AZORES, archipelago in the N. Atlantic; Portuguese possession. *New Christians from Portugal presumably settled in the Azores in the 16th and 17th centuries, but there is no consistent record of them. The first known settlement of Jews in the islands began in 1818 with the arrival of five merchants from Morocco. By 1848 the Jews in the Azores numbered 250; several small communities had been established, the most important being in Ponta Delgada (founded in 1836) where there were 150 Jews. Among the founders were several members of the *Bensaude family, whose descendants became influential in international commerce, banking, and philanthropy. The number of Jews in the islands has dwindled steadily in recent years.
Amzalak, in: Revista de Estudios Hebraícos, 1 (1928), 239–40. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: I. Da R. Pereira, in: Arquipélago 1 (1979), 181–201; 2 (1980), 143–87; 3 (1981), 167–85; A.M. Mendes, in: Boletim (Instituto Histórico da Ilha Terceira), 40 (1982), 673–92.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.