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MONCORVO (Torre de Moncorvo), town in N. Portugal, district of Bragança. Early a center of Jewish life, Moncorvo was one of the seven provincial centers with an official rabbinical seat. Its rabbi was authorized by the crown to adjudicate all civil, criminal, and religious questions concerning the Jews of the Bragança district. Once a year the *arraby moor ("chief rabbi") visited Moncorvo to hear appeals. During the Peninsular War of 1803–13, a large number of Conversos – who were referred to simply as Jews by the Old Christians – entered Moncorvo as refugees from the neighboring town of Vila Nova de Fozcoa, where they were persecuted for alleged sympathy with the French. Mutual recriminations between the two towns eventually developed into armed battles. The descendants of these *New Christians were still in Moncorvo in 1917, when the Polish engineer Samuel *Schwarz made contact with the remnants of Portuguese Jewry. In 1927, when A.C. de *Barros Basto proselytized among the Conversos of the Bragança district, a special community was established in Moncorvo.


Graetz, Hist, 4 (1967), 159; R. Way, A Geography of Spain and Portugal (1962), 160; M. Kayserling, Geschichte der Juden in Portugal (1867), 13; N. Slouschz, Ha-Anusim be-Portugal (1932), 68–69.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.