Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Today in Church History 1492

Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain sign an edict giving Jewish residents three months to leave the country. An estimated 150,000 Jews fled, the last reportedly leaving August 2, the traditional anniversary of the destruction of the first and second temples. The next day, August 3, Christopher Columbus sailed for America.

Tens of thousands of Jewish refugees died. Many were murdered by when rumours spread that Jews had swallowed gold and silver to take with them in order to open their stomachs to find the gold. They were charged exorbitant fees to take ships away from Spain and then thrown overboard in the middle of the ocean. Many starved in fields and were killed by wild animals.

Sultan Bajazet welcomed Jews to Turkey. "How can you call Ferdinand of Aragon a wise king," he was fond of asking, "the same Ferdinand who impoverished his own land and enriched ours?"

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