MAJORCA (Sp. Mallorca), largest and most important of the Balearic Isles. It is difficult to determine when Jews first arrived in Majorca, but it may be assumed that the settlement was ancient because of the island's location at the crossroads of the maritime trade routes and its proximity to the coasts of both North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. The presence of Jews on the nearby island of *Minorca during the fifth century implies their presence on Majorca also, and several lead tablets (attributed to the fourth–fifth centuries) bearing the name of Samuel b. Ḥagi (or Ḥaggai) have recently been found. Practically nothing is known of the history of the island from the sixth to the eighth centuries – and even less of the history of the Jews there during that period. It appears that the Jewish settlement was destroyed when the Byzantine general Belisarius overcame the Vandals and took Majorca (534 C.E.). Similarly, few details are available on the period of the Muslim conquest. When the *Almohads attacked southern Spain (12th century), refugees from Andalusia arrived in Majorca and it may be assumed that there were some Jews among them. The earliest evidence for the presence of Jews on the island during the Muslim period is from 1135, when Ramón Berenguer III, count of Barcelona, took some Jews of Majorca under his protection.
The Beginning of Aragonese Rule
When James I of Aragon conquered Palma de Mallorca (1229– 32), there were several Jews in his retinue, noteworthy being Bahye and Solomon Alconstantini, from Saragossa, whose knowledge of Arabic was greatly appreciated and when the distribution of properties took place after the conquest they were among the beneficiaries, notably Samuel *Benveniste, alfaquim of Count Nuño Sánchez of Roussillon. Properties were also granted to Jews who settled in other parts of the island: Inca, Petra, and Montiori. In Palma (then named Majorca, like the island itself), a residential area was set aside for the Jewish settlers in the fortress of Almudaina which was later known as "the fortress of the Jews." With the consolidation of Christian rule, Jews arrived from Marseilles and other towns of Provence-Languedoc, from North Africa, and even from Alexandria in Egypt. The king, who controlled settlement on the island, undertook to protect the permanent residential area of the Jews in the same way as other places. The Jews, however, rapidly left the fortress of Almudaina, settling in the vicinity, a move which later led to disputes. Besides the communities mentioned above, there were others in Felanitx, Sineu, Alcudia, Sóller, and Pollensa. James I also gave letters of protection to Jewish settlers from North Africa, among whom was Solomon b. Amar of Sijilmassa (1247).
From the start the Jewish settlers integrated into the economy of the island; they owned Muslim, Turkish, and Tatar slaves, whom they were accustomed to convert to Judaism, although the civil authorities and the church issued a series of decrees designed to prevent this. The papal Inquisition was very active against Jewish merchants. Between 1276 and 1343, except for the years 1285–1298, the Kingdom of Majorca that included the Balearic islands and the counties of Roussillon and Ceradagne was independent. The independent kings of Majorca pursued more or less the same policy towards the Jews that was adopted in the Crown of Aragon. Under Sancho I (1311–24) the synagogue in the city of Majorca was converted into the church of Santa Fe. With the conquest of Majorca in 1343 by Pedro IV of Aragon, a period of great achievements began for the Jews of the island. From that year on, they developed ramified commercial activity. They engaged in the international maritime trade and became renowned for their skill in crafts such as gold- and silversmithery and shoemaking. In 1250 James I confirmed the rights of the Jewish settlers, granting them further privileges in conformity with his Jewish policy in the kingdom of Aragon. The problem of interest rates was one of the most severe in the relations between Jews and Christians on the island. Many royal ordinances dealt with the subject: restrictive decrees were issued; rates which had been fixed were cancelled; and occasionally the Jews were obliged to return the interest. In other matters, James I authorized the Jews of Majorca to address their complaints directly to himself and assured them of his protection. In 1254, he assessed their property, along with that of the Jews of Minorca and Ibiza, and constituted them as an independent taxation group. The community of Barcelona
During the early 1270s, James I authorized the Jews to trade on a credit system with the Christians in textiles, cereals, oil, linen, saffron, and other goods. The Jews of Majorca were already fairly prosperous during this period. About 1271 the community of Palma paid an annual tax of 5,000 sólidos. During the same year, together with those communities of Catalonia, *Perpignan, and *Montpellier, it granted the king the sum of 25,000 sólidos toward the expenses of his campaign in Leon. He nevertheless forbade Jews to live side by side with Christians (1273), although he authorized them to purchase new houses. James I also renewed the permit for a separate sheḥitah on the island. During this period, the preacher Raimon Lull, who wielded considerable power on Majorca, was active there, conducting religious disputations with the Jews with the aim of bringing them over to Christianity.
From the Time of Alfonso III (1285–95) until the Rule of Pedro IV (1343)
James I divided the kingdom of Aragon in his will, setting up the independent kingdom of Majorca under his second son James II (of Majorca). Reigning from 1276, James II confirmed the privileges which had been granted by his father. In 1285 his nephew Alfonso III seized the island from him, ruling it until 1295. Alfonso confirmed a series of privileges and decrees issued by James I and further exempted the Jews from various taxes. The Jews of Majorca granted the king a special allowance of 10,000 sólidos for his own use, and Alfonso authorized them to appeal to him against legal decisions taken by his officials, provided that the town's interests were not prejudiced by these appeals (1286). During that year, he also borrowed 20,000 sólidos from the trustees of the community. A year later, the Jews of Majorca had to assist the king with a special contribution of 30,000 sólidos. At the same time, Alfonso showed concern for the regular payments of the debts owed to them by Christians, although he occasionally granted to the latter a remission of debts for a given period. Continuing to make yearly demands for support from the Jewish community in addition to the annual tax, in 1290 he imposed a payment of 37,000 sólidos in reparation for the offense of taking excessive interest; he also collected 12,000 sólidos for the right of establishing a "Jewish street," surrounding it with a wall, and installing gates at the points of entry.
James II returned to the island in 1295, reigning there until his death in 1311, when he was followed by his son Sancho I. The situation of the Jews further deteriorated until the island was reconquered by Pedro IV (1343). From the earliest days of the independent kingdom, they were compelled to pay tithes whenever they acquired land and houses from Christians. Anti-Jewish riots broke out in 1305, and in 1309 the first *blood libel occurred on the island when several Jews were accused of the murder of a Christian child. Riots ensued; the king ordered the attackers of the Jews to be punished and the activity of Christians within the Jewish quarter to be restricted. During the same year, similar riots broke out in Inca and many Jews were killed. Nevertheless the island admitted several Jewish settlers who had been expelled from France (1306). Among these was R. Aaron ha-Kohen who studied under R. Shem Tov Falcón in Majorca and later wrote his Orḥot Ḥayyim there. The king even sent an emissary to reassure the Jews of their security, and this assurance was reiterated by his son, Sancho I, in 1311. When several Christians from Germany arrived in Majorca in 1314 the community of Palma accepted them as proselytes (even though they had previously been rejected by the communities of *Lérida and *Gerona), thereby arousing considerable ill feeling on the island. Under the influence of Majorca's bishop, Sancho ordered the confiscation of the synagogue of Palma, which was converted into a church, and imposed a heavy fine on the community. A year later he ordered the confiscation of the property of the Jews of Palma, but left them with enough for subsistence. After the fine was paid, Sancho was again willing to take the Jews under his protection. During the same year, a long series of regulations dealing with Jewish matters was issued. The regulations concerned community administration, taxes on foodstuffs and wine, and commerce. It was prohibited to try Jews on their festivals; any Jew who expressed his desire to convert while imprisoned was to be confronted with two other Jews, before whom he had to declare that his conversion was of his own free will; if he reconsidered his decision, he would be authorized to remain a Jew. It was also stated that the Inquisition's investigations against Jews would not take place without the consent of the king; the trustees of the community would be authorized to seize those who disregarded communal regulations and imprison them; a Jew from abroad who came to trade in Majorca would be authorized to carry on to Minorca with his goods without having to pay any additional taxes. A year later, Sancho allowed the Jews of Majorca to import goods and property acquired in Moorish countries even though he was at war with them. He also authorized the erection of a new synagogue to serve as a house of prayer and bet midrash but stipulated that it be less splendid then the former building. In 1331 James III, Sancho's nephew, ordered the viceroy on the island to assist the Jews in the erection of the synagogue in spite of the opposition of Pope John XXII.
After the death of Sancho in 1325, the regent Philip, who ruled in the name of James III, confirmed the existing privileges of the Jews on the island and granted them civic rights. Treating them with tolerance, he stopped the legal action against several Jewish merchants accused of smuggling goods to North Africa (after the merchants had promised to pay
The Organization and Administration of the Majorca Communities
Details of the organization of the Palma community have come down from the close of the 13th century. In its communal and religious life Majorcan Jewry was very much influenced by the Catalan Jewish communities. The rabbis of Majorca were in close contact with those of Barcelona. In its administration, too, the community followed in the footsteps of the community in Barcelona. In 1296 the community was authorized to elect three muqaddimūn or trustees; the right of jurisdiction over the Jews was at first in the hands of the communal leaders, who were even authorized to expel any Jew for disreputable conduct. Throughout the period of the independent kingdom, the community was generally headed by six trustees and an executive council of eight "good men," though this council does not seem to have functioned regularly. In 1327, when the regent Philip allowed four of the trustees to dismiss a fifth who had been appointed by Sancho I, he recognized the exclusive right of the Jews of Palma to elect their own officers without any outside intervention, even from the king himself. When Pedro IV conquered Majorca in 1343, he confirmed the existing arrangements. When in 1348 the trustees wished to coopt one of the "small taxpayers" on to the committee distributing charity funds, one of the "large" taxpayers complained to Pedro IV who supported him, declaring that it was preferable that charity be distributed by those who had contributed it. In the intercommunal organization for the entire Crown of Aragon that met in 1354 it was felt that Majorca was important enough to be represented on the board. In 1356 Pedro confirmed a communal regulation excluding physicians and brokers from serving as trustees. At that time, the governor of the island appointed a "Council of Thirty" which functioned until 1374, when the king ordered that the former communal leaders were to be responsible for its administration. Members of the council were to be elected by the community itself, and assisted by members appointed on the recommendation of the wealthier taxpayers. Several regulations on the assessment of the communal taxes, which indicate an attempt to create a reasonably objective assessment system, were confirmed by Pedro in 1378. Under the influence of R. Jonah *Desmaestre, Pedro issued in 1383 a series of instructions on the organization of communal life: the right to judge criminal law was restored to the community; the right of individuals to draw up testaments was not to be infringed upon; Jews were not to be compelled to hold disputations with apostates; no Jew of Majorca would be exempted from communal taxes, nor would any extraordinary tax be imposed upon him; no Jew might claim office in the community nor would he be exempted from public office if such was imposed upon him. Confirming these regulations John I granted the trustees of Palma the additional right of trying criminal law cases with the assistance of five rabbis, either according to Jewish law or Roman law. The community of Majorca benefited from these regulations until its destruction in 1391. When the Jewish settlement on the island was renewed, it appears that these regulations were again applied until it ceased to exist.
From the Reign of Pedro IV (1343–87) Until the End of the Jewish Settlement
After Pedro IV conquered the Balearic Isles (1343), the situation of the Jews of Majorca improved. The king's retinue included the physician Maestre Eleazar ibn Ardut of Huesca and Ḥasdai Crescas, the grandfather of R. Ḥasdai *Crescas. Immediately after the conquest, Pedro exempted the Jews of Majorca from the taxes imposed upon them by James III and canceled the bonds for the payment of the poll tax. He reconfirmed the privileges which had been granted by James II, Alfonso III, and the regent Philip, and ordered that those Jews who had left the island and newcomers also be given favorable opportunities to settle there. One of the supporters of James III was an alchemist named Menahem who was brought to trial in 1345; later he entered the service of Pedro as alchemist, physician, and astrologer. In 1346, Pedro decreed that a separate quarter be built for the Jews in Inca, in order to prevent both undue familiarity and quarrels between Jews and Christians. However, it appears that this separation did not apply in practice. The island communities suffered extensively at the time of the *Black Death and during the plagues which also broke out in the 1370s and 1380s. Rioting occurred as an aftermath of the plagues, and in 1374 the Christians called for the expulsion of the Jews from the island, but both the king and the infante John endeavored to restore order.
At the end of the 1340s, the Jewish physician and scholar Judah *Mosconi (Leo Grech) left Greece to settle in Majorca. From then until the close of the century, a school of Jewish astronomers and cartographers developed on the island. Among them were Abraham *Cresques (d. 1387), who was made a magister mapa mundorum et buxolarum, and his son Judah. Both were also granted by royal decree the privilege of appointing all the ritual slaughterers on the island. In 1359 R. Isaac *Nifoci, an astronomer, was chosen as the companion of the king of Aragon (in 1390 he joined the rabbis of the island). In the 14th century Majorca became a center of Torah learning. *Aharon ha-Kohen of Lunel wrote his Orḥot Ḥayyim there. At the end of the 1360s, R. *Isaac b. Sheshet corresponded with R. Solomon Zarfati, the talmudist, who was invited to come to Majorca by Jucef Faquim. R. Vidal Ephraim Gerondi, astrologer
During the second half of the 14th century, the island communities developed to the point of gaining the regard of the communities of Aragon, and in 1354 Majorca was invited to send a delegate to the supreme council of the communities of Aragon. In all this period, the Jews of Majorca carried on an intensive local trade and supplied goods from North Africa to the Spanish mainland. Others continued to engage in agriculture and crafts, but small craftsmen and owners of small plots of land were compelled to sell their land in times of difficulty; in an effort to help them Simeon b. Ẓemaḥ Duran (Resp. 1, no. 51) attempted to modify the Jewish *usury laws so that they would be able to take loans. During the 14th century, the Jews of the island still owned slaves and the problems connected with their possession which had arisen during the 13th century persisted. Essentially the prominence of the leading Jewish merchants was based on their maritime trade in the Mediterranean, with Alexandria, Sicily, Sardinia, and other places. It was these merchants who imported grain to the island in times of famine and scarcity, although they were not shipowners; there was even a series of privileges which declared that Christian shipowners must not refuse cargoes loaded on their ships by Jews. Eminent among these merchants was Don Jucef Faquim (Joseph Ḥakim) whose family had arrived on the island in 1332. In 1365 he argued before the king that he should be exempted from taxes because his property consisted of goods scattered over many countries and these possessions were insecure; the king ordered the trustees to appoint two merchants to assess his payments. In 1370 Jucef Faquim supplied grain to the army, which was quartered on Sardinia. When the Jews of Majorca complained to Pedro IV in 1351 about sailors who took some of their number into captivity and removed them elsewhere if they were not redeemed in time, he ordered that the captives be set free against the payment of a ransom of 30 livres of silver. During this period Majorca Jews also engaged in moneylending and frequent governmental measures attempted to reduce the interest rates.
The form of the Jewish *oath in force in Majorca, established by Pedro in 1352, required them to swear on a text containing the Ten Commandments only, without the addition of the reproof sections. In 1359 the king renewed the privilege which stipulated that Majorca Jews could not be tortured without explicit royal approval. In the same year, he authorized the Jews of North Africa to enter and to leave the island, against a payment of one-eighth of the price of goods which they bought or sold on the island. After the inhabitants of the town of Inca had attacked the Jews in 1373, many left the island. After several conversions had taken place, the Jews of Majorca complained to the king, who in 1373 ordered the bishop of Majorca to pay heed to the ancient decree concerning the conversion regulations (see above). In 1376 the Jews of Porreras were set upon by the local population. However, the following year Pedro intervened in favor of the Jews, ordering them to present their claims in person before the mercantile court (consulado del mar). During this period the king continued to impose compulsory loans on the Jewish communities (especially in 1380 and 1383).
The 1391 Persecutions
When news of the anti-Jewish riots sweeping Spain in 1391 reached Majorca, the leaders of the Jews appealed to Francisco Sa Garriga, viceroy of John I, to find a way of preventing the outbreak of similar riots on the island. It was decided to cordon off the Jewish quarter and allow no weapons inside. As soon as they heard reports of the riots in Valencia, Jews began to leave the island and those who lived in the villages moved to the towns, into the fortified Jewish quarters. In Palma the riots broke out on July 10; youths bearing crucifixes infiltrated the Jewish quarter. Although the gates were closed the mob broke them down and massacred scores of Jews. The next day the authorities made attempts to mitigate the storm, but on August 2 the riots broke out again. The community of Inca was completely wiped out, as were those of Sóller, Sineu, and Alcudia. Several leaders of the riots were captured, but the mob set them free; villagers traveled to the towns in order to share in the pillage. Many Jews died as martyrs, notably R. Vidal Ephraim Gerondi, and several distinguished personalities accepted baptism; among these were R. Isaac Nifoci, who later atoned for his act by emigrating to Ereẓ Israel, and Judah Cresques, who became a prominent courtier. A list of 111 heads of families who were converted is still extant; they were given the names of their baptismal godfathers (several of the converts were named after the viceroy, Francisco Sa Garriga). In spite of the governor's prohibition on leaving the island, many Jews fled to North Africa, among them Simeon b. Ẓemaḥ Duran, who settled in Algiers and held rabbinical office there. Majorcan Jewish settlers in North Africa speak of a Jewish community of more than 1,000 families in Majorca, prior to the massacres. The figure seems exaggerated but indicates the prestige and splendor the community had in Jewish eyes. In September 1391 the peasants demanded that the surviving Jews be baptized or put to death; in rejecting this demand the authorities explained that Christianity sought to achieve conversion through free will and not by force. However, the peasants renewed their demands a month later,
At the beginning of 1392, the authorities took steps to normalize the situation. The populace was ordered to hand back plundered property; surviving Jews and forced converts were required to provide within ten days a written list of the debts owing to them; the forced converts were called upon to appear before the viceroy and declare whether they desired to continue to live in the Jewish quarter or rent houses to Jews who had been left homeless; and the inhabitants were ordered to return the doors which they had removed from Jewish houses. The bailiff of Palma, one of the leaders of the riot, was executed in January 1392. Fearing that the island's peasants might rebel, the crown granted an amnesty to the rioters and canceled debts to Jews contracted over the previous ten years. Despite the governor's decree forbidding the forced converts to leave the island, many fled to North Africa and returned to Judaism; among them were members of the Najjār family. In January 1393, the governor prohibited further assaults on Jews; anyone molesting them would be hanged if he was of the lower class and flogged if he belonged to the nobility. Nevertheless, a new amnesty was granted to the rioters. As early as 1393, there are instances of the authorities prosecuting forced converts who had returned to Judaism.
In an attempt to reestablish the Jewish communities of the island, in 1394 the authorities invited 150 families from Portugal to settle there, and they arrived in 1395. At the same time the crown granted a writ of protection and exemption from special taxes to all Jews who had fled to North Africa and other places and wished to return to Majorca. However, their resettlement was doomed to failure. In 1413, Vicente *Ferrer visited the island and induced several members of the community to accept baptism. Seeking to undermine the position of the Jews of Majorca, Ferdinand I issued in 1413 a series of restrictions resembling the 1412 decrees of Valladolid with an additional provision prohibiting the emigration of forced converts to North Africa. There was a slight alleviation in the situation during the reign of Alfonso V, who included the Jews of Majorca in his favorable decree of 1419 which ordered that copies of the Talmud be returned to the Jews; that the system of Jewish jurisdiction be set in order; that their synagogue be restored; and that they be exempted from forced attendance at sermons. A *blood libel was perpetrated in Majorca in 1432, and in 1435 the community ceased to exist: 200 persons were converted and the remainder fled to join their coreligionists in North Africa.
The Fate of the Conversos of Majorca
The papal Inquisition was already active in Majorca during the 13th century, but it was only from the beginning of the 15th that its activities really made themselves felt. In 1407 a *Converso who had twice returned to Judaism was condemned to be burnt at the stake, and in 1410 Benedict XIII ordered that measures be taken against the Conversos of Majorca. Antonio Murta, the inquisitor of the Balearic Islands from 1420 to 1436, was responsible for the conversion of many Jews in 1435. The Spanish *Inquisition began to operate in Majorca in 1488. From the start, many Conversos were brought back to the Church. Until the close of the 15th century, 346 trials were held and 257 persons were handed over to the secular arm for the death penalty. During the 16th century, especially after 1520, the tribunal's activities decreased, but they were resumed with renewed ferocity in 1675 and 1677. In 1675, a large group of Conversos from Majorca, referred to by the Inquisition as "Portuguese," was brought to trial. Martyrs included Alonso López; others were sentenced in absentia and burned in effigy. Among those sentenced in 1677 were Pedro Onofri Cortes and Raphael Valis, who were prominent members of the Converso community. The tribunal's activities reached their peak in 1691, when 86 Conversos (including 46 women) were sentenced and another 39 reconciled with the church. From then on its activities appear to have waned. By 1771 the Inquisition had sent a total of 594 Conversos to the stake and reconciled a further 460 with the church. During the 18th century, tribunal officials occasionally arrested Jewish travelers on the Balearic Isles on the suspicion that they were Conversos. In 1718 Jacob Cardozo Nuñez of Bayonne, and Samuel Nahon and his relative Solomon Nahon of Tetuán were arrested. Cardozo was imprisoned until 1721.
Conversos in Majorca were given the name of *chuetas, a name which persisted into the mid-20th century. They continued to live in separate quarters and all social and public advancement were denied to them. They formed a closed society in which the overwhelming majority secretly observed Jewish rites, for which they were often brought to trial. It was not until the end of the 18th century that the government attempted to alleviate their condition and in 1782 the Conversos were permitted to settle in any part of the town or the island; at the same time it became an offense to molest them by word ordeed. After the French conquest of the island, the Inquisition was abolished in 1808 and the Conversos were granted further concessions. However, when Ferdinand IV returned to power (1814) the Inquisition was reintroduced and its final abolition barely improved the lot of the Conversos. In 1856 riots broke out against them once more when several prominent members of the community sought to join the exclusive Circulo Balear club. There was a renewed debate on the place of the chuetas within the island's society toward the close of the 19th century with the publication of the work of the priest José Tarongi in 1877, condemning their social ostracism and explicitly blaming the clergy for this. Also influential was the work of Vicente Blasco Ibañez, Los muertos mandan (1916). Jews began to take an interest in their condition. During the Republican regime in Spain (1931), a work by Garao, La Fe Triunfante, was republished. Written a century before it sought to stress the Jewishness of the chuetas as grounds for their total rejection.
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