29).  Any tax the Muslims had to pay was less than that of the inferiors.  The jizya was also on several occasions one of the most important sources of revenue for the kingdom.  Using Jewish interpreters, a translating program was established in Toledo.  Many major works of Greek science and philosophy were translated.  Arabic books were translated by Jews into romance languages, and Greek and Hebrew texts into Arabic.

 

The nominally protected Jews were allowed to study and contribute to botany, geography, mathematics, medicine, philosophy, and poetry.  During this period the study of Medicine grew and produced many Jewish physicians.  Islam impacted Jewish cultural life in literature and the arts.  Medieval Hebrew poetry and much of the prose literature was allowed to be written in non-Islamic language and script.

 

The Jews had lived under a semi-moderate Al-Andalus Islamic rule-based Córdoba for almost four hundred years.  Later, came the insurgence of the Muslim fundamentalist Almoravides in 1055 C.E., and not long after, their enemies, the Almohades in 1147 C.E.  Both groups enforced rigid controls over the infidels (non-Muslims).  During this period Jews continued to work as cobblers, jewelers, moneylenders, tailors, and tanners.  However, they would be mandated to wear distinctive clothing, including of the wearing of a yellow turban to distinguish them from Muslims.  These changes were a foreshadowing of the stricter controls that would soon be put in place.

 

The peninsular realm ruled from Córdoba, was broken apart into many small Muslim kingdoms, each with its own ruler.  They soon began fighting amongst the kingdoms.  This divided the Islamists and weakened them.  The armies of Christian princes became stronger and held larger areas of land.  This warring of Islamic states on the peninsula gave the Christians courage and led to collapse of the Moors on the peninsula.  This was the beginning of the Christian’s return to power during the subsequent Reconquista.  What might be called the Moorish civil war was in part responsible for the result of disintegration of the Caliphate in the 11th Century C.E.  Surprisingly, many influential Dhimmis remained in the chaotic, warring Islamic kingdoms.

 

10th Century C.E.: By the beginning of the 10th Century C.E., it is estimated that the Islamic population of Berbers, Arabs and Muladies (Christians who had converted to Islam) was at approximately 2.8 million from a total of more than 7 million.

10th Century C.E.: By the 10th Century C.E., in the Caliphate of Córdoba the Jewish population had become increasingly important.  Jews lived among themselves in a designated Jewish quarter.  These walled areas were known as the aljama.  In this segregated area they had their own administration, managed their communal affairs, and presided over their own legal court known as the Beit Din.  With Rabbis as Judges, the court rendered both religious and civil legal opinions pertaining to Jewish affairs, but only inside the aljama, and not beyond Islamic law.  This was good for the Muslims as it decreased the workload on Islamic courts.

 

Influence Islamic culture impacted Jewish life greatly.  Jews integrated many Moorish customs and traditions into their daily life.  Iberian and Hebrew languages were subordinated to the Arabic language.  It was even used for prayers.  Jews adopted the Islamic custom of ceremoniously washing of the hands and feet before entering their synagogues.  The tunes of old Arabic melodies were used by Jews when singing music.  As Islamic laws forbade Jews from wearing fine cloth such as furs and silk, many adopted Moorish styles of clothing.  It is believed that most wore the universal long robe and belt while accepting the restrictions from the wearing the traditional colors of Islam (Green or white).  

The most important Jew of the time was Hasday ben Shiprut, the Caliph's efficient personal physician and minister.  It was he who received Juan of Gorze, envoy of the German emperor Otto I.  Hasday negotiated treaties with the ambassadors of Constantine VIII of Byzantium.  He also cured Sancho I of León's obesity.  Hasday concluded treaties with the latter as well.  As Hebrew had been relegated mostly to cultural and liturgical functions, Ben Shiprut mastered Latin and Arabic.  He also translated the treatise "Medical Materials of Dioscorides."  

As Jewish culture in Al-Andalus flourished, the Jews stood out as scientists, literary figures, and physicians.  An individual could simultaneously be a philosopher, physician, poet, and scientist.  Many excelled in nature and astronomy.  Open contact with East and West provided them with a wide knowledge of the world outside.  

It was also the Golden Century of Hispano-Hebraic poetry.  Yehuda ha-Levy was the first to write in Castilian.  His religious poetry is beautiful and accomplished.  The Sionidas are the eternal cry of the Jewish soul for the loss of Jerusalem.  Abraham ben Ezra was one of the most educated and cultured men of the time, studying astrology, grammar, philosophy, poetry, and science.  He traveled to Italy, France, and England bringing with him Hispano-Arabic and Hispano-Hebraic culture.  Ezra wrote in Hebrew and Latin for Jews and Christians.  He was famed for his works on astronomy and his Biblical analysis.  But the height of Jewish thought for all epochs was the Cordovan figure Moises ben Maimon, Maimonides.  Though he spent most of his life outside Spain, he always considered himself Sephardic Spanish.  His philosophical works were to influence many of the great minds of the Middle Ages.  He wrote his most important work, “The Guide for the Perplexed” in 1190 C.E., in which he harmonizes faith, humanity, and philosophy.

929 C.E.-1031 C.E.: The Caliphate of Córdoba (929 C.E.-1031 C.E.) was only nominally subject to the rulers or caliphs in Damascus and Baghdad.  Eventually they were able to break free from this foreign subservience.

 

930 C.E.-1000 C.E.: Around the years 930 C.E. through 1000 C.E., Córdoba excelled as the most cultured city in Europe.  This was due to a stable and prosperous rule [Especially during the reign of Abd-al Rahman III (Proclaimed Caliph in Córdoba in 929 C.E.)], an enslaved population providing free labor, and rampant tyranny in support of that slavery.

 

1009 C.E.: During a very few months in 1009 C.E., five different Córdoban rulers succeeded each other.  These lost control of much of the provincial territories.  A rebellion against the Omayyid dynasty led to civil war.  Islamic Iberia descended into chaos.  Within one generation, approximately 40 independent Islamic mini-kingdoms or emirates (Taifas) proclaimed their independence.  Fortunately for the Christian kingdoms, this enabled them to plan, organize, and make major advances in the reconquest of the Peninsula.  Unfortunately, by this time Islamic-Jewish relations had deteriorated considerably.

 

In the years leading up to the Barbari-Muslim invasions of Iberia (1013 C.E. and 1172 C.E.), the Islamic state and its legal system in Iberia had imposed out-right institutionalized inequality upon Jews and Christians.  This kindness the Islamists gave in exchange for state-protection and official toleration or said differently, as a means of extortion.  Factually, these rules often went ignored or were imposed when it suited the purposes of the Islamic rulers.

 

1010 C.E.: The so-called enlightened ruler, Abd-al Rahman III, built a sumptuous palace, Medina Azahara, most probably with slave labor.  He named it for his favorite wife, Azahara.  Its ivory, jade, ebony, and alabaster possibly rivaled or exceeded that of the Taj Mahal.  Yet, it would be totally sacked and destroyed by the fanatical wave of Islamic Berber invaders in 1010 C.E.  They left almost nothing standing (Shades of things to come in the 21st Century via ISIS and other Islamists).

 

1010 C.E.-1013 C.E.: The Berber invasion and the sacking of Córdoba (1010 C.E.-1013 C.E.) resulted in the decline of the Umayyad dynasty in Spain.  Its great palaces and other buildings, artistic achievements, and important parts of the sophisticated irrigation system built by the Omayyids and Abbasids were destroyed by these new invaders.  Córdoba would never regain its supremacy as an Islamic cultural center.  

Many Jews fled to Granada, Malaga, Lucena, and other cities for fear of being next to die.  There was a longing for the relative stability and peace via the enforced slavery of the Umayyad reign which had endured for nearly 250 years as the internecine strife between the Muslim principalities continued.  The dynasty would end with the death of the weak Hisham III in 1031 C.E.  

1013 C.E.: Towards the end of Urawa rule in Spain, in 1013 C.E., the Barbari-Muslim forces of the Umawi ruler Sulayman ibn al-Ḥakam al-Musta in (Died in 1016 C.E.) targeted and massacred most probably thousands of Jews in the city of Qurṭubah or Córdoba.  This speaks volumes for so-called Islamic tolerance and state-protection supposedly provided to Non-Muslims.

1031 C.E.-1090 C.E.: The situation worsened further during the taifa period of Islāmicate-Spanish history of 1031 C.E. through 1090 C.E.  

1050 C.E.-1390 C.E. http://www.womenineuropeanhistory.org/images/0/03/Goya_inquisition.jpg: From 1050 C.E. through 1390 C.E. there was in the north of Spain a cosmopolitan and more tolerant Christianity.  The most successful of the Christian rulers during the Christian reconquest were also the most tolerant.  These kingdoms derived particular benefit from the active cooperation and participation of their Jewish communities.

 

1054 C.E.-1147 C.E.: It is suggested that it wasn’t until the rule of the Almoravids, a Berber dynasty of Saharan origin who ruled in the western Maghrib and later al-Andalus (Circa 1054-1147 C.E.), and the Almohads, a North African dynasty, that extreme persecution of Jews and Christians beyond the traditional inequality practiced by Islam against all non-Muslims began to be systematically applied.  This is to say that Islamic terrorism had always been a part of Islamic policy for non-Muslims in Iberia, its application was simply more haphazard (As it is today in Lebanon).  

1066 C.E.: Anti-Jewish sentiment became popular and was particularly virulent once it erupted among the Iberian Islamic population of Granada in 1066 C.E.  They mobbed and put to death the Jewish vizier Yusuf ibn Shamwil and then massacred the local Jewish population.  The violence claimed the lives of approximately 2,000 Jews.  Other Islamic historians have set the number of Jewish deaths at 4,000 or more.  The incident appears to have been instigated due to the popular perception among the Islamic populace of Granada that Yusuf and the local Jewry had transgressed against Islamic tradition and Law.  The popular anti-Jewish sentiment and hostility would continue, some say sporadically.  

1072-1090 C.E.: Alfonso VI the Brave (1072-1090 C.E.), appointed a Jewish minister and treasurer.

1086 C.E.: The Almoravids were a Berber dynasty of Morocco, which formed an empire in the 11th Century C.E. (1062 C.E.) under Abdallah ibn Yasin.  The dynasty originated among the Lamtuna and the Gudala, nomadic Berber tribes of the Sahara, traversing the territory between the Draa, the Niger, and the Senegal rivers.  Their capital was located at the city of Marrakesh.  The empire stretched over the western Maghreb and Al-Andalus.  These Almoravids were crucial in preventing the fall of Al-Andalus to the Iberian Christian kingdoms.  They decisively defeated a coalition of the Castilian and Aragónese armies at the Battle of Sagrajas in 1086 C.E.  This enabled them to control an empire that stretched 3,000 kilometers north to south.  However, the rule of the dynasty was relatively short-lived.  The Almoravids lost power when they failed to quell the Masmuda-led rebellion initiated by Ibn Tumart.  Their last king, Ishaq ibn Ali, was killed by the Almohads in Marrakesh in April of 1147 C.E.  The Almohads then replaced them as a ruling dynasty both in Morocco and Al-Andalus.  

Given the aforementioned atrocities, beginning of the 11th Century C.E., Spain’s anti-Semitic Christian north would clearly have been preferred by the Jews to the intolerant, terrorist Islamic south.  On the eve of the expulsion in 1492 C.E., at least 225 Spanish towns would have their distinctive Jewish quarters (Juderías) still intact.  By the time of the last remaining Islamic kingdom Granada was conquered, almost no Jews resided there.  

12th Century C.E.: At the beginning of the 12th Century C.E., the number of Arabs had almost doubled.  However, they had only a small majority of the total population of the Iberian Peninsula.  It is clear that once Islam had enough adherents and assured control, it began a more systematic terrorism of its non-Moslem population.

 

1172 C.E.: The Almohad Caliphate, "the monotheists" or "the unifiers", was a Moroccan Berber Muslim movement founded in the 12th Century C.E.  The Almohad movement was started by Ibn Tumart among the Masmuda tribes of southern Morocco.  They first established a Berber state in Tinmel in the Atlas Mountains in roughly 1120 C.E.  The Almohad then succeeded in overthrowing the ruling Almoravids in governing Morocco by 1147 C.E., when Abd al-Mu'min al-Gumi (r. 1130-1163 C.E.) conquered Marrakech and declared himself Caliph.  They soon extended their power over all of the Maghreb by 1159 C.E.  Al-Andalus (Islamic Spain) soon followed the fate of North Africa and all Islamic Iberia was under Almohad rule by 1172 C.E.

 

1212 C.E.: Almohad dominance of Iberia continued until 1212 C.E.  It was then that Muhammad III, "al-Nasir" (1199 C.E.-1214 C.E.) was defeated at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in the Sierra Morena by an alliance of the Christian princes of Castille, Aragón, Navarre, and Portugal.  Soon thereafter, nearly all Moorish dominions in Iberia were lost.  The great Moorish city of Cordova was lost in 1236 C.E.  Seville fell to the Christians in 1248 C.E.

 

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What should be abundantly clear to the reader that the contest between the Iberian Christians and the African Islamic invaders was only a small part of a greater Islamic effort of world-wide domination which did not only involve Spain, the remainder of Europe, and other parts of the Globe.  To be sure, in the Spanish theater of Jihad operations was an ongoing, bloody, savage struggle for the entire peninsula.  To further contextualize the matter, seen through a proper understanding of Islam, there could only be one winner.  To remove Islam’s dictates for the conquering of the non-believers throughout the planet from the discussion would be folly.  The Iberians understood Islam and its tenents and acted reasonably and prudently given the unpleasant alterative, slavery!  To put it simply, the Iberian Christians and others never gave up on the idea of retaking what was theirs.  They perused it to the end and triumphed.

 

Unfortunately, many naive historians tend to color the intellectual offerings of Spain’s African Islamic invaders and colonizers with romanticized rendering.  One such bit of foolishness is the idea that Islamists enriched the peninsula.  They grossly underplay Islam’s outright brutality.  Here it is best to clarify their true nature.  These did not arrive in Iberia, they stormed it!  A shock I’m sure for most historians.  The Islamists were intent upon enslaving Iberia by whatever means necessary.  The African Islamists did not seize the peninsula to share knowledge, but rather to exploit it for their own ends.  Islam did not seek this new land to free the Jew, but to exploit him.  In short, there was nothing benevolent about their intentions.  Islam certainly did not enrichment the natives culturally or otherwise.  In fact, the exact opposite was true.  Building grand edifices using forced labor, filling them with stolen historical documents from lands you plunder, and having enslaved Christians and Jews translate them hardly qualifies the Islamic conquerors as benevolent benefactors.

 

In other areas such as the depiction by historians of a kinder and gentler Islam, there must be some clarity applied.  For example, it has been suggested that the much touted “Golden Age” was originally due in some fashion by a wise Muslim policy of coexistence.  The more likely genesis was from a need by the conquering Islamists to control and maintain a much larger Christian population than their own until they had overwhelming strength.  Once achieved, the gloves were off.  In any event, it was short-lived and was followed by centuries of chaotic conditions.  

Additionally, many of today’s scholars credit Islam with architecture, arts, astronomy, literature, mapmaking, mathematics, navigation, philosophy, sciences, technology, and other endeavors which flourished in Spain.  However, this is a distortion.  It must be remembered that Muhammad was born in the Arabian city of Mecca (Hijaz), Saudi Arabia, in 560 C.E.  It has been reported that the Arabs of that region were very backward and illiterate, as well as immoral and cruel.  How then would they have created these abilities, let alone employed them?  

Factually, all adherents of the three religions and other Iberians played a role.  Iberian and later Spanish and Portuguese civilizations gained from the peninsula’s early origins of Iberian, Libyan, Celtic, Greek, Carthaginian, Roman, Germanic, and others.  Prior to the Islamic invasion, the Visigothic kingdom of Iberia had inherited five centuries of Roman civilization and its knowledge of the arts and sciences.  It also made use of the achievements of the Greeks, Carthaginians, and Assyrians in such areas as agriculture, architecture, civic responsibility, irrigation, jewelry, law, mathematics, mining, mosaic art, pottery, road building, the calendar, and time keeping.

 

http://www.medievalists.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Abd-al-Rahman_III-450x287.jpgThe Islamic colonizers after invading in 711 C.E. implemented arts and sciences taken during their invasions and conquests across the Byzantine Empire, Christian-Roman North Africa, and the Near East.  Need I remind the reader that these populations were not Islamic, but Jews, Christian, and pagans before they were savagely conquered, enslaved, and their knowledge co-opted by Islam.  It was only later, during the Middle Ages that major contributions by those enslaved by Muslims added to this already rich inheritance of knowledge and enterprise.  These contributions made by Christian and Jewish artisans and scholars enabled the Muslims to utilize the prior achievements of others for their own ends.

 

http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?&id=HN.608044885759757206&w=300&h=300&c=0&pid=1.9&rs=0&p=0&r=0Fortunately for the Christian and other Iberians, the Islamic opposition was even more fragmented.  By and large, Islamic fanaticism and fratricidal conflicts were due to extremist Berber sects who followed a policy similar to that of today’s Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS.  The many small feuding Taifas would to fall, one-by-one.  The conquering Christian princes and their armies were by now a determined lot, savagely removing the yoke of Islamic slavery.

 

It is probable that the Christian Iberians would have defeated and evicted that first wave of 8th Century C.E. African Islamic invaders much earlier.  This appears to be a certainty even after their colonization.  However, the severely stressed Christian princes of the 11th and 12th centuries C.E. had to contend with two additional successive waves of fresh, well-organized Muslim Berber forces.

 

From the perspective of an ignorant, non-Iberian who had not experienced almost 800 years of religion-based Islamic butchery, religious oppression, and slavery he or she may view the entire affair as a simple matter of warring nations.  Be that as it may, revisionist history will always be with us.  Men have always been given to foolishness.  However, a proper and fair conclusion is that the Christian kingdoms conducted a religious crusade for the reconquest of their rightful lands out of necessity.  These religious Iberians felt that they had no choice but to call upon their G-d, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to counter an ongoing Islamic religious crusade for their god, Allah.

 

Here it should also be noted that territories retaken by rival Christian kingdoms in Iberia did not cement religious unity though it appeared to be a crusade (Christendom Vs Islam).  This is because, as the reader now knows, Iberia was a peninsula undergoing constant national, dynastic, and linguistic rivalries (Castilian, Catalan, Leónese, Aragónese, Valencian, Portuguese and Navarran-Basque).  It was not yet unified under the Catholic Monarchs.  It was instead a nation in the making.  Christianity was not yet the bond which would hold together the future nation of Spain.  However, it was the basis for the oppression and cruelty toward Iberian Jews, the Sephardim.

 

1239 C.E.: Jaime I the conqueror of Valencia, was an enlightened king.  He promoted Jewish subjects to positions of influence and prestige.  He also offered particular areas of the town for Jewish residence in 1239 C.E.  Jaime supposedly did so at their request and as special favor.  This was in stark contrast to that of Muslim rule.

 

Spanish Jews were immediately attracted to those lands on the Iberian Peninsula being reconquered by the Christian Kingdoms of Castille, Aragón and Portugal from the feuding Islamic Taifas in the South.  Almost 800 years of invasion, domination, oppression, and enslavement of Iberian Jews and Christians by Islam left underlying emotions of bitterness, distrust, and hatred for conquering Islam.  Once free, the Christian princes initially followed a policy of tolerance towards the remaining Muslims or Mudejar.  However, eventually Spain’s triumphal religious crusade for liberation and unification in 1492 C.E. would exhibit excessive zeal by the Church and consolidation of state power.  

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Here it must be commented upon that Spanish Jews had been at the mercy of one master after another, becoming the play things of the powerful.  The Sephardim simply played the part which was written for them, actors on the world stage of that time, place, and circumstance.  With each new master came new rules.  The occupation of Iberia by the Moors was a welcome occurrence for the beaten-down remaining Jewish population.  Of course the Muslims were not completely tolerant, but they were seen at the time as more tolerant than the previous Germanic rulers.  Under the Germanic kingdoms the Jews were not allowed to own land, be farmers, or enter into certain types of trade.  The ruling Caliph or the recognized descendant of Mohammed the prophet of god on earth, allowed the Jews to preserve some of their rites and traditions.  The illusion of peaceful coexistence led to some economic and social expansion for them.  Under the Islamic invaders they slowly became tolerated underlings.  They had value to their Islamic overlords and became administrators, physicians, tax collectors, traders, etc.  However, many of these positions would be taken from them by later, successive waves of conquering Islamist purists.

 

1252-1284 C.E.: The Alfonso X the philosopher King (1252-1284 C.E.), collaborated with Jewish scholars and translators and considered them to be valuable citizens.  He did not allow the use of force to bring about conversions to Christianity.

 

Christian Pre-Spanish Monarchy’s persecution 974 C.E.-1085 C.E.  

There is a sense of sadness when one recounts the actions taken by the Catholic princes, the counts of Castille, and the first kings of León who followed the Almohades.  The Jewish populations were treated mercilessly by them.  As the princes moved against the Moors they also killed Jewish scholars, teachers and destroyed synagogues.  It would take some time before these rulers would come to the realization that it was ill advised to turn the Jews against them as they were already surrounded by enough powerful enemies.  

974 C.E.: García Fernández, Count of Castille, in the fuero of Castrojeriz 974 C.E., placed Jews on an equal footing with Catholics in many respects.  In the year 974 C.E., the Count granted the charter of the town Castrojeriz located in southern Castille, 18 miles west of Burgos.  This forum is recognized as the first awarded in the kingdom of Castille.  To address the Muslim threat on its borders, he broadened the social base of the county by ordinances enacting villains Castrojeriz knights, “those peasants who were holders of a horse for war would be automatically matched with the nobles of second class.”  

1035 C.E.: For Jews having lived there since Moorish rule, the charter or fuero ordered that the murder of a Jew be punished in the same way as that of a Christian.  After the death of King Sancho forty Jews were killed at Mercatello.  His son and successor, Ferdinand I, settled the remaining Jews of Mercatello at Castrojeriz in 1035 C.E.

1050 C.E.: Unfortunately, by 1050 C.E., the Council of Coyanza was celebrated at the Castle of Coyanza in Valencia de Don Juan, León, Castille-León, Spain.  There, the Visigothic law was revived forbidding, under pain of punishment by the Church, Jews and Catholics from living together in the same house or to eating together.  

1106 C.E.: In 1106 C.E., after the death of Alfonso VI of Castille, the inhabitants of the neighboring Castro attacked the Jews of Castrojeriz, killing many and plundering their homes.  Others were made prisoners.  The new king, Alfonso VII, and his wife, Urraca, quickly establish heavy penalties for any who would further injure the Jews of Castrojeriz.  By 1234 C.E., Fernando III would confirm the privileges which had been granted to the Jews.  Later In 1474 C.E., the Jewish community would pay 1,100 maravedis in taxes.  Similar measures were adopted by the Council of León (1020 C.E.), presided over by Alfonso V.  

In León, until the conquest of Toledo, many Jews owned real estate, and engaged in agriculture.  They also engaged in the viticulture the science, production, and study of grapes and winemaking.  Many others were engaged in the handicrafts.  During the period there, and in many other towns, the Jews lived on friendly terms with the Catholics.

 

Toleration and Jewish immigration 1085 C.E.-1212 C.E.  

Ferdinand I of Castille set aside a part of the Jewish taxes for the use of the Church.  This is an interesting use of Jewish monies, as the Church held that usury was against their God’s law.  One can only assume that somehow dirty money gathered through usury was somehow miraculously cleansed by the Church.  

1076 C.E.: In 1076 C.E., Alfonso VI issued and confirmed the fuero of Najara Sepulveda, whereby he granted the Jews full equality with the Catholics and accorded them the rights enjoyed by the nobility.  The Jews showing their gratitude to King Alfonso for the rights granted them willingly placed themselves (Jewish army contained 40,000 Jews) at his and the country's service.  The Alfonso's favoritism toward the Jews became so noticeable that it roused the hatred and envy of the Christians.  Pope Gregory VII was then forced to warn him not to permit Jews to rule over Catholics.  

1085 C.E.: The conqueror of Toledo (1085 C.E.), Alfonso VI, not known to be a very religious-minded person also gave to the church of León the taxes paid by the Jews of Castro.  Again, here we find another miracle of the cleansing of Jewish money.  

Around this time, Pope Alexander II praised Alfonso VI for his tolerance and benevolence toward the Jews.  

In this same time period, Alfonso VI offered various privileges and wealth to industrious Jews to alienate them from the Moors.  

1086 C.E.: For the sake of this 40,000 man Jewish contingent, the Battle of Sagrajas October 23, 1086 C.E. was not begun until after the Sabbath had passed.  

1108 C.E.: Unfortunately, after the battle of Uclés which took place on May 29, 1108 C.E., and where the Infante Sancho and approximately 30,000 of his army were killed an anti-Jewish riot broke out at Toledo.  There many Jews were killed and their homes and synagogues burned.  

1109 C.E.: Alfonso died in June of 1109 C.E., before he could carry out his intention to punish the murderers and incendiaries.  Also, after his death the inhabitants of Carrion moved against the Jewish population.  Many were killed, others imprisoned, and their homes pillaged.  

1125 C.E.: After 1125 C.E., once Alfonso VII (March 1, 1105 C.E.-August 21, 1157 C.E.) assumed the title of Emperor of León, Toledo, and Santiago, he curtailed some of the liberties and rights which his father had granted the Jews.  Neither Jew nor convert might exercise legal authority over Catholics.  He also made the Jews responsible for collecting royal taxes.  Later, as he became to understand the Jews he confirmed all of their former privileges and granted them some additional ones.  By these the Jews were placed on an equal footing with the Catholics.  Certain Jews had considerable influence with the king.  One influential was subject was Judah ben Joseph ibn Ezra (Nasi) a Jew of Granada, Spain and a relative of renowned Granadian poet and philosopher Moses ibn Ezra.  

1147 C.E.: Judah ben Joseph ibn Ezra rose to favor under Alfonso VII of León and Castille and after the conquest of Calatrava in 1147 C.E., the king placed Judah in command of the fortress, later making him his court chamberlain.  He enjoyed such a close relationship with the monarch.  At Judah’s request, Alfonso allowed the Jews who had fled persecutions of the Almohades into Toledo.  The king also gave many dwellings in Carrion, Fromista, Flascala, Palencia, and several other places.  There new Jewish communities were soon established.  Judah would use his influence with Alfonso to help persecuted Jews until the King's death in August of 1157 C.E.  

Alfonso permitted Judah to combated Karaism, which was gaining ground in Castille.  Karaism, a Jewish movement was characterized by the recognition of the Tanakh alone as its supreme legal authority in Halakha (Jewish religious law) and theology.  It was distinct from mainstream Rabbinic Judaism, which considers the Oral Torah, as codified in the Talmud and subsequent works to be authoritative interpretations of the Torah.  The Karaites held that the divine commandments handed down by God to Moses were recorded in the written Torah without additional Oral Law or explanation.  As a result, Karaite Jews did not accept as binding the written collections of the oral tradition in the Midrash or Talmud.  

1158 C.E.: The reign of King Sancho III (1134 C.E.-August 31, 1158 C.E.) was brief.  He was King of Castille and Toledo for only one year, from 1157 C.E.-1158 C.E.  A war then broke out between Fernando II of León, who granted the Jews special privileges, and the united kings of Aragón and Navarre.  Interestingly, Jews fought in both armies.  After a declaration of peace they were placed in charge of the fortresses.  

1166 C.E.: Once Alfonso VIII of Castille (1166 C.E.-1214 C.E.) succeeded to the throne, he entrusted the Jews with guarding Or, Celorigo, and, later, Mayorga.  Sancho the Wise of Navarre placed them in charge of Estella, Funes, and Murañon.  

During the reign of Alfonso VIII the Jews would gain greater influence.  It is believed this was due in part to the king's love for the beautiful, Jewish, Rachel (Fermosa) of Toledo.  

1195 C.E.: King Alfonso VIII was later defeated by the Almohades under Yusuf Abu Ya'kub al-Mansur at the battle of Alarcos (July 18, 1195 C.E.).  The nobility attributed the defeat to the king's love-affair with Rachel Fermosa and she and her relatives were murdered in Toledo.  

The victory at Alarcos brought with it the emir Mohammed al-Nasir’s ravaging of Castille.  His powerful army threatened to overrun all of Catholic Spain.  The fear was so great that the Archbishop of Toledo called to crusade to aid Alfonso.  The king would be greatly aided by the wealthy Jews of Toledo.  This included the "almoxarife mayor", Nasi Joseph ben Solomon or ibn Shoshan (Al-Hajib ibn Amar) in this war against the African Islamists.

 

The Spanish kingdoms in 1210 C.E.

1212 C.E.: By 1212 C.E., in Toledo, the Christian Crusaders were hailed by all.  But this joy would soon change to sorrow.  The Crusaders began their "holy war" with the robbing and killing of Jews.  All Jews in Toledo would have been killed had the knights not stopped them by force of arms.  However, as the hero of the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (July 16, 1212 C.E.), King Alfonso VIII, victoriously entered Toledo the Jews went to meet him in triumphal procession.  

1214 C.E.: Within two years (October 1214 C.E.) and shortly before his death, King Alfonso VIII issued the fuero de Cuenca.  The fuero (A set of laws specific to an identified class or estate) settled the legal position of the Jews in a manner favoring them.  

1230 C.E.: Ferdinand III (1199 C.E. or 1201 C.E.-May 30, 1252 C.E.) had permanently united the kingdoms of León and Castille by 1230 C.E.  His contemporary, James I (1213 C.E. to 1276 C.E.), was at that time the ruler of Aragón.  This was to be a turning-point in the history of the Jews of Spain.  Unfortunately, the clergy's efforts to undermine the Jews had become more pronounced.  

Like the Jews of France, Spanish Jews of both sexes were compelled to distinguish themselves from Catholics by wearing a yellow badge on their clothing.  The reason given by the authorities was that it was for their own safety.  The true reason for this order was an effort to keep the Jews from associating with Catholics.  

1250 C.E.: Later in April 1250 C.E., came the papal bull from Pope Innocent IV.  It held that the Jews should not build a new synagogue without special permission and also made it illegal for them to proselytize.  The price of doing either was death and confiscation of property.  There were many more prohibitions launched against the Jews.  

Jews were no longer allowed to associate with the Catholics nor could they eat and drink with them.  They were also prohibited from living under the same roof or use the same bath.  Catholics were no longer to partake of wine which had been prepared by a Jew.  Jews could no longer employ Catholic nurses or servants.  Further, Catholics were to use only medicinal remedies prepared by Catholic apothecaries.  

The obligation for all Jews to wear a yellow badge stipulated that if apprehended without the badge a Jew was liable to a fine of ten gold maravedís or the be given ten stripes.  The king, however, reserved for himself the right to exempt any Jew he should choose from wearing the yellow badge.  

Jews were also forbidden to appear in public on Good Friday.  

1299 C.E.-1336 C.E.: During the reign of Alfonso IV (1299 C.E.-1336 C.E.) there was some improvement for Jews.  

14th Century C.E.: By the beginning of the 14th Century C.E., life for the Jewish communities remained insecure.  Throughout Spain as anti-Semitism increased.  They could not hold to any position given earlier.  For them existence was dangerous and likely to fall apart or collapse completely at any time.  Their lives were totally dependent upon chance.  Or they relied on the largesse of nobles.  The future was seen as very uncertain.  As a result, many emigrated from Castille and from Aragón.  

1300 C.E.: By 1300 C.E., Jewish communities in Spain lived as Spaniards, in both their customs and language.  It is estimated that there were some 120 Jewish communities in Catholic Spain.  In Castille alone there were approximately a half a million Jews, although, Aragón, Catalonia, and Valencia had few Jewish inhabitants.  The Spanish Jews engaged in many endeavors.  In the areas of agriculture and viticulture, they cultivated their own land.  Jewish families worked at commerce and industry, owned real estate, and engaged in various handicrafts.  They also filled public offices.  However, it was the money lending business that provided some of them great wealth and influence.  Farmers, kings, noblemen, and prelates all needed money.  Money could only be obtained from the Jews, to whom they paid from 20 to 25 percent interest.  Some estimates are as high as 30 to 40 percent.  Jews were forced to pursue this type of business in order to satisfy the many taxes imposed upon them, as well as to raise money for compulsory loans demanded of them by kings.  

The kings, especially those of Aragón, regarded the Jews as their own property.  These spoke of "their" Jews, "their" Juderias.  Acting in their own interest, the kings protected Jews against violence.  They also made good use of them in every other possible way.  This led Jews to being employed in special positions.  They acted as "almoxarifes" or financial ministers.  Many became bailiffs.  A bailiff taken from Late Latin, baiulivus, was a governor or custodian.  It could also apply to being a legal officer to whom some degree of authority, care or jurisdiction was committed.  Bailiffs were of various kinds and their offices and duties varied greatly.   Some acted as tax-farmers raising revenues from the people who inhabited the lands of some ruler.  Yet, others became or tax-collectors treasurers, and state bankers.  

In the end, it was their knowledge and ability which won them respect, influence, and riches.  By initiative and discipline they became wealthy.  But this prosperity caused a great deal of jealousy from the populous and provoked hatred from the clergy.  The Jews would suffer very much as a result of this wealth and the hatred it brought.  

At Various times enactments were issued regarding the Jewish communities forcing them to live almost solely in the Juderias.  This prevented them from living elsewhere where they might have integrated more properly with other Spaniards.  Eventually the Jews of Spain formed themselves into a separate political body.  

1311 C.E.-1350 C.E.: During the reign of Alfonso XI of Castille (1311 C.E.-1350 C.E.) there was some improvement for Jews.  The Mendoza family is an example of such tolerance.

1319 C.E.-1387 C.E.: During the reign of Peter IV of Aragón (1319 C.E.-1387 C.E.) there was some improvement for Jews.  

1334C.E.-1369 C.E.: Peter I (1334C.E.-1369 C.E.), the son and successor of Alfonso XI, surrounded himself at court with Jews, who under him reached the zenith of their influence.  For this reason the king was called "the heretic" and was often called "the cruel".  

1355 C.E.: A civil war erupted, as Henry de Trastámara, Peter I’s half-brother, at the head of a mob, invaded that part of the Juderia of Toledo called the Alcana on May 7, 1355 C.E.  They plundered warehouses and murdered some 1,200 men, women, and children.  Fortunately, the mob did not succeed in overrunning the entire Juderia which was defended by Jews and knights loyal to the King.  

1360 C.E.: The friendlier Peter I was toward Jews and protected them, the more antagonistic his illegitimate half-brother, Henry de Trastámara, became.  He invaded Castille in 1360 C.E., murdering all Jews living in Najera and allowed the robbery and murder of the Jews of Miranda de Ebro.  

The Jews remained loyal to King Peter and fought bravely in his army.  As a result, the king continued to show his good will toward them.  He once called upon the King of Granada for his assistance requesting that he to protect the Jews.  Nevertheless, they suffered greatly.  

The Jewish community in Villadiego located west of the province of Burgos, Castilla y León, in the country of Odra-Pisuerga had a number of scholars, Aguilar de Campoo a town in the province of Palencia, autonomous community of Castille and León, and many other towns were totally destroyed.  

The Jewish inhabitants of Valladolid the de facto capital of the autonomous region of Castille and León who had paid homage to his half brother, Henry robbed them, destroyed their homes and synagogues, and tore their sacred Torah scrolls in pieces.  At Paredes a municipality in Cuenca, Castille-La Mancha, Palencia a city south of Tierra de Campos, in north-northwest Spain, the capital of the province of Palencia in the autonomous community of Castille and León, and several other communities Jews met a similar fate.  From Jaén, 300 Jewish families were taken as prisoners to Granada.  The suffering of the Jewish populations reached its culmination, especially in Toledo, when besieged by Henry, at least 8,000 people died from famine and other hardships of war.  

1369 C.E.: This civil conflict did not end until the death of Peter I, of whom the victorious brother said, derisively, "Dó esta el fi de puta Judio, que se llama rey de Castilla?" ("Where is the Jewish son of a whore, who calls himself king of Castille?").  A few weeks before his death he reproached his physician and astrologer Abraham ibn Zarzal for not having told the truth in prophesying good fortune for him."  Peter was beheaded by Henry and Bertrand Du Guesclin on March 14, 1369 C.E.  

1369 C.E.: When Henry de Trastámara ascended the throne as Henry II there began for the Castilian Jews an era of suffering and intolerance, culminating in their expulsion.  Prolonged warfare had devastated the land; the people had become accustomed to lawlessness, and the Jews had been reduced to poverty.  But in spite of his aversion for the Jews, Henry did not dispense with their services.  He employed wealthy Jews—Samuel Abravanel and others—as financial councilors and tax-collectors.  His contador mayor, or chief tax-collector, was Joseph Pichon of Seville.  

1371 C.E.: The clergy, whose power became greater and greater under the reign of the fratricide, stirred the anti-Jewish prejudices of the masses into clamorous assertion at the Cortés of Toro in 1371 C.E.  It was demanded that the Jews should be kept far from the palaces of the grandees.  They should not be allowed to hold public office.  They should live apart from the Catholics.  They should not wear costly garments nor ride on mules.  They should wear the badge.  They should not be allowed to bear Catholic names.  Henry II granted the two last-named demands by the clerics that Jews should wear the badge and they should not be allowed to bear Catholic names.  

1379 C.E.: Henry II also agreed to the request made by the Cortés of Burgos (1379 C.E.) that the Jews should neither carry arms nor sell weapons.  He did not prevent them from holding religious disputations, nor did he deny them the exercise of criminal jurisprudence.  The latter prerogative was not taken from them until the reign of John I, Henry's son and successor; he withdrew it because certain Jews, on the king's coronation-day, by withholding the name of the accused, had obtained his permission to inflict the death-penalty on Joseph Pichon, who stood high in the royal favor; the accusation brought against Pichon included Harboring evil designs, Informing, Treason.

 

Anti-Jewish enactments  

1380 C.E.: In the Cortés of Soria (1380 C.E.) it was enacted that rabbis, or heads of aljamas, should be forbidden, under penalty of a fine of 6,000 maravedís, to inflict upon Jews the penalties of death, mutilation, expulsion, or excommunication.  In civil proceedings they were still permitted to choose their own judges.  

In consequence of an accusation that the Jewish prayers contained clauses cursing the Catholics, the king ordered that within two months, on pain of a fine of 3,000 maravedís, they should remove from their prayer-books the objectionable passages.  

Whoever caused the conversion to Judaism of a Moor or of any one confessing another faith, or performed the rite of circumcision upon him, became a slave and the property of the treasury.  The Jews no longer dared show themselves in public without the badge, and in consequence of the ever-growing hatred toward them they were no longer sure of life or limb; they were attacked and robbed and murdered in the public streets, and at length the king found it necessary to impose a fine of 6,000 maravedís on any town in which a Jew was found murdered.  

1385 C.E.: John I (King 1379), against his desire, was obliged (1385 C.E.) to issue an order prohibiting the employment of Jews as financial agents or tax-farmers to the king, queen, infantes, or grandees.  To this was added the resolution adopted by the Council of Palencia ordering the complete separation of Jews and Catholics and the prevention of any association between them.  

1390 C.E.: The feeble King John I, in spite of the endeavors of his physician Moses ibn Ẓarẓal to prolong his life, died at Alcalá de Henares on October 9, 1390 C.E., and was succeeded by his eleven-year-old son, Henry III of Castille (1390-1406).  

The inflammatory speeches and sermons delivered in Seville by Archdeacon Ferrand Martinez, the pious Queen Leonora's confessor, and the execution of Joseph Pichon soon raised the hatred of the populace to the highest pitch.  The council-regent appointed by the king in his testament, consisting of prelates, grandees, and six citizens from Burgos, Toledo, León, Seville, Córdoba, and Murcia, was powerless; every vestige of respect for law and justice had disappeared.  Ferrand Martínez, although deprived of his office, continued, despite numerous warnings, to incite the public against the Jews, and encourage it to acts of violence.  

1391 C.E.: As early as January, 1391 C.E., the prominent Jews who were assembled in Madrid received information that riots were threatening in Seville and Córdoba.  A revolt broke out in Seville in 1391 C.E.  Juan Alfonso de Guzmán, Count of Niebla and governor of the city, and his relative, the "alguazil mayor" Alvar Pérez de Guzmán, had ordered, on Ash Wednesday, March 15th, the arrest and public whipping of two of the mob-leaders.  The fanatical mob, still further exasperated thereby, murdered and robbed several Jews and threatened the Guzmáns with death.  In vain did the regency issue prompt orders; Ferrand Martínez continued unhindered his inflammatory appeals to the rabble to kill the Jews or baptize them.  On June 6th, the mob attacked the Juderia in Seville from all sides and killed 4,000 Jews; the rest submitted to baptism as the only means of escaping death.  At this time Seville is said to have contained 7,000 Jewish families.  

Of the three large synagogues existing in the city two were transformed into churches.  In all the towns throughout the archbishopric, as in Alcalá de Guadeira, Ecija, Cazalla, and Fregenal the Jews were robbed and slain.  In Córdoba this butchery was repeated in a horrible manner; the entire Judería was burned down.  Factories and warehouses were destroyed by the flames.  Before the authorities could come to the aid of the defenseless people, every one of them — children, young women, old men had been ruthlessly murdered; 2,000 corpses lay in the streets, in the houses, and in the wrecked synagogues.  

From Cordova the murder spread to Jaén.  Butchery took place in Toledo on June 20th.  Among the many martyrs were the descendants of the famous Toledan rabbi Asher ben Jehiel.  Most of the Castilian communities suffered from persecution.  The Jews of Aragón, Catalonia, and Majorca were not spared.  

On July 9th, an outbreak occurred in Valencia.  More than 200 persons were killed.  Most of the Jews of that city were baptized by the friar Vicente Ferrer, whose presence in the city was hardly accidental.  The only community remaining in the former kingdom of Valencia was that of Murviedro.  

On August 2nd, the wave of murder descended upon Palma, in Majorca.  300 Jews were killed and 800 found refuge in the fort.  From there with the permission of the governor of the island, and under the cover of night, they sailed to North Africa.  However, many did submit to baptism.  

Three days later, on Saturday, August 5th, a riot began in Barcelona.  On the first day, 100 Jews were killed.  Several hundred found refuge in the new fort.  On the following day the mob invaded the Juderia and began pillaging.  The authorities did all in their power to protect the Jews, but the mob attacked them and freed those of its leaders who had been imprisoned.  

By August 8th the citadel was stormed.  More than 300 Jews were murdered.  Among those killed was the only son of Hasdai Crescas.  

August 10th followed with a riot which raged in Barcelona until many Jews (though not 11,000 as claimed by some authorities) were baptized.  An attack began upon the Juderia in Girona.  Several Jews were robbed and killed.  Many had left and few were baptized.  

The last town set upon was Lérida, on August 13th.  The Jews of this city sought protection in the Alcázar.  75 were killed and the remainder baptized.  The latter out of fear changed their synagogue into a church, where they would later worship as Marranos.  

1391 C.E.: In the year 1391 C.E., there was a turning-point in the history of the Spanish Jews.  The previous persecution was only the forerunner of the Inquisition.  Ninety years later, it would introduce a powerful means for actively spying on the converted Jews.  The number of those who had become Catholics to escape death was quite large.  The Jews of Baena, Montoro, Baeza, Úbeda, Andújar, Talavera, Maqueda, Huete, and Molina, and more especially the Jews of Zaragoza, Barbastro, Calatayud, Huesca, and Manresa, had submitted to baptism.  Among the baptized were several wealthy men and scholars who supposedly scoffed at their former coreligionists.  A few, such as Solomon ha-Levi, or Paul de Burgos (called also Paul de Santa Maria), and Joshua Lorqui, or Gerónimo de Santa Fe, became bitter enemies and persecutors of their former Jewish brethren.  After 1391 C.E., the bloody excesses and hatred of the Jews continued.  

1405 C.E.: The Cortés of Madrid and Valladolid (1405 C.E.) busied themselves with complaints against the Jews.  Henry III found it necessary to prohibit the Jews from practicing usury and to limit commercial business activities between Jews and Catholics.  He also reduced the claims held by Jewish creditors against Catholics by one-half.  He would later regret that many Jews left the country and settled in Málaga, Almería, and Granada due to a loss of taxes he was deprived of.  There the Jews were well treated by the Moors.  

1406 C.E.: In his anger, Henry III inflicted a fine of 24,000 doubloons on the city of Córdoba because of a riot that had taken place there (1406 C.E.).  It was during that riot that the Jews were plundered and many murdered.  The angry, desperate Henry then prohibited the Jews from dressing themselves as other Spaniards.  He also insisted on the non-baptized Jews wearing of the Yellow Badge or Patch.  Many of the Jews from Valencia, Catalonia, and Aragón rushed to enter North Africa, particularly Algiers.  

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/61/Old_main_synagogue_Segovia10.JPG/220px-Old_main_synagogue_Segovia10.JPG

Interior of the old main synagogue, Segovia

1411 C.E.: The mission of the Dominican Vincent Ferrer renewed the cruelty inflicted upon the Jews.  He traveled to Castille and its surrounding areas demanding Jews to embrace Catholicism.  There he appeared with a cross in one hand and the Torah in the other.  It was clear to all that he had the force of the law behind him.  His sermons gave him great influence.  Ferrer accomplished his goals in Murcia, Lorca, Ocaña, Illescas, Valladolid, Tordesillas, Salamanca, and Zamora.  By July 1411 C.E., he was in Toledo.  He invaded the large synagogue, transformed it into the Church of Santa Maria la Blanca, and baptized more than 4,000 Jews of that city.  

1412 C.E.: Dominican Vincent Ferrer demanded that an anti-Jewish law consisting of twenty-four clauses be drawn up by Paul de Burgos (Selomuth HaLevi or Pablo Santa Maria), the former Rabbi of Burgos.  The Valladolid laws were issued in January of 1412 C.E. in the name of King John II (March 6, 1405-July, 20 1454), King of Castille and León, from 1406 to 1454.

The object of this law was to reduce the Jews to poverty and to continue Jewish humiliation.  The Jews were then ordered to live only among fellow Jews, in enclosed Juderías.  Further, they were to repair the quarters assigned them under penalty of loss of property within eight days of the publication of the order.  Jews were prohibited from practicing medicine, surgery, or chemistry (pharmacy).  They could no longer deal in bread, wine, flour, meat, etc.  Jews were no longer allowed to engage in handicrafts or trades of any kind, nor were they allowed to hold public offices.  Restrictions were placed upon them in the areas of money-brokering or acting as agents for the loaning of money.  They could no longer hire Catholic servants, farmhands, lamplighters, or gravediggers.  Jews were forbidden from eating, drinking or bathing with Catholics.  Sexual relations between Jews and Catholics, visiting them, or giving them presents were all ended.  Catholic women, married or unmarried, were forbidden to enter a Juderia during the day or night.  The Jews were no longer allowed self-jurisdiction nor could they levy taxes for communal purposes without royal permission.  They were not allowed to use the title of "Don", carry arms, or trim beard or hair.  Jewesses were required to wear plain, long mantles of coarse material reaching to the feet and it was forbidden for Jews or Jewesses to wear garments made of better material.  On pain of loss of property and even of slavery, they were forbidden to leave the country.  

Any grandee or knight who attempted to protect or shelter a fugitive Jew was punished with a fine of 150,000 maravedís for the first offense.  All violations of these rigidly enforced laws were punishable by a fine of 300-2,000 maravedís and flagellation.  This was an effective way to compel Jews to embrace Catholicism.  

1413 C.E.-1414 C.E.: The Disputation of Tortosa, the most remarkable Disputation (A religious debate or argument) ever held, began on February 7, 1413 C.E., and lasted until November 12, 1414 C.E.  It mainly concerned whether the Messiah had already appeared, and whether the Talmud regarded him as such.  The meeting, opened by the pope, took place before an audience of more than a thousand.  Among them were several cardinals, grandees, and members of the city's aristocracy.  

It was Gerónimo de Santa Fe (Jerome), who made the charges against the Talmud.  He was born Yehosúa ben Yosef ibn Vives.  Jerome was a Spanish physician and religious writer who after conversion to Catholicism, wrote in Latin as Hieronymus de Sancta Fide (Jerome of the Holy Faith).  Some Spanish chroniclers claimed he was well versed in the Talmud and in rabbinical literature.  To show his zeal for the new faith, he tried to win over to Christianity former Jewish co-believers and to place suspicion upon them and their religion.  For that reason he was called "megaddef" (the blasphemer").  He claimed to offer proof from the Talmud that the Messiah had already come in the person of Jesus.  Jerome was assisted by the learned neophyte Garci Álvarez de Alarcón and the theologian Andreas Beltran of Valencia, who later became Bishop of Barcelona.  

His opposition was largely against Vidal Benveniste a master of Latin and leader of the Jewish representatives Zerahiah ha-Levi, Joseph Albo, Bonastruc Desmaëstre, and Nissim Ferrer.  At the sixty-fifth meeting Joseph Albo and Astruc ha-Levi gave a memorial in defense of the Talmud.  On November 10th, 1414 C.E., Astruc declared that haggadic passages which had been cited as evidence against the Talmud were not considered as authoritative by them.  He offered these comments on behalf of all the representatives with the exception of Joseph Albo and Nissim Ferrer.  To be clear, this was in no way the equivalent of accepting that Jesus was the Messiah and the abandoning of Judaism as some Spanish historians assert.  

1414 C.E.: According to the historian Zurita, more than 3,000 Jews were baptized during the year 1414 C.E.  The baptisms were probably not due so much to the disputation as to the forcible conversions by Vicente Ferrer, who had returned to Aragón.  In Guadalajara, as well as in Calatayud, Daroca, Fraga, Barbastro, Caspe, Maella, Tamarite, and Alcolea many frightened Jewish families submitted themselves to baptism.  The persecution of the Jews would now be pursued systematically.  

1415 C.E.  On May 11, 1415 C.E., Pope Benedict XIII issued a Papal Bull, Etsi doctoribus gentium, consisting of twelve articles.  These corresponded with the decree (Pragmática) issued by Catalina and were placed on the statutes of Aragón by Fernando I (November 27, 1380-April 2, 1416) in an attempt to gain mass conversions.  By this bull Jews and neophytes were forbidden to study the Talmud, to read anti-Catholic writings (The work "Macellum"), to pronounce the names of Jesus, Maria, or the saints.  They could not manufacture communion cups or other church vessels.  Jews were not allowed to accept such as pledges or to build new synagogues or ornament old ones.  Each community might have only one synagogue.  

The Jews were also denied rights of self-jurisdiction and they could no longer proceed against their accusers.  They were forbidden to hold public offices and engage in handicrafts.  They could no longer act in the capacity of brokers, matrimonial agents, physicians, apothecaries, or druggists.  They could not bake or sell matzot (an unleavened bread traditionally eaten by Jewish people during the week-long Passover holiday) or to give them away.  Neither could they dispose of meat which they were prohibited from eating.  They were not to have intercourse (sex) with Catholics, nor disinherit their baptized children.  Jews had to wear the badge at all times, and all Jews over twelve, of both sexes, were required to listen to a Catholic sermon three times a year.  This persecution and humiliation inflicted upon them, laws of exclusion, and the many coerced conversions greatly injured the Jews.  Unfortunately, the entire kingdom of Spain would become a victim of them.  

Industry and commerce almost came to a standstill, the soil was not being cultivated, and the movement and flow of money became limited.  In Aragón entire communities such as Barcelona, Lérida, and Valencia had been destroyed.  Many others were reduced to poverty.  Still others had lost more than half of their members.  

Queen Maria of Castille (September 14, 1401-September 7, 1458), Queen consort of Aragón and Naples and the spouse of Alfonso V King of Aragón, acted as the regent of Aragón during the reign of her spouse, as he was absent during most of his reign (between 1432 and 1458).  In a bid to restore commerce and industry, she attempted to lure the Jews to the country by offering them privileges.  At the same time she made emigration difficult by imposing higher taxes.  

Before 1435 C.E.: Paul de Burgos or Paul of Burgos (About 1351-1435), was a Spanish Jew (His original name was Solomon ha-Levi) and convert to Christianity.  He also became an archbishop, Lord Chancellor, and Exegete (An expounder or textual interpreter, especially of scripture).  He is known also as Pablo de Santa Maria, Paul de Santa Maria, and Pauli episcopi Burgensis.  Burgos claimed there were in Aragón and Castille, "Judíos Infieles"(Unfaithful Jews) and many converts ("Conversos") after the persecutions of 1391 C.E.  Many of these converts had intermarried with noble families, were talented, had wealth, had gained considerable influence, and earned important government offices.  Some of the highest positions were held by the Aragónese Converso families such as Zaporta, Santangel, Villanova, Almazan, Caballería, Cabrero, Sánchez, and Torrero.  

1480 C.E.: Soon after the Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella ascended their thrones actions were taken to segregate the Jews from both from their fellow countrymen and these powerful Conversos.  All Jews were ordered to be separated in special "barrios" by the Cortés of Toledo, in 1480 C.E.  Two years later (1482 C.E.), the Cortés of Fraga enforced the same law.  In Navarre they were ordered to be confined to the Jewries at night.  

1482 C.E.: The Inquisition was established in Spain in 1482 C.E. to deal with these powerful and influential Conversos.  

1484 C.E.: Both of the Catholic monarchs were surrounded by Conversos like Pedro de Caballería and Luis de Santangel.  In fact, King Ferdinand was the grandson of a Jew.  Yet, he was intolerant toward Jews, whether practicing or converted.  He commanded all Conversos to reconcile themselves with the Inquisition by the end of 1484 C.E.  After obtaining a bull from Pope Innocent VIII he ordered all Catholic princes to restore all fugitive Conversos to the Inquisition of Spain.  What was the possible motivation behind the Spanish Monarchs' Inquisition?  Various other motives have been proposed for their decision to found the Inquisition.  There were many underlying problems existing for the newly minted and unified Spain to deal with before 1492 C.E.  The Spain would need money, and lots of it.  Profiting from the confiscation of the property of convicted heretics was an easy way to raise revenues and increase the treasury of the Monarchs.  Converso wealth might have become a simple solution for the Monarchy’s financial problems.  

Comments:

The Monarchy also needed to increase its political authority to survive.  To do so, it had to weaken the many areas of opposition which were intent on keeping the old order of aristocratic power (Old Christians).  The Conversos would have met with increased hostility from the “Old Christians,” who were bitterly resentful and suspicious of their true adherence to Catholicism.  According to the Old Christians the Conversos were not sincere Christians but secret Jews.  And as such, they were in league together.  The Monarchs may have been working in concert with the Old Christians to mollify them until they too would become prey.  

And yet, the Conversos continued their assimilation into Spanish culture.  The converted “New Christians” formed a comparatively large section of the relatively small educated elite in Spain.  Many feel that they were primarily responsible for the cultural achievements of the period.  In converting they deliberately broke with the Jewish tradition of Talmudic scholarship and its body of Jewish civil and canonical law.  With this decision would have come a new interest, that of the Renaissance world of Christian Spain.  The Conversos would have found it attractive and yet repellent.  However, it would have surely been stimulating for them.  With the expansion of Converso wealth and power in Spain, a backlash, particularly among aristocratic and middle-class Old Christians began.  These resented the arrogance of the Conversos and envied their merchantile successes and positions at court.  

The Conversos, Spaniards were convinced, were involved in an elaborate Jewish plot to take over the Spanish nobility and the sacred Catholic Church.  They believed that the Jews were destroying Spain both from within and without.  This fear drove many to write several tracts which attempted to demonstrate that almost all bloodlines of the nobility had been infiltrated by the hated Conversos.  These anti-Semitic conspiracy theories became rampant and were tied to constant rumors.  The economic and political cohesiveness of the Conversos had to be dealt with.  As a result, the suppression of Conversos remained ongoing in Spain.  

This danger of a divisive Jewish fifth column forced the issue of the need to protect the kingdom.  Protecting the kingdom from the danger of a fifth column was of great importance to the Monarchs.  In the case of the Conversos, a fifth column would be any group of Jews or Jewish sympathizers who could undermine the Crowns’ efforts at unification of Spain as a totally Catholic kingdom.  The activities of such a fifth column would have been overt in very few cases.  However, if they were acting against the Monarchs it is likely that they would have done so in a clandestine way.  Therefore, it was feared that these forces would have gathered in secret mobilizing openly only later to assist in an attack from other lands (Islam and Christian competitors).  The Monarchs were ever weary of organized actions such as disinformation or espionage executed within Spain’s defense lines by secret Jewish sympathizers with some external force.  The fledgling Spain had become a place of fear and rumor.

To make matters worse, the richer Converso families were heavily intermarried with the Spanish aristocracy and even with the royal family itself.  They also constituted an educated urban bourgeoisie of Spain.  These concerns in turn led to the need for reduction in social tensions, of great importance to the Monarchs.  Violence against Jews during an epidemic or after an earthquake was commonplace.  The rumor that Jews were the root of these deaths and that they were poisoning Christians had continued to be use by anti-Semites.  The terror of the plague cannot be underestimated.  By 1349 C.E., the Black Death had killed about 25 million people.  

Despites these characterizations, most Spanish rulers had found it helpful to practice some degree of religious tolerance.  The ability of Muslims, Christians, and Jews to live together, called “convivencia” by the Spanish had been a reality.  Although it was rare in the Middle Ages, the result was a Spain became the most diverse and tolerant place in Medieval Europe.  Unfortunately, the conquest by Muslim jihad of the 8th Century C.E., had left the Iberian Peninsula a place of constant warfare and terror.  The borders between Muslim and Christian kingdoms had shifted rapidly and continually over the centuries.  Old wounds never really healed.  The Monarchy would act to ensure the past would not repeat itself.  
 

Modern scholars regard Spanish conspiracy theories of the 15th Century as fabrication and nonsense.  It is highly probable that the vast majority of Conversos were good Catholics who simply took pride in their Jewish heritage.  It is believed that most of these new converts, or Conversos, decided to remain Catholic.  There were many reasons for this accommodation.  Many saw baptism as a way to avoid the increasing number of restrictions and taxes imposed on Jews.  Some worried that returning to Judaism would leave them vulnerable to future attacks.

 

As time passed, it is highly likely that the Conversos may have settled into their new religion, becoming pious Catholics, baptizing their children at birth and raising them as good Catholics.  Although now Christian, most Conversos still spoke, dressed, and ate the foods acceptable to Jews.  Unfortunately, they would have remained in a cultural no man’s land.  Despite this, some Conversos continued living in the Jewish quarters so as to remain close to extended family members.  It’s possible that the presence of Conversos had the effect of Christianizing Spanish Judaism.  This may also have led to a steady stream of voluntary conversions to Catholicism.  Yet many Jews believed that Converso apostasy made them unfit to be truly Jewish.

 

To be factual, some Conversos really were secret Jews, struggling to keep their faith hidden under the tyranny of Catholicism.  One can accept that the Converso converted outwardly to Christianity in the late-Middle Ages to avoid persecution or expulsion, though often continuing to practice Judaism in secret.  In the end, the reason suggested for the edict of expulsion is in its preamble.  It is suggested that it was the relapse of so many Conversos to Judaism that caused this need to end the Jews in Spain.  It was believed that the proximity of unconverted Jews led many Conversos back to the knowledge and practices of Judaism, seducing them away from Christianity.  The aforementioned were quite possibly some of the dynamics involved in the forming of the Spanish Inquisition, but there were others.

 

Spain was in many ways quite different from the remainder of Europe.  It is perhaps this difference that allowed Spain’s Jews to remain until 1492 C.E., when England had expelled all of its Jews in 1290 C.E. and France followed suit in 1306 C.E.

 

What was the Spanish Inquisition?  

Before Spain, the Inquisition was a group of institutions within the judicial system of the Roman Catholic Church whose aim was to combat heresy.  It started in France in the 12th Century C.E. and was used to combat religious sectarianism, in particular the Cathars and the Waldensians.  Jewish expulsion is also a well accepted phenomenon in European.  This was followed from the 13th through the 16th centuries C.E., with many European countries expelling their Jewish populations.  It is interesting to note that expulsions in England, France, Germany, among many others preceded those of Spain.  

Originally it had begun in Spain in the year 1223 C.E.  The Spanish Inquisition was conducted by an ecclesiastical court.  Its duty was to search out and rid the Church of all unorthodox believers.  Extreme in its application, the Spanish Inquisition led to the deaths of thousands of Spanish Jews, Muslims, and others by various forms of punishment invented during the period.  Many contributed to this evil.  However, men such as Thomas de Torquemada were among its leading and most exuberant proponents.  

Torquemada lived from 1420 C.E.-1498 C.E.  He was born at Valladolid and entered the Order of Preachers as a young man.  Later, he became a Dominican Friar, theologian, canonist, and Cardinal.  He was soon appointed the Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition.  History records that he was descended from a Jewish Converso family.  Records also show that during the Inquisition he was among the harshest inquisitors, especially toward those of Sephardic heritage.  

1474 C.E.: By 1474 C.E., Torquemada was appointed to the important position of Confessor to Queen Isabella.  It was from this influential position that he propagated his vision and ideas for the future Inquisition.  

1478 C.E.: The King and Queen were initially reluctant to begin the Inquisition since by necessity the Church would impose upon the independence of the Spanish Crown.  In part, due to Torquemada’s persuasion by 1478 C.E., King Ferdinand of Aragón and Queen Isabella of Castille agreed with Pope Sixtus IV.  There was a need to cleanse the Holy Roman Catholic Church in Spain and abroad of heretics.  Thus began the Spanish Inquisition.  The monarchs were advised by Torquemada and others that the only way the Inquisition could succeed was if Queen Isabella allowed the imposition.  Her resistance overcome, the Queen finally agreed to solicit a Papal Bull from Pope Sixtus the IV.  The Papal Bull, a letter from the Pope to all the lands ruled by Christianity, was issued on November 1, 1478 C.E.  It sanctioned the appointment of three ecclesiastical inquisitors for the uncovering and complete eradication of heresy.  

The Inquisition began with arrest and persecution of Jews and Muslims.  Later, it was used against political opponents of the Crown to ensure national unity of all Spanish domains.  It should be noted that the Inquisition was always under the control of the Crown, it was used very efficiently to increase Royal power, and it deprived suspected Conversos of their lands, wealth, and influence.  In the case of the converted Spanish Jews, the Sephardim, the question is, why them?  

Why was there a need to uncover heresy in the lives of Jews and Conversos?  Many accept at the bottom of this suggested Jewish heresy was anti-Semitism.  Therefore, it is best that we begin with the question, what is anti-Semitism?  Anti-Semitism includes prejudice against, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews as a national, ethnic, religious or racial group.  An individual who holds such positions is called an "antisemite".  As Jews are an ethnoreligious group, anti-Semitism is generally considered a form of racism.  Were the Spaniards, the Catholic Monarchs, and the leadership of the Church anti-Semites?  The question begs an answer.  The prominent 15th Century Spanish historian, Andrés Bernáldez, clearly believed in the validity of the charges made against the Conversos that they were in fact secret Jews involved in religious heresy and with continuing a separate peoplehood at the time of the establishment of the Inquisition.

 

Expulsion  

1492 C.E.: The Edict of Expulsion was issued by Ferdinand and Isabella against the Jews of Spain several months after the fall of Granada.  Some say Ferdinand hesitated, but was prevented from not accepting the offer by Torquemada, the grand inquisitor.  It is reported that Torquemada rushed into the royal presence and threw down a crucifix down before the king and queen.  He then asked whether, like Judas, they would betray their Lord for money.  Whether this is a true story or not, there were no signs of relaxation shown by the Court.  It ordered all Jews, of all ages to leave the kingdom by the last day of July (one day before Tisha B'Av) 1492 C.E.  They were permitted to take their property provided it was not in gold or silver.  It is claimed that Don Isaac Abravanel, who had previously ransomed 480 Jewish Moriscos of Málaga from the Catholic Monarchs by a payment of 20,000 doubloons, now offered them 600,000 crowns for the revocation of the edict.  The Edict held.  

The Jews of Spain were forced to make preparations for exile.  In the case of Vitoria, the Jews took steps to prevent the desecration of their graves by presenting the cemetery to the municipality.  The precaution was in vain, as the Jewish cemetery of Seville was later destroyed by Catholics.  Members of the Jewish community of Segovia spent their last three days in the city in the Jewish cemetery.  They fasted and wailed over being parted from their beloved dead.  

The famous Christopher Columbus was known to frequent the company of Jews and Conversos.  Among them were noted astronomers and navigators, as well as his official translator.  These Conversos or Marranos also figure prominently among Columbus's backers and crew.  Throughout his life, he demonstrated a keen knowledge of the Bible and the geography of the Holy Land.  In fact, in one place, he calculates the date from the destruction of the "Second House" (Temple), counting from the traditional (and erroneous) Jewish date of 68 C.E., rather than the generally accepted 70 C.E.  

Columbus began the official report of his first voyage to America, addressed to Ferdinand and Isabella, with the following words: "And thus, having expelled all the Jews from all your kingdoms and dominions, in the month of January, Your Highnesses commanded me that...I should go to the said parts of India."  This is a strange fact to mention in this context, and it is incorrect.  The order of expulsion was not signed until March 31st.  

The timing of Columbus's voyage and the expulsion of Spanish Jewry are curious.  Historians have noted that, though Columbus was not scheduled to set sail until August 3rd, he insisted that his entire crew be ready on board a full day earlier.  The timing becomes more intriguing when we consider that August 2nd 1492 C.E., was the day that had been planned for the last Jews of Spain to depart the country.  Hundreds of thousands of Jews departed Spain on that black day.  

When this coincidence of dates was first noted by the Spanish biographer S. de Madariaga (1886-1978), the English Jewish historian Cecil Roth (1899-1970) supplemented it with a further coincidence.  August 2nd 1492 C.E. coincided with the Ninth of Av, the Jewish fast of mourning for the destruction of the Jerusalem Temples.

 

Number of the exiles  

Various observers and historians have offered different estimates for the number of those who were driven from Spain.  In his history of Spain, Juan de Mariana (1536-1624) claims as many as 800,000 were expelled.  In his special study of the subject in the Revue des Études Juives (xiv. 162-183), Isidore Loeb (1839-1892) reduced the actual number of emigrants to 165,000.  Details provided by Bernáldez places the number of Jews who went from Spain to Portugal at about 100,000.  Estimates are: 3,000 from Benevente to Braganza; 30,000 from Zamora to Miranda; 35,000 from Ciudad Rodrigo to Villar; 15,000 from Miranda de Alcántara to Marbao; and 10,000 from Badajoz to Yelves.  According to the same sources, there were 160,000 Jews in Aragón and Castille.  Abraham Zacuto calculated that 120,000 went to Portugal.  Some 1,500 families of Jewish Moriscos from the kingdom of Granada were the first to leave the country according to Lindo.

Loeb's estimates of the numbers of Jews in Spain before the expulsion and of those who immigrated to different parts of the world are:

Algeria

10,000

Americas

5,000

Egypt and Tripoli

2,000

France

3,000

Holland, England, Scandinavia and Hamburg

25,000

Italy

9,000

Morocco

20,000

Turkey

90,000

Elsewhere

1,000

 

________

Total emigrated

165,000

Baptized

50,000

Died en route

20,000

 

________

Total in Spain in 1492 C.E.

235,000

 

It is probable that at least 200,000 fled the country.  These left behind a large number of relatives forced by evil circumstances to conceal their Judaism and to convert to Christianity.  

1498 C.E.: 12,000 Jews entered Navarre and were allowed to stay.  In Tudela located in Navarre, the Tudelans had already proclaimed in 1486 C.E. that "if any inquisitor enters their city, he will be thrown into the Ebro River."  Tudela became a Converso haven.  Later, the resistance to the inquisitors was so strong that its aldermen order commissioners and attorneys ask the Catholic Monarchs to limit the power of the Inquisition.  Unfortunately, under the pressure of the kings of Spain both the newcomers and the Navarrese Jews that didn't convert to Catholicism were expelled from the kingdom by 1498 C.E.  

After leaving Spain the Jews were herded into the ghettos of Portugal and France.  The exiles were without hope.  There was only suffering, hunger, murder, and rape.  A few managed to make their way Italy where the Jews were well treated.  Ships were provided by King Ferdinand to take Jewish fugitives away from Spain from the ports of Cartagena, Valencia, and Barcelona.  The Jewish ships often found difficulty to land due to disease outbreaks.  In these cases, those remaining returned to Spain and were baptized.  Nine overloaded vessels arrived at Naples and spread pestilence.  At Genoa the ships could only land if they agreed to receive baptism.  Those who reached the Ottoman Empire had a better fate.  The Sultan Bayezid II sent his gratitude to King Ferdinand for sending him some of his best subjects, thus "impoverishing his own lands while enriching his (Bayezid's)".  Jews in Ottoman Empire settled in and around Selanik (Thessaloniki in Greek), Istanbul, and Izmir.  

1580 C.E.: By this indirect way the non-Conversos (Jews), the reason for the expulsion, would become a nemesis to the Spanish kingdom.  It would not be correct to assume, as is usually done, that the immediate result of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain was disastrous either to the commerce or to the power of Spain.  Spain rose to its greatest height immediately after the expulsion of the Jews.  The next century after the event saw Philip II’s Spain become a world-power.  By 1580 C.E., he was ruler of the New World, of the Spanish Netherlands, and of Portugal, as well as of Spain.  

The intellectual loss to Spain was most important.  A large number of Spanish poets and other Jewish writers and thinkers can be traced from the exiles lost to Spain.  This included men such as Michel de Montaigne, Spinoza, Uriel da Costa, Samuel da Silva, Menasseh ben Israel, the Disrealis.  

The numbers Conversos increased by approximately 50,000 during the period of expulsion in Spain.  With ever growing pressure from the Inquisition, they attempted to find a refuge as Spain expanded possession of the New World in the East and the West Indies, Mexico, and the American Southwest (formerly New Spain) for its Empire.  There they often came in contact with relatives who had remained observant Jews or had become reconverted in Holland or elsewhere.  These formed business alliances with their relatives living in Spain.  It has been suggested that a large portion of Spain’s shipping and importing industry fell into the hands of the Conversos and their Jewish relatives both within and without the Empire.  

Sixteenth through Eighteenth centuries C.E.: Jews continued to be persecuted.  However, if Jews kept a low profile and did not make their faith obvious, they could remain in Spain with few problems.  Jews often escaped the burden of their Jewish heritage when respected non-Jews stood up for them and assisted in their obtaining the status of Christians.  Life for Jews remained difficult.  But if they were willing to compromise, it could be bearable.  Throughout the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries a steady migration of Iberian Peninsula Conversos took place to London, Amsterdam, and other locations where Judaism was subject to limited persecution.  There, they would reconvert to Judaism and join the community of Spanish and Portuguese Jews.  

17th Century C.E.: As the tentacles of the Inquisition spread within the New World Jewish and Converso wealth was often sequestrated in the coffers of the Spanish Inquisition.  This treatment led to quiet reprisals on the part of their communities abroad.  There appears to be little doubt that the decline of Spanish commerce in the 17th Century C.E. was due in large measure to the activities of the non-Conversos of Holland, Italy, and England.  These diverted trade from Spain to those countries.  In addition, when Spain was at war (as it often was) with any of these countries, Jewish intermediation was used to gain knowledge of Spanish naval activity.  This precious knowledge was used to Spain’s disadvantage.

 

Timeline of the Spanish Monarchy’s persecution and the Inquisition

1478 C.E.: The Holy Office was founded.  Due to Ferdinand and Isabella the Spanish Inquisition was reluctantly authorized by Pope Sixtus IV and first led by Tomás de Torquemada.  

1480 C.E.: Inquisition began operations in Sevilla.  

1481 C.E.: First public auto de fe or the ritual of public penance of condemned heretics and apostates was held in Sevilla.  

1482 C.E.: War began with Granada and the number of inquisitors enlarged.  

1483 C.E.: Pope Sixtus IV appointed Torquemada first Inquisitor General of Castilla and of Aragón and Jews expelled from Sevilla, Córdoba, and Cádiz.  

1483 C.E.: Tomás de Torquemada became the inquisitor-general for most of Spain.  He was responsible for establishing the rules of the inquisitorial procedure and creating branches in various cities.  Torquemada led the Spanish I inquisition for fifteen years and may have been responsible for the killing of around 2,000 Spaniards.  

1484 C.E.: Inquisition had thirty people burned alive in Ciudad Real.  

1485 C.E.: Rabbis in Toledo were ordered to inform on Crypto-Jews.  

1491 C.E.: Rumors circulated of a kidnapped child of La Guardia murdered by Jews.  

1492 C.E.: Expulsion of Jews from Spain occurred.  

1498 C.E.: Torquemada died.  

1501 C.E.: A Catholic King decrees that the offspring of those condemned by the Inquisition could not hold important positions and Arabic books were burned in Granada.  

1502 C.E.: All Muslims in Castilla were ordered by the crown to convert Christianity or suffer exile.  

1518 C.E.: Carlos I enhances the judicial power of the Inquisition.  

1525 C.E.: Royal decree orders all Muslims in Valencia and Aragón to convert to Christianity or suffer exile.  

1526 C.E.: Forty-year agreement was made between Moriscos, the king, and Inquisition.  King Charles V issued a decree compelling all Muslims in the crown of Aragón to convert to Catholicism or leave the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal had already expelled or forcibly converted its Muslims in 1497 and would establish its own Inquisition in 1536).  

1533 C.E.: Cortés of Aragón complained of the Inquisition’s seizure of Morisco property.  

1568 C.E.: Death of Don Carlos, son of Felipe II and the revolt or the Moriscos.  

1572 C.E.: Fray Luis de León arrested by the Spanish Inquisition.  

1619 C.E.: King visits Portugal and gypsies expelled from Castilla.  

1621 C.E.: Felipe III died, Felipe IV takes the throne, and the Cortés denounces church wealth.  

1624 C.E.: Gypsies are expelled from Valencia.  

1660 C.E.: English sailors are burned at the stake in Sevilla.  

1781 C.E.: Last victim of the Inquisition is burned alive.  

1799 C.E.: Sale of the assets of the Inquisition and a law proscribing wearing any color than black for women.  

1826 C.E.: The last death sentence by the Inquisition for heresy.  

1834 C.E.: Inquisition was abolished.

 

The Jewish Status of Conversos

 

1391 C.E.: After 1391 C.E., Spanish rabbis had considered Conversos to be Jews, as they had been forced into baptism.

 

1414 C.E.: As of 1414 C.E., rabbis repeatedly stressed that Conversos were indeed true Christians, since they had voluntarily elected to leave Judaism.  This left Conversos well outside of the Jewish religious structure.

 

1414 C.E.: Christian and Jewish leaders (Pope Benedict XIII attended) met together in 1414 C.E., to debate at Tortosa.  There, on the Christian side was the papal physician, Jerónimo de Santa Fe, a recent convert from Judaism.  The debate brought about a wave of new voluntary conversions.  In Aragón alone, 3,000 Jews received baptism.  This caused tension between those who remained Jewish and those who became Catholic.

 

Mid-15th Century C.E.: By the Mid-15th Century C.E., a different and changed Converso culture grew in Spain.  It was by then Jewish in ethnicity and culture.  However, it had become Catholic by religion.  It is factual that Conversos, whether new converts or the descendants of converts, took enormous pride in the Jewish culture.  Unfortunately, some asserted that they were above the “Old Christians,” as they were ethnically and racially Jews and thus related by blood to Christ.  When the Converso bishop of Burgos, Alonso de Cartagena, prayed the Hail Mary, he would say with pride, “Holy Mary, Mother of God and my blood relative, pray for us sinners…”  This did not have endeared them to the Old Christians.

 

1478 C.E.: None the less, something convinced King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella that the idea of secret Jews should at least be investigated.  Responding to their request, Pope Sixtus IV issued a bull on November 1, 1478 C.E.  This allowed the crown to form an inquisitorial tribunal consisting of two or three priests over the age of 40.  As was the custom, the monarchs had complete authority over the inquisitors and the Inquisition.  Ferdinand, who had many Jews and Conversos at his court, may not have been overly enthusiastic about the process as it took him two years before he finally appointed two men.

 

There are some who have suggested that King Ferdinand believed that the inquiry would turn up little if any truth in the matter.  In this, he was decidedly wrong.  Resentment and hatred of Jews exploded across Spain.  Enemies of Conversos, both Christian and Jews, began denouncing them.  The primary motivators for this may have been the settling of old scores and opportunism.  The volume of accusations overwhelmed the inquisitors and they requested and received additional assistance.  Unfortunately, the larger the Inquisition became, the more accusations it received.  The waves of accusations convinced Ferdinand that the problem of secret Jews real.  

This would begin centuries’ long problems for Conversos.  

Here I’ve included the complete Converso list in Roth (2002), pp. 377–378:  

“Appendix C Major Converso Families Converso Families Named by Lope de Barrientos and Fernan Diaz de Toledo. 

ALARCON, ALBARES, ANAYA, ARAUJO (ARROYO? cf. also ARUQUE in Toledo; same?), AYALA, BARRIONUEVO, BERNALDEZ (BERNALDES), CARRILLO, CERVANTES, CUELLAR, FERNANDEZ (family of DIEGO FERNANDEZ DE CÓRDOBA, mariscal of JUAN II of CASTILLE), FERNANDEZ MARMOLEJO, HURTADO DE MENDOZA (not the sons of INIGO LOPEZ DE MENDOZA, DIEGO HURTADO and HURTADO DE MENDOZE, but probably the family of JUAN HURTADO DE MENDOZA, connected with the DE LUNA family, who was the mayordomo mayor of JUAN II), LUNA (the CASTILLE branch), LUYAN, MANRIQUE, MENDOZA (the MENDOZAS and AYALAS all descended from a certain “RABBI SOLOMON” and his son DON ISAQUE DE VALLADOLID, according to Lope de Barrientos), MIRANDA, MONROY, MOTICON, OCAMPO, OSORIO (OSSORIO), PENA LOZA, PESTIN, PIMENTEL, PORRA, ROJA, SANDOBAL, SANTI-ESTEBAN, SARABIA, SAUCEDOS (SALCEDOS), SOLI, SOTOMAYOR, VALDEZ.

 

Most Frequent Converso Names in Toledo  

ALCOCER, ALONSO, ALVARES, DE AVILA, DEL CASTILLO, DE CÓRDOBA, COTA, CUELLAR, DE CUENCA, DIAS, DUENAS, FARO (or HARO), FERRANDES, DE LA FUENTE, FUNESALIDA, GARCIA, GOMES, GONCALES (GONZALEZ), HUSILLO, DE ILLESCAS, JARADA, DE LEÓN , LOPES, MONTALVAN, NUNES, DE OCANA, ORTIS, DE LA PENA, PRADO, PULGAR, RODRIGUES, DE LA RUA, SANCHES, SAN PEDRO, DE SEGOVIA, SERRANO, DE SEVILLA, SORGE (SORJE), DE TOLEDO, DE LA TORRE, TORRIJOS, DE UBEDA, VASQUES (VAZQUEZ), DE VILLA REAL, DE LA XARA (JARA).”  

What was the final disposition of their previous Jewish names?  When families converted to Catholicism, they changed their name, and their “Christian” name might bear no resemblance to their Jewish name.  They also took the names of those who sponsored them in their new faith.  Thus, many took the name de Ribera.

 

The Workings of the Spanish Monarchs' Inquisition  

The Spanish Inquisition is one of the most condemned episodes in the history of the Catholic Church.  Unfortunately, it’s difficult to estimate the numbers of those condemned or imprisoned.  It is suggested that the number is in the thousands, but not tens of thousands.  However, this does not take into account those who fled, or had their property confiscated.  

What one went through upon being charged as a heretic was a complex process.  There were many difficult steps.  The official act of the “Denunciation” would come first.  After the Church had obtained an official status before the world, it built up a process of criminal law, and “Judicial Denunciation” took the place of the Evangelical.  As the object of the “Evangelical Denunciation” was the bettering of one's neighbor, by admonition, not vindictive punishment, it has received the name of charitable or evangelical denunciation.  The term “Paternal Correction” is also applied to it.  The “Judicial Declaration” was made not merely for the reformation, but also for the punishment of the guilty person.  The punishment could be severe, even including death.  

This was followed by the seizure and the commencement of an inquiry.  The several reported offenses imputed were next submitted to those logical experts named the “Qualifiers.”  These decided whether there was a true bill for warranting the prosecution of the accused, in which case, the procurator fiscal committed the accused to durance (Incarceration or imprisonment).  Three audiences were given the accused.  

The charges were next formulated.  These were with much prolixity (wordy, tedious) and reduplication.  These, however, were not reduced to writing.  Their delivery to the accused was not for slow perusal and reply.  Instead, they were read over to him/her, hurriedly.  

When arraigned, the accused was called upon to reply, immediately, to each article.  They were to answer as to whether it was true or false.  If the accused persisted in denial, he/she was allowed council.  Unfortunately, later, the council became an official of the Inquisition and made little effort in providing for a meaningful defense, in short, “railroading” the accused.  

It should be remembered that anyone could accuse on the grounds of heresy.  A son could accuse a father, a mother could accuse a daughter, a neighbor could accuse a neighbor and all accusations were accepted whether signed or anonymous.  

In the face of plausible testimony, if the prisoner persisted in denying guilt, if he/she confessed only partially to the charges, or if he/she refused to name his accomplices an appeal to torture was obtained.  

“Reconciliation” encompassed some common punishments for heresy.  This included denial of civil rights, confiscation of property, etc.  Following these could be burning at the stake.  The ultimate penalty of the inquisition was Imprisonment (Life imprisonment).  There were also:

·       Exile from the locality

·       Scourging (a public whipping through the streets, either on foot or on a donkey; the usual number was 100 lashes, up to a maximum of 200)

·       The galleys

·       Relaxation (burning at the stake) Found guilty and ceremonially burned alive

·       Reprimand

·       Acquittal

·       Dismissed and suspended

·       Sanbenito or the forced wearing of a yellow penitential garment that had one or two diagonal crosses on it.  A Heretic was to be killed wearing a Sanbenito.  People who were punished in this fashion would wear it for any period from a few months to life.

 

The ordinances of Saint Dominica commanded that the penitent should be:

·       Stripped of his/her clothes and beaten by a priest for three Sundays in succession from the walls of the village to the gate of the church

·       Must not eat any kind of meat during the remainder of his life

·       Abstain from fish, oil, and wine three days in the week for the rest of his/her life, except in case of sickness or excessive labor

·       Must wear a religious dress with a small cross, embroidered on each breast

·       Must attend mass every day, if he has the means of doing so, and vespers on Sundays and festivals

·       Must recite the service for the day and night and repeat the patemoster seven times in the day, ten times in the evening, and twenty times at midnight

 

If he/she failed in any of these requirements he/she was to be burned as a relapsed heretic.  

If anyone did not say all that he/she could or seemed reluctant to speak the examiners ruled that torture should be used.  It was inflicted by the regular public executioner who was called in for that specific purpose and sworn to secrecy.  However, torture was not used until every other possible way of extracting information had failed.  The instruments of torture were first exhibited with threats, but when once in use, it might be repeated day after day.  It included the infliction of pain to:

·       Every limb or organ

·       Almost every separate muscle and nerve  

To protect the innocent, if any irregularity occurred, such as death, the inquisitors were empowered to absolve one another.  This gave the torturers a convenient out.  

The water torture was one method used to extort a confession.  The penitent was:

·       Tightly bound to a potro, or ladder

·       The rungs of which were sharp-edged

·       The head was immovable, fastened lower than the body

·       The mouth was held open by an iron prong

·       A strip of linen slowly conducted water into the mouth, causing the victim to strangle and choke.  Sometimes six or eight jars, each holding about a quart, were necessary to bring the desired result  

Even in death Jews were not spared the wrath of the Inquisition: “Also, the Inquisition proceeded against those already dead, ‘because it happened that some of these in their lives had incurred this sin of heresy and apostasy'; their bones were dug up and publicly burned and their property and the inheritances of their descendants were seized by the Crown.”  Roth (2002), p. 227.  In short, there was no sanctity in the grave for corpses of heretics.  Their bodies were ruthlessly disinterred, mutilated, and burned.  

The use of Galleys was devised by King Ferdinand.  These constituted an economical form of punishment, as they were a cheap source of labor allowing slaves to be used for other purposes.  As a heretic was led to the galleys or being whipped, he/she would be led through the city so the people could throw stones and shout profanities at the heretic.  

Women were treated much the same as men during the Inquisition.  During whippings they were both led half-naked through the town and were whipped on average 100-200 times.

Imprisonment was little better than torture, as they were unsuitable and wholly unsafe.  The wearing of fetters (a chain or shackle for the feet) was common.  Prisoners often occupied the same room.  In this way much evidence was secured.  Each prisoner hoped to lighten his own punishment by incriminating.  Writing materials were permitted.  Every sheet of paper was to be accounted for and delivered into an official's hands.  Unfortunately, light for writing was not permitted.  

What must it have been like for a Converso at this time to be accused anonymously, having no rights, lacking true protection under the law, to be presumed guilty, being verbally abused, beaten, tortured, and finally sentenced by the Church one chose to belong to.  The idea that Conversos would want to go to the New World and hide their being of Jewish blood is totally understandable given the circumstances.

 

Diaspora Periods and Persecution of the Tribes of Israel  

The detrimental effects of the “Diaspora” began and ended with a long history of the persecution of the Jews by many nations.  Here I’ve provided information regarding several nations and peoples who actively persecuted Jews before the time of Spain and throughout history.  

At this juncture, it is important to understand where the current Jewish populations started and when they were dispersed.  Only in this way can we understand the geographic spread of these peoples, a timeframe of their movement to other countries, and when their integration at those locals took place.  

It is believed that Jews had been sent by Solomon to the Iberian Peninsula to bring gold, silver, materials, during the construction of Solomon’s Temple.  The Jews then established communities in “Sepharad”, later known as Spain for the purpose of ongoing trading, promoting other business ventures, and in some cases permanent settlement.  It is possible that members of all twelve tribes were among this group.  

1738 B.C.E.: The first Jew went to Jerusalem.  Abraham, the founding father of the Jewish people, was sent by his G-d to Israel.  After arriving in Israel, Abraham went to Jerusalem where he received a blessing from King Melchizedek.  

913 B.C.E.-910 B.C.E.to 873 B.C.E.-869 B.C.E.: Members of the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon "fled" to Judah during the reign of Asa of Judah (913 B.C.E.-910 B.C.E.to 873 B.C.E.-869 B.C.E.).  Whether these groups were absorbed into the population or remained distinct groups, or returned to their tribal lands is not known.  

877 B.C.E.: Time of King David began  

866 B.C.E.: Jerusalem became the capital of Israel.  King David established Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.

836 B.C.E.: King Solomon began his rule  

825 B.C.E.: The First Temple was constructed by King Solomon.  In the fourth year of his reign, King Solomon found himself at peace with his neighbors and began the construction of the Temple.  The site chosen by King David was the top of Mount Moriah.  The Temple stood for 400 years until being destroyed by the Babylonians.

796 B.C.E.: After Solomon's death the ten northern tribes refused to accept his son, Rehoboam, as their king.  In 796 B.C.E. the country was divided into two kingdoms:

·       The Kingdom of Israel in the north

·       The Kingdom of Judah (containing Jerusalem) in the south  

722 B.C.E.: By the 9th Century B.C.E., the Kingdom of Israel emerged as an important local power before falling to the Assyrian Empire in 720s B.C.E.  

Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom, fell to the Assyrians, and the Kingdom of Israel came to an end.  Nine landed tribes formed the Northern Kingdom:

1.     Reuben

2.     Issachar

3.     Zebulun

4.     Dan

5.     Naphtali

6.     Gad

7.     Asher

8.     Ephraim

9.     Manasseh  

Levi, the tenth tribe, who had no land allocation were also found in the Northern Kingdom.  

Scores of thousands of the conquered people were led into captivity.  They were transported to distant provinces of the Assyrian empire, and they disappeared completely.  The Assyrians repopulated the land with exiles that had been uprooted from other countries, whose descendants came to be called the Samaritans or Kuttim.  

587 B.C.E.: On the tenth of Tevet, Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar began the siege of Jerusalem.  Thirty months later, in the month of Tammuz (In 587 B.C.E.), after a long siege during which hunger and epidemics ravaged the city, the city walls were breached.

On the seventh day of Av, the chief of Nebuchadnezzar's army, Nebuzaradan, began the destruction of Jerusalem.  The walls of the city were torn down, and the royal palace and other structures in the city were set on fire.  

586 B.C.E.: Israel's southern neighbor, the Kingdom of Judah, emerged in the 8th Century B.C.E. and enjoyed a period of prosperity as a client-state of first Assyria and then Babylon before a revolt against the Neo-Babylonian Empire led to its destruction in 586 B.C.E.  

Many thousands of the people that had escaped the sword were taken prisoner and led into captivity in Babylon, where some of their best had already preceded them.  The people taken to Babylon were the tribes of:

10.  Judah

11.  Benjamin  

This ended the empire of David and Solomon and the magnificent city and Holy Temple were destroyed.  After the Kingdom of Judah fell only the poorest of Jerusalem were allowed to remain, plant the vineyards, and work in the fields.  It was these tribes that were released to repopulate Jerusalem.  Eventually members of other tribes joined them.  

Note: The word “Jew” is an abbreviated form of Judah.  

547 B.C.E.: Sennacherib attacked Jerusalem.  Babylonians overran Assyrian Empire  

538 B.C.E.: Persian suzerainty over the Jews began 538 B.C.E.-333 B.C.E.  Babylon opened its gates to the Persian army in October of 538 B.C.E.  A few weeks later, the great conqueror of Babylonia, Cyrus, made his triumphal entry into the city.  One of his official acts in Babylon was to give the exiled Jews liberty to return to Judah (see Ezra 1).  A large number of Jewish exiles (50,000 according to Ezra 2:64-65) accepted.  Their leader was Zorobabel, a descendant of the royal family of Judah.  The Persian monarch gave him the governorship of the sub-province of Judah and entrusted him with the precious vessels which had belonged to the temple.  The priest "Josue, the son of Josedec," appears to have been the religious head of the returning community.  

The returned exiles, the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, settled in the neighborhood of Jerusalem.  Immediately they organized a council of twelve elders.  In this council under the suzerainty of Persia presided over by Zorobabel, they controlled the internal affairs of the community.  

537 B.C.E.: The council set up a new altar and made it ready for celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in 537 B.C.E.  Thereafter, the ritual system was carried out.  The foundation of the second Temple was laid in the second month of the second year after the return.  However, very little headway was made for the next fifteen or sixteen years.  This was due to interference and misrepresentations by the Samaritans to the Persian kings.  The Jews themselves lost much of their interest in the reconstruction of the Temple.  It was only in 520 B.C.E. that the Prophets Aggaeus and Zacharias succeeded in awakening them from their passivity.  

516 B.C.E.: Construction of Second Temple was rebuilt in Jerusalem by 516 B.C.E.  It stood for another 400 years.  

358 B.C.E.: Most probably under Artaxerxes III (358 B.C.E.-337 B.C.E) the Persian King, the deportation of a certain number of Jews to distant regions like Hyrcania occurred.  

347 B.C.E.: Time of the Great Assembly begins.  The Greeks overran Persian Empire  

335 B.C.E.: A new period in the history of the Jews opens with the defeat of Darius III (335 B.C.E.-330 B.C.E.) by Alexander the Great at Issus, in Cilicia.  This victory of the young conqueror of Persia undoubtedly brought the Jews into direct contact with Greek civilization.  Alexander allowed them the free enjoyment of their religious and civil liberties, and rewarded those of them who went to war with him against Egypt and settled in Alexandria, a city of his foundation, by granting them equal civic rights with the Macedonians.  

333 B.C.E.: In 333 B.C.E., Persian rule over in Judah came to an end.  

331 B.C.E.: When the Samaritans rebelled against Alexander in 331 B.C.E., he added a part of Samaria to Judea.  

323 B.C.E.: After Alexander's untimely death (323 B.C.E.), the area of Palestine was partitioned among his captains.  Located between Syria and Egypt, it became the bone of contention between their respective rulers.  

322 B.C.E.-307 B.C.E: The rule of the first three Ptolemies was more popular with the Jews than that of the Seleucids.  Ptolemy I Soter, (322 B.C.E.-307 B.C.E.), then king (305 B.C.E.-285 B.C.E.) of Egypt settled many of the Jews in Alexandria and Cyrene.  They gradually spread over the whole country and attained eminence in science, art, and literature.  Under Ptolemy II (Philadelphus), the Hebrew Pentateuch was first rendered into Greek; and this, in turn, led in the course of time to the complete translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint.  

320 B.C.E.: As early as 320 B.C.E. on a Sabbath-day took Jerusalem, and carried away many Samaritans and Jews into Egypt.  

315 B.C.E.: A few years later (315 B.C.E.), Palestine fell to Syria.  

312 B.C.E.: The Greeks conquered Israel  

301 B.C.E.: Palestine after the battle of Ipsus in Phrygia (301 B.C.E.), it was annexed to Egypt and remained so for almost an entire century (301 B.C.E.-202 B.C.E.).  

300 B.C.E.: Seleucus I, who founded Antioch about 300 B.C.E. attracted the Jews to his new capital by granting them equal rights with his Greek subjects; and thence they gradually extended into the principal cities of Asia Minor.  

247 B.C.E.-222 B.C.E.:  Ptolemy I’s successor, Euergetes (247 B.C.E.-222 B.C.E.), after a successful campaign in Syria, is credited with having giving rich presents at the Temple in Jerusalem.  The annual tribute demanded by the early Ptolemies was light as long as it was paid regularly.  The Palestinian Jews were free to manage their own affairs under their high-priests, the Gerusia of Jerusalem operating as a council of state, and including the priestly aristocracy.

245 B.C.E.: Torah was translated into Greek and the Greeks persecute the Jews  

187 B.C.E.-175 B.C.E.: Seleucus IV (187-175 B.C.E.) misled by the governor of the Temple, sent his treasurer, Heliodorus, to seize the Temple funds.  Intestine strife began soon after the failure of Heliodorus's mission which led to the imprisonment and deposition of the high-priest and the triumph of Hellenism in Jerusalem.  When Menelaus, another hellenizing leader came to office a popular revolt occurred.  Antiochus put it down and Menelaus remained in charge of the high-priesthood.  

168 B.C.E.-63 B.C.E.: The Maccabean age (168 B.C.E.-63 B.C.E.) was marked by the steady growth and widespread influence of Hellenistic culture.  By its end, Jewish high-priests assumed Greek names, adopted Greek manners, and became the ardent champions of Hellenism.  

168 B.C.E.: By 168 B.C.E., Antiochus IV believed it was time to unify the various races of his dominions by Hellenizing them.  His general edict for Hellenizing met with unexpected opposition from most Jews.  Antiochus by special letters ordered the destruction of the Jewish G-d’s worship in Jerusalem and in all towns of Judea.  Everything distinctly Jewish was forbidden under the penalty of death and Greek idolatry prescribed (168 B.C.E.).  The Holy City was dismantled and a part of it (Acra) was transformed into a Syrian citadel.  The Temple was then dedicated to Zeus and sacrifices were offered to him upon an idol-altar erected over the G-d of Israel’s altar.  In all the towns of Judah altars were set up and heathen sacrifices offered.  Persecution ensued.  

167 B.C.E.: The revolt of Maccabees began.  In the little town of Modin, however, an aged priest, Mattathias, boldly raised the standard of revolt.  At his death (167 B.C.E.), he appointed his son Judas, surnamed Machabeus, to head the forces which had gradually gathered around him.  Under Judas's able leadership, the Maccabean troops won several victories.  

165 B.C.E.: In December of 165 B.C.E., the Maccabees re-entered Jerusalem, the Temple cleansed, and Divine worship renewed.  

161 B.C.E.: The Maccabean struggle continued against the numerous armies of Antiochus V and Demetrius I, the next Syrian kings.  It was heroically maintained by Judas until his death on the battlefield (161 B.C.E.) with varying success.  

161 B.C.E.-143 B.C.E.: Judas’ brother, Jonathan, became his successor in command for the next eighteen years (161 B.C.E.-143 B.C.E.).  He re-entered and fortified Jerusalem and was recognized as high-priest of the Jews by the Syrian Crown and an ally of Rome and Sparta.  However, he was not allowed to restore his country to complete independence.  Later, he was treacherously captured and put to death by the Syrian general, Tryphon.  

143 B.C.E.-135 B.C.E.: Judas’ brother, Simon (143 B.C.E.-135 B.C.E.), next assumed the leadership.  Under him the Jews attained to a high degree of prosperity.  He repaired the fortresses of Judea, took and destroyed the citadel of Acra (142 B.C.E.), and renewed the treaties with Rome and Lacedæmon.  In 141 B.C.E., he was proclaimed by a national assembly "prince and high-priest forever, till there should arise a faithful prophet".  He is considered as the founder of the Asmonean, or last Jewish, dynasty.  

135 B.C.E.-105 B.C.E.: Simon's successor, John Hyrcanus I, had a rule which lasted 30 years.  His career was marked by a series of conquests, notably by the reduction of Samaria and the forcible conversion of Idumea.  He sided with the aristocratic Sadducees a sect of Jews active in Judea during the Second Temple period (2nd Century B.C.E.-70 C.E.) fulfilling various political, social, and religious roles, including maintaining the Temple.  It is believed to have become extinct sometime after the destruction of Herod's Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE.  Hyrcanus I was against the more rigid defenders of the Theocracy, the Pharisees.  These became the successors of the Assideans and after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E., Pharisaic beliefs became the foundational, liturgical and ritualistic basis for Rabbinic Judaism.  

105 B.C.E.-104 B.C.E.: He was succeeded by his eldest son, Aristobulus I (Heb. name, Judas), who was the first Maccabean ruler to assume the title of king.  He reigned but one year, conquered and proselytized a part of Galilee.  

104 B.C.E.-78 B.C.E.: His brother Alexander Jannæus (Heb. name Jonathan) occupied the throne twenty-six years (104 B.C.E.-78 B.C.E.).  During the civil war which broke out between him and his subjects he was long unsuccessful; but he finally got the better of his opponents, and wreaked frightful vengeance upon them.  He also succeeded at a later date in conquering and Judaizing the whole country east of the Jordan.  

78 B.C.E.-69 B.C.E.: Jannæus acceded to giving the kingdom to his widow Alexandra (Heb. name, Salome).  She nearly surrendered the rule to the Pharisees.  But this did not secure the peace of the realm, for Alexandra's death alone prevented her being involved in a new civil war.  

73 B.C.E.: Herod the great or Herod surnamed the Great, was born 73 B.C.E.

69 B.C.E.: Strife arose after Alexandra’s death in 69 B.C.E. between her two sons Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II, who were favored by the Pharisees and the Sadducees respectively, was skillfully kept up by Antipater, the ambitious Governor of Idumea and father of Herod the Great.  It gradually led both brothers to submit to the arbitration of Pompey, then commanding the Roman forces in the East.  

67 B.C.E.: The Great Revolt of Jews against Rome began  

66 B.C.E.: The City of Jerusalem was occupied by its Jewish defenders.  

63 B.C.E.: The Romans invaded Israel.  Pompey, the imperator, decided to favor Hyrcanus, marched on Jerusalem, stormed the temple, and terrible carnage ensued.  

63 B.C.E.: The fall of Jerusalem in 63 B.C.E. marks the beginning of Judea's complete control under to Rome.  Pompey dismantled the Holy City, recognized Hyrcanus II as high-priest and ruler of a province.  Jurisdiction of all territory outside of Judea proper and any further conquests was forbidden.  Pompey then proceeded home carrying off numerous Jewish captives.  These would greatly increase the Jewish community in Rome.

 

As Hyrcanus became weaker, he lost more of his authority in Judea and it soon became a prey to discord.  His virtual master, the Idumean Antipater, grew in Roman favor with the suzerains of the land.  Antipater I the Idumaean (died 43 B.C.E.) was the founder of the Herodian Dynasty and father of Herod the Great.  Antipater became a powerful official under the later Hasmonean kings and subsequently became a client of the Roman general Pompey the Great when Pompey conquered Judea in the name of Roman Republic.  He was a native of Idumaean, southeast of Judea between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba.  During the time of the Hebrew Bible it had been known as the land of Edom.  

63 B.C.E.: The short era of independence the Maccabees secured for their country was brought to an end the 63 B.C.E.  

48 B.C.E.: Upon Pompey’s final defeat of at Pharsalus (48 B.C.E.) by Julius Cæsar, Antipater promptly sided with the victor.  Antipater rendered him services in Egypt and his reward was the right of Roman citizenship and the office of procurator over the whole of Palestine.  However, Hyrcanus received full recognition of as high-priest and ruler.  

40 B.C.E.: In 40 B.C.E. the young Octavian and Antony obtained from the Roman senate the crown of Judea for Herod the great.  Between these two powerful friends he went up to the temple of Jupiter to thank the gods of Rome.  

37 B.C.E.: Antigonus II Mattathias, the last Hasmonean king of Judea was beheaded in 37 B.C.E.  

37 B.C.E.: Herod the Great became king of Judea.  He married Mariamne in 38 B.C.E., and thereby strengthened his title to the throne by entering into matrimonial alliance with the Hasmoneans, who were always very popular among the Jews.  

37 B.C.E.-4 B.C.E.: Herod the Great proceeded to rebuild the walls of the Holy City and to appoint two of his sons, Phasael and Herod, Governors of Jerusalem and Galilee.  Herod's fortunes increased.  He ascended the Throne of David (reign 37 B.C.E.-4 B.C.E.) and in several respects it is considered a glorious epoch in the history of the Jews.  However, it was disastrous for the Jews of Palestine.  During 37 B.C.E.-25 B.C.E., his time was spent eliminating the surviving Asmoneans.  By their death, his throne was made more secure.  Herod also alienated the mass of his subjects who were deeply attached to the Maccabean family.  To these grievances, he added many others.  The Jewish people hated him as a bloody tyrant who was bent upon destroying the worship of God.  They also hated the Romans who maintained him on the throne.  It was a short time before the death of Herod that Jesus was born.  

32 B.C.E.: Time of Hillel and Shammai, two leading sages of the last 1st Century B.C.E. and the early 1st Century C.E. who founded opposing schools of Jewish thought.  

Note: the year C.E. (A.D.) 1 immediately follows the year 1 B.C.E. (B.C.)  

4 .C.E.: Herod's death was the signal for an insurrection which spread gradually and was finally put down by Varus, the Governor of Syria.  

6 C.E.: In 6 C.E., the Roman Emperor Augustus deposed King Archelaus, and his governor of Syria, Quirinius, established the province of Judaea (which became a prefecture)  

37 C.E.-44 C.E.: Up to the reign of Caligula (37 C.E.-44 C.E.), the Jews enjoyed, without any serious interruption, the universal toleration which Roman policy permitted to the religion of the subject states.  But when that emperor ordered that divine honors should be paid to him, they refused to submit.  Petronius, the Roman Governor of Syria, received peremptory orders to use violence, if necessary, to set up Caligula's statue in the Temple at Jerusalem.  At Alexandria a massacre took place, and it looked as if all the Jews of Palestine were doomed to perish.  Petronius, however, delayed the execution of the decree, and in fact, escaped punishment only through the murder of Caligula in 41 C.E.  The Jews were saved, and with the accession of Claudius, who owed the imperial dignity chiefly to the efforts of Herod Agrippa, a brighter day dawned for them.  Through gratitude, Claudius conferred upon Agrippa the whole kingdom of Herod the Great, and upon the Jews at home and abroad valuable privileges.  

Agrippa's government made itself felt throughout the entire community.  The Sanhedrin now under the presidency of Gamaliel I, Saint Paul's teacher, had more authority than ever before.  Yet the national party remained in an almost constant state of mutiny, while the Christians were persecuted by Agrippa.

44 C.E.: Upon Agrippa's death (44 C.E.), the country was again subjected to Roman procurators, and this was the prelude to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish people.  Nearly all the seven procurators who ruled Judea from 44 C.E. to 66 C.E. acted as though they sought to drive its population to despair and revolt causing great confusion.  

66 C.E.: By 66 C.E., in spite of Agrippa II, the party of the Zealots burst into an open rebellion.  

70 C.E.: The Siege of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. was the decisive event of the First Jewish–Roman War.  The Roman army was led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command.  They besieged and conquered the City of Jerusalem on the 17th of Tammuz.  

70 C.E.: The Zealots rebellion was ended by 70 C.E. with the capture the sacking of Jerusalem by Titus, the destruction of the second Temple on the 9th of Av, and the massacre and the banishment of hundreds of thousands of Jews.  These were scattered in all parts of the Roman world.  

70 C.E.-81 C.E.: Vespasian (9 C.E.-79 C.E.) and Titus (30 C.E.-81 C.E.) exercised suspicious watchfulness over the Jews of the Empire.  A garrison of 800 men occupied the ruins of Jerusalem to prevent its reconstruction by its former inhabitants, and in order to do away with all possible pretenders to the Jewish Throne or to the Messianic dignity as strict search was made for all who claimed descent from the royal House of David.  

Note: At the time of the Christian Jesus (Yeshua), it is believed that the Jews were made up of the House of Judah with its two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) of the South and the Levis during the King Hezekiah’s reign.  They were joined by five tribes from the North, a total of 7 different Tribes: Judah, Levite, Benjamin, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, and Joseph.  

The other five Israelite tribes that are not mentioned as joining Judah during the King Hezekiah’s reign, and should not be forgotten are: Dan, Reuben, Simeon, Naphtali and Gad.  However, the Christian and Jewish bibles do not tell us that they went to the south and became assimilated in the House of Judah.  It is probable that many did seek refuge in Judah and it would not be surprising to find large numbers of them identified as Jews today.  We would also expect to find them in the ranks of Christians and Gentiles, today.

The only exception to these five tribes may be Dan.  This is because it is believed that at the time of the Assyrian scattering of the tribes, some from the tribe of Dan went to Ethiopia to join the Jews that lived there, descendants of Menelik I (950 B.C.E.), the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.  Today, we might find some of the tribe of Dan as Ethiopian Jews and some as Christians.  

71 C.E.: Judean city of Herodium fell in 71 C.E.  

71 C.E.: Judean city of Machærus fell in 71 C.E.  

72 C.E.: Judean city of Masada fell in 72 C.E.  

72 C.E.: 72 C.E. witnessed the complete conquest of Judea  

72 C.E.: By 72 C.E., there was a rapid concentration of the surviving Jews in two great communities.  They remained mostly independent of each other, and corresponding to the two great divisions of the world at the time.  The first naturally comprised all the Jews who lived on the Judean side of the Euphrates.  Not long after the fall of Jerusalem and its subsequent misfortunes, they gradually acknowledged the authority of a new Sanhedrin under the presidency of Rabbi Jochanan ben Zaccai which was constituted at Jamnia (Jabne).  It was located a point on the north boundary of Judah between Mount Baalah and the Mediterranean Sea.  It still exists as a good-sized village under the name of Jebuah, about two miles from the sea, seven miles south of Joppa.  Jamnia was detached from Herod's kingdom and given to the Empress Livia, wife of Augustus in 10 C.E.  Together with the Sanhedrin [now the supreme Court (Bêth Din) of the Western communities], there was at Jamnia a school in which Jochanan inculcated the oral Law (specifically the Halacha) handed down by the fathers, and delivered expository lectures (Hagada) on the other Hebrew Scriptures distinct from the written Law (Pentateuch).  

80 C.E.: Rabbi Jochanan ben Zaccai's successor as the head of the Sanhedrin (80 C.E.) was Rabbi Gamaliel II, who took the title of Nasi ("prince": among the Romans, "patriarch").  He also lived at Jamnia, and presided over its school, on the model of which other schools were gradually formed in the neighborhood.  

81 C.E.-96 C.E.: Under Domitian (81 C.E.-96 C.E.), the Fiscus Judaicus, or tax of two drachmas established by Vespasian for the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, was exacted from the Jews with the utmost rigor, and they were involved in the persecutions which this tyrant carried on against Christians.  

96 C.E.-98C.E.: The reign of the Roman Emperor Nerva (96 C.E.-98 C.E.) gave a brief interval of peace to the Jews  

98 C.E.-117 C.E.: In the reign of Trajan (98 C.E.-117 C.E.), while the Roman legions had been withdrawn from Africa to fight against Parthia, the Jewish population of Egypt and Cyrene took up arms against the Greeks of those districts, and on both sides dreadful atrocities were committed.  The attacks spread to Cyprus where the Jews supposedly massacred 240,000 of their fellow-citizens.  Hadrian sent forces to suppress the uprising and forbade any Jew to set his foot on its soil.  The revolts in Egypt and Cyrene were soon put down.  Dissatisfied with the Romans who had just conquered the Parthians, the Jews of Mesopotamia endeavored to get rid of the Fiscus Judaicus (a tax-collecting agency) imposed upon them.  Their insurrection was soon suppressed by Lucius Quintus who had been made governor of Judea by Trajan, where it is probable that disturbances were feared.  

117 C.E.: In 117 C.E., Hadrian became emperor.  This was a fortunate occurrence for the Jews of Babylonia.  Hadrian gave up Trajan's conquests beyond the Euphrates and they came again under the milder rule of their ancient sovereigns.  However, it proved most unfortunate for the Jewish population of the Roman world.  Hadrian issued an edict forbidding circumcision, the reading of the Law, and the observance of the Sabbath.  He next made known his intention to establish a Roman colony in Jerusalem, and to erect a temple to Jupiter on the site of the Jewish G-d’s temple.  

118 C.E.: Rabbi Gamaliel II transmitted (118 C.E.) to his successors, the "patriarchs of the West", a religious authority to which obedience and reverence were paid, even after the seat of this authority was shifted first to Sephoris, and finally to Tiberius.  

118 C.E.: After 118 C.E. the supremacy of "Rabbinism" was firmly established among the Western Jews.  It also prevailed in the other great community which comprised all the Jewish families east of the Euphrates.  The chief of this Babylonian community assumed the title of Resh-Galutha (prince of the Captivity), and was a powerful feudatory of the Parthian Empire.  He was the supreme judge of the minor communities, both in civil and in criminal matters, and exercised in many other ways absolute authority over them.  The principal districts under his jurisdiction were those of Nares, Sora, Pumbeditha, Nahardea, Nahar-Paked, and Machuzza, whose rabbinical schools were destined to enjoy great fame and influence.  The patriarchs of the West possessed much less temporal authority than the princes of the Captivity.  

130 C.E.: In 130 C.E., a new city, Ælia Capitolina, was founded on the site of Jerusalem.  It was populated by a colony of foreigners to ensure that there would not be a restoration of a Jewish kingdom.  Jews were not allowed to reside in it or the surrounding areas.  By then, the Christians were fully distinguished from the Jews and were permitted to live within the walls.  The city became the seat of a flourishing bishopric (After 135 C.E. Christian bishops had Greek names, prior they had been Jewish.).  

132 C.E.: At this juncture, it was announced that the Messiah had just appeared.  His name, Simon bar Kokhba (Died 135 C.E.), "Son of the Star".  He seemed to fulfill the ancient prophecy: "a star shall rise out of Jacob" (Numbers 24:17).  Rabbi Aqiba, the most learned and venerated of the Sanhedrists of the day, distinctly acknowledged the claims of the new Messiah.  Bar Kokhba was the Jewish leader of what is known as the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire in 132 C.E., establishing an independent Jewish state which he ruled for three years as Nasi ("Prince").  The Jewish strongholds fell to Julius Severus, the Roman general.  Bar Kokhba’s state was conquered by the Romans in 135 C.E. following a two and half-year war.  

135 C.E.:  In 135 C.E., the fortress of Bither, the last refuge of the Bar Kokhba rebels, was captured and razed to the ground.  Bar Kokhba was killed.  Sometime later, Rabbi Aqiba was seized and executed.  However, his seven leading pupils escaped to Nisibis and Nahardea.  Dreadful massacres followed the suppression of the revolt.  Many fugitives escaped and fled to Arabia, the remainder were sold into slavery.  

138 C.E.-161 C.E.: Under the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius (138 C.E.-161 C.E.), Hadrian's laws were repealed and the persecution of the Jews came to an end.  Rabbi Aqiba's disciples then returned to Palestine and reorganized the Sanhedrin at Usha, in Galilee (140 C.E.), under the presidency of Simon II, the son of Gamaliel II.  Simon's patriarchate was being oppressed by Roman officials and the Jews resented it.  A new revolt broke out during the last year of Antoninus’ reign.  

161 C.E.-180 C.E.: The new Jewish revolt in Judea was speedily suppressed under the next emperor, Marcus Aurelius (161 C.E.-180 C.E.). Hadrian's extreme measures were then re-enacted, however, these were soon annulled or never carried out.  

165 C.E.: In 165 C.E., Rabbi Juda I succeeded Simon II as president of the Sanhedrin at Usha, in Galilee and patriarch of the West.  

189 C.E.-219 C.E.: The most important of Rabbi Juda I’s acts as president of the Sanhedrin at Usha was the completion of the Mishna oral Law (about 189 C.E.), which, concurrently with the Bible, became the principal source of rabbinical study, and a kind of constitution which even now holds together the scattered members of the Jewish race.  Rabbi Juda remained in office for over thirty years.  

211 C.E.-217 C.E.: Under the Roman Emperor Caracalla (211 C.E.-217 C.E.), the Jews received the rights of citizenship and under his successors the various unfair laws against them were gradually removed.  During this period of peace, the patriarchs of the West frequently sent their legates to the various synagogues to ascertain their actual condition and collect the tax from which Juda III and his successors drew their income.  In Babylonia, the Jewish communities and schools were flourishing under the princes of the Captivity and enjoyed quiet and independence.  The only exception to this was a short period of time immediately after the conquest of the Parthians by the neo-Persians.  The condition of the Jews in Arabia and China, at this time, is not known with any degree of certainty.  

249 C.E.-251 C.E.: Decius (249 C.E.-251 C.E.), a persecutor of the Christians left the Jews unmolested  

253 C.E.-260 C.E.: The Christian persecutor, Emperor, Valerian (253 C.E.-260 C.E.), left the Jews unmolested  

284 C.E.-305 C.E.: The rabid persecutor of the Christians, Diocletian (284 C.E.-305 C.E.), left the Jews unmolested  

312 C.E.: Christianity expelled Jews from Jerusalem.  The Christians ruled Israel for 300 years and made it illegal for Jews to live in Jerusalem.  

638 C.E.: The Muslims conquered Jerusalem.  The Muslims conquered Israel and Jerusalem.  Though they allowed Jews to move back into Jerusalem, they also built their mosques atop Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount.  

1099 C.E.: Christians return to Jerusalem, defeated the Muslims, and kill all the Jews in the city.  

Note: From the time of the destruction of the Temple (70 C.E.), no foreign ruler paid much attention to the physical state Jerusalem and it became a poor and run down.  It suffered from a lack of clean water, disease, and from robbers.  Despite this, Jews everywhere would dream of returning to Jerusalem and many literally risked their lives to travel and settle there.  The Western Wall, the last remnant of the Temple, is the holiest place in Jerusalem for prayer.  

1267 C.E.: The Ramban, Rabbi Moses ben Nachman Gerondi (Born 1197 C.E.), was a great rabbi who was forced to flee Christian persecution in Spain.  He went to Jerusalem where he re-established the first synagogue in 150 years.  That synagogue became the center of a small new Jewish community and was used for 300 years.  

1500 C.E.: Though Jews were scattered all over the world, many made heroic efforts to move to Israel and settle in Jerusalem.  Rabbi Ovadia of Bartenura (Born 1445-Died between 1500 and 1510) was a great scholar who moved to Jerusalem in 1488.  

1517 C.E.: The Turkish Empire conquered Israel and Jerusalem and ruled for 400 years until the end of World War I.  

1699 C.E.: Yehuda Hachassid: Rabbi Yehuda HaChassid Segal (1660-1700) led 1,000 Jews from Poland to Israel where they settled in Jerusalem.  The Yehuda HaChassid synagogue was in use for over 200 years until it was destroyed in1948 C.E. by the Jordanians.  

1742 C.E.: Rabbi Chaim ibn Attar (1696-1743) moved to Jerusalem.  A great scholar and mystic, he moved with his family and many of his students from Morocco to Jerusalem.  

1734: C.E.: By 1734, The Baal Shem Tov (1698 - 1760) became known to the world and was the founder of the Chassidic movement.  His teachings inspired many to immigrate to Israel.  

1777 C.E.: In 1783, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk (1730?-1788) was an early leader of Hasidic Judaism who led a group of 300 Russian Jews to Israel.  

1809 C.E.: Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman, known as the Vilna Gaon (1720-1797) or Elijah of Vilna, was a Talmudist, halakhist, Kabbalist, and the foremost leader of mitnagdic (non-hasidic) Jewry of the past few centuries. The Vilna Gaon encouraged his students to move from Lithuania to Israel.  From 1809 C.E. to the late 1830’s C.E. approximately 200 people a year left Lithuania for Israel where most of them settled in Jerusalem.  The Vilna Gaon had tried twice to make the move but was unsuccessful.  

1917 C.E.: The British conquered Israel and Jerusalem and defeated the Turks in World War I.  

1850 C.E.-1948 C.E.: Over the centuries the Jewish population slowly grew until there were 10,000 Jews living in Jerusalem in 1850 C.E.  There were also 6,000 Arabs and 4,000 Christians living in the city.  By the end of World War I, the British promised to help the Jewish people rebuild a homeland in Israel.  By 1948 C.E. there were 650,000 Jews living in Israel and 100,000 in Jerusalem.  

November 29, 1947 C.E.: On November 29, 1947 C.E., the United Nations General Assembly recommended the adoption and implementation of the Partition Plan for Mandatory Palestine.  This UN plan specified borders for new Arab and Jewish states and also specified an area of Jerusalem and its environs which was to be administered by the UN under an international regime.  The end of the British Mandate for Palestine was set for midnight on May 14, 1948 C.E.  

May 14, 1948 C.E.: That day, David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the Zionist Organization and president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared "the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel," which would start to function from the termination of the mandate.  

May 14, 1948 C.E.: May 14, 1948 C.E., Arab armies from neighboring states invaded the State of Israel, the former Palestinian mandate and fought the Israeli forces.  The Jordanians had destroyed the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem.  All of the Jews who lived within the walls of the ancient city of Jerusalem were either killed or driven out by the Jordanians.  The Jordanians destroyed all of the synagogues in the city and would not allow any Jews to live in Jerusalem or even visit the Western Wall to pray.  Israel established its capitol in the new city of Jerusalem that was outside of the walls of the ancient city of Jerusalem.  

In 1948 C.E., Israel fought and won the War of Independence, but it lost Jerusalem to the Jordanian forces.  

1948 C.E.-2010 C.E.: Between 1948 (the year Israel was created) and 2010, 1,747 Spanish Jews made aliyah (The immigration of Jews from the diaspora to the land of Israel) to Israel.

1967 C.E.: Though the modern state of Israel was born in 1948 C.E., Jews were cut off from the heart of Jerusalem for twenty years.  In the spring of 1967 C.E., the Arab countries that surround Israel were planning to attack and destroy the Jewish state.  Israel won the war in just six days (The Six-Day War).  After almost 2,000 years, on June 7, 1967 C.E., Jerusalem was united.  The Old City of Jerusalem once again became the capital of the Jewish homeland.  The restoration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel came 2,800 years after King David first made it the capital.  This was also 2,000 years after its destruction by the Romans.  

1973 C.E.: The Yom Kippur War, or the 1973 C.E. Arab-Israeli War, was the war fought by a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria.  They moved against Israel from October 6th through the 25th of 1973 C.E.  The war started when the Arab coalition launched a joint surprise attack on Israeli positions in the Israeli-occupied territories during Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism.  This also occurred that year during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.  Coalition forces crossed ceasefire lines to enter the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights which had been captured by Israel in the 1967 C.E. Six-Day War.  Both the United States (Israel’s ally) and the Soviet Union (Coalition ally) initiated massive resupply efforts to their respective allies during the war.  This led to a near-confrontation between the two nuclear superpowers.  

1978 C.E.: The South Lebanon Conflict of 1978: March 1978 C.E., the PLO terrorist organization that had been staging attacks on Israel from south Lebanon.  

1982 C.E.: The Lebanon War of 1982 C.E.: The PLO terrorist organization that had been continuing attacks on Israel from south Lebanon.  The war resulted in Lebanon expelling the PLO from the country.  

1982 C.E.-2000 C.E.: The South Lebanon Conflict: 1982 C.E.-2000 C.E., Lebanese Muslim guerrillas and the Iranian-supported and armed Hezbollah terrorist organization.  

1987 C.E.-1993 C.E.: The First Intifada: 1987 C.E.-1993 C.E., Palestinian (the English word "Palestinian" originated from the Biblical word "Philistine") uprising in the "West Bank" and Gaza.  

2000 C.E.-2005 C.E.: The Second Intifada: 2000 C.E.-2005 C.E., Further Palestinian/Philistine uprising.  

2006 C.E.: The Lebanon War of 2006 C.E.: 2006 C.E., the Iranian-supported and armed Hezbollah terrorist organization suffered Israeli incursions into Lebanon in Mid-2006 C.E.  During the first, often termed "the Second Lebanon War," Hezbollah fought Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) seeking hostage rescue and retribution to a bloody standstill.  

2008 C.E.-2009 C.E.: The Gaza War: 2008 C.E.-2009 C.E., The Hamas terrorists based in Gaza suffered Israeli incursions into Gaza in Late-2008 C.E./Early-2009 C.E.  Hamas enjoyed far less success against the same forces avowedly in pursuit of only self-defense.  

2012 C.E.: Operation Pillar of Defense (November 2012 C.E.) - Military offensive on the Gaza Strip.  

2014 C.E.: Operation Protective Edge (July-August 2014 C.E.) - Military offensive on the Gaza Strip as a response to the collapse of American-sponsored peace talks, attempts by rival Palestinian factions to form a coalition government, the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers, the subsequent kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teenager, and increased rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas militants.

 

SECTION VII. Modern Spain and the Jews  

The modern Jewish community in Spain consists mainly of Sephardim from Northern Africa, especially the former Spanish colonies.  

Israeli ambassador, Shlomo Ben-Ami, commented on his remembering the Spanish Legion escorting his family out of Tangiers, Morocco, towards Israeli ships anchored in Ceuta.  During the Spanish transition to democracy, the recognition of Israel was one of the issues of modernization.  

1849 C.E.: The Jews of Morocco welcomed the Spanish troops conquering Spanish Morocco as their liberators.  Though the Jews were initially welcomed, it turned to oppression as centuries passed.  Also, at this time Spanish historians started to take an interest in the Sephardim and Ladino, their language.  

1858 C.E.: Since 1858, small numbers of Jews started to arrive in Spain and synagogues were opened in Madrid.  

1923-1930 C.E.: During the period 1923-1930, the government of Miguel Primo de Rivera decreed the right to Spanish citizenship of Sephardim.  

1936-1939 C.E.: However, by the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), the synagogues were closed and post-war worship was kept in private homes.  Jews could be investigated by anti-Semitic police officers.  

1940-1945 C. E.: During World War II (1930-1945), Francoist Spain’s neutrality, in spite of the rhetoric against the "Judaeo-Masonic conspiracy", allowed 25,600 Jews to use the country as an escape route from the European theater of war.  The only caveat was that they "passed through leaving no trace".  Spanish diplomats such as Ángel Sanz Briz aided by the Italian Giorgio Perlasca, protected some 4,000 Jews and accepted 2,750 Jewish refugees from Hungary.  

December 16, 1968 C.E.: The Alhambra Decree that had expelled the Jews was formally rescinded on December 16, 1968.  Synagogues were opened and the communities could hold a discreet activity.  

1970s C.E.: In the 1970s, there was an influx of Argentine Jews (Mainly Ashkenazim) escaping from the military Junta.  With the birth of the European Community, Jews from other countries in Europe began moving to Spain because of its weather, lifestyle, and cost of living relative to areas north of Europe.  Mazarron, La Manga, Cartagena, and Alicante Spain have all seen their Jewish communities grow.  

Barcelona has the largest concentration of Jews in Spain, with a Jewish community of over 3,500.  Melilla has an old community of Moroccan Jews.  The city of Murcia in the southeast of the country has a growing Jewish community and a local synagogue.  Kosher olives are produced in this region and exported to Jews around the world.  There is a new Jewish school in Murcia as a result of the growth in Jewish population immigrating to the Murcia community PolarisWorld (A resort).  

Reform and Liberal Jewish communities are now in cities like Barcelona or Oviedo.  

There are now a few cases of Jewish converts.  Like other religious communities in Spain, the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain (FCJE) has established agreements with the Spanish government, regulating the status of Jewish clergy, places of worship, teaching, marriages, holidays, tax benefits, and heritage conservation.  There are currently around 50,000 Spanish Jews, with the largest communities in Barcelona and Madrid each with around 3,500 members.  There are smaller communities in Alicante, Málaga, Tenerife, Granada, Valencia, Benidorm, Cadiz, Murcia and many more.  

1986 C.E.: The Democratic Center Union governments were divided.  They did not want to risk the Arab friendship and subjected the establishment to the beginning of a durable solution of the Israeli-Arab conflict.  After years of negotiations, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party government of Felipe González established relations with Israel in 1986, denying links between relations and the admission of Spain into the European Economic Community.  

1991 C.E.: Spain tried to serve as a bridge between Israel and the Arabs as seen in the Madrid Conference of 1991.

In recent years, there has been a rise in the scope of anti-Semitic incidents in Spain.  Most of the incidents were vandalistic acts against Jewish synagogues and cemeteries.  A number of examples are given:

·        In 2002, there were several vandalistic acts against synagogues in Ceuta and Madrid.

·        On November 25, 2006, Fans of “Deportivo La Coruna,” a soccer team, hurled anti-Semitic taunts at Israeli goalkeeper Dudu Awate, who was playing as a member of the Spanish premier league rival, “Osasuna.”

·        On January 12, 2009, the windows of the Chabad house in Barcelona were broken and “assassins” was spray-painted on the building.

·        On November 18, 2012, swastika and other graffiti were sprayed on the wall of a synagogue in Barcelona.

·        On August 2013, the phrase “Death to the Jews” and a swastika were found spray painted on a walkway in Ourense.  In Madrid, the words "Adolf Hitler was right" and a swastika were spray painted across a section of a bullfighting arena.  

Despite the aforementioned, an interest by Jewish groups working in Spain has encouraged the descendants of the Marranos to return to Judaism.  This has resulted in a limited number of conversions to the Jewish faith.  

In 2014, it was announced that the descendants of Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain by the Alhambra Decree of 1492 would be offered Spanish citizenship, without being required to move to Spain and/or renounce any other citizenship they may have.  Also in 2014, residents of a village in Spain called Castrillo Matajudios (Castrillo Kill Jews) voted to change the name.  

2015: On June 11, 2015, the Spanish Parliament approved a much-anticipated law that will allow descendants of Jews expelled from the country in 1492 to seek Spanish citizenship.  The vote in the Congress of Deputies (the lower house of Parliament) marked the final legal hurdle for the initiative which was originally proposed in November 2012, and approved by the Spanish Cabinet in February 2014.  It enters into force on October 1, 2015 and will right a historic wrong and demonstrate that after more than 500 years after the Inquisition began, Jews are once again welcome in Spain.  It opens the door for an estimated 3.5 million Sephardic Jews in the world today who wish to become Spanish citizens.

 

SECTION VIII. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and the Spanish Jews

 

What is DNA?  

I know very little about DNA.  However, thankfully there are a many experts in the field who use the Internet and other forums to publish research and study findings on a regular basis.  These make factual statements based upon rigorous and explicit guidelines and established protocols.  They argue excitedly over supposed or real discrepancies regarding findings and conclusions.  These reach agreements upon what is acceptable in terms of areas of information which might be agreed upon by their scientific community.  This allows me a layman, an opportunity to have some very limited understanding which helps in genealogical research.  However, I must remind the reader that today’s answers may become tomorrow’s questions.  In short, the expert and his/her data and conclusions are only as good as their acceptance by his/her peers.  New technology, breakthroughs, and studies can change what is accepted as fact.  

The information presented here is for educational purposes only.  What I discuss are findings and conclusions presented by those who understand DNA, how it passes from one generation to another, what those implications are, reach conclusions based upon those findings, and offer opinions on what those findings mean.  Thankfully, I have no interest in contesting the findings and/or opinions of others.  This is only meant to inform.  

To explore further how many define “what is a Jew,” one must examine how DNA plays its part.  This includes how DNA researchers are determining and/or accepting who may be considered Jewish through various tests and studies.  The studies I’m referencing are those open to the general public to review.  The published results are based upon what researchers consider to be of great import, having completed research, data collection, analysis, findings, conclusions, and opinions (Recommendations).  

DNA exists in the nucleus of ever cell of every living thing.  This includes plants, animals, fungi, but not bacteria.  It exists in the nucleus of every cell of the human body.  Every time a cell splits, the DNA is copied so that each new cell has the same DNA as the parent cell.  Human DNA strands our genetic material together into a double-stranded genome, a long, narrow, string-like object.  A DNA string or strand is normally packed into a space roughly equal to a cube 1/millionth of an inch.  This is possible only because DNA is structured as a very thin string.  

DNA codes for the construction of proteins using a machine-like process.  It reads the code and creates proteins based upon instructions.  These proteins are very specific, complex molecules that influence every trait of an organism.  The DNA code or genetic code is then passed through the sperm and egg to the offspring.  

It’s made up of genes which consist of chromosomes and nucleotides.  Every person with no mutation has 46 total or 23 pairs of chromosomes, 23 from their birth mother and 23 from their birth father.  This constitutes a human’s blueprint.  

Nucleotides are what the double-stranded helix of DNA is made from.  Pairs of molecules; the only four of which are involved are:

·       Adenine (A)

·       Thymine (T)

·       Guanine (G)

·       Cytosine (C)  

They pair up as A to T and C to G.  Unless it is ribonucleic acid (RNA), those will always pair as that.  RNA helps carry out this blueprint's guidelines.  This Messenger RNA (mRNA) is a type of RNA that reflects the exact nucleoside sequence of the genetically active DNA.  The mRNA carries the "message" of the DNA to the cytoplasm of cells where protein is made in amino acid sequences specified by the mRNA.  Of the two, RNA is more versatile than DNA, capable of performing numerous, diverse tasks in an organism.  However, DNA is more stable and holds more complex information for longer periods of time.  Adenine isn't in RNA the, it’s “traded” for Uracil (U).

 

DNA, Humans, Race, and BioGeographical (BGA) Ancestry

Humans  

Firstly, the human species is relatively young.  According to archaeologists, humans likely originated in east Africa approximately 100,000 to 300,000 years ago.  These diverged as groups, expanded, traveled, and settled the planet.  It is believed that some degree of independent evolution occurred with those populations that settled the various continents of the world.

Race  

The various populations or races if you like, had initially been separate.  Over time, there has been extensive mixing among them.  This has occurred in many countries across the planet and here in the United States.  The biological feature of race is largely based on the genetic structure of human populations.  For example, this structure is exhibited in the hierarchy from East to West where populations in the Americas and the South Pacific are a subset of the genetic diversity found earlier in Eurasia.  This in turn is a subset of the diversity found to have originated even earlier in Africa (Shriver and Kittles 2005).  The most simplistic evidence of this evolution is seen in the differences in allele frequencies at genetic markers.

 

Allele frequency, or gene frequency, is the proportion of a particular allele (variant of a gene) among all allele copies being considered.  It can be formally defined as the percentage of all alleles at a given locus (A particular position, point, or place) on a chromosome in a population gene pool represented by a particular allele.  In other words, it is the number of copies of a particular allele divided by the number of copies of all alleles at the genetic place (locus) in a population.  It is usually expressed as a percentage.  In population genetics, allele frequencies are used to depict the amount of genetic diversity (The total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species) at the individual, population, and species level.  It is also the relative proportion of all alleles of a gene that are of a designated type.

 

A genetic marker is a gene or DNA sequence with a known location on a chromosome that can be used to identify individuals or species.  It can be described as a variation (Which may arise due to mutation or alteration in the genomic loci) that can be observed.  A genetic marker may be a short DNA sequence, such as a sequence surrounding a single base-pair change (single nucleotide polymorphism, SNP), or a long one, like mini-satellites.  A minisatellite is a tract of repetitive DNA in which certain DNA motifs (ranging in length from 10–60 base pairs) are typically repeated 5-50 times.  Minisatellites occur at more than 1,000 locations in the human genome and they are notable for their high mutation rate and high diversity in the population.

BioGeographical (BGA) Ancestry  

BioGeographical (BGA) is the term given to the biological or genetic component of race.  This mixing is referred to as admixture in the fields of anthropology and human genetics.  BGA estimates can also be understood as individual admixture proportions, which take the form of a series of percentages that add to 100%.  For example, a person in question may be found to have:

·       75% European

·       15% African

·       10% Indigenous American ancestry

Total 100%  

Some may have 100% European ancestry.  Put simply, it’s an objective description of the Ancestral origins of a person, in terms of the major population groups (Indigenous American, East Asian, European, sub-Saharan African, etc.).  BGA estimates are able to represent the mixed nature of many people and populations today.  

In general, the usage of race includes both cultural and biological features of a person or group of people.  The fact that physical differences between populations are often accompanied by cultural differences, it becomes difficult to separate these two elements of race.

 

Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs) and Populations  

Similarities between human populations highlight the recent common origin of all populations and strong connections between populations throughout their history.  There are, however, examples of genetic markers which are different between populations.  It is these markers, called Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs), which are used to estimate the ancestral origins of a person or population.  Marker analysis is a genetic technique used in this research.  Genetic markers are polymorphic genetic sequences, such as microsatellites or restriction fragment length polymorphism, or RFLP (RFLP is a technique that exploits variations in homologous DNA sequences.  In RFLP analysis, the DNA sample is broken into pieces and (digested) by restriction enzymes and the resulting restriction fragments are separated according to their lengths by gel electrophoresis.  RFLP analysis was the first DNA profiling technique inexpensive enough to see widespread application.), which allow differentiation of the chromosomal alleles.  

Inheritance patterns within a group or family are traced and the “Mutant Allele” identified by comparing the alleles of affected and unaffected individuals.  Alleles are corresponding pairs of genes located at specific positions in the chromosomes.  The mutant copy (allele) of the gene is inferred through analysis of a genetic marker.  Generally speaking, alleles found in one population are also found in all populations.  Also, alleles that are the most common in one are also common in others.  Together, they determine the genotype (Genotype is that part, DNA sequence, of the genetic makeup of a cell which determines a specific characteristic (phenotype) of that cell, organism, and/or individual.) of their host organism.  For example, the alleles for eye color are found on chromosomes 15 and 19, and depending on which ones someone has, he or she may have blue, brown, green, gray, or hazel eyes, and sometimes a mixture of these traits is present.  Alleles that determine some aspect of the phenotype, the physical appearance of an organism, are said to be “Coding Alleles.”

DNA Origins Tests  

Scientists who develop “DNA Origins Tests” by necessity conduct extensive validation studies.  They do this using various numbers of markers to create a test which provides robust statistical data.  In the case of one organization, the first version of the test used 71 markers.  However, at present they test 144 markers to obtain a higher confidence level.  In one of their validation studies they used a simulated 100% European population.  The test results showed less than 3.3% of total average contribution from African, Indigenous American, and East Asian ancestry indicating the level of "statistical noise" that is to be expected from the results.  Genetic analysis enables researchers to determine the geographic ancestry of a person pinpointing the migrational history of a person's ancestors.  This must be done with a high degree of accuracy.  Only when statistical error or disturbance (The amount by which an observation differs from its expected value, the latter being based on the whole population from which the statistical unit was chosen randomly) must be accounted for.  

DNA “Origins Tests” use a selected panel of AIMs.  These have been characterized in a large number of well-defined population samples.  These markers are selected on the bases of showing substantial differences in frequency between population groups.  These explain the origins of a particular person whose ancestry is unknown.  One example is the Duffy Null allele which is very common (approaching fixation or an allele frequency of 100%) in all sub-Saharan African populations.  A person with this allele is very likely to have some level of African ancestry.  Using sample of a person's DNA, after an analysis of these AIMs is completed the likelihood (or probability) that this person is derived from any of the parental populations and any of the possible mixes of parental populations is calculated.  The best estimate of the ancestral proportions of the person on the population (or combination of populations) where the likelihood is the highest is then taken.  Confidence intervals on these point estimates of ancestral proportions are also being calculated.  

However, it would be necessary to go back in time and test each and every one of an individual’s ancestors to achieve 100% accuracy in an ancestry test.  This being impossible, researchers must rely on statistics to make a prediction of a person’s most likely ancestry mix.  In the case of one DNA Origins test, it provides a person’s ancestral proportions based on years of collaborative research of populations representing four ancestral groups.  This research has identified 144 informative markers in human DNA, called AIMs.  In this particular case, a measure of the statistical strength of the test results typically would provide a 95% confidence interval.  

For the purpose of the following discussions, the use of DNA in genetics can help understand one’s own ethnic, religious, nationality, and/or racial ancestry.  

Mitochondrial DNA  

An mtDNA haplogroup is defined by a set of characteristic mutations on the mitochondrial genome.  These can be traced along a person's maternal line to a specific prehistoric woman.  

The Seven Daughters of Eve  

The Seven Daughters of Eve (2001, ISBN 0-393-02018-5) is a book by Bryan Sykes.  It presents the theory of human mitochondrial genetics and explains the principles of genetics and human evolution.  The particularities of mitochondrial DNA and analyses of ancient DNA to genetically link modern humans to prehistoric ancestors are also discussed at length.  

Sykes traced back human migrations and discussed the "out of Africa theory."  He casts doubt upon Heyerdahl's theory of the Peruvian origin of the Polynesians in which he opposed the theory of their origin in Indonesia.  Based upon the developments of mitochondrial genetics, Sykes also describes the use of mitochondrial DNA in assessing the genetic makeup of modern Europe and in identifying the remains of Czar Nicholas II.  

The title of his book comes from one of the principal achievements of mitochondrial genetics.  This is the classification of all modern Europeans into seven groups, the mitochondrial haplogroups.  All these women in turn shared a common maternal ancestor, the Mitochondrial Eve.  Each haplogroup is defined by a set of characteristic mutations on the mitochondrial genome.  These can be traced along a person's maternal line to a specific prehistoric woman.  These women Sykes refers to as "clan mothers," though they did not all live concurrently.  In fact, some "clan mothers" are descended from others (although not maternally).  

Each of the seven "clan mothers" mentioned by Sykes corresponds to one (or more) human mitochondrial haplogroups:

1.     Ursula: corresponds to Haplogroup U (specifically U5, and excluding its subgroup K)

2.     Xenia: corresponds to Haplogroup X

3.     Helena: corresponds to Haplogroup H

4.     Haplogroup H is a descendant of haplogroup HV

5.     Velda: corresponds to Haplogroup V

6.     Tara: corresponds to Haplogroup T

7.     Katrine: corresponds to Haplogroup K

8.     Jasmine: corresponds to Haplogroup J

 

Y-DNA  

Y-DNA tests are used to test the direct paternal lineage of a man’s father, his father's father, his father's-father's-father, etc.  In addition, this direct paternal line Y-DNA can be used to verify whether two individuals are descendants from the same distant paternal ancestor, as well as potentially find connections to others who are linked to his paternal lineage.  

The study of genetics and the concept of DNA testing, has gained much interest in recent years in the area of genealogy and in several areas of academia.  The History and Geography of Human Genes (Princeton University, 1994) by L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Paolo Menozzi, and Alberto Piazza is an excellent resource.  The authors compiled charts similar to road mileage charts showing the distance between cities and showing the genetic distance between numerous ethnic and nationality groups throughout the world.  Using these abstract numbers, one can see how Italians, French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Polish, and twenty other European nationality groups are related to each other genetically.  They also have charts for Africans, Asians, Native Americans, and other nationality groups.  

Since the use of DNA in genetics can help understand one’s own ethnic, religious, nationality, and/or racial ancestry, here we will discusses some major concepts of DNA testing, and then discusses the use of genetics as it applies to descendants of the Jews of Spain and Portugal (Sephardim) and the tremendous Sephardi diaspora that developed as a result of the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal.  

Many males can share a specific haplotype, especially when the number of marker numbers in a haplotype is small.  A male can be tested for a number of markers.  At one given point in time he may have elected to use only a nine marker test.  Each of the nine markers would have been represented by an exact number for his nine numbers.  These are referred to as his haplotype.  For example, a 9-marker haplotype could be, 14 13 29 23 11 13 13 11 14.  Geneticists would then group together a number of haplotypes which share certain genetic patterns.  This grouping or cluster of haplotypes is referred to as a haplogroup.  

Many males select a major testing company, such as FamilyTreeDNA for testing.  He is given his haplotype, as well as the number of other men who match with him exactly on all markers tested.  He is also given the number of men who match with a one step mutation and the number who match with a two step mutation.  In my case, other men who matched gave permission for their names and contact addresses to be provided.  I then contacted them to pursue more information.  These men also provided their paternal country of origin if known.  

As time progressed, some sophisticated DNA tests began giving results for 25 markers.  That is to say, 25 numbers representing specific points tested along a male’s genetic chain.  Each marker or point has one number.  That number is from a possible range of about ten numbers or markers which vary in the range of possible numbers.  Other tests employed may be based upon a smaller number of markers tested (Frequently 12 or 9).  

Of importance is the fact that the more markers two males match to, the more recently they have an exact common male ancestor.  Thus, the more closely they’re related.  If these two males for example, match on nine-out-of-nine markers, then they most probably have a common male ancestor.  However, one would have to go back a good number of centuries to reach the common male ancestor.  Should these two males match exactly on 25 markers, then they are very closely related.  Their common male ancestor is most probably within the last several generations.  

In the case of Sephardic Jews with a result of nine markers matching, one would probably have to go back to shortly before the Inquisition to have a 50% chance of having a common male ancestor.  

Of note, if these two males were to match on all the markers except one, and they’re only slightly off on that one, they are said to be a one step mutation match.  This determination would be used for whatever the number of markers used.

There are also results frequently given for two step mutation matches.  An example is if several males share a great-great-great grandfather, then most of these will have the exact same numbers on all 25 markers.  However, it is accepted that one or more might differ on one marker because of a mutation that occurred in one line of descendants.  Mutations on several markers suggests, a further distance from the common male ancestor and therefore, the less exact matches these two males will have.  

In terms of cost, males frequently begin with tests with nine or twelve markers.  If a relationship is found within this range, then these will upgrade to a more expensive 25 marker test to observe how more closely and/or recently they’re related.

 

Y-line DNA test information  

Test results will return both:

1.0 General Haplogroup and

2.0 A string of numbers:

2.0.1 These numbers represent the repeats (stutters) found for each of the tested markers on the Y chromosome.

2.0.2 The specific set of results from the tested STR markers determines a male’s Y-DNA haplotype, a unique genetic code for his paternal ancestral line.

2.0.3 A male’s haplotype will be the same as, or extremely similar to, all of the males who have come before him on his paternal line – his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, etc.

3.0 Y-DNA results have no real meaning when taken on their own:

3.0.1 The value is derived from comparing his specific results, or haplotype, with other individuals whom he thinks he may be related to.  In this way he can see how many of his markers match.

3.0.2 Matching numbers at most or all of the tested markers can indicate a shared ancestor.

3.0.3 Depending upon the number of exact matches, and the number of markers tested, a male can also determine approximately how recently this common ancestor was likely to have lived (within 5 generations, 16 generations, etc.).

4.0 Y-DNA tests a specific set of Y-chromosome STR markers:

4.0.1 For example, the number of markers tested by a DNA testing company can range from a minimum of twelve (12) to as many as one-hundred eleven (111), with sixty-seven (67) being commonly considered a useful amount.

4.0.2 Having additional markers tested will generally refine the predicted time period in which two individuals are related, helpful for affirming or disproving a genealogical connection on the direct paternal line.

5.0 Example:

5.0.1 A male has 12 markers tested, and finds that he is an exact (12-for-12) match to another individual.  This tells the male that there is about a 50% chance that the two share a common ancestor within 7 generations, and a 95% chance that the common ancestor is within 23 generations.

5.0.2 If the male tested 67 markers, however, and found an exact (67-for-67) match with another individual, then there is a 50% chance that the two share a common ancestor within two generations, and a 95% chance that the common ancestor is within 6 generations.

 

Haplotype Databases  

Using the Internet there also are several databases where a person can type in his haplotype, and find out how many exact matches he has in different categories.  

For one particular database for the United States a individual is given the number (no names) of exact matches he has among European-Americans, African-Americans, and as self-defined Hispanics.  

There is a database for Asians which includes Turkey, Egypt, Syria, and eleven other countries which might be of interest to Sephardim.  

There is a European database where one can get an idea of one’s “distant cousins” in Europe.  This particular European database is compiled by receiving results for nine markers from labs.  The labs must meet stringent testing requirements before sending their results to be added to the database.  These site results are almost always based on random samples taken from that geographical area.  These do not include information from criminal institutions.  Results for many of the sites have been published in scientific journals.

 

Jewish DNA  

Here we begin a discussion on the use of genetics as it might apply to descendants of the Jews.  DNA studies in this area have sought to answer whether the genetic ancestry of contemporary Jewish populations demonstrates their purported descent from the ancient Israelites of the Middle East of three thousand years ago.  The other possibility may suggest that the DNA evidence indicates that today’s Jews are simply a people who came into being in Europe during the Diaspora years.  This would mean that Jews are mainly comprised of those descended from European ancestors.  Here, I must caution the reader.  There are those with political agendas that would use this information to further their own agenda, good or bad.  I do not have an agenda.  

To date, examination and reassessment of the Jewish DNA studies present possible alternative explanations for the origins and distribution of certain genetic markers among Jewish populations.  These we will at this point.  

DNA researchers of Jewish roots have for some time focused on studies to analyze and reassess Ashkenazi results obtained by DNA researchers and synthesize them into a coherent picture of Jewish genetics.  Unfortunately, the history and genetic ancestry of Sephardic Jews has only been dealt with in a cursory manner with limited genetic studies on Jews of Sephardic descent.  In contrast many DNA studies have explored the genetic ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews.  Thus, the primary focus is on Ashkenazim DNA results.  However, some include a comparison of Sephardic and Ashkenazi results pertaining to Y chromosome haplogroups J and E and others.  

These DNA studies have attempted to answer whether the genetic ancestry of contemporary Jewish populations demonstrated their supposed descent from the ancient Israelites of the Middle East of three thousand years ago.  The other answer might be that the DNA evidence indicates that Jews were simply a people who came into being in Europe during the Diaspora years and were mainly comprised of those descended from European ancestors.  

Research of haplogroups and their diversity and geographic patterns have provided researchers with an expanded understanding of prehistoric movements of people.  This in turn, allows for a better understanding of the present-day genetic variation among populations.  In conjunction with the examination and reassessment of the Jewish DNA studies to date, possible alternative explanations are presented for the origins and distribution of certain genetic markers among Jewish populations.  

It is understood that earlier evolution of the ancient Israelites (Today’s Jews) occurred from a diverse group (Canaanites) of Western Semitic people.  These were indigenous to that area of the Middle East from earliest times which appear to have consisted of a diverse ethno-cultural mix.  Due to an interest in the relationship between the ancient Israelites and today’s Jews, earlier studies focused on the Middle Eastern component of Jewish DNA.  Later research has revealed that both Europeans and Central Asians also made significant genetic contributions to the Jewish ancestry of Today’s Jewish populations.  Additionally, new analysis shows that Jewish ancestry reflects a mosaic of genetic sources.  These would suggest that Jews do not constitute a single group which is distinct from all others.  Researchers propose that modern Jews exhibit a diversity of genetic profiles, some reflective of their Semitic/Mediterranean ancestry, but others suggesting an origin in European and Central Asian groups.  

Of great interest here, Jewish tradition offered that all Cohanim (plural of “Cohan” or “Cohen”) were direct descendants of Aaron, the brother of Moses.  These according to tradition and scripture served important priestly functions within the Jewish religion.  For more than 100 generations (3,300 years) this patrilineal line of the Cohanim allegedly passed from father to son without interruption from Aaron forward.  One researcher among many questioned whether this claim could actually be tested and scientific evidence found to support the ancient tradition of a priestly lineage.  The landmark genetic study of the Cohanim, the priests of the Jewish religion, and the search for Israelite/Middle Eastern DNA among contemporary Jewish populations began with Dr. Karl Skorecki.  His quest was simple; did the “Cohanim” possess a set of common genetic markers indicating they shared a common ancestor?  This is how the Cohanim DNA study was born.  The findings of that study indicated clearly that the Cohanim did share a common ancestor.  It was discovered that a particular haplotype was found in 97 out of the 106 participants tested in the study.  This haplotype has come to be known as the “Cohen Modal Haplotype” or “CMH”.  

Of key importance is that genetic researchers were able to corroborate the history of that critical ancient Jewish priestly caste.  They also confirmed the genetic link between Sephardic and Ashkenazi populations.  These findings indicate that before these two modern-day Jewish populations separated, those who shared the CMH also shared common Israelite ancestry.  Skorecki and Hammer reported that CMH occurred within Y chromosome Haplogroup J (Skorecki et al. 1997).  

Note: J Haplogroup, J is a branch of the mega-haplogroup F and its subsequent mega-haplogroups IJK and IJ.  J originated about 25,000 years ago in the Eastern Africa Levant.  It has two main branches, J-M267 and J-M172.  Both branches are found in Eastern African populations.  It also spread into Europe and the Indian subcontinent during the Bronze Age.  

Researchers now know significantly more about haplogroup J than when these studies were originally published.  Haplogroup J consists of an ancestral form J and two subgroups:

·       J1

·       J2

Critical to this issue is that although an individual may have the CMH in either J1 or J2, it is the genetic signature in J1 that is considered the Jewish priestly signature.  Of great interest to researchers is the fact that J1 is the only haplogroup that they consider “Semitic” in origin because it is restricted almost entirely too Middle Eastern populations.  This group’s origins are thought to be in the southern Levant.  It also has a very low frequency in Italy and Greece as well (Semino et al. 2004).  It would appear that despite their long settlement in Europe and North Africa, the presence of J1 among contemporary Ashkenazi and Sephardic populations indicates the preservation of Israelite Semitic ancestry.  

According to Behar (2003), the Cohanim possess an unusually high frequency of haplogroup J in general.  They are reported to comprise nearly 87% of the total Cohanim results.  The frequency among Sephardi is also notably high at 75% (Behar 2003).  What has not been widely reported is that only 48% of Ash