The Alhambra Decree 1492 – Edict of Expulsion

The Alhambra Decree

The Alhambra Decree - The 1889 painting by Emilio Sala (1850–1910) shows Torquemada offering the Edict of Expulsion to Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492.
The Alhambra Decree – The 1889 painting by Emilio Sala (1850–1910) shows Torquemada offering the Edict of Expulsion to Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492.

Today, Ferdinand and Isabella are best remembered for commissioning Christopher Columbus to search for a western trade route to the Orient. On August 3, 1492, the Genovese mariner set sail from Spain, but his royal backers had issued the Edict of Expulsion, often known as the Alhambra Decree, demanding “all Jews and Jewesses of whatever age they may be” to either accept baptism and conversion to Christianity or leave the nation.

Throughout the fifteenth century, a fresh wave of anti-Semitism had been simmering. Many Spanish Jews converted to Christianity in order to evade persecution and participate in forbidden activities. The Conversos did well in business and in universities as a group, but their success fostered resentment and fury.

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