Jewish Conquistadors in the New World

In 1391, a new period in the history of the Jews of Spain began. Jewish communities throughout the Peninsula except those in the Kingdom of Portugal were attacked. The violence was stoked by long-held Christian anti-Judaism and popular discontent. The violence forever altered the position of Jews in the Iberian Peninsula. Thousands of Jews were murdered, and many more converted to Christianity under the direct threat of violence or to forestall it. The scope of the attacks in 1391 overshadowed all past trials as well as achievements and initiated a social and religious crisis that would last for more than a century.

The tragedy of 1391 set off a century long crisi in Castile and Aragon that ultimately manifested itself in the establishment of a national Inquisition with unparalleled power to ferret our Conversos, i.e., Jewish converts to Christianity, who continued to observe Jewish practices. It also led to the final solution to the Converso issue with the Edict of Expulsion. Openly practicing Jews were seen as the source of the problem and given the choice to convert or leave.

Many converted and added to the numbers of Conversos already living dual lives. Many of these individuals eventually made it Westward to the New World. This course focuses in on the early years of colonization and the role certain Conversos played.

Checkout the new mini-course titled Jewish Conquistadors in the New World: The Early Years.
This is a precursor to a much lengthier course on the history of Sephardic Jews.
Check out the new course at the link below:

Be sure to use coupon code: CryptoJewishDiscount

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Posted by Rabbi Dr. Juan Marcos Bejarano Gutierrez the director of the B’nei Anusim Center for Education. He is the author of The Converso Dilemma: Halakhic Responsa and the Status of Forced Converts and The Karaites: And the Question of Jewish Identity.

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