Perhaps it is fate, but Spain was united with the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella and in 1492, they not merely funded Christopher Columbus, they also began the expulsion of the Jews and Muslims. Christopher Columbus’s diary begins: “In the same month in which their Majesties [Ferdinand and Isabella] issued the edict that all Jews should be driven out of the kingdom and its territories, in the same month they gave me the order to undertake with sufficient men my expedition of discovery to the Indies.”
The beginning of the rise of Spain in 1492 curiously marks 516 years (51.6 * 10) to the start of its economic demise – 2008. The expulsion that Columbus refers to was so cataclysmic an event that ever since, the date 1492 has been almost as important in Jewish history as in American history. On July 30 of that year, the entire Jewish community, some 200,000 people, were expelled from Spain.
What goes around comes around. Now Spain and Portugal want to make amends for their past sins – but they are also in deed of productive people to restore their economy. They will now give citizenship – full passports – to the descendants of families expelled from their countries. The government regards the expulsions as “a tragedy”, or – in the words of Spain’s justice minister – a “historical error”. It was, of course, an ethnic cleansing, a massive crime against humanity. Still, Muslims need not apply. Jewish descendants of those expelled from the Iberian peninsula in the 15th and 16th centuries can claim a passport which will allow them to travel freely in 28 EU countries.
Portugal announced it will exit the bailout feeling it now can sell its own bonds once again. This, of course, will be a brief shining moment for the entire sovereign debt crisis will come to an end for these people borrow, but never reduce their debts.