In the year 1066, on December 30, a deadly pogrom that would come to be known as the Granada Massacre took place.
At that time, Granada was part of the Muslim-ruled al Andalus, a medieval Muslim state also known as Moorish Iberia or Islamic Iberia. At the start of the 11th century, times were incredibly tough for the Jewish community of Granada, where Jews were prohibited from attaining public office and violent outbreaks were fairly commonplace.
In 1066, a Jewish man known as Joeseph ibn Naghrela was vizier, or advisor, to the Berber king of Granada, Badis al-Muzaffar. Joseph was also head of the local Jewish community, with a long history of leadership in the area. He was the eldest son of a rabbi and Jewish poet, Sh’muel ha-Nagid, who had also served as a royal vizier.
On December 30 of 1066, an angry mob stormed the royal palace of Granada, where Joseph had sought refuge after accusations of surrounding the king with spies. The mob kidnapped Joseph and brutally crucified him. In the chaos that followed, many of the town’s Jews were also slain.
Though precise numbers are not known, the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906 states, “More than 1,500 Jewish families, numbering 4,000 persons, fell in one day.”
Historian Bernard Lewis has characterized the massacre as “a reaction among the Muslim population against a powerful and ostentatious Jewish vizier.”