Spanish Inquisition left genetic legacy in Iberia

From New Scientist: Spanish Inquisition left genetic legacy in Iberia.

It’s not often that cultural and religious persecution makes countries more diverse, but the Spanish Inquisition might have done just that.

One in five Spaniards and Portuguese has a Jewish ancestor, while a tenth of Iberians boast North African ancestors, finds new research.

This melting pot probably occurred after centuries of coexistence and tolerance among Muslims, Jews and Christians ended in 1492, when Catholic monarchs converted or expelled the Islamic population, called Moriscos. Sephardic Jews, whose Iberian roots extend to the first century AD, received much the same treatment.

"They were given a choice: convert, go, or die," says Mark Jobling, a geneticist at the University of Leicester, UK. Some of those that became Christian would have ended up contributing genes to the Iberian pool.

Historians know that [continue].

Thanks to Sarah for telling me about this story.

2 thoughts on “Spanish Inquisition left genetic legacy in Iberia

  1. I just finished a book by Bryan Sykes covering the genetics of, well, Saxons, Vikings and Celts (not so coincidentally, the name of the book) that tracked the Muslim/Jewish/Spanish ancestry of the British Isles.

  2. Really interesting story- thanks! My Irish family carries a hereditary disease gene- from a Mediteranean disease. We have always assumed that a Spanish soldier/sailor from the Armada ended up in Ireland and brought his darn disease with him. Now we can guess where *he* might have gotten it.

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