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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in the Ottoman Empire 05: Occupation of Hungary and North Africa

Jews in Budapest under Ottoman rule - Ottoman occupations in North Africa with different conditions for the Jews

from: Ottoman Empire; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 16

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)




[Jews living well in Budapest under Ottoman rule]

Suleiman defeated the Hungarians in the battle of Mohacs in 1526, conquering *Hungary and its capital Budon (later called Budapest). Its other inhabitants fled, but the Jews remained. The leader of the Jewish community, who handed the keys of the city to the sultan, was Joseph b. Solomon Ashkenazi of the Alaman family. The sultan dealt charitably with him and also with his children, giving them a deed exempting them and their descendants from taxes.

The Jews of Budon frequently defended the city from enemies and were faithful to the Ottoman sultans. The Turks ruled over it about 160 years (until 1686). It contained both Ashkenazi and Sephardi congregations, and the city's rabbis were under supervision of the rabbis of Constantinople and Salonika, as they were all subjects of the empire. The Jews of Hungary migrated to Turkey and settled on the banks of the Danube, and in Sofia, Adrianople, and Constantinople, and established communities which they called the Budon congregations. On the other hand, Jews from Turkey settled in Budon and founded separate congregations there.


[Turkish occupation of Tripolitania, Tunisia, and Algeria - different conditions for the Jews]

The struggle of the Ottoman sultans to extend their domain west of Egypt lasted almost 60 years (1518-74), but success was not complete.

The Turks were unable to seize control of *Morocco, which preserved its independence. They forced their sovereignty upon Tripolitania (see *Libya), *Tunisia, and *Algeria, three of the Berber countries. Each of these developed different administrations and legal systems that also differed from those in the Ottoman Empire in Asia, Egypt, and Europe.

With the consolidation of Ottoman rule, descendants of Spanish refugees and anusim [[Jews
forced to convert and practicing Judaism yet]], who had succeeded in escaping from Spain, began to settle in the Berber states also, i.e., in Tripolitania, Tunisia, and Algeria. The condition of Jews changed from country to country and was dependent upon the goodwill or whim of the local ruler.


In Algeria the establishment of a new synagogue was dependent on the giving of bribes. In the 17th century, a new wave of descendants of the refugees arrived in these countries, who had first settled in *Leghorn [[Livorno]] (Italy). Rabbis who were descendants of Simeon b. Zemah *Duran lived in Algiers, and in the second half of the 16th century members of the sixth generation of the family headed the congregation. Apparently, Abraham b. Jacob ibn Tava was also a descendant of the Duran family. The Algiers scholars in the 18th century included Raphael Jedidiah, Solomon *Seror, Judah *Ayash, and Jacob ibn Na'im.


In Tripolitania an improvement in the situation of the Jews took place when the Sublime Porte in Constantinople reestablished direct rule over it (1835-1911). This improvement was manifested primarily in the appointment of valis charged with administration of the country and their periodic replacement, as was customary in other provinces of the empire. The Ottoman valis, who did not succeed in getting to know the conditions of the country and its language, were to a great extent dependent upon the help of Jewish secretaries. The influence of alien consuls also increased and as a result the status of the Jews improved, especially in the city of Tripoli.> (col. 1536)

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