Persecutions and expulsions of the Jews

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In 1290 the English king Edward I expelled all Jewish communities living in England. No Jews were officially allowed back until 1656 under Oliver Cromwell.

The largest expulsion of Jews was from Spain in 1492. Jews had lived in the Iberian peninsula (modern day Spain and Portugal) from Roman times. In 711 Islamic rulers conquered the area. Jews were treated very well and entered every walk of life. This period was known as the ‘Golden age’ in Jewish history.

Over the centuries the Islamic rulers were gradually pushed out. The new Christian rulers that emerged wanted Spain to be completely Catholic. They gave the hundreds of thousands of Jews in Spain the option to either convert to Christianity or leave.

Many Jews found refuge in the Ottoman Empire, based in modern-day Turkey and covering much of the Middle East.