iving today in a world where Jews are a small minority, and Sephardic Jews a minority within that minority, I thought it interesting to list some population figures that are likely to surprise the average casual reader.
12th century...... 90% of world Jewish population.
1700.................... 50% of world Jewish population.
percentage continued to decrease as Ashkenazim exploded in population.
1930 ................... 10% of world Jewry
1990 ................... 25% of world Jewry, 60% of Israel's population
Jews in Roman Empire:
25% of Roman population in Eastern Mediterranean
Jews expelled from Spain in 1492:
10% of entire Roman Empire
48 C.E. Roman census: 7 million Jews (mostly in Judea, Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, Babylon, Iran, Yemen and Ethiopia) for an estimated total of 8 million world wide.
300,000 according to Don Isaac Abrabanel who was King Ferdinand's Finance Minister till the Expulsion.
(Estimates have varied from 100,000 to 1,000,000, but 300,000 seems probable.)
120,000 went to Portugal.
Between 1391 and the expulsion, huge numbers were forcibly converted to Catholicism.
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50,000 according to recent historians who note the huge numbers that had left Spain in the previous 200
centuries (think of Maimonides) as conditions deteriorated for Jews in Spain. Places like Barcelona that used to
have a very large Jewish population had only 20 Jewish families left by 1492.