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ALMANZA, ARON DE (or SELOMOH DE):

A Marano born at Salamanca, Spain, of Jewish parents. His first wife was Leonore de los Rios Sotte, whom he married in 1696 and with whom he obtained a dowry of "70,000 florins [$21,000, or £4,200] in money, 19,000 florins [$5,700, or £1,140] worth of jewels, and other presents." After her death he married a Christian woman. He migrated to England, and in 1703 he published, in English and Spanish, an account of his conversion, dedicated to Henry, Lord Bishop of London, entitled: "A declaration of the conversion of Mr. Aron de Almanza, a Spanish merchant, with his two children and nephew, from Judaism to the Protestant religion, according to the Doctrines of the Church of England, with his abjuration of the Jewish Rights (sic) and ceremonies," etc. In this work the author treats his former coreligionists very severely and, in a postscript, says that "Jewish rabbis, with the directors of the Jewish Synagogue and some other Jews in London," had spread a report to the effect that in Spain he had been a Catholic. He declares that he would be neither aCatholic nor a Lutheran, believing in transubstantiation as little as in consubstantiation; and as for being a Calvinist, he would as lief have remained a Jew.

Bibliography:
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. No. 4412;
  • Kayserling, Bibl. Esp.-Port.-Jud. 1890, p. 114.
S. A. H.
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