By George Fowler
The grand and glorious epic of Ferdinand and Isabella is the stuff of which great novels, plays and movies are made; yet there have been none. After you read this you will understand why the media hates these great monarchs, whose place in history and their accomplishments cannot be discussed and honestly evaluated anywhere else other than in the pages of The Barnes Review.
We can understand something of the intrepid folk struggle for Spain’s sovereignty, five and more centuries ago, by way of a better perception of that nation’s 1936 to 1939 “civil war.” From contemporary academic lectures on campus to the voice-overs of frequently presented television documentaries, the impression is given that the Communist dominated forces of “Republican Spain” were those of a true Spain, overwhelmed by fascist might from outside. Largely dismissed, together with the massive outside assistance given the Red bannered leftist coalition as well as to that received by the Nationalists, was the incredible dedication, under awful circumstances, of Spain’s nationalist millions. Without that folk demand for national freedom from alien perversities, neither the earlier nor the more recent struggle would have known triumph.
Today, growing millions of French people push aside their storied cynicism and long affected cosmopolitan veneer to shout Fin to the prospect of a Gaul divided into perpetually antagonistic parts. Even in a still largely white America, drenched in generations of Statue of Liberty veneration, people are now openly expressing their outrage at the prospect of a 21st century U.S. Motleyland.
Spain is a country that many of us have visited. It would be hard to imagine that many have departed, assuming a degree of contact with Spain’s people, without a sense of that nation’s strong inner being. At the heart of it, this inner being of the people, not the royal knights, armor and splendid horses of old, nor the Condor Legion planes of a much more recent eruption, in the final, held Spain for the Spaniards. This is not to say that the sunny Iberian nation was not blessed, in that most eventful and crucial year of 1492, with decent and wise sovereigns who harkened to the people’s will.
The 1467 marriage of Isabella of Cas tile (1451-1504) and Ferdinand of Aragon (1452-1516) was a momentous one for the Iberian world east of Portugal on the North Atlantic, which was then a powerful and adventuresome sea power. Their joint rule of these two vast portions of Spain commenced in 1474. It would also prove a most positive union relative to the Western world. What is Spain today was composed of four principalities. Castile stretched wide from the Bay of Biscay down to the Straits of Gibraltar. Aragon (below Spain’s much smaller Navarra and France) bordered Castile to its west and ran several hundred miles down the coast of the Balearic Sea to where it met Castile on the northern Mediterranean. Stretching across much of southern Castile, and meeting it in the west-central tip at Gibraltar, was lightly populated Granada.
The term “marriage of convenience” runs throughout the history of higher civilization’s thrones, but the story of Ferdinand and Isabella began and endured as a magical dream in reality, that which is so rare between kings and queens, sovereigns and their consorts. In the perpetually popular but fictional Prisoner of Zenda, Princess Flavia forsakes her deep love for Rudolph Rassandy, the look-alike distant English cousin of King Rudolf V. This because duty demands that she marry the king.
In the real-life extraordinary couple, we have a Romeo and Juliet who lived, to bind their love in marriage, as they would eventually wed the two great houses of Iberia. Isabella was a lovely and intelligent 16 in 1467 when her half-brother, King Henry IV of Castile, commanded that she marry a middle aged baron called the Master of Calatrava; the head of a powerful order of knights. Retiring to her quarters, Isabella fell to her knees seeking divine deliverance, praying a full day and night without food or sleep. As if providentially, word soon reached King Henry’s castle that “The Master,” travelling to Madrid for the marriage, had died in a village inn.
Soon, Henry pressured Isabella to marry his ally Dom Affonso V, the King of Portugal [r. 1438-1481]. But Isabella’s heart yearned for the marital embraces of Prince Ferdinand of Aragon, whose family was close to Castilian nobles dedicated to Isabella. Although but 17, Ferdinand had already gained repute as a gallant lover and a supurb warrior. The princess had never seen Ferdinand, but her chaplain told her that he was “handsome in face, body and person.”
Isabella was staying at Ocána when she received word that Henry was planning to kidnap her; to detain her in Madrid until she agreed to marry the Portuguese king. Isabella immediately sent word to the King of Aragon, stating that she wished to marry Ferdinand. Aragon’s ruler was overjoyed. However, he was bankrupt following a war with France. He therefore sent his crown jewels to Isabella. In the meantime, she fled to Valladolid; the bishop of Toledo and 600 knights having hastened to her defense.
King Henry had issued a decree banning Ferdinand from the kingdom of Castile. After several tense weeks, Ferdinand entered Castile disguised as a scruffy servant boy. Under cover of night, Ferdinand moved warily through the streets of Valladolid to Isabella’s mansion. There they embraced, under the kind gaze of Toledo’s bishop. On October 19, 1469, following a romantic adventure that would defy the finest pens of fiction, the eloped couple sealed their love in matrimony—a marriage that would give birth to Spain.
Ferdinand and Isabella’s employment of Christopher Columbus would prove an exceptionally fortuitous decision. With the Genoan sailing so successfully under the colors of their recently forged nation, it would signal that Spain was within near horizons of eclipsing the seafaring fame of its Iberian neighbor, Portugal.
In The Portuguese Seaborne Empire, C.R. Boxer dates the beginning of Por tu gal’s Atlantic Ocean discoveries to about 1419. They essentially “ended with the return of Vasco da Gama to Lisbon in July, 1499, some six years after the completion of Christopher Columbus’ epic voyage of discovery to the Antilles.” Columbus had honed his high seas navigation capacities on Portuguese ships. By bringing Columbus under the Spanish banner, by showing confidence in a man who had known personally unfathomable rejection, the dual monarchs had set Spain toward a near century of maritime domination [the destruction of Spain’s Armada, 1588] that would gain the recently united county considerable wealth and respect. Spain would not always be great. But the romantic union of the boy from Aragon and the girl from Castile was instrumental in ensuring that Spain would always be a world entity rather than a semi-isolated backwater.
If the “signing” of Columbus was a combination of timely masterstroke and highly consequential historic luck, so too was the taking of Granada from the Moslems; adding that internal land on the Mediterranean to the nation while allowing those who chose to stay to do so. Granada’s full significance to Europe as well as to Spain would become evident within three decades. During Ferdinand and Isabella’s time, the Moslem Ottoman Empire had comprised virtually the same territory as had the East Roman Empire. But under Sultan Sulieman II [ r.1520 to 1566] the Moslem gaze turned toward Europe and against Christendom.
Sulieman, striking into the Balkans, captured Belgrade in 1521. He crossed the Danube in 1526. Although the Moslem seige of Vienna failed, they forced a partitian of Hungary; the smaller portion going to Austria. Under Ottoman law, only Moslems could be “citizens,” while Christians and Jews were “subjects.” Had Ferdinand and Isabella not consolidated Christian Spain to the sea, it does not seem unlikely that a strategically situated Moslem base in Iberia would have further whetted the Ottoman appetite.
This remarkable and historically vital story of love and destiny was adopted into a great novel, nor did it ever reach the world’s screens as one of the great all time motion pictures. One might attribute this to the anti-Western bias of the great publishing houses and movie studios.
Medieval Spain had largely been prepared for its capacities to withstand martial and spiritual siege by the well advanced Visigoths, who had conquered that land and established the Visigothic Kingdom in the 470s. They were a west Germanic people who had lived within the confines of the Roman Empire for a century. In the course of this they had adopted many of the positive qualities of that then-declining civilization, including Christianity.
In his The Quest for El Cid, Richard Fletcher wrote of “the Goths’ determination to maintain the apparatus of Roman civilization. Fletcher observed: “In matters of government, economy and culture broadly conceived, there was a much greater degree of continuity from Roman to post-Roman in Visigothic Spain than there was in Frankish Gaul or Anglo-Saxon England.”
For better or worse, the Visigothic in fluence would fade after making permanent structural imprints within Spain. Archaeologists and monastic records both indicate the onset of an economic malaise, from about the year 600. This, apparently, can be traced not only to the failure to establish a stable Visigothic succession but to the arrival of bubonic plague along Europe’s Mediterranean shores; a severe debilitation that would last some two centuries.
The late Professor William L. Langer, Coolidge Professor of History at Harvard, dated the advent of Moslem Spain to Iberian incursions that commenced in 1037. A number of small Moslem (Arabic-Berber) dynasties rallied under the most distinguished of them, the Abbasids, to war against Alfonso VI. The Moslem presence in western North Africa emanates from the growth of Islam under Moham med in the seventh century. By the time of his death in 632 the faith that he had established in Mecca had spread through many of the Arabic tribes to what is now Algeria and Morocco.
Between 1056 and 1147 a (white North African) Berber dynasty, founded by the Berber prophet Abdullah ibn Tashfin, conquered Morocco and part of Algeria. They were then called upon by the Abbasids to strengthen the Moorish gains in southern Spain against the Chris tians. In 1085 Alfonso VI wrested the northern prize of Toledo from the Moors.
Alarmed at this success, the Moslems called from North Africa Yusufibn Tashfin, the powerful leader of the newly dominant sect of Berber fanatics, the Almoravids. With the support of strong Moorish forces at Seville, Tashfin began a successful counteroffensive against the Christians. In a most significant struggle, these allies established Moorish Spain, with the exception of Toledo and Saragossa.
Christian reconquest ef forts began under Alfon so VI, with the aid of Spain’s revered legend, El Cid (Rodrigo Diaz). In his The Quest for El Cid Richard Fletcher points out that the title derived from the Arabic sayyid, meaning “lord” or “master.” He was of noble Cas til ian birth and died in 1099. In Spain it was conferred on Rodrigo Diaz as meaning “commander” or caudillo, as Fran cisco Fran co would be referred to following the 1936-1939 struggle. Over the centuries El Cid has re mained Spain’s premium folk hero. He was in fact a warrior for hire, although his most effective services were under the royal banners. He also found time to fight and lead effectively at the head of the Granada standards.
Self-enriched mercenary Diaz did perform mightily in Spain’s behalf regarding the winning or holding of key points, such as Valencia. Fletcher states that the record establishes Alfonso VI as “one of the greatest rulers of the age” who served Spain well. El Cid did become a trusted and martial vital servant to Alphonso, a monarch without a son.
Upon the death of Alphonso VII in 1157, his dominions were divided into the separate kingdoms of Leon and Castile. In 1212 Alfonso VIII won a decisive battle against the Moors at Las Navas de Tolosa.
Alphonso VIII died in 1214 and Henry I became King of Castile. Fernando (Ferdinand) III reunited the crowns of Leon and Castile in 1230, upon Henry’s death. The Spaniards built upon this strength, pushing a crusading reconquest deep into Spain’s southern regions. In 1236 Ferdinand III conquered Cordoba, and retook Seville the following year. The time had arrived when the Christian fortunes were not again to be reversed. But who, in effect, did constitute this once-surging but now reduced Moorish presence?
As articulated in the July 1995 issue of The Barnes Review (“The Untold Story of Othello” by John Tiffany), “the Moors” were indeed tribes of Arabs and tribes of white Berbers. They were not in any way “blackamoors,” as William Shakespeare (his reasons being continually argued) chose to portray the famed but fictional Othello.
The white-Arabic Moorish holdings in Spain, often mercurial and piecemeal in their territorial nature as implied above, lasted for almost four centuries. Their cultural and artistic legacy would be as permanent as it is undeniable.
In Farewell Espana—The World of the Sephardim Remembered, author Howard M. Sachar noted that within the Moslem-Berber Moorish communities of both North Africa and southern Spain there were a significant minority of Jews. Across the thin Mediterranean divide from Spain, these Jews were concentrated mostly in the Atlas Mountain range of Morocco and Algeria. In the 14th century, particularly after Spain’s widespread 1391 folk outbursts against the Jewish presence, a large number of the more affluent Jews from Castile, Aragon and the Balearic Islands made their way back to the above Jewish enclaves.
In The Expulsion of the Jews—500 Years of Exodus author Yale Strom wrote that the name Sephardim had its origins in reference to a country to which Jews exiled from Jerusalem moved. He continued: “Consequently, following the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, and from Portugal in 1496, the Jews from the Iberian peninsula—and their descendants—were called Sephardim.”
As stated in The Spanish World by J. H. Elliott, by the late 14th century, “growing hostility against Jews exploded in the Hispanic kingdoms, where they already suffered from legal disabilities” that barred them from many official positions. Toward the middle of the 15th century another, and quite bloody wave of anti-Jewish violence on the part of the people (whether instigated, spontaneous or both), began in Andalusia.
The 1391 risings against the Jews had led to a unique Spanish development. Large numbers of Jews, at the instigation of the clergy, became converts to Chris tianity—conversos. Those embracing the Church (although the majority did so in a most pragmatic spirit) enjoyed social and professional relief. These rather massive play-act conversions were evidently well meant as both a conversion vehicle and a social discord dampener. However, the Spaniard in the street, Juan Q. Sanchez, if you will, was largely unimpressed, and not at all respectful of the country’s “instant Christians.” In 1449 major rioting against them erupted once more, in Toledo. Part of the problem, as seen by some contemporary Spaniards, may have been that, conversos or not, their numbers were far too many.
In Isabel the Queen, author Peggy K. Liss points out that during the centuries of the Roman Empire (thus prior to the Moorish incursions), Spain’s Jewish pop ulation had become the largest in Europe. Evidently the largely agrarian Spaniards did not require the immediate prompting of churchmen or noblemen (although such was dispensed to varying degrees) to perceive these aliens as aliens of a most particular stripe. Among the overwhelmingly sympathetic post-World War II authors addressing questions relative to the Jews in earlier Spain, Liss wrote that, in the time of Alfonso X (r. 1252-1284), the Spanish folk perception was that “Jews only existed because they had refused to be freed (from Satanic influences); thus they were still in thrall to the Devil, indeed prominent among those sinners who positively aided him and swelled his army in the battle for souls.”
Many have theorized through the centuries that an at least partial factor relative to societal anti-Semitism in Spain and elsewhere is the general sense that Judaism constitutes large parts of tribal cultism and contains minimal spiritual qualities. In The Early History of God, author Mark S. Smith (assistant professor, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Yale University) concludes that ancient Israelite monotheism was not an outright rejection of foreign, pagan gods. Judaism was, Smith concluded, “an internal evolution toward the establishment of a distinctly separate Israeli identity and the recognition of a single, if vague, universal deity.”
Smith quotes Lydus, a sixth century AD Greek philosopher: “There has been and is much disagreement among theologians about the god honored among the Hebrews.” Smith found that the view expressed by Lydus is as current today as when the Greek wrote it. Thus, in earlier Spain as in subsequent societies, respect for a generally accepted faith (the West’s own no-quarter religious wars being noted) did not act as even a partial shield for those within the fold of what, in recent years, has been referred to insensitively as a “gutter religion.” In any event the Moorish era swelled considerably a Jewish presence already long established.
As stated above, the Visigoth political structure virtually vanished from Spain. But the monastic network they had largely emplaced continued to serve in areas that had come under Moorish domain. They stood somewhat in the manner of cavalry posts on our 19th century western frontier, as points of strength amid an often hostile landscape.
The link between the Spaniards and the monkish enclaves was temporal and practical as well as spiritual. The monasteries, often well endowed, served as non-interest charging banks to Spaniards of means, as advanced teachers of farming methods to the peasantry, and as breeders of fine equestrian stock. For these as well as for spiritual reasons, they became centers of hatred within the breasts of Spain’s antagonists. It was an animosity that would not ebb with time, as witnessed by the unspeakable outrages committed against monasteries, churches, and their religious personages by the “Republican” forces in the latter 1930s.
Since the reign of Alfonso X, Jewish communities were treated as royal protectorates; separate in matters of taxes, administrative matters and culture. By the early 15th century royal regents issued or reissued stringent ordinances regarding Jews and Moslems. This severity reached a point where Jews were obliged to wear red clothing patches, and were forbidden to sell food, clothing or medicine to Christians.
They were not to give their children Chris tian names nor to employ Christians as tenant farmers or day laborers. This latter inconvenience was particularly severe from a functional standpoint, as were the merchant trade restrictions. In addition, from Rome, Pope Benedict XIII issued a bull prohibiting Jews from having Talmuds or Hebrew books. The sum of it prompted many Jews to move from Spain’s Christian environs to Moor-held Granada, North Africa and various non-Spanish European locales.
In his The Spanish Centuries, Alan Lloyd offers two quotes attributed not to individuals, but as the summations of widely held Spanish sentiments:
“They possess the fat of the land and live in greater prosperity than the natives, though neither tilling and sowing, nor building and fighting, nor engaging in honest labor.”
“By incessant scheming, they carry off the fruits of every man’s toil, enjoying power, favor and riches.”
Lloyd wrote it was also perceived that “learned and highly placed” Christians who frequented the company of the Marranos (another term for actual or feigned Jewish converts) became “gluttons and big eaters, never losing their Jewish tastes in food . . . and their houses smelled foul in consequence, while they themselves developed the same malodor as the Jews.” There was then, even following the device of conversion, a popular animosity, the intensity of which has been reached in other ages and in other societies.
Most historians see the 1492 decree of Jewish expulsion as primarily motivated by Ferdinand. In 1486, a member of the Inquisition that had been structured largely to effect conversions of both Moors and Jews was murdered in Zara goza by Jewish conversos. Popular riots against the Jews ensued, and Ferdinand ordered the Jews of Zaragoza expelled. Thus, even under benevolent monarchs who had both Jews and converso Jews in positions of high trust, the Jewish population did not feel secure.
The Jews, whose suspicion, disdain and even hatred of nationalism would grow through the centuries, had welcomed the 1469 Castile-Aragon union that would, in effect, create Spain when Ferdinand and Isabella became joint sovereigns in 1474. Jane S. Gerber wrote in her The Jews of Spain that the Israelites in Iberia felt that the sum effect would prove stabilizing in their behalf: “From their tragic past experience as a small, vulnerable minority in medieval Europe, they learned that their best hope for security lay with a strong central power that could keep order.”
Here, in so many words, was an attempt in Spain to repeat a pattern employed before and since: To bring the royal or governing parties of a particular nation into a situation of reliance and indebtedness, thereby assuring (or hoping to assure) official protection against seemingly perpetual folk uprisings.
When Ferdinand and Isabella came to power, such figures as the queen’s personal physician, the learned Lorenzo Badoc, were Jewish. Beyond this, the new sovereigns had made clear their displeasure regarding any violence or expressions of negative sentiment aimed at Jews. Time, experience, and the counter-influences of prominent anti-Jewish figures within and outside the Church would temper this initial royal sentiment.
No doubt many uncelebrated minor incidents, now lost in history’s dust, contributed to Spain’s final decision to expel. But occasional major flare-ups were to continue. Cordoba was a city with a large population of conversos that not only tended toward wealth but were plentiful in that city’s government. They were under the protection of that city’s lord, Alonso de Aguilar, a man belonging to one of Spain’s proudest families. During the Lenten period of 1473, the Cofradia de la Caridad, a fraternity composed essentially of artisans, held a procession through Cordoba’s streets.
From an upper window of a converso home, a person said to be a young girl tossed a bucket of liquid. Whether or not it was simply dirty water, it splashed over a statue of the Blessed Mother. Within moments, it spread through the street congregation that a Jewess had thrown a bucket of urine on the processional statue. From peasants to knights and squires, the populace rose against the conversos, sacking and burning their houses and killing a number of them.
In 1973 (two years before the death of Francisco Franco, which would signal the “modernization” of Spain under a quasi-socialistic government and a very liberal King Juan Carlos) Pedro de Escavias wrote of the Cordoba uprising in his book Repertorio de principes de Espana: “And from the uprising a fiery spark leaped out from the city to all the neighboring places.” Isabella was certainly more hopeful than her husband of quelling the growing animosity, by way of persuading conversos to convert in fact. The queen was instrumental in having the archbishop of the vast province of Seville circulate pastoral letters relative to the sacraments, Church observances and the principles of Christian life.
In Spain and the Jews Haim Beinart, a professor of Jewish History at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, wrote that “the first steps to solve the converso problem were taken by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1477 . . . the Spanish Inquisition, like its forerunner the Papal Inquisition founded by Pope Gregory IX in the thirties of the 13th century, was a Church instruction whose purpose was to solve a socio-religious problem within the framework of the state . . . its objective being to extirpate what was considered by Church and State as a heresy and to put a stop to the conversos’ relapse and [their] return to the faith and ways of life of their forefathers.”
The extent and intricacies of this situation—problem were so vast and complex within Spain, with both contemporary and subsequent sources pointing spotlights of guilt in the direction of all involved, that it is beyond extended discussion in an article. It is enough to observe that, for all the cruelties and tragedies that pertained, there is a sense of the ridiculous. Attempts toward wholesale Jewish conversion, both benevolent and vindictive, assumed a capacity to remake a people with unique mores and characteristics. No doubt blinded by the hope of spiritual intercession, those who would effect true mass conversions neglected to consider the realities of mortal beings. The chances of success were no greater than would be an attempt to turn Koreans into Danes.
Thus the year 1492 arrived. Ferdinand and Isabella would set history onto new paths. In 1483 the Genoan Cristoforo Colombo had appealed to King John II of Portugal for financing the expedition to the west. Portugal had already financed expeditions to the Azores. For whatever reasons, Columbus was rejected following apparently serious consideration. In 1486, through the mediation of Fran ciscan monks, he submitted his project to reach Asia to Ferdinand and Isabella.
In 1492, the initially discouraged Genoan was resummoned to the Spanish court. His first voyage under the colors of Spain to the Caribbean lasted from August 3, 1492 to March 15, 1493.
In 1492 the final siege of Granada commenced when its Moslem leader Boabdil recanted his promise to turn over the city when the Moor-held eastern provinces fell to the crown. In 1491 the monarchs had called up their nobles and knights for the final push. All men of Castile aged 18 to 60 were ordered to enlist in military companies. As the Spanish encamped before Granada, Ferdinand knighted his son, Juan, who had just turned 13. The young man was now a caballero, who would accompany his father on future expeditions and who had the power to knight the young sons of grandees.
The Venetian ambassador to Spain, Andrea Navagiero, was present at the actual fighting. Killed in action was always, and always will be, killed in action. But at Granada the personal aspects, the color, romance and chivalry were in magnificent contrast to the modern age “Desert Storm” tech-sterility of war by unisex military persons. Navagiero wrote:
There were daily encounters, and every day there was some fine feat of arms. All the nobility of Spain was there, and all were competing in the conquest of fame. The Queen and her court urged each one on. There was not a lord present who was not enamored of one of the ladies of the Queen, and these ladies were not only witnesses to what was done upon the field, but often handed the sallying warriors their weapons, granting them at the same time some favor, together with a request that they show by their deeds how great was the power of their love. What man so vile, so lacking in spirit, that he would not have defeated every powerful foe and redoubtable adversary . . . one can say that this war was won by love.
The Moors signed the final documents of surrender on November 25, 1492, and those wishing to return to North Africa were granted 65 days in which to depart. To those who remained in Granada, Ferdinand and Isabella guaranteed their lives, property and a promise to respect, under a Castilian governor, their right of religion and of education under Moslem doctos and alfaquies. In 1502 the Moors would be expelled from Castile.
Earlier, in March 1492, the terms of the Jewish expulsion had been relatively lenient. But their parting situation, de facto, was less kind. Their goods and properties were relinquished at cut rates, as they hastened to meet a July 1492 departure deadline. Some Spaniards of higher caste, no doubt the Queen herself, sympathized considerably with their situation. Others felt that the Jews had, over the centuries, taken from Spain and befouled Spain to such a degree that they were exiting under most lenient terms.
The contemporary Jewish writer Yale Strom wrote that the “expulsion sent 200,000 [other estimates run as high as 250,000.—Ed.] Sephardim along perilous paths to uncertain futures. They formed a new dispersion within a dispersion. Not only did they long to be in the land of Israel someday, but, because of their long sojourn in Spain, they wished to continue their Sephardic culture.”
The Sephardim assimilated other Jews, living along the Aegean coast and in the Balkans. The bulk of the exiles from Spain spread largely throughout the then-Ottoman Empire. They would, of course, enter England, France, Germany, Poland, Russia, etc. But their trials and those of other Jews living within Christian and Moslem civilizations would be plagued by national and local animosities not unlike those they had experienced in Spain.
Boxer, C. R., The Portuguese Seaborne Empire 1415-1825, Hutchinson & Co., Ltd., London, 1969.
Elliott, J.H., editor, The Spanish World, Thames and Hidson Ltd., London, 1991.
Fletcher, Richard, The Quest for El Cid, Alfred A. Knopf Inc., New York, 1990.
Gerber, Jane S., The Jews of Spain—A History of the Sephardic Experience, MacMillan, Inc., New York, 1992.
Hayes, Carleton J., A Political History of Modern Europe (Vol. I), The MacMillan Co., New York, 1932.
Kedourie, Elie, editor, Spain and the Jews—The Sephardi Experience 1492 and After, Thames and Hudson Ltd., London, 1992.
Langer, Prof. William L., compiler and editor, An Encyclopedia of World History, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1940.
Liss, Peggy K., Isabel the Queen, Oxford University Press, New York/London, 1992.
Sachar, Howard M., Farewell Espana: The World of the Sephardim Remembered, Alfred A. Knopf, Incl., New York, 1994.
Strom, Yale, The Expulsion of Jews—
500 Years of Exodus, Shapolsky Publishers, Inc., New York, 1992.