Edict of Expulsion 1290

On 18 July 1290 King Edward I issued an Edict of Expulsion decreeing the forcible removal of all Jews from England.

Persecuted Jews mauscript middle ages

The expulsion edict was the law of the land for the next 360-odd years, until 1657, when Oliver Cromwell (of all people!) permitted Jews to return to England. Cromwell only let Jewish people return to the hallowed shores of Merry Olde England in exchange for gold; it wasn’t like he was suddenly broad-minded about anti-Semitism.

King Edward I’s expulsion created a popular trend from hell for the next few centuries, where everyone took turns stealing the Jews’ property and driving them out of their homes.

Expulsion of Jews from Europe

The ironic thing is that the expelled Jews frequently fled to Muslim-dominated countries in the Middle Ages, where they were safe because of encoded religious tolerance. This tolerance stuck in many places; Muslims of Eastern Europe were notorious for hiding Jewish friends and neighbors (and even strangers) from Nazi forces. The picture below shows a Muslim woman in Sarajevo hiding a Jewish woman’s tale-tell yellow star with the edge of her veil.


In terms of really-bad-things-that-happened-to-Jewish-people, the Holocaust stands out (as it should) … but the Holocaust was sadly just a big name in an all-star lineup of wretched things stretching back thousands of years. THOUSANDS of years.

A lot of European pogroms get very little press in Western history, mainly because anyone with a shred of humanity is ashamed of such acts. It’s hard to talk about how a king was an awesome monarch and still have to write about the time he had all the Jews thrown from his kingdom and/or burnt at the stake and/or stole all their stuff for his treasury. Edward the Longshanks was a good king for English Christians, but a monster to those who were not.

Occasionally you’ll run into people who – in the process of defending a beloved historical figure like Isabella I of Castile/Spain – will try to explain the reasons for these rulers actions and how it wasn’t so bad in context. Making excuses for this sort of thing never works. If you have the urge to do it here, just don’t. I am already pre-exhausted thinking about dealing with the level of stupidity needed for someone to even try to defend a program.


My latest novel, Mansfield Parsonage, is available online or in your local booksellers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *