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Author: Francois Soyer
In Antisemitic Conspiracy Theories in the Early Modern Iberian World: Narratives of Fear and Hatred, François Soyer offers the first detailed historical analysis of antisemitic conspiracy theories in Spain, Portugal and their overseas colonies between 1450 and 1750. These conspiracy theories accused Jews and conversos, the descendants of medieval Jewish converts to Christianity, of deadly plots and blamed them for a range of social, religious, military and economic problems. Ultimately, many Iberian antisemitic conspiracy theorists aimed to create a ‘moral panic’ about the converso presence in Iberian society, thereby justifying the legitimacy of ethnic discrimination within the Church and society. Moreover, they were also exploited by some churchmen seeking to impose an idealized sense of communal identity upon the lay faithful.
Author: François Soyer
In 1496-7, King Manuel I of Portugal forced the Jews of his kingdom to convert to Christianity and expelled all his Muslim subjects. Portugal was the first kingdom of the Iberian Peninsula to end definitively Christian-Jewish-Muslim coexistence, creating an exclusively Christian realm. Drawing upon narrative and documentary sources in Portuguese, Spanish and Hebrew, this book pieces together the developments that led to the events of 1496-7 and presents a detailed reconstruction of the persecution. It challenges widely held views concerning the impact of the arrival in Portugal of the Jews expelled from Castile in 1492, the diplomatic wrangling that led to the forced conversion of the Portuguese Jews in 1497 and the causes behind the expulsion of the Muslim minority.
Author: Francois Soyer
This book charts the history and influence of the most vitriolic and successful anti-Semitic polemic ever to have been printed in the early modern Hispanic world and offers the first critical edition and translation of the text into English. First printed in Madrid in 1674, the Centinela contra judíos (“Sentinel against the Jews”) was the work of the Franciscan Francisco de Torrejoncillo, who wrote it to defend the mission of the Spanish Inquisition, to call for the expansion of discriminatory racial statutes and, finally, to advocate in favour of the expulsion of all the descendants of converted Jews from Spain and its empire. Francisco de Torrejoncillo combined the existing racial, theological, social and economic strands within Spanish anti-Semitism to demonize the Jews and their converted descendants in Spain in a manner designed to provoke strong emotional responses from its readership.
Author: Francois Soyer
From the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions conducted a number of trials against individuals accused by members of their communities of being of the other gender – men accused of being women and women accused of being men – or even hermaphrodites.
Using new inquisitorial sources, this study examines the complexities revolving around transgenderism and the construction of gender identity in the early modern Iberian World. It throws light upon the manner in which the Inquisition, medical practitioners and the wider society in Spain and Portugal responded to transgenderism and on the self-perception of individuals whose behaviour, whether consciously or unconsciously, flouted these social and sexual conventions.
Author: François Soyer

In 1505, King Manuel I of Portugal (1495-1521) ordered the public printing of a letter officially addressed to Pope Julius II. In the letter, the Portuguese King defended his role as a champion of Christendom and scourge of Islam in the Indian Ocean. The most remarkable claim made by Manuel in this letter was that he was directly involved in persuading the Catholic monarchs of Spain Isabel of Castile and Fernando of Aragón to put an end to the toleration of Islam in Castile in 1501. This article focuses on this claim and whether or not it can merely be dismissed as the rhetoric of bombastic propaganda. It analyzes Luso-Spanish relations between 1495 and 1505 and highlights documentary evidence proving that Manuel did indeed put pressure on his Spanish neighbors to abolish the toleration of Islam during the tortuous negotiations surrounding his marriage to the Spanish princess Maria in 1501. Beyond assessing the historical significance of the letter, this article highlights the intricate connections between Portuguese imperial geopolitics and Iberian dynastic politics during this crucial period in the history of both the Spanish and Portuguese monarchies.

In: Journal of Early Modern History
In: Antisemitic Conspiracy Theories in the Early Modern Iberian World
In: Antisemitic Conspiracy Theories in the Early Modern Iberian World