New law brings Jews flocking back to Lisbon

AS I began writing this article regarding a visit to Lisbon, history flashed onto my computer monitor noting that in 1497, the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama, departing on his first voyage, was soon to become the first European to reach India sailing under the Portuguese flag.

Da Gama established Portugal as a colonial power and changed the previous dependence Europe had on trade by overland routes.

He was advised by Jewish scholars and financed by Jewish businessmen. He also followed maps and instruments made by Jewish manufacturers. And Jewish physicians were on his ships.

While in India, Vasco da Gama captured a Polish Jew, forcibly baptised him and named him Gaspar da Gama.

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