PORTUGAL, southwesternmost country of continental Europe, in the Iberian Peninsula. Jewish settlement in the area began prior to Portugal's emergence as a nation. The existence of a significant Jewish settlement on the peninsula by 300 C.E. is apparent from the edicts of *Elvira which proscribe "taking food with the Jews" and single out the Jewish group in a number of dicta. A tradition among the Sephardi Jews ascribes their arrival in Iberia to Roman times, in the wake of the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. and subsequent dispersion toward Europe. James *Finn endeavored to make a case for dating the initial Jewish involvement in the area as early as 900 B.C.E., based on reports of two ancient Hebrew inscriptions, one mentioning *Amaziah, king of Judah, and a second marking the grave of King Solomon's treasurer, *Adoniram.
When Portugal emerged as a distinct national entity under Affonso (Henriques) I (1139–85), a number of wholly Jewish districts existed, including communities in *Lisbon, *Oporto, *Santarém, and *Beja. Affonso employed as his treasurer Yaḥya ibn Ya'ish, thereby initiating the pattern of Portuguese rulers enlisting Jewish talent in the management of affairs of state. Under King Affonso III (1248–79) Portugal attained total independence and fixed its historic geographic boundaries, and during his reign the classic Portuguese model of Jewish communal life emerged. The crown recognized the Jewish community as a distinct legal entity, headed by the royally appointed *arraby mor. The arraby mor, in turn, named seven *dayyanim, one for each of seven regional centers; Santarém, Oporto, *Moncorvo, *Viseu, *Faro, *Evora, and *Covilhã, each with his own administrative staff to adjudicate both civil and criminal cases. Their decisions were subject to appeal before the arraby mor, who visited the district courts annually for this purpose, accompanied by an *av bet din ("chief justice") and an executive staff. The vast power of the arraby mor was balanced by the right of the people to select the local rabbis – who, however, were paid by the crown and required its confirmation – and to elect the tovei hair (see *Community, *Elders) who directed the daily functions of the community. In the larger towns Jews generally lived together in a juderia (see *Jewish Quarter) such as Oporto's Jews' Hill or Loulé's Jews' Vale.
Portuguese Jewry prospered under these separatist conditions, continuing the attentiveness to learning that marked the peninsula's formative years. The community's autonomy amid officialness was the crucible in which the proud, enduring Portuguese Sephardi heritage was shaped. By the 15th century the Jews were playing a major role in the country's monarchical capitalism, as that economic system has been characterized. The concentration of Jews in Lisbon and other
population centers rendered obvious the group's business success and – as a result of their access to royalty – their disproportionate prominence in society. At the same time, Portuguese Jews were fastidious in loyalty to their faith and reciprocated the distant posture assumed by their devout Catholic neighbors, making way for the suspicions that feed on envy. Furthermore, the independence enjoyed by the Jewish community, in the otherwise Christian state, aroused the ire of the clergy. Their efforts to erode Jewish civil rights were resisted by the cultured King Diniz (1279–1325), who retained the arraby mor Don Judah as his treasurer and reasserted that the Jews need not pay tithes to the church. In any event the Jews were heavily taxed as the price of remaining unmolested, including a special Jews' tax intended to redeem the "accursed state of the race," and a tax based on the number of cattle and fowl slaughtered by the shoḥatim. The unsympathetic Affonso IV (1325–57) increased the direct tax load to bring him an annual state income of about 50,000 livres. He also reinstituted the dormant requirement that Jews wear an identifying yellow *badge, and restricted their freedom to emigrate. The emboldened clergy accused the Jews of spreading the *Black Death in 1350, inciting the populace to action. During the short rule of Pedro I (1357–67) – who employed as his physician the famed Moses *Navarro – the deterioration of the Jewish position was halted. The situation then fluctuated from ruler to ruler until the reign of Affonso V (1438–81), who gave the Jews his conscientious protection, affording them a last peaceful span of existence in Portugal. The general populace was seething with envy and religious hate. In 1449 there occurred a riot against the Jews of Lisbon; many homes were sacked and a number of persons were murdered. Local assemblies in 1451, 1455, 1473, and 1481 demanded that steps be taken to reduce the national prominence of the Jew.
Somehow the Jews of Portugal never considered their predicament as hopeless, and when *Spain expelled its Jews in 1492, some 150,000 fled to nearby Portugal, where both the general and Jewish culture approximated their own (see *Spanish and Portuguese Literature). King John II (1481–95), eager to augment his treasury, approved their admission. Wealthy families were charged 100 cruzados for the right of permanent residence; craftsmen were admitted with an eye to their potential in military production. R. Isaac *Aboab was permitted to settle with a group of 30 important families at Oporto. The vast majority, however, paid eight cruzados per head for the right to remain in Portugal for up to eight months. When this unhappy group found that a dearth of sailings made their scheduled exit impossible, John II proclaimed them automatically his slaves. Children were torn from their parents, 700 youths being shipped to the African island of Saõ Tomé (Saint Thomas) in an unsuccessful scheme to populate this wild territory.
With the accession of Emanuel I the Fortunate (1495–1521), the harsh distinctions between the displaced Spanish and the native Portuguese Jews began to be erased, and hopes for a tranquil period were raised. Instead, Emanuel's reign signaled the end of normative Jewish life in Portugal, for within a year of his accession he contracted a marriage with the Spanish princess Isabella – hoping thereby to bring the entire peninsula under a single monarch – and Spanish royalty made its consent dependent on his ridding Portugal of all Jews. Consenting reluctantly, on Dec. 4, 1496, Emanuel ordered that by November of the following year no Jew or Moor should remain in the country. Forthright action was not taken against the Moors, if only because Christians in Moorish lands would then be subject to reprisals. As the departures proceeded Emanuel reconsidered the loss of the Jewish citizenry and the attendant economic losses. He resolved to keep them in the country by turning the Jews into legal Christians. He tried persuasion and torture, but with little success, and the chief rabbi, Simon *Maimi, died resisting conversion. Accordingly on March 19, 1497, all Jewish minors were forcibly
As early as 1516 King Emanuel, suspecting that such a situation existed, proposed to Pope *Leo X that an *Inquisition – on the Spanish model – be authorized to ferret out backsliding New Christians. John III (1521–57) enlisted Enrique *Nuñez, an apostate from the Canary Islands, to mingle with the Marranos and report on their practices. In 1527 Nuñez presented King John with an exposé of Marrano life, appending a list of Crypto-Jews. Popular support for a Portuguese Inquisition surfaced in 1531, when the populace attributed the earthquake of that year to divine retribution for New Christian duplicity. Unable to resist these pressures, Pope Clement VII authorized the Inquisition, with King John's confessor Diogo da Silva as the first inquisitor general. Attempting to counter this, the Marranos dispatched Duarte de *Paz to Rome. Armed with unlimited funds, Paz was to attempt, at the very least, to deny the Inquisition the right to confiscate the property of those condemned, recognizing that this would be an incitement to prosecution. The ensuing diplomatic fray lasted half a century. On April 5, 1533 the Marranos won a suspension of the Inquisition, but on May 23, 1536 it was reauthorized, to be effective three years hence. A first *auto-da-fé took place in Lisbon on Sept. 20, 1540, but in 1544 the Inquisition was again suspended. Finally Emperor *Charles V brought his influence to bear and King John offered the bribe of Viseu's total tax revenue; irrevocable papal consent was given on July 16, 1547. Permanent tribunals were established at Lisbon, Evora, *Coimbra, and in Portugal's Far East outpost *Goa. Ultimately, in 1579, the right to confiscate the culprit's property also accrued to the inquisitors, so that every wealthy Portuguese not certified as pure-blooded (*limpieza de sangre) lived in terror. The Portuguese Inquisition became inspired more by greed than by piety, as Padre Antonio *Vieira charged. Soon the tribunal authorities were able to construct lavish palaces, to proffer large sums to receive condemnatory testimony, and to produce spectacular autos-da-fé, which competed with the bullfights in drawing crowds of tens of thousands. Accused Marranos could escape death by repentantly admitting to Judaizing, but in such an event they would be forced into implicating family and friends, thus providing a spiraling supply of victims. Occasionally even a genuine Christian was martyred for Judaizing, young Don Lope de *Vera y Alarcon (1620–1644) being the most notable example. Crypto-Jews sought precarious safety among the ruling classes and clergy; in time this tendency resulted in a significant percentage of Marrano blood being found within Portugal's ruling circles – as bitterly documented by Mario Saa.
The surest method of evading the Inquisition was to abandon the peninsula, and a constant flow of Conversos escaped – some with daring (see Samuel *Nunez), some with luck – to the communities of the *Marrano Diaspora, where many of them quickly reverted to normative Judaism. Some ex-Marranos, however, such as Spinoza's teacher Juan de *Prado, were not found acceptable by congregational leaders, giving rise to a responsa literature debating the status of the New Christians and ex-Marranos in Jewish law. The leading city of the Portuguese Diaspora was *Amsterdam, with *Salonika ranking first in the Ottoman East, but the former Marranos became ubiquitous in all the Old and New World centers of trade, to the extent that "Portuguese" became synonymous with "Jewish" – much to the consternation of gentile Portuguese travelers. The stream of refugees continued until the end of the inquisitional period. As late as 1795, immigrants to London cited flight from the Inquisition on their aliens' certificates. In 1791 Isaac Lopes Simões fled Lisbon to enter the covenant of Abraham at Bordeaux, France.
The Inquisition was brought to an end during the reign of Joseph Emanuel I (1750–77) through the initiative of Sebastião José de Carvalho ê Mello, Marques de Pombal (1699–1782), who was the power behind the titular monarch. In a series of acts from 1751 to 1774 Pombal deprived the Holy Office of real power, placing it under secular control, and restored the civil rights of the New Christian class, even bullying certified Old Christian families into contracting marriages with New Christians. A last auto-da-fé took place in 1791; on March 31, 1821, the Inquisition was abolished in Portugal. During the nightmare centuries of Portugal's Inquisition, over 40,000 persons were implicated, of whom 30,000 were sentenced at autos-da-fé. A total of 750 of these were staged, at which 29,000 persons were reconciled to the Church, 600 persons burned in effigy, and 1,200 persons burned at the stake. The majority of the victims were accused of Judaizing. The terror that weighed on the Marranos who managed to avoid detection cannot be measured.
Historians writing at the beginning of the 20th century supposed that the last Marranos had by then disappeared. In 1917, however, a mining engineer named Samuel *Schwarz discovered a community of Marranos in the remote northern region near *Belmonte. Apparently they had succeeded in maintaining their identity in the remote mountain areas, marrying among themselves, harboring memories of Jewish observances, being called Jews by their neighbors, and holding
A. Herculano de Carvalho e Araujo, History of the Origin and Establishment of the Inquisition in Portugal, tr. by J.C. Branner (1926); I.M. Ford (ed.), Letters of John III, King of Portugal, 1521–1557 (1931), introd. in Eng., letters in Portuguese; H.V. Livermore, A History of Portugal (1947), index S.V. Jews; M.A. Cohen, Samuel Usque's Consolation for the Tribulations of Israel (1965), introd.; C.R. Boxer, Four Centuries of Portuguese Expansion, 1415–1825 (1969), 47f. 52; Baron, Social, 13 (1969), 44–158; Graetz, Hist, index; E.N. Adler, in: JQR, 15 (1902/03), 413–39; The American Sephardi, 4, no. 1–2 (Autumn 1970); J. Mendes dos Remedios, Os Judeus em Portugal, 2 vols. (1895); A. Novinsky and A. Paulo, in: Commentary (May 1967), 76–81; M. Kayserling, Geschichte der Juden in Portugal (1867); A. Baião, Episodios dramáticos da inquisação portuguesa, 2 vols. (1919–24); J. Lucio d'Azevedo, Historia dos Christaos Novos Portugueses (1921); S. Schwarz, Inscrições hebraicas em Portugal (1923); idem, Os Cristãos-novos em Portugal no seculo XX (1925); A.C. de Barros Basto, Os Judeus no velho Porto (1929); N. Slouschz, Ha-Anusim be-Portugal (1932); E.H. Lindo, History of the Jews of Spain and Portugal (1970). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: M.J.P. Ferro Tavares, Os judeus em Portugal no século XIV, (1970); idem, Os judeus em Portugal no século XV, 2 vols. (19882–4); idem, Judaismo e Inquisição; estudos, (1987); I.S. Révah, in: Annuaire (École pratique des hautes étudeas, IVe section: Sciences historiques) (1970–71), 469-–84; (1971–72), 423–31; A. Novinsky, Cristãos novos na Bahia, (1972), 3–22, 23–55; idem, Inquisição I: inventários de bens confiscados a cristãos novos (1976); idem, in: Sefárdica, 2 (1984), 51–68; I. Steinhardt, in: Língua cultura, 2 (1972), 131–41; H.P. Salomon, Novos pontos de vista sobre a Inquisição em Portugal (1976); idem, in: Arquivos do Centro Cultural Portugués, 17 (1982), 41–64; F.E. Talmage, in: Association for Jewish Studies Newsletter, 13 (Feb. 1975), 13–15; F.E. Talmage and E. Vieira (eds. & trans.), The Mirror of the New Christians (Espelho de cristãos novos) by F. Machado (1977);
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.