Located at the westernmost point of southern Europe, Portugal has a long history of cultural and religious pluralism. When King Afonso Henriques proclaimed independence from Castille in the 12th century, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism already coexisted within Portuguese territory. However, this threefold religious society was not to last. In the following centuries, Muslim communities were gradually absorbed into Christianity or fled to North Africa. The Jewish population grew in size and political and economical status until the last decade of the 15th century, when it was confronted with the choice between forced conversion to Catholicism or expulsion. By 1496, as in Spain 4 years earlier, the policy had been fully implemented. The establishment of the Inquisition in 1536 and the regularization of relationships between the ...

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