SIGÜENZA

SIGÜENZA, town in the province of Guadalajara, Castile, Central Spain. A Jewish community appears to have already existed there during the 11th century. In 1124 King alfonso VII granted to the bishop of Sigüenza the right of jurisdiction over the local Jews. Sigüenza was among the towns which prospered in old Castile in the 13th century. In 1280 a Jew named Abraham reached an agreement with the bishop of Sigüenza on the digging of salt mines there. The articles of the agreement indicate the equal rights of Jew and bishop. The mines were to become the property of the bishop after four years. This method of leasing, in which the bishop provided the tools and financed the digging, was also practiced during the 14th century. The Jewish quarter is mentioned in 1343 as being situated in San Vincente Street. Remnants of the synagogue have been preserved. The decline of the Castilian communities also overtook Sigüenza during the 15th century. The tax paid by the community in 1439 amounted to only 300 maravedis   in the old currency, but, in 1491, the annual tax of the community amounted to 14,974 maravedis. In 1490 the community of Sigüenza was called upon to contribute 206,464 maravedis toward the redemption of the Jews taken captive in Málaga. At the time of the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, a number of houses which had been owned by Jews since 1449 were sold to Christians because of the debts still owed by Jews. In 1493 the crown reacted in favor of the Conversos in the townlet and prohibited the use of derogatory names against them. In 1496 it was decided to sell the synagogue and the property attached to it. From that year the notary of the Inquisition tribunal lived there. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Baer, Spain, index; Baer, Urkunden, 2 (1936), index; H. Rashdall, Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages (19362), 104–5; F. Cantera, Sinagogas españolas (1955), 304–8; Suárez Fernández, Documentos, index. (Haim Beinart)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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