1492 Expulsion Edict
[I know this one is a bit esoteric, but the Jews have always hollered and moaned about this particular episode, and seeing as how Queen Isabella was so foresighted as to hock her jewels to finance Columbus's voyage, I'd say we owe her and Ferd a chance to speak for themselves from the void of 500 years. English translation courtesy of Brian Kennedy. - HAC]
THE EDICT OF EXPULSION -- MARCH 31st, 1492
ISABEL and Fernando signed their names on March 31, 1492, to a document commencing thus:
"You know, or ought to know, that since we were informed that there were certain evil Christians in these our realms who Judaized and apostatized from our Holy Catholic Faith, on account of the considerable communication of Jews with Christians, we commanded the said (Jews) in the Cortes which we held in the city of Toledo in the past year 1480, to go apart in all the cities, towns and places of our realms . . .and gave them Jewries and separate places where they might live, hoping that with their segregation the matter might be remedied.
"And moreover we have endeavored and given orders to have inquisition made in our said realms and seignories; which, as you know, has been done for more than twelve years, and is done; and many guilty persons have been sentenced by it, as is well known. . . . (Yet) there remains and is apparent the great injury to the Christians which has resulted and does result from the participation, conversation and communication which they have held and hold with the Jews, who have demonstrated that they would always endeavor, by all possible ways and manners, to subvert and draw away faithful Christians from our Holy Catholic Faith, and separate them from it, and attract and pervert them to their wicked belief and opinion, instructing them in the ceremonies and observances of their law, holding fasts during which they read and teach them what they have to believe and observe according to their law, causing them and their sons to be circumcized . . . notifying them of the Passover feasts before they come . . . giving them and taking to them from their houses unleavened bread and meat slaughtered with ceremonies. . . persuading them as far as possible to hold and observe the law of Moses, giving them to understand that there was no other true law but that; the which is clear from many utterances and confessions, not only by the Jews themselves, but by those who were perverted and injured by them, which has resulted in great harm, detriment and opprobrium to our Holy Catholic Faith.
"For when some serious and detestable crime is committed bycertain ones of a certain college or university, it is right that the college or university be dissolved and annulled, and that the lesser be punished for the greater and the ones for the others; and that those who pervert the good and honest life of cities and towns by the contamination that can injure others be expelled from among the people, even for more trifling causes which are injurious to the public. How much more so for the greatest, most perilous and most contagious of crimes, as this is?
"On this account, we with the counsel and advice of many prelates and noblemen and cavaliers of our realms, and of other persons of knowledge and conscience in our council, having given much deliberation to the subject, have decided to command all of the said Jews, men and women, to leave our kingdoms, and never to return to them.
"All but those who choose to be baptized shall depart by the first day of July and not return under pain of death and confiscation. Any who receive or shelter the Jews after the date assigned shall have all their goods confiscated. But until the time appointed all Jews shall remain under the royal protection, and no one shall hurt them or their property under pain of death. The Jews may take outof Spain no gold, silver, minted money, nor other things forbidden by the laws of our kingdoms, save in merchandise not prohibited or concealed."