This episode starts with a correction about the skin colour of the Moors, brought to you by our Moroccan listener Mohamed.

Then, to set the scene for this episode, we have a special song – “The Alhambra Decree” by legendary contemporary folk singer-songwriter David Rovics. Crazy coincidence – I’ve been a fan of David’s work for 15 years and have been on his mailing list forever. And the same week I happened to be preparing this episode, I saw his latest email that contained this song. So I reached out and he was nice enough to give me permission to use this track.

So what was the Alhambra Decree? It was the 1492 decision, by Isabella and Ferdinand, after they concluded their war with the last remaining Muslim region of Granada, that all of the Jews were to be banished from Spain. But did they really want to banish them? Or just give them an added incentive to convert to Christianity? And why would anyone want to convert to Christianity after the hell the Inquisition had just put the conversos through?

Some gave in under pressure and converted – some stuck to their guns and migrated to Portugal, whose King promised them refuge. Which was great – until the King of Portugal decided he wanted to marry the daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand.

Play