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Castilian Conversos And Jews In Portugal C.1480-C.1495

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Chapter Summary

This chapter closely examines the social impact of the arrival in Portugal of numerous Jewish converts to Christianity (conversos) fleeing from the Inquisition tribunals of Castile in the 1480s and then of thousands of Jewish refugees who were expelled from Spain in 1492. Using a range of Portuguese, Spanish and Hebrew sources, the chapter argues that the consequences of these events for the Kingdom of Portugal have been vastly exaggerated by modern historians. The impact of 1492 in particular was mitigated by the fact that the majority of Castilian Jews only transited via Portugal and were not allowed to settle there by King Joao II. Whether Christian or Jewish, all the narrative sources agree that it was at the hands of the garrisons of the Portuguese North African strongholds of Arzilla and Tangier and of the local Muslim population that the Jews suffered the greatest harassment and even physical violence.

Keywords: Castilian expulsion of 1492; converso; Jewish convert; King Joao II; port of Arzilla; Portugal; Portuguese Christian



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