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Jews Thriving on Peace of the Rock

URL: http://www.jewishjournal.com/travel/article/jews_thriving_on_peace_of_the_rock_20051202

Long before there was a State of Israel, there was a state of the Jews. Its name was Gibraltar, and it was ceded to Conversos -- Spanish Jews who had been forced to convert to Catholicism -- in 1474 at the urging of Pedro de Herrera of Cordoba, himself a Converso. Herrera convinced the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who had led the recapture of Gibraltar from the Moors in 1462, that special taxes and costs born by Conversos to build homes and maintain a cavalry on the rock would make it worth his financial while to give the Conversos control, as is detailed in a small book devoted to the subject published in 1976. For two years, 4,350 Conversos lived in Gibraltar, until the duke decided he would rather run the show and forced them to return to Cordoba and, ultimately, to the clutches of the Inquisition.

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