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Burriana, Spain

BURRIANA, city in the medieval kingdom of Valencia, eastern Spain, which was part of the medieval Crown of Aragon. Shortly after the Christian reconquest of the area in 1233, Jews settled in the citadel and the unwalled area nearby, as well as in the neighboring village of Villareal. The history of the communities in the two places was closely connected. The status of the Jews was regulated by the Furs, the local collection of laws and customs. As the Jews belonged to the Crown, James I decreed that the Jews of Burriana would be under the jurisdiction of the justicia, a local functionary who held judicial authority. Several Jews of Burriana were in the service of the king. Astruc Jacob Siso (Xixo) served as baile of Burriana from 1268 until 1273. Documents give a picture of his varied commercial activities, including loans to royalty, administration of the salt tax, and supervision of works on the fortress of Peñiscola. Another local notable was Solomon Vidal who received from James I land for orchards, vineyards, and gardens, and for building a residence, and was appointed baile of Villareal in 1276. Salomon Vidal, who was the baile of La Plana, collected the rents of the region that included Burriana, Castellon, and Onda in 1278. During the 13th century, Jewish landowners were granted various privileges. The communities of Burriana, Murviedro (Sagunto), Onda, and Segorbe formed a single tax administrative unit (collecta), assessed to pay an annual tax of 2,000 sólidos. The first reference to the aljama, to a legally constituted community, is from 1326 under James II. In that same year the King gave instructions that land for a cemetery should be made available to the community. The juhería or judería of Burriana consisted of two main streets, known today as de la Mare de Déu dels Desamparats and Santa Teresa. There were about 30 dwelling places in the Jewish quarter. The Jews also had their synagogue there. When the baile appointed an unacceptable candidate as ḥazzan in 1369, the community appealed to Pedro IV who ordered the baile to appoint someone with more suitable qualifications. The physician Vidal Garcian practiced here in 1390; his son Lobell was physician to the royal family. During the massacres of 1391 the Jewish quarter was destroyed. The king empowered Francisco Desplugues, governor of Valencia, to restore looted property to its rightful owners. The municipality and city elders (jurados) were fined 13,000 sólidos of the Barcelona mint, and the optimates and council of Villareal, 7,000 sólidos. Subsequently the Burriana community recovered to some extent. Martin I freed a number of reputed Conversos who had come to Burriana from Castile and whose extradition had been demanded. At the time of the expulsion in 1492 the Burriana Jews left Spain from the nearby port of Valencia.


Baer, Urkunden, 1 pt. 1 (1929), index; Piles Ros, in: Sefarad, 12 (1952), 105–24; 15 (1955), 98, 101; 20 (1960), 367ff. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: J.R. Magdalena Nom de Déu, La aljama de judíns de Burriana (1978); J.R. Magdalena Nom de Déu and J.M. Doñate Sebastia, Three Jewish Communities in Medieval Valencia (1990); L. Piles Ros, in: Sefarad 50 (1990), 129–66; 373–411.

[Haim Beinart / Yom Tov Assis (2nd ed.)]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.