Saturday, September 4, 2010

What Happened to the Marranos, the Black Moorish Jews of Spain?

What Happened to the Marranos, the Black Moorish Jews of Spain?

Beginning in 1478, in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, no less than 13,000 Marranos (Black Jews) were executed by the Inquisition. At the same time, the monarchs continued to employ Jewish functionaries – such as Don Isaac Abravanel – in their court. Luis de Torres another Spanish black Jew played a pivotal role in Christoph Colon’s (Cristobal Colon, or Christopher Columbus) first journey to North America.

In 1480s the Spanish inquisition was launched, and hundreds of thousands of jews and muslims were hounded, persecuted, jailed, slaved and deported.

On March 31, 1492 the Edict of Expulsion was signed, resulting in 300,000 Marranos Black Jews to the coast of Benin/Guinea in West Africa. Sao Tome, Principe, Cabo Verde were some of the places that they were first sent. Their cemetries, and descendants still exist today on those Islands to verify this account.

The last Jews left on August 2, 1492, the day before Columbus sailed. The first words Columbus wrote in his log were: “After you expelled the Jews your majesties sent me with a fleet.”

That was also the traditional day of mourning (9th of Av) for the destruction of the First and Second Temples.

In 1694, the 17th Council of Toledo made all Spanish Jews slaves. They were shipped to the Island of Jamaica and Hispaniola. Others went to Sao Tome, Cabo Verde, and Mauritius. Many of them escaped the Spanish jurisdiction and began independent communes in the hinterlands or the mountains. The Spanish word “Marroons” is a play on their Spanish ethnic designation the “Marranos” (rather than “cimarron” root the conventionally accepted root).

Marranos (means Moorish Jews in Spanish) were the black Jews of Spain who ruled that country for 700 years with the black Muslims of Morocco, Senegal and Nigeria.

Extracted from the article, "The Marranos: The Black Moorish Jews of Spain and Benin (Guinean) Coast-Part 1" by Oguejiofo Annu.


Photo: Map of Spain 910-1492, posted at, originally from Cambridge University Press.

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