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VALMASEDA, town in Vizcaya province, N. Spain. The beginning of the Jewish settlement dates back to the 15th century, in the days of King Henry IV. The Jews were brought here and protected by the constable of Castile, the count of Haro. The Jewish quarter was then situated near the old bridge in the present San Lorenzo quarter. The settlement owed its importance to its proximity to the ports of Cantabria from which wool, skins, and other goods were exported to France, Flanders, and England. The Jews in Valmaseda consequently engaged mainly in commerce, and also owned houses and vineyards. In 1474 they paid a total of 1,100 maravedis in taxes which were imposed on them by Jacob ibn Nuñez, court physician and tax farmer. Influenced by the local craftsmen's guilds, and in opposition to crown policy, the town council from 1483 on began to adopt a decidedly anti-Jewish attitude. In 1486 the council of the Basques, which convened in Guernica, decreed the expulsion of the Jews from the area. In 1487 the town council in Valmaseda agreed to negotiate with the local community concerning their voluntary departure.


Baer, Urkunden, 2 (1936), 368, 383; A. Rodríguez Herrero, Valmaseda en el siglo xv y la aljama de los judíos (1947); Suárez Fernández, Documentos, 312–3.

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