BUSNACH (Heb. בוג׳נאח), Algerian family of shipowners and merchants. In the 17th century the Busnach family emigrated to *Leghorn, *Italy, but was reestablished in Algeria in the 18th century. In 1721 NAPHTALI left Italy and after two years in Minorca (then under English rule), settled in *Algiers. Together with his relatives the *Delmar and *Bacri families, he established there a powerful commercial firm. His grandson NAPHTALI BEN MOSES played a significant political role in Algeria in the latter part of the 18th century. Enjoying an unprecedented degree of trust by the bey and in direct contact with European governments whose representatives had to rely on his intervention, he dominated foreign policy, made beys and overthrew them, controlled the administration of the treasury, and with the help of his uncle Joseph Bacri and his many agents in Europe, monopolized trade. Nicknamed the "viceroy of Algiers," he was jealous and dominating. However, he had remarkable courage. His coreligionists described him as pious, educated, generous, and upright; in February 1800 he was appointed "head of the Jewish nation." Busnach's power displeased the Turkish garrison, which on occasion revolted against excessive shortages of grain; they blamed the shortages on Busnach's export of large quantities of wheat to *France. In 1805, Naphtali b. Moses was assassinated by a janissary. Subsequently, when Algiers was pillaged, the Busnach family took refuge in Leghorn, settling there for the second time.
A. Devoulx (J.M. Haddey), Le Livre d'or des israélites algériens (1871), 41–43, 47, 74–77; I. Bloch, Inscriptions tumulaires (1888), 70–72, 82–83, 93–105; Revue Africaine, 86 (1952), 272–383; Hirschberg, Afrikah, 2 (1965), index.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.