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PALENCIA (Hebrew, ):

Capital of the province of Palencia, Spain, situated between Burgos and Valladolid. A large and wealthy Jewish community settled here as early as the eleventh century. The first ghetto, called "Juderia Vieja," "the Old Jewry," lay on the right side of the Carrion, in the vicinity of the Church of San Julian; hence the Jews are called in the earliest documents "los Judios de San Julian." This ghetto soon became too small, and another one, called "Juderia Nueva," was formed near the Cathedral of San Miguel, hence called also "Juderia de San Miguel"; it extended to the Carrion.

Beginning with the year 1185, the Jews of Palencia were under the immediate protection of the bishop of that city, who collected one-half of the taxes paid by them. In 1291 they paid a poll-tax of 33,380 maravedis, which sum was divided equally between the king and the bishop, after 8,607 maravedis had been appropriated for "servicio." During the dissensions between the episcopate and the municipal council on account of the Jews' tax, the Jews sided with the council; and they actually took part in the conflict against the bishop until Ferdinand III. declared them to be vassals of the crown (1305).

The Palencia Jews suffered greatly during the civil war between Don Pedro of Castile and Don Henry of Trastamara. When the latter entered the city with his army the war-taxes he laid upon the Jews were so heavy that they were unable to pay them. According to the account of Samuel Çarças, who was living in Palencia at the time (not Valencia, as Wiener writes) and composed his "Meḳor Ḥayyim" there, the ensuing famine completely ruined the rich and flourishing community. In 1391 the ghetto was completely destroyed, and nearly all the Jews who escaped with their lives were baptized. One of the old synagogues was transformed into a hospital; and the old Jewish hospital was later used as a prison.

Bibliography:
  • Shebeṭ Yehudah, ed. Wiener, p. 132 (German transl., p. 266);
  • Elegy (reprinted in Simon b. Ẓemah Duran's Magen Abot, following the introduction, Leipsic, 1855);
  • Rios, Hist. i. 341; ii. 45, 385, 406, 531;
  • R. E. J. xxxviii. 144.
S. M. K.
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