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In the early fourteenth century, the Christian kings vied to prove their piety by allowing the clergy to subject the Jewish population to forced sermons and disputations.
More deadly attacks came later in the century from mobs of angry Catholics, led by popular preachers, who would storm into the Jewish quarter, destroy synagogues, and break into houses, forcing the inhabitants to choose between conversion and death.
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The erosion of rights the Sephardim had enjoyed under the Muslims, in Christian territories was slow and in some areas barely perceptible.
As the Reconquista drew to a close, overt hostility against Jews in Christian Spain became more pronounced, finding expression in brutal episodes of violence and oppression.
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The primary purpose was to eliminate their influence on Spain's large converso population and ensure they did not revert to Judaism.Some, but not all, conversos had understandably chosen to salvage their social and commercial positions or their lives by the only option open to them – baptism and embrace of Christianity – while privately adhering to their Jewish practice and faith.Recently converted families who continued to intermarry were especially viewed with suspicion.Over half of Spain's Jews had converted as a result of the religious persecution and pogroms which occurred in 1391.A further number of those remaining chose to convert to avoid expulsion.