CANSINO, North African family, originally from Seville. The first known member was JACOB CANSINO, grammarian and lexicographer of the 13th–14th centuries. The Marrano PEDRO FERNANDEZ CANSINO was a victim of the Inquisition in 1480. His family later sought refuge in *Tlemcen, Algeria, where the ruler entrusted them with his affairs in *Oran and in 1512 obtained from Ferdinand the Catholic authorization for them to settle there. SOLOMON was known as a poet; the learned MOSES and his brother JONAH were political agents. Their uncle JACOB became dragoman (official interpreter) in *Fez, Morocco, in 1555. This position was later held by his nephew and son-in-law ISAAC (d. 1603–04), who maintained a regular
correspondence with the rabbis in Palestine. His eldest son, JACOB, had two sons; the elder, ISAAC, was converted to Christianity when the Jews were expelled from Oran in 1668, and the younger, ABRAHAM (d. apparently after 1709), was dayyan and the author of Aguddat Ezov, a poetical work that has since been lost. Because a copy of the Talmud was found in Abraham's possession, the Spaniards sent him as a prisoner to Murcia, Spain, together with his son, possibly ISAAC. They were set free only after the payment of a heavy fine. Abraham later became rabbi in Leghorn. Isaac was a publisher in Amsterdam in 1685. The second son of Isaac, ḤAYYIM (d. 1625), was a royal interpreter. He had three sons, of whom the eldest was ISAAC (d. 1672), a poet of distinction; some of his liturgical poems are included in the maḥzor of Oran. The second son, AARON (d. 1633), succeeded his father as royal interpreter; after his assassination he was replaced by his brother JACOB (d. 1666), the most influential member of the family. He was opposed to the politics of the Marquis de los Velez, governor of Oran, who succeeded in expelling the Jews only after Jacob's death. In Madrid on a diplomatic assignment, Jacob published Extremos y Grandezas de Constantinopla, based on its Ladino original (1638), by Moses *Almosnino. Jacob's preface to this edition enumerates the positions held and the services rendered by the Cansinos. The third son of Isaac, ABRAHAM (late 16th–early 17th centuries), was a scholar and poet. A fourth son was SAMUEL (late 16th–early 17th centuries), for a time president of the community and a beloved philanthropist; he ultimately ruined himself by gambling. During the 18th century the Cansinos were established in Leghorn, Italy; Mahón, Minorca; Mogador, Morocco (1775); Gibraltar (1785–1830), London (apparently before 1798), Manchester (end of 19th century), and New York (mid-20th century).
M. Mendez Bejarano, Histoire de la Juiverie de Séville (1922), 223–4; SIHM, Espagne, 2 (1956), index; H. Howes, The Gibraltarian (1951), 31; Hirschberg, Afrikah, 2 (1965), 104–6.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.