Virtual Tour
INDEX
People
Abravanel, Don Isaac
Berg, Moe
Berle, Milton
Berlin, Irving
Bernstein, Leonard
Brandeis, Louis D.
Cardozo, Benjamin
Columbus, Christopher
Einstein, Albert
Elion, Gertrude
Frankel,Jacob
Gershwin, George
Ginsburg, Ruth Bader
Gompers, Samuel
Goode, Alexander
Goodman, Benny
Gratz, Rebecca
Greenberg, Hank
Hillman, Sidney
Houdini, Harry
Jefferson, Thomas
Karpeles , Leopold
Lazarus, Emma
Lehman, Herbert H.
Levy, Asser
Levy, Uriah P.
Magnes, Judah L.
Meir, Golda
Miller, Arthur
Myerson, Bess
Noah, Mordecai.
Ochs, Adolph
Rose, Ernestine
Rosenthal, Robert
Ross, Barney

Salk, Jonas
Salomon, Haym
Santangel, Luis de
Sarnoff, David
Schick, Bela
Seixas, Gershom M.
Singer, Isaac B.
Stern, Isaac
Straus, Isidor & Ida
Strauss, Levi
Streisand, Barbra
Szold, Henrietta
Torres, Luis de
Touro, Judah

Wacks, Mel

Wald, Lillian

Washington, George
Wiesel, Elie
Zacuto, Abraham

Medal by Paul Vincze, Columbus & Jewish Expulsion from Spain (1992).

Spanish Expulsion (1492)

The history of Spanish (Sephardic) Jewry goes back at least 2,000 year to the time of the Roman Empire. The first anti-Jewish laws were passed in 589 CE, when it was ruled that children of a mixed Jewish-Christian marriage should be baptized ... and this soon led to a policy of forced conversion of all Jews in the kingdom. In 1694, the 17th Council of Toledo made all Spanish Jews slaves. In the period of Arabic rule (after 711 CE), the Jews of Spain fared better ... scholarship and culture flourished. Beginning in 1478, in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, no less than 13,000 secret Jews (Conversos) were executed by the Inquisition. At the same time, the monarchs continued to employ Jewish functionaries - such as Don Isaac Abravanel - in their court. On March 31, 1492 the Edict of Expulsion was signed, resulting in 300,000 Sephardic Jews leaving for refuge in North Africa, Turkey, etc. The last Jews left on August 2, 1492, the day before Columbus sailed, that was also the traditional day of mourning (9th of Av) for the destruction of the First and Second Temples. Thus, the first words Columbus wrote in his log were: "After you expelled the Jews your majesties sent me with a fleet."


Luis de Torres

The only known Jew on Columbus' voyage was Luis de Torres, though he had to be baptized shortly before sailing. Torres knew Hebrew, Aramaic and some Arabic. Simon Wiesenthal speculates (in Sails of Hope) that "after the landfall in America, the first words addressed to the natives were Hebrew." What is known for sure is that Torres was the first European settler in the New World. He set up his own small empire in Cuba, after leading an expedition into its interior and winning the friendship of the Indian ruler. As an independent ruler of Spanish territory, Torres received an annual allowance from the Spanish royal family.


Click Here to Take Christopher Columbus & Spanish Expulsion Quiz

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