Chapter

The Portuguese Experience

Renee Levine Melammed

in A Question of Identity

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780195170719
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835416 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195170717.003.0004
 The Portuguese Experience

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The small Jewish community of Portugal was rapidly vastly outnumbered by the incoming Spanish exiles who crossed their borders in 1492. In 1497, the king decided not to expel the Jews in his land, but rather subjected them all to forced conversions. Following this, anti-converso sentiment was expressed in riots in Lisbon in 1506 and eventually the Portuguese Inquisition was established in 1536 to deal with Judaizing. The conversos in Portugal could choose to remain there, as did many Lisbon bankers who even intermarried with Old Christians, or they could opt for emigration to nearby Spain once it united with Portugal in 1580, or, for that matter, they could go elsewhere. It is during this period that the converso, no matter where he lived, began to identify as a member of the Nation.

Keywords: Portugal; Spanish exiles; forced conversions; Judaizing; riots in Lisbon; Lisbon bankers; emigration; the Nation

Chapter.  8343 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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