Some historians have claimed that Christopher Columbus was a converso (a Spanish Jew who publicly converted to Christianity). The correlation between the Alhambra decree, which called for the expulsion of all of the Jews from Spain and its territories and possessions by July 31, 1492, and Columbus' embarkation on his first voyage on August 3, 1492, has been offered as support for this claim.
The historian Salvador de Madariaga believed that Columbus was from a Catalan family who fled to Genoa to escape persecution for being Jewish.
Columbus in his will bequeathed "one-half mark of silver" to "a Jew who lived at the entrance to the Jewish Quarter in Lisbon," a deathbed affirmation, perhaps, of ties to the Jewish community that were never evident in Columbus's life.Or merely recognising an old friend.
Tomas de Torquemada was appointed inquisitor-general of the Inquisition in 1483. In 12 years, the Inquisition condemned 13,000 Marranos, men and women who had continued to practice Judaism in secret. They were tortured in La Casas Santa, the Holy Houses, and burned alive at the stake with their property being divided between the Pope and the King.
Following the fall of the arab stronghold of Granada on January 2, 1492, there was a renewed impetus to remove Jews from Spain. On March 31, 1492, the Edit of Expulsion was signed. The deadline for Jews to leave Spain was August 3, 1492. Columbus and his crew boarded their vessels before midnight, and on the August 3rd sailed before sunrise.
Christopher Columbus - discoverer of America