Spanish Inquisition couldn’t quash Moorish, Jewish genes | Science News



Help us keep you informed.

Support Science News.


Spanish Inquisition couldn’t quash Moorish, Jewish genes

Finding suggests modern history, not just prehistory, can leave a strong mark on a region’s genetic signature

11:38am, December 4, 2008

Hold the history book presses. The Moorish invasion of Spain was never completely repelled, a new genetic analysis reveals.

As many as one in 10 men from Spain and Portugal still carry genetic evidence of North African ancestry, and nearly twice that number had Sephardic Jewish ancestors, reveals a study in the Dec. 12 American Journal of Human Genetics. Those results don’t fit with expectations from the historical record.

Sephardic Jews, who were likely in the Iberian Peninsula since Roman times, were supposed to all have fled the region in the wake of pogroms and persecutions between the early eighth and 14th centuries. In the late 15th century, 160,000 Spanish Jews (Sepharadh is the Hebrew word for Spain) were expelled and then settled in other parts of the Mediterranean.

Moors from northern Africa swept into Spain in 711, colonizing the peninsula and spreading Islam. But during the Spanish Inquisition, Spanish Muslims were drive

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content