ABENDANA, ISAAC SARDO (c. 1662–1709), diamond merchant. Abendana, who was originally from Holland, went to India from London in about 1702. He settled in Pulicat on the Coromandel Coast before moving to Fort St. George (Madras). In the records of the British East India Company there he is referred to as a freeman. As a diamond expert and jeweler his advice was much sought. Thomas Pitt, governor of Fort St. George, with whom he became friendly, also consulted him. Abendana's testament is described in the court records as written in "certain characters and other numerous abbreviations unknown to all of us," probably a reference to Hebrew. It stipulates that his widow was to remarry, if at all, only "in a city where there is a synagogue." She remarried a German Lutheran in 1712, and the ensuing litigation is detailed in the Madras Record Office. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J.J. Cotton, List of Inscriptions on Tombstones and Monuments in Madras (1915), 123; D.A. Lehmann, Alte Briefe aus Indien (1965); W.J. Fischel, in: Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient, 3 (1960), 191 ff. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Arbell, in: Los Muestros, 41 (2000), 12–13. (Walter Joseph Fischel)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • MADRAS — (today Chennai), city in S. India. Formerly known as Fort St. George, Madras was the first territorial acquisition of the English East India Company in 1639. In the last decades of the 17th century its diamond trade attracted Anglo Portuguese… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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