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Portugalov, Benjamin Osipovich
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In the Thirteenth Century.

Kingdom in the southwest of Europe. The condition of its Jews, whose residence in the country is contemporaneous with that of the Jews in Spain, while in general like that of their coreligionists in the neighboring kingdom of Castile, was in some respects different. The influence of the canonical law was felt much later here than in Spain and not so violently. Until the expulsion there were no active hostilities against the Jews in Portugal. Affonso Henriques(1139-85), the conqueror and first king of Portugal, found Jews already settled in Santarem, Lisbon, and Beja; and, according to Herculano, he is said to have found villages and localities which were wholly or to a great extent inhabited by Jews. He pursued the tolerant policy of his grandfather Alfonso VI. of Castile, and issued letters of protection to the Jews, as also to the Moors of Faro. He, moreover, employed Jews in his service, as, for instance, Dom Yaḥya ibn Ya'ish (ancestor of the widely branching Yaḥya family), who was his receiver of customs ("almoxarife"), and to whom he gave two estates (Aldeas dos Negros) which had belonged to the Moors (c. 1150). Affonso Henriques' son Sancho I. (1185-1211) also was tolerant; likewise Sancho's son Affonso II. (1211-23), who employed Jews as farmers of the taxes and as tax-collectors, although under him the hostile attitude of the Church began to be felt. Affonso confirmed the resolutions passed by the Cortes at Coimbra in 1211, to the effect that a Jew who had been baptized might not return to Judaism, and that no Jew might prevent his children from embracing Christianity or disinherit them for so doing. On the other hand, he opposed the promulgation of the canons of the Lateran Council (1215) with regard to the Jews. Affonso II. died under a ban, and his son Sancho II. (1223-46) continued the struggle with the Church. In spite of the canonical prohibition, he appointed Jews as tax-farmers. Probably it was he who appointed D. Joseph ibn Yaḥya as almoxarife; he also permitted him to build a magnificent synagogue in Lisbon (Carmoly, "Biographie der Jachiaden," p. 2, where [5010 = 1250] should probably be read instead of [5020]).

The Rabbi Mór.

In consequence of this favor shown to the Jews, Pope Gregory IX. sent an order to the bishops of Astorga and Lugo to protest against these infringements of ecclesiastical ordinances. The papal threats had little effect upon Affonso III. (1246-79), son of Sancho II., who had been deposed by the pope. The clergy complained to the latter in 1258 that the king gave to the Jews public offices in which they assumed authority over Christians, and that he did not compel them to wear the Jews' badge or to pay the tithe to the Church. This petition seems not to have had the desired effect on Affonso III. He commanded that Moorish slaves when bought by Jews should not obtain freedom, and that Christians should not evade payment of their debts by selling goods which they had mortgaged to the Jews (J. Mendes dos Remedios, "Os Judeus em Portugal," p. 427). Further, Affonso III. organized the internal affairs of the Jews of his kingdom, to whom Affonso I. had already granted autonomy in civil as well as in criminal cases. Above all he issued a decree regulating the rights and duties of the rabbis, which was revised in 1402 under John I. The "rabbi mór" (chief rabbi) stood at the head of the Portuguese Jews, and, like the "rab de la corte" (court rabbi) in Castile, was an officer of the crown and the most prominent person in the entire Jewry. He had his own seal, which bore the Portuguese coat of arms and the legend "Sello do Arrabbi Mórde Portugal." All his official documents began with the following words: "N. N., Arrabbi Mór, por meu Senhor El-Rey, das Communas dos Judeus de Portugal e do Algarve" (e., "N. N., chief rabbi, through my lord the king, of the communities of the Jews in Portugal and Algarves").

His Duties and Staff.

On the rabbi mór devolved the duty of visiting all the communities of Portugal every year. He supervised the administration of legacies and funds for orphans, examined all accounts rendered to him by the directors and treasurers concerning the income and expenditure of the communities, and, through his "porteiro" (messenger), compelled tardy taxpayers to pay. He had authority to compel the communities to appoint local rabbis and teachers and to enforce the latter to accept the positions to which they had been elected. The local rabbi might not issue writs of protection except in cases where the royal provincial authorities were permitted to grant them. He might not, moreover, institute a general contribution, nor could he alienate real estate of the community without its assent. The rabbi mór was accompanied on his official tours by an "ouvidor" (chief justice), who was an expert in Jewish law; by a "chanceller" (chancellor), under whose supervision was the office of the seal; by an "eserivão" (secretary), who received and drew up the protocols; and by a "porteiro (messenger), who was under oath and took charge of the occasional seizures, executed sentences of punishments, etc. The rabbi mór chose the chief justices for the seven provinces ofthe country, who were stationed at the respective capitals—at Oporto (Porto) for the province Entre-Douro-e-Minho; at Moncorvo for Tras-os-Montes; at Covilhã for Beira-Alta; at Viseu for Beira-Baixa; at Santarem for Estremadura; at Evora for Alemtejo; and at Faro for Algarve. Each provincial judge carried an official seal bearing the Portuguese coat of arms and the legend "Sello do Ouvidor das Communas de . . .," and had a chancellor and secretary who might be either a Jew or a Christian. The judge decided cases which were brought before him on appeal or on complaint of the local rabbi. Each place in which a certain number of Jews resided had a local rabbi, who was chosen by the community and confirmed in office, in the name of the king, by the rabbi mór, to whom he was subordinate. The local rabbi had civil and capital jurisdiction over the Jews of his district, and to him was responsible the butcher ("degollador") appointed for the community. The butcher had to make a conscientious report to the tax-collector of the number of cattle and fowl killed by him.

Regulation of Jewish Internal Affairs.

The internal affairs of the Jewish communities were regulated by directors ("procuradores"), who were assisted on special occasions by confidential men ("homẽs boõs das communas" or "ṭobe ha-'ir"). In each community was a notary to draw up written contracts. After the edict of John I. all documents had to be written in the language of the country, and not in Hebrew. The oaths of Jews in lawsuits among themselves or against Christians were very simple as compared with those of Jews in Castile, Aragon, and Navarre. The Jew swore in the synagogue with a Torah in his arm and in the presence of a rabbi and of a royal officer of the law. On Sabbath and feast-days Jews might not be summoned to court, nor could any legal proceedings be taken against them. It was strictly forbidden to cite a Jew before a Christian judge. Whoever acted contrary to this law was liable to a fine of 1,000 gold doubloons, and the rabbi mór was required to keep him in custody until the sum should be paid.


In Portugal, as in Spain, the Jews lived in separate "Juderias," or Jew lanes. The capital possessed the largest community, and Jews resided also in Alcaçar, Alcoitim, Aliezur, Alter-do-Chão, Alvito, Alvor, Barcellos, Beja, Bragança, Cacilla, Castro-Marim, Chaves, Coimbra, Couto, Covilhã, Elvas, Estremos, Alanquer, Evora, Faro, Gravāo, Guarda, Guimarães, Lamego, Leiria, Loulé (which had its own Jew valley, Val de Judeo), Mejanfrio, Miranda, Moncorvo, Montemor, Oporto, Peñamaçor, Porches, Santarem (where the oldest synagogue was located), Silves, Tavira, Trancoso, Villa-Marim, Villa-Viciosa, and Viseu. The Jews of Portugal had to pay the following taxes: the "Juderega" or "Judenga," a poll-tax of 30 dinheiros, fixed here, as in Castile, in remembrance of the thirty pieces of silver paid to Judas Iscariot; a personal tax of 5 maravedis for every boy from seven to fourteen years of age, and 2½ maravedis for each girl from seven to twelve, 1 maravedi for every unmarried male over fourteen living in the home of his parents, and ½ maravedi for every unmarried female over twelve. Married people paid 20 solidi. The rabbinate tax, known as "Arabiado," fell to the crown. From the reign of King Sancho II., who was interested in the development of the navy, the Jews were obliged to pay a navy tax. For each ship fitted out by the king they had to provide an anchor and a new anchor-tow sixty ells long, or instead to make a money payment of 60 livres. A poll-tax of 1 maravedi was levied on them in several places, also a customs and a road tax, from which Christians were exempt. The Jews paid King Affonso IV. (1325-57) 50,000 livres annually in direct taxes. All that a Jew bought or sold was subject to a special tax—each head of cattle or fowl which he killed, every fish and every measure of wine that he bought. The special taxes, as in other states, were based on the principles then generally recognized with regard to the position of the Jews, but restrictions were first enacted upon recognition of the canonical law and its incorporation into the law of the land.

Favorable Attitude of Diniz.

Under Diniz (1279-1325), the son and successor of Affonso III., the Jews remained in the favorable situation they had enjoyed up to that time. This was due in no small measure to the influence which D. Judah, chief rabbi at that time, and D. Gedaliah, his son and successor, who were also the king's treasurers, had with the king. Gedaliah's representations as to the partiality of the judges was not without effect. The favor and protection, however, granted the Jews by the king increased the hatred of the clergy against them. They complained that Diniz permitted the presence of Jews at his court and entrusted them with official positions, that he did not compel them to wear badges, and that he allowed them the free exercise of their religion. "The Jews are becoming proud and conceited," they reported to Rome; "they adorn their horses with tassels, and indulge in a luxury that has an injurious effect on the inhabitants of the country." But not until the reign of Affonso IV. (1325-57), who was unfavorably disposed to the Jews, did the clergy accomplish anything with their complaints. Immediately after his accession the law was enforced by which Jews were prohibited from appearing in public without a badge—the six-pointed yellow star in the hat or on the upper garment—and were forbidden to wear gold chains. He limited their freedom of emigration, declaring that no one who owned property of the value of 500 livres might leave the country without royal permission, under penalty of forfeiting his property, which, together with that of those who went with him, would fall to the king. They had also to suffer from the growing hatred of the populace, incited by the clergy, who made the Jews responsible for the plague which raged in the year 1350. King Pedro I. (1357-67), however, who was a model of justice, protected them against the violence of the clergy and nobles (see PEDRO I.), and under his benevolent rule their prosperity increased. His body-physician was Rabbi Mór D. Moses Navarro, who together with his wife established a large entail near Lisbon.

Under Ferdinand I.

Under Ferdinand I. (1367-83), who was a spendthrift and who employed his Jewish treasurer D. Judahin his financial operations, and still more under the regency of his wife, the frivolous and highly unpopular Leonora, the Jews were prominent in Portugal. After the death of the king, Leonora deposed D. Judah and the Jewish collector of customs at Lisbon on the representations of the city deputies; but when she wished to have her daughter Beatrix and the latter's husband, John I. of Castile, recognized as regents of the country, and the people rebelled, killed Leonora's favorites, and proclaimed John vice-regent of the kingdom (1385), Leonora fled, accompanied by her confidants, the above-mentioned D. Judah and the wealthy D. David Negro-Yaḥya. Disputes between her and John I. of Castile, who waged war against Portugal, ended in an open breach on the occasion of the nomination to the head rabbinate of Castile. Leonora demanded the place for her favorite D. Judah, but the king, at the desire of his wife, appointed D. David Negro-Yaḥya. Embittered by this, Leonora plotted against the life of her son-in-law; but her plan was frustrated by D. David Negro, and Leonora was banished to a convent in Tordesillas; the life of D. Judah was spared on the plea of D. David Negro. The possessions of D. Judah, D. David, and other Jews who had sided with the banished queen and had fled from Portugal, were confiscated and given to the bravest knights by D. John, who became king after the withdrawal of the King of Castile (1411).

John I. a Friend to the Jews.

John I., in spite of the fact that he favored conversion and granted special privileges to the converted, was a friend and protector of the Jews. Through the efforts of Rabbi Mór D. Moses Navarro, they were shielded from the severe persecutions which their coreligionists in Spain experienced in 1391, and also from the zeal and sermons of conversion of Vicente Ferrer. John protected the Jews who had fled from the persecutions in Spain. On the other hand, he enforced the laws compelling the Jews to wear the badge and prohibiting them from entering Christian taverns or holding official positions; but these were often disregarded. Only a short time before his death (1433) he was accused of having Jewish physicians at the court and of permitting Jewish tax-collectors to exercise executive authority. His son Duarte (1433-1438) tried completely to separate the Jews from the Christian population, in spite of the influence exerted over him by his body-physician and astrologer Mestre Guedelha (Gedaliah) ibn Solomon ibn Yaḥya-Negro. When the latter, as is said, advised the king to postpone the ceremonies of coronation and the king refused to do so, he announced to him that his reign would be short and, unfortunate. Duarte was indeed unfortunate in his undertakings. His brother D. Fernando, who borrowed large sums from D. Judah Abravanel and sent the king a Jewish surgeon, Mestre Joseph, from Fez, in 1437, died in a Moorish prison; and Duarte himself, while still in the full vigor of manhood, was carried off by the plague after a short reign. Under Duarte's son, the mild and gentle Affonso V. (1438-81), "who exercised justice and kindness toward his people," the Jews again enjoyed freedom and prosperity. It was their last tranquil period upon the Pyrenean peninsula. They resided outside the Juderias; they were distinguished from the Christians by no external tokens; and they held public offices. Affonso V. appointed D. Isaac Abravanel to be his treasurer and minister of finance, and several members of the Yaḥya family were received at court. Joseph ben David ibn Yaḥya stood in especial favor with the king, who called him his "wise Jew," and who, being himself fond of learning, liked to discuss scientific and religious questions with him (Ibn Verga, "Shebeṭ Yehudah," pp. 61 et seq., 108 et seq.).

Revolt of 1449.

The favors shown to the Jews and the luxury displayed by them, which even the king with all his gentleness reproved, increased the hatred of the people more and more. In 1449 for the first time in Portugal this feeling broke out in a revolt against the Jews of Lisbon; the Juderia was stormed, and several Jews were killed. The king intervened, and imposed strict penalties on the ringleaders, but the complaints against the Jews continued. At the assemblies of the Cortes in Santarem (1451), Lisbon (1455), Coimbra (1473), and Evora (1481) restrictions were demanded. "When D. Affonso died," says Isaac Abravanel, "all Israel was filled with grief and mourning; the people fasted and wept."

Under John II.

Affonso was succeeded by his son John II. (1481-1495), a morose, distrustful person, who did away with the powerful lords and the house of Bragança in order to create an absolute kingdom, and seized their possessions for the crown. He showed favor to the Jews, and as often as it was for his advantage employed them in his service. His body-physicians were D. Leão and D. Joseph Vecinho, the latter of whom, together with D. Moses, the king's mathematician, had also made himself useful in the art of navigating; his surgeon was a D. Antonio, whom he induced to accept Christianity, and who then wrote a slanderous book against his former coreligionists. The king employed the Jews Joseph Capateiro of Lamego and Abraham of Beja to transact business for him. He was also friendly toward those Jews who, exiled from Spain, had sought refuge in Portugal; he promised to receive them for eight months in return for a poll-tax of 8 crusados to be paid in four instalments, and to provide enough ships for them to continue their journey. His only purpose in granting them protection was to replenish the state treasury. He appointed Oporto and other cities for their temporary residence, although the inhabitants protested. The number of immigrants amounted to nearly 100,000. From Castile alone more than 3,000 persons embarked at Benevento for Bragança; at Zamora, more than 30,000 for Miranda; from Ciudad-Rodrigo for Villar, more than 35,000; from Alcantara for Marvão, more than 15,000; and from Badajoz for Elvas, more than 10,000—in all more than 93,000 persons (Bernaldez, in A. de Castro, "Historia de los Judios en España," p. 143). John II. did not keep his promise. Not until after long delay did he provide ships for them. The suffering which the emigrants were obliged to endure was terrible. Women and girls were outraged by theship captains and sailors in the presence of their husbands and parents, and were then thrown into the water. The Portuguese chroniclers agree with Jewish historians in the description of these fiendish acts. Those who tarried in the country after the prescribed period were made slaves and given away. John went even further in his cruelty. He tore the little children away from the parents who remained behind, and sent them to the newly discovered island of St. Thomas; most of them died on the ships or were devoured on their arrival by wild beasts; those who remained alive populated the island. Often brothers married their own sisters (Usque, "Consolaçam," etc., p. 197a; Abraham b. Solomon, "Sefer ha-Ḳabbalah," in Neubauer, "M. J. C." 1:112). John II. is called "the Wicked" by Jewish historians and once also "the Pious"

Under Manuel the Great.

After John's death his cousin and brother-in-law D. Manuel, called "the Great," ascended the throne of Portugal (1495-1521). At first he was favorably inclined toward the Jews, perhaps through the influence of Abraham Zacuto, his much-esteemed astronomer; he restored to them the freedom which John had taken from them and generously declined a present of money which the Jews offered him in token of their gratitude. Political interests, however, brought about only too soon a change in his attitude. Manuel thought to unite the whole peninsula under his scepter by marrying a Spanish princess, Isabella, the young widow of the Infante of Portugal and daughter of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. The latter couple, who had driven the Jews out of their own land (1492), made their consent dependent on the condition that Manuel should expel all the Jews from his country. He brought the matter before his state council, some members of which warned him against the expulsion of such a useful and diligent people, who would settle in Africa, where they would add strength to the Mohammedans and become dangerous to Portugal. On the other hand, the party hostile to the Jews referred to Spain and other states in which Jews were not tolerated. The king's course was decided by Isabella herself, who wrote to him to the effect that she would not enter Portugal until the land was cleaned of Jews (G. Heine, in Schmidt's "Zeitschrift für Geschichte," 9:147). On Nov. 30, 1496, the marriage contract between Manuel and Isabella was signed, and on Dec. 4 of the same year the king issued an order at Muja (Muga), near Santarem, directing that all Jews and Jewesses, irrespective of age, should leave Portugal before the end of Oct., 1497, under penalty of death and confiscation of their property; that any Christian found concealing a Jew after the expiration of the prescribed period should be deprived of all his property; and that no future ruler on any pretext whatever should permit Jews to reside in the kingdom. The king granted the Jews free departure with all their property, and promised to assist them as far as possible (the decree of banishment, which, according to Zacuto, "Yuḥasin," p. 227 [where should be read instead of ], was issued Dec. 4, is found in the "Ordenaçoõs d' el Rey D. Manuel" [Evora, 1556], 2:41, and in Rios, "Hist." 3:614 et seq.; see also "R. E. J." 3:285 et seq.).

Forcible Baptism of Children.

In order to retain the Jews in the country as converts Manuel issued the inhuman decree that on a certain day all Jewish children, irrespective of sex, who should have reached their fourth year and should not have passed their twentieth should be torn from their parents and brought up in the Christian faith at the expense of the king. He did this "for reasons which compelled him to it," according to the assertion of Abraham b. Solomon of Torrutiel, on the advice of the converted Levi ben Shem-Ṭob ("Sefer ha-Ḳabbalah," ed. Neubauer, c. 1:114) and in opposition to the will of his state council assembled at Estremoz, which, with the noble bishop D. Fernando Coutinho at its head, emphatically declared against this enforced baptism. The Jews in Evora, as in the country generally, received the news of the intended deed on Friday, March 17, 1497; and in order that parents might not have time to get the children out of the way, the king had the crime committed on Sunday, the first day of the Passover, March 19 (not early in April, as is usually stated; see Zacuto, c. p. 227). According to Usque (c. p. 198), Jews up to the age of twenty-five years ("vintecinco annos"; not fifteen, as Grätz, "Gesch." 8:392, declares) were taken; according to Herculano (c. 1:125), the age limit was twenty years (see also Goes, "Chron." 20:19). Pathetic scenes occurred on this occasion. Out of sympathy and compassion many Christians concealed Jewish children that they might not be separated from their parents. Many parents smothered their children in the last farewell embrace or threw them into wells and rivers and then killed themselves. "I have seen with my own eyes," writes the noble Coutinho, "how a father, his head covered, with pain and grief accompanied his son to the baptismal font and called on the Allknowing as witness that they, father and son, wished to die together as confessors of the Mosaic faith. I have seen many more terrible things that were done to them." Isaac ibn Zachin, the son of an Abraham ibn Zachin, killed himself and his children because he wished to see them die as Jews. As the last date for the departure of the Jews drew near the king announced after long hesitation that they must all go to Lisbon and embark there.

Compulsory Conversion of 20,000 Jews.

About 20,000 persons flocked together to the capital and were driven like sheep into a palace with a seventeen-window front, destined for the temporary reception of foreign ambassadors. On its site to-day stands the Donna Maria Theater. Here they were told that the time allotted for their departure had elapsed, that they were now the king's slaves, and that he would deal with them according to his will. Instead of food and drink they received the visits of the converted Mestre Nicolão (body-physician to the young queen) and Pedro de Castro, who was a churchman and brother of Nicolão. All sorts of promises were made in the attempt to induce the Jews to aceept Christianity. When all attempts to shake their faith had failed the king ordered his bailiffs touse force. The strongest and handsomest Jewish young men were dragged into church by the hair and beard to be baptized.

Only seven or eight heroic characters, "somente sete ou vito cafres contumasses," as Herculano reports from a manuscript, offered an obstinate opposition; and these the king caused to be transported across the sea. Among them were probably the physician Abraham Saba, whose two sons were forcibly baptized and thrown into prison; Abraham Zacuto, the mathematician and astrologer of D. Manuel; and the scholar Isaac b. Joseph Caro, who had fled to Portugal from Toledo and had here lost all his sons.

Protection for Maranos.

Even the Portuguese dignitaries, and especially Bishop Osorius, were deeply moved by this cruel compulsory conversion; and perhaps it was due to the latter that Pope Alexander VI. took the Jews under his protection. Manuel, perhaps advised by the pope to do so, adopted a milder policy. On May 30, 1497, he issued a law for the protection of the converted Jews, called "Christãos novos" (Neo-Christians), according to which they were to remain undisturbed for twenty years, the authorities to have during that time no right to impeach them for heresy. At the expiration of this period, if a complaint should arise as to adherence to the old faith only a civil suit was to be brought against them, and in case of conviction the property of the condemned was to pass to his Christian heirs and not into the fiscal treasury. The possession and use of Hebrew books were forbidden except to converted Jewish physicians and surgeons, who were allowed to use Hebrew medical works. Finally, a general amnesty was promised to all Neo-Christians (documents in Kayserling, "Geschichte der Juden in Portugal," pp. 347 et seq.).

Those Jews who were living as pretended Christians took the first opportunity to leave the country. Whoever could sold his property and emigrated. Large numbers of secret Jews set sail for Italy, Africa, and Turkey. Thereupon, on April 20 and 21, 1499, Manuel prohibited the transaction of business with Neo-Christians and forbade the latter to leave Portugal without the royal permission. They were thus obliged to remain in a country in which a fanatical clergy was constantly inciting against them a populace that already hated and despised them. In April, 1506, a savage massacre occurred in Lisbon. On April 19 and the following days over 2,000 (according to some over 4,000) secret Jews were killed in a most terrible fashion and burned on pyres. Manuel inflicted a severe penalty on the Dominican friars who were the leaders in the riot; they were garroted and then burned, while the friars who had taken part in the revolt were expelled from the monastery. The king granted new privileges to the secret Jews and permitted them, by an edict of March 1, 1507, to leave the country with their property. To show them his good-will he renewed the law of May 30, 1497, and on April 21, 1512, prolonged it for a further period of twenty years. In 1521, however, he again issued a law forbidding emigration under penalty of confiscation of property and loss of personal freedom.

Introduction of the Inquisition (1531).

So long as Manuel lived the Neo-Christians or Maranos were not disturbed, but under his son and successor, John III. (1521-57), the enmity against them broke out anew. On Dec. 17, 1531, Pope Clement VII. authorized the introduction of the Inquisition into Portugal, after the Maranos of that country had prevented it for fifty years. The number of Maranos who left the country now increased steadily, especially under the reign of King Sebastian (1557-78), who permitted them free departure, in return for the enormous payment of 250,000 ducats, with which sum he carried on his unfortunate war against Africa.

  • F. Brandão, Monarchia Lusitana, passim;
  • Ruy de Pina, Chronica do Rey D. Duarte;
  • idem, Chronica d' el Rey D. Jodo I.;
  • idem, Chronica do Senhor Rey D. Affonso;
  • idem, Chronica d' el Rey D. João II. in Colleccão dos Ineditos de Historia Portugueza;
  • F. Lopez, Chronica d' el Rey D. Pedro, in Colleccão, 4:17,20;
  • Sousa, Provas, 2:20,255; 3:581,628; 4:28;
  • Damião de Goes, Chronica do Serenissimo Senhor Rei D. Manuel, 10:13 et seq., 20;
  • Osorius, De Rebus Emanuelis, etc., 7a, 12b et seq.;
  • Garcia de Rezende, Chronica dos Valerosos e Insignos Feitos del Rey Dom João II. pp. 68 et seq., 96 et seq., 132 et seq.;
  • Usque, Consolaçam as Tribulacoens de I'srael, pp. 188, 195 et seq.;
  • Joaquim Jos. Ferreira Gordo, Memoria Sobre os Judeos em Portugal, in Memorias da Academia Real das Sciencias, 4:2 (reprinted, without naming author or source, in Revista Peninsular, 2:520 et seq., Lisbon, 1856);
  • A. Herculano, Historia de Portugal, 2:322 et seq.; 3:107,128,138,215; 4:210;
  • idem. Da Origem e Estabelecimento da Inquisicão em Portugal, 1:85,95 et seq., 100 et seq., 120 et seq., 138 et seq., Lisbon, 1854;
  • S. Cassel, in Ersch and Gruber, Encyc. section , part 27, pp. 226 et seq.;
  • Rios, Hist. 1:266; 2:185,265,455; 3:179,334;
  • Kayserling, Gesch. der Juden in Portugal, Berlin, 1867;
  • J. Mendes dos Remedios, Os Judeus em Portugal, , Coimbra, 1895;
  • Grätz, Gesch. 7:169; 8:49,374 et seq.;
  • J. Q. R. 1900, 15:251-274,529-530.

M. K.


The anticlerical movement instituted by Marquis Pombal, the all-powerful minister of King Joseph I. (1750-77), lessened the rigor of the Inquisition. As early as May 2, 1768, the lists containing the names of the Neo-Christians were ordered to be suppressed; a law of May 25, 1773 (the year when the Jesuit order was abolished), decreed that all disabilities based on descent, chiefly directed against the Maranos, should cease; and finally the Inquisition, whose powers had been considerably restricted by a law of Sept. 1, 1774, was altogether abolished on March 31, 1821.

The first Jew to settle in Portugal after the expulsion of 1497 was Moses Levy, an English subject from Gibraltar ("Jew. Chron." Oct. 21, 1904, p. 10), although the treaty of Utrecht (1713), by which Gibraltar had been ceded to England, had expressly stipulated (article ) that the Jewish subjects of England should not have the right of residence in Portugal. The statement of Thiers ("Histoire du Consulat et de l'Empire," 11:71, Paris, 1851) that the French troops upon their invasion of Portugal in 1807 were hailed by 20,000 Jews, is certainly a gross exaggeration, as is also the statement ("Revue Orientale," 1841,; reprinted in "Allg. Zeit. des Jud." 1841, p. 681) that there were 2,000 to 2,500 Jews in Portugal in 1825. It has been proved, however, that as early as 1801 the Jews of LISBON bought a plot in the English cemetery of that city, where the oldest tombstone still extant bears the date of 1804. A formal motion, proposed by Joseph Ferrão in the Cortes, Feb. 26, 1821, to admit the Jews into thecountry, was defeated; and the constitution of 1826, while declaring Roman Catholicism to be the state religion, allowed foreigners freedom of worship, provided they conducted it in places not bearing the signs of a public house of worship.

Outside of Lisbon there is only one congregation in Portugal possessing a house of worship (erected 1850), namely, that of Faro; it numbers about fifteen families and dates from 1820. A few Jews are living in Evora, Lagos, and Porto; but they are not organized into congregations. A settlement, which has of late been steadily decreasing, exists in S. Miguel on the Azores; but it is so small that its members have to send to Gibraltar every year for some coreligionists in order to secure the required MINYAN for the services of the great holy days.

The Jewish inhabitants of Portugal numbered in 1903 about 500 souls in a total population of 5,428,591. Most of them are merchants and shipowners, while a few are professors, among them being Jacob Bensaudo, who holds the chair of English at Porto and has published various text-books. James Anahory Athias is an officer in the navy ("Jew. Chron." Jan. 31, 1902). Lisbon has a rabbi, and Faro a ḥazzan. The rabbinical office in Lisbon was occupied for a long time by Jacob Toledano of Tangier, who died in 1899; the present (1905) incumbent is Isaac J. Wolfinsohn. Guido Chayes, Portuguese consul in Leghorn, was made a count by King Carlos in 1904 ("Vessillo Israelitico." 1904, p. 196). Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid was created Baron of Palmeira in 1845, and Sydney James Stern, now Lord Wandsworth, was created a viscount in 1895.

Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Portugal'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tje/​p/portugal.html. 1901.
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