Today is February 2nd. In history today is the day the Reconquista was completed – the Moors were defeated in Granada and were fully driven out of Spain. The Catholic take back of Spain from the Muslim moors was completed. It was good news for Catholics, but not so much for others. It was a defeat for the Muslim invaders of Europe coming some 7oo plus years after their advances were stopped at Tours in France.
But it was also a defeat for Jews in Europe. They had been kicked out of England in 1290 with the Edict of Expulsion, kicked out of France in 1394. Now they were kicked out of Spain. More specifically they were given three options: 1. leave; 2. convert to Catholicism; or 3. die. Many of them left 100,000 or converted-200,000 , many died. With the Reconquista the Inquisition ruled over all of Spain. Despite being treated as lower class by the Moorish rulers they were not executed for their faith and as in most Muslim lands they had much more rights and freedoms than in the “Christian’ lands. So this was a sad day for Jews in Spain not a day to rejoice.
As far as birthdays this was a notable day. The great science fiction writer Issac Asimov was born in Russia in 1920. He was considered during his lifetime as one of the big 3 Sci-Fi writers, along with Robert Heinlein and Arthur C Clarke. He was a professor of biochemistry and a forward thinker who gave us the 3 Laws of Robotics, and the Galactic Empire of the Foundation Series.
Also born on this day was Barry Goldwater, in in 1909. He was a longtime Arizona conservative politician who had the historical misfortune to be the victim of one of the largest Presidential landslides, losing in 1964 to Lyndon Johnson. But he also was notable for later on turning away from rabid conservatism and embracing gays serving in the military, abortion rights, medical marijuana, and environmental protection. It did not make up for his strong conservative pushes during his Senate career, but did show that anyone can change – as opposed to his children who still spout his harsh conservative earlier stands. I live in Arizona during most of his Senate career so his career is notable for me.
And a third birthday is significant since moving back to the rainy Pacific Northwest from the arid Southwest I became a diehard Mariner fan. Edgar Martinez, who played his whole career with the team, mostly as DH, was born this day in 1963. He went on to thrill Mariner fans for many years and then in 2019 was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He joined Mariner standouts Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey Jr in the Hall, and will be undoubtably joined in a couple years by Ichiro Suzuki. Edgar and Ichiro were part of the great 2001 Mariner team that won a record 116 wins, ,but unfortunately again fell short of the World Series. This coming year, as in 2001 the All Star Game will be held in Seattle. And Edgar will be here to celebrate it with all of fans. Happy Birthday, Edgar.