Ancient republic of central Italy; situated not far from the Adriatic Sea and founded in the fourth century by the Dalmatian Marinus. The first mention of Jews here dates fromthe second half of the fourteenth century, when the statutes concerning debtors and usurers point with unmistakable clearness to the business transactions of Jews, and when one Emanuele of Rimini lent money in San Marino (1369). In 1442 Count Guidantonio of Montefeltro recommends "to the care of the captains regent the Jews who transact business in San Marino." Mention is made of a Jewish thief (1455), of an alleged or suspected traitor, and of a dispenser of counterfeit coin (1459); also of a banker, Musetto, who furnished the regency with ready cash to meet the expenses entailed by the visit of princely guests to the republic (1462). Several other Jewish names are recorded in official documents of the fifteenth century; and from the beginning of the sixteenth century documents regarding Jews are so numerous as to fully justify the inference that a Jewish community existed in San Marino. Measures and resolutions regarding the Jews and their trades were repeatedly passed by the government in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Jews were ordered to wear special badges and to submit to certain restrictions; but official protection and consideration were granted to them.
Two letters from the aldermen of San Leo (1537) and San Arcangelo (1546), announcing the conversion to Catholicism of two poor Jews, are found in the archives.
In the seventeenth century Jews often requested the government to assist them in disposing of the pledges deposited at their "banchi," a term of two months being generally assigned for redemption. In later centuries the importance and number of the Jews in San Marino steadily diminished, doubtless in consequence of the institution of public pawn-broking establishments and the general modification of public economics.
- Original documents in the government archives at San Marino; C. Malagola, L'Archivio Governativo della Repubblica di S. Marino, Bologna, 1886;
- A. A. Bernardy, Carteggi San Marinesi del Secolo XV. in Arch. Storico Italiano, Disp. 3a, 1900;
- Frammenti San Marinesi e Feltreschi, 1902-3.