The Ottoman jews

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The people In the early seventeenth century, Ottoman Jewry comprised immigrants from the Catholic world as well as members of indigenous communities, which the Ottomans inherited together with the countries they conquered. Some of these countries were Muslim and others were Greek Orthodox. The indigenous Jewish communities of the Muslim world usually spoke Arabic, while those of the Greek Orthodox world were generally Greek speakers. The members of the immigrant communities that grew up in the empire from 1492 on usually spoke a Castilian dialect of Spanish, but also a southern and Sicilian dialect of Italian, as well as Portuguese. During the seventeenth century, the flow of Jewish refugees from Catholic Europe to the Ottoman Empire came to a virtual standstill. This was because the pool of “New Christians’ in Spain and Portugal who still wished to live in “a Jewish place’ had dried up. Another, more compelling, reason was the rise in international trade, which led various Catholic countries to suffer the presence of “New Christians’ who secretly observed – or openly reverted to – their former Jewish religion, for their commercial contribution. In certain places, such as Leghorn (Livorno) (in 1593), such Jews were even awarded rights very similar to those granted to Christians. In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the globalisation of commerce led to Jewish immigration of another kind; the new immigrants were Jews who held on to the nationality of their Catholic countries of origin and settled in the empire for economic reasons.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of Turkey
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 3 the Later Ottoman Empire, 1603-1839
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781139054119
ISBN (Print)0521620953, 9780521620956
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2006

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2006 and 2008.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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