MEDINA, SIR SOLOMON DE
MEDINA, SIR SOLOMON DE (c. 1650–1720), army contractor and the first professing Jew in England to receive a knighthood. He was born in Bordeaux as Diego de Medina, but lived in Holland until William of Orange's invasion of England in 1688, which he helped to finance. An English example of the *Court Jew, he was principal army contractor to the duke of Marlborough during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14), supplying money, provisions, and particularly intelligence. These transactions ultimately contributed to the duke's downfall. Medina was active in and contributed generously to the London Sephardi community but died abroad in poverty. He is wrongly identified with the Jew whose bankruptcy was blamed by *Voltaire for his financial difficulties.
Roth, England, 193, 287–8; Roth, Mag Bibl, index; A.M. Hyamson, Sephardim of England (1951), index. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: ODNB online; O.K. Rabinowicz, Sir Solomon de Medina (1974); Katz, England, 217–19, index.
[Vivian David Lipman]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.