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Eve of the Encounter Writing Exercises
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Answer each of the following questions using complete sentences.

1. Why did Ferdinand and Isabella decide to expel Jews and Moors from the Iberian peninsula?

2. Describe the economic consequences of the expulsion of Jews and Muslims from Spain.

3. How did the fall of Constantinople in 1453 impact the Reconquista?

Click here to print. Answers will vary.

The decision by Ferdinand and Isabella to expel Jews and Moors (Muslims) from the Iberian Peninsula was primarily influenced by religious, political, and social factors. This event, known as the Alhambra Decree (also the Edict of Expulsion), was issued in 1492 and had several motivations.

Religious Unity: One of the primary reasons was to establish religious uniformity in their newly unified kingdom, which later became Spain. In 1492, they completed the Reconquista, the centuries-long process of retaking the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors, and sought to create a homogeneous Catholic Christian state. The presence of Jews and Moors, who practiced religions other than Catholicism, was seen as an obstacle to religious unity.

Anti-Semitic Sentiments: There was a rising wave of anti-Semitic sentiment in Europe during this period, influenced by various stereotypes and prejudices. Jewish communities faced persecution and violence in different regions. The expulsion of Jews from Spain was in part a reflection of this broader trend.

Financial Gain: Ferdinand and Isabella sought to benefit from confiscating the wealth and property of the expelled Jewish and Moorish populations. This provided a significant economic incentive for the expulsion.

Political Consolidation: By removing these non-Christian groups, the monarchs aimed to consolidate their power and reduce any potential internal dissension or challenges to their rule.

Influence of the Spanish Inquisition: The Spanish Inquisition, established in 1478 with the support of the Catholic monarchs, played a role in identifying individuals whose religious beliefs were deemed heretical. The Inquisition influenced the decision to expel Jews and Moors, as it was used to pressure them to convert to Catholicism. Those who did not convert or whose conversions were deemed insincere were at risk of persecution.

The Alhambra Decree ultimately led to the mass expulsion of Jews and the forced conversions of many others. This event had profound consequences, both for the expelled populations and for the history of Spain and the broader context of European exploration and colonization during that era.
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