June 03, 2012

Flotillas Happy and Sad

The Queen's jubilee flotilla today broke all records with over 1,000 ships, and this comparison with an oil painting of a centuries-old mayoral flotilla is really quite uncanny.

Watching this rainswept scenario on the news made me think of another flotilla which left the Spanish port of Palos half a century ago. 

It was Tisha b'Av in the year 1492; the time limit for a royal expulsion of Jews from Spain.

These pictures may well depict what Palos looked like on that final day, as the last remaining Jews fled Spain on any vessel they could find.  So crowded was the harbour with fleeing Jews, that Christopher Columbus had to postpone his departure to discover the New World - which ironically became the new Jewish refuge in the 'Golden Medina' of America.

200 years earlier another Jewish expulsion coincided with Tisha b'Av.
The expulsion of Jews from England in 1290.

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