July 15: Abolishing the Inquisition

The Spanish Inquisition was officially disbanded on this date in 1834 by a Royal Decree signed by the mother of the child-queen Isabella II. The Inquisition was originally established in Rome by Pope Innocent III (1198-1216); it condemned the Talmud in 1242, and burned thousands of volumes, then inaugurated the first mass burning of Jews […]

Read More

May 31: Victor Hugo and the Jews

French novelist Victor Hugo led a protest meeting in Paris on this date in 1882 to denounce the pogroms in Russia that were devastating Jewish communities and producing a mass exodus to Western Europe and the United States. Later in 1882, Hugo would publish his historical play Torquemada, written in 1869, with the head of […]

Read More

October 19: Ferdinand and Isabella

King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile married on this date in 1469, leading to the unification of their lands into the nation of Spain. Jews on the Iberian Peninsula had converted en masse following anti-Semitic massacres in 1391, and many aristocratic and wealthy families had “Jewish blood” in their ancestry — […]

Read More

March 15: Riots in Seville

An anti-Jewish riot broke out in Seville, Spain on this date in 1391, after years of incitement by Archdeacon Ferrand Martinez, the confessor to the queen. The riot was quickly repressed, but anti-Semitic unrest and lawlessness persisted until a full-scale pogrom broke out on June 6, with 4,000 Jews in Seville killed and the great […]

Read More