Jews Expelled from Spain

By 31/01/2019

After conquering Granada, the Catholic Monarchs sign the Alhambra decree ordering the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, to take effect from 31 July 1492. Many passed through Gibraltar on their way into exile in North Africa. 


With the institution of the Roman Catholic Inquisition in Spain, and with the Dominican friar Tomás de Torquemada as the first Inquisitor General, the Catholic Monarchs pursued a policy of religious and national unity. Queen Isabella opposed taking harsh measures against Jews on economic grounds, but Torquemada was able to convince Ferdinand. On 31 March 1492, the Catholic Monarchs signed the Alhambra decree ordering the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. 


The Jews had until the end of July, three months, to leave the country and they were not to take gold, silver, money, arms, or horses with them. Many of these Jews passed through Gibraltar on their way into exile in North Africa. 


Rather than face exile, a significant proportion of the remaining Jews were forced to, or chose to convert to Christianity and joined the already large converso community.


Conversos who did not fully or genuinely embrace Catholicism, but continued to practise Judaism in secrecy were referred to as judaizantes (“Judaizers) and pejoratively as marranos (“swine”) and were subject to the Inquisition.




Image: Expulsions of Jews in Europe from 1100 to 1600 (click here to enlarge)