Spanish and Portuguese Jews (also known as Western Sephardim, or more ambiguously as Spanish Jews, Portuguese Jews and Jews of the Portuguese Nation) are a distinctive sub-group of Sephardic Jews, descended mostly from Jews who were forcibly or coercedly converted to Catholicism in Spain and Portugal up until the expiration of the few-months deadlines stipulated in the Spanish Alhambra Decree (1492) and its Portuguese counterpart (1497) for the Jews to leave, convert, or face execution. Consequently, those Jews who did not, or could not, leave Spain and Portugal prior to the expiration of the deadlines became New Christian conversos. A century after the Spanish and Portuguese decrees, many among the conversos started emigrating and settling throughout areas of Western Europe up until the 1700s, forming communities and formally reverting to Judaism. MORE
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