The various branches of this family are all of Spanish and Portuguese origin. Soon after the establishment of the Inquisition, members of the family emigrated to Bordeaux, Bayonne, Hamburg, and other cities in the Netherlands, and later, in the United States; to-day their descendants are found scattered throughout Turkey, Egypt, Holland, Germany, England, and Italy. Some branches of the family have continued to bear the simple name of "De Castro"; others are known by the following names: De Castro-Osorio; De Castro Sarmento; De Castro-Castello-Osorio; Pereira de Castro; De Castro Vieira de Pinto; Rodriguez de Castro; Orobio de Castro; De Castro de Paz; Henriquez de Castro, etc.

Arms of De Castro Family.

Among the members of this family, of some of whom a more detailed account will be found below, are the following: Aaron de Castro, or Crasto, parnas, Amsterdam, 1834; Abraham de Castro, who was among the Jews who returned to Amsterdam from Brazil when that country was lost to the Hollanders in 1654 ("Publ. Am. Jew. Hist. Soc." iii. 17); Abraham Nahamias de Castro, London, 1769; Dr. Baruch de Castro, Amsterdam, 1597-1684; Daniel de Castro, brother of Baruch; Daniel Gomez de Castro, parnas, Amsterdam, 1772; Dr. Ezekiel de Castro, Verona, 1639; Imanuel de Imanuel Nahmias de Crasto, parnas, Amsterdam, 1773; Dr. Isaac de Castro, surgeon, Amsterdam, 1683; Joseph Mendes de Castro, London, 1694; Mordecai de Castro, Amsterdam, 1650; Moses Gomez de Castro, parnas, ib., 1784; Nissim de Castro, Constantinople, nineteenth century; Pedro Fernandes de Castro, alias Julio Fernandez de Castro of Valladolid, son-in-law of Simon Vaez "Publ. Am. Jew. Hist. Soc." iii. p. 57), Los Valles, Mexico; as a Judaizing heretic, Pedro Fernandez became reconciled in 1647 (ib., vii. 4); Dr. Rodrigo de Castro, 1550-1629; Dr. Jacob de Castro-Sarmento, F.R.S., 1691-1761; David de Abraham de Castro-Tartas (often spelled "de Crasto)," noted printer in Amsterdam, seventeenth century. The only branch of the family of which it is possible to make a definite pedigree is the Dutch, as follows:

  • Kayserling, Bibl. Esp.-Port.-Jud. pp. 35 et seq.;
  • De Castro, Keur van Grafsteenen, pp. 24, 25, 27, 38 et seq.;
  • Stam en Wapenboek van Aanzienlijke Nederlandsche Familien, pp. 139, 140, Groningen, 1885.
J. H. Gut. M. K.Abraham de Castro:

Master of the mint and farmer of the coinage for Sultan Sulaiman, in Cairo, Egypt, in the sixteenth century. Through his wealth and benevolence—he gave away 3,000 gold florins a year in alms-he acquired great influence among the Turkish officials, and was highly esteemed by his coreligionists, in whose affairs he took an active interest. When in 1524 Aḥmad, who had been appointed pasha of Egypt as a reward for his exploits at the capture of Rhodes in 1523, plotted to establish himself as an independent sovereign, and asked De Castro to mint the coins with his name in lieu of the sultan's, De Castro secretly left Egypt and hastened to Constantinople to inform the sultan of Aḥmad's plot. The sultan received him with high honors and gave him costly presents.

Aḥmad avenged De Castro's flight on the Jews; he imprisoned several of them, probably relations of De Castro, and imposed exorbitant taxes upon the community, with heavy penalties in case of non-payment. De Castro returned to Egypt after Aḥmad's execution; but the anxiety of the Jews was allayed only by the granting of a firman at the instance of De Castro. In commemoration of this deliverance in 1524, the Egyptian Jews for a long time celebrated the 27th or 28th of Adar, as a memorialday, with special festivities (Egyptian or Cairo Purim); see Aḥmad-Pasha.

  • Conforte, Ḳore ha-Dorot, p. 33a;
  • Grätz, Gesch. der Juden, ix. 22, 25;
  • Jost, Gesch. des Judenthums und Seiner Sekten, iii. 204.
D. M. K.Balthazar (Isaac) Orobio de Castro:

Philosopher, physician, and apologist; born at Braganza, Portugal, about 1620; died at Amsterdam Nov. 7, 1687. While still a child, he was taken to Seville by his parents, who were Maranos. He studied philosophy at Alcalá de Henares and became teacher of metaphysics at the University of Salamanca. Later he devoted himself to the study of medicine, and became a popular practitioner in Seville, and physician in ordinary to the duke of Medina-Celi and to a family nearly related to the king.

When married and father of a family, De Castro was, at the instigation of a servant whom he had punished for theft, denounced to the Inquisition as an adherent of Judaism, and thrown into a dark and narrow dungeon, where he remained for three years, subjected to the most frightful tortures. As he persistently denied the charge, he was finally released, but compelled to leave Spain and to wear the sanbenito, or penitential garment, for two years. He thereupon went to Toulouse, where he became professor of medicine at the university, at the same time receiving from Louis XIV. the title of councilor; but, weary at last of hypocrisy and dissimulation, he went to Amsterdam about 1666, and there made a public confession of Judaism, adopting the name "Isaac." In that city De Castro continued the practise of medicine, and soon became a celebrity, being elected to membership in the directory of the Spanish-Portuguese congregation and of several academies of poetry. Esther, his wife, died July 5, 1712.

Orobio de Castro was a very prolific writer. His work entitled "Certamen Philosophicum Propugnatæ Veritatis Divinæ ac Naturalis Adversus J. Bredenburgi Principia" was published at Amsterdam, 1684, 1703, 1731. This work, in which De Castro attacks the ethics of Spinoza, with whom he maintained a friendly correspondence, was translated into Spanish under the title "Certamen Philosophico, Defiende la Verdad Divina y Natural Contra los Principios de Juan Bredenburg," by G. de la Torre, The Hague, 1741. All the other writings of De Castro, like the foregoing translation, are still extant in manuscript. They are: "Prevenciones Divinas Contra la Vana Ydolatria de las Gentes" (Libro ii., "Contra los Falsos Misterios de las Gentes Advertidas a Ysrael en los Escritos Propheticos"); "Explicação Paraphrastica sobre o Capitulo 53 do Propheta Isahias. Feito por hum Curiozo da Nação Hebrea em Amsterdam, em o mez de Tisry anno 5433" (compare Neubauer, "The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah," pp. 21-118, London, 1876); "Tratado em que se Explica la Prophesia de las 70 Semanas de Daniel. Em Amsterdam à 6 Febrero anno 1675," a paraphrastic explanation of the 70 weeks of Daniel; "Epistola Invectiva Contra un Judio Philosopho Médico, que Negava la Ley de Mosse, y Siendo Atheista Affectava la Ley de Naturaleza." This is identical with "Epistola Invectiva Contra Prado, un Philosopho Medico, que Dubitava, o no Creya la Verdad de la Divina Escritura, y Pretendió Encubrir su Malicia con la Affecta Confacion de Dios, y Ley de Natureza," a work directed against Juan de Prado, a physician and author of Picardy who resided in Amsterdam. Long after De Castro's death a Jew by the name of Henriquez published an alleged work of his in French under the title "Israel Vengé," claiming it to have been originally written in Spanish (London, 1770). It has been translated into English by Grace Aguilar (London, 1839). De Castro's discussions on Christianity with the Dutch preacher Philipp von Limborch were published by the latter in the work entitled "De Veritate Religionis Christianæ Amica Collatio cum Erudito Judæo," Amsterdam, 1687.

  • Grätz, in Monatsschrift, xvi. 321-330;
  • idem, Gesch. der Juden, x. 202;
  • De Rossi, Hist. Wörterbuch der Jüd. Schriftsteller, pp. 253 et seq.;
  • Kayserling, Bibl. Esp. Port.-Jud. pp. 81 et seq.
G. M. K.Benedict, (Baruch) Nehamias de Castro:

Physician in ordinary to Queen Christina of Sweden, and writer on medicine; born at Hamburg in 1597; died there Jan. 31, 1684. He attended the gymnasium of that city in 1615, received preparatory instruction in medicine from his father, Rodrigo de Castro, and later prosecuted this study at several universities. After his graduation at Padua (or at Franeker), he began to practise in Hamburg (1622), acquiring such fame that in 1645 he was appointed physician in ordinary to the queen of Sweden. De Castro was for some time president of the Portuguese-Jewish congregation at Hamburg, and was a zealous adherent of Shabbethai Ẓebi. He was twice married. In his old age he was reduced to such poverty that he was compelled to sell his library and furniture, to obtain the means of subsistence. This "vir humanissimus," as Hugo Grotius calls him, was interred in the cemetery of the Portuguese congregation at Altona. The tombstone erected by his relatives bears the following inscription:

"Do Benaventurado muy insigne Varão o Doutor Baruch Nahamyas de Castro faleczo em 15. Sebat año 5444. Sua alma gloria."

De Castro, under the pseudonym "Philotheo Castello," was the author of the following works: (1) "Flagellum Calumniantium, seu Apologia in qua Anonymi Cujusdem Calumniæ Refutantur, Ejusdem Mentiendi Libido Detegitur," Amsterdam, 1631, a polemical work, in which the author defends physicians of Portuguese origin against the malicious attacks of a certain Joachim Curtius. It is said to have been published at Antwerp in 1629, under the title "Tratado da Calumnia em o qual Brevemente se Mostram a Natureza, Causas e Effeitos deste Pernizioso Vicio." (2) "Monomachia sive Certamen Medicum, quo Verus in Febre Synocho Putrida cum Cruris Inflammatione Medendi Usus per Venæ Sectionem in Brachio . . . ." Hamburg, 1647, a work dedicated to Queen Christina.

  • Kayserling, in Monatsschrift. ix. 92 et seq.;
  • Idem, Bibl. Esp.-Port.-Jud. p. 35;
  • Grätz, Gesch. der Juden, x. 228, 244;
  • Sasportas, Ohel Ya'aḳob, responsum 27;
  • A. Feilchenfeld, in Zeit. für Hamburgische Gesch. x. 214;
  • Grünwald, Portugiesengräber auf Deutscher Erde, p. 118.
G. M. K.Daniel (Andreas) do Castro:

Physician; born in Hamburg 1599; younger brother of Baruch Nahamias, with whom he attended the gymnasium and studied medicine. He was physician in ordinary to King Christian IV. of Denmark, and lived at Glückstadt.

  • Kayserling, in Monatsschrift, ix. 97;
  • idem, Bibl. Esp.-Port.-Jud. p. 36.
G. M. K.David Henriques de Castro:

Numismatist and author; born at Amsterdam, 1832; died there Oct. 10, 1898; son of Moses Henriques de Castro. He was a man of much learning, member of the board of directors of the Portuguese synagogue at Amsterdam, and president of the committee of the Portuguese Jews of the Netherlands. He possessed a rare collection of old coins and art treasures, and a library rich in Spanish and Portuguese manuscripts and printed works dealing with the history of the Jews, an elaborate catalogue of which appeared shortly after his death, under the title "Catalogue . . . de la Succession de Feu M. D. Henriques de Castro," Amsterdam, 1899 (with illustrations). The whole collection was sold at auction in April, 1899. De Castro was appointed knight of the Order of the Immaculate Conception by the king of Portugal. He was a member of the Royal Archeological Society at Amsterdam, the Netherlands Literary Society at Leyden, and the Zeeland Society of Arts and Science at Middelburg.

De Castro took a keen interest in the history of the Spanish-Portuguese congregation of Amsterdam, in the renowned men identified with it, notably Spinoza, and in the inscriptions on the tombstones of the old cemetery at Oudekerk. He laid bare an entire section of this old burial-ground and unearthed costly tombstones. He was also interested in the Jewish cemetery at Middelburg near Flushing, where he resided for some time. The results of his investigations are embodied in the following works: "De Ṣynagoge der Portugeesch-Israelitische Gemeente te Amsterdam," 1675-1875, published on the occasion of its bicentenary; "Keur van Grafsteenen op de Nederl.-Portug.-Israel. Begraafplaats te Oudekerk aan den Amstel," Leyden, 1883 (text in both Dutch and German). De Castro was a contributor to several periodicals, such as the "Israelitische Weekblad."

  • Jew. World, London, April 21, 1899;
  • Jew. Chron. London, Oct. 21, 1898.
G. M. K.Ezekiel de Castro:

Physician; born in Portugal in the early part of the seventeenth century. After completing his studies at Coimbra, he began the practise of medicine at Verona in 1639. Barbosa ("Bibl. Lusit. i. 767") calls him "insigne medico e subtil filosofo." De Castro possessed some knowledge of Jewish literature. He was the author of the following works on medicine: "De Colostro," about 1639; "Ignis Lambens, Historia Medica, Prolusio Physica, Rarum Pulchrescentis Naturæ Specimen," Verona, 1642, in which he refers at times to Biblical and Talmudic matters (a work entitled "De Igni Lambente in Deserto" was published by Pedro de Castro in the same year at Verona); "Amphiteatrum Medicum in quo Morbi Omnes Quibus Imposita Sunt Nomina ab Animalibus Raro Spectaculo Dibellantur," Verona, 1646.

  • Kayserling, in Monatsschrift, x. 38 et seq.;
  • idem, Bibl. Esp.-Port.-Jud. p. 36.
G. M. K.Felix de Castro:

Spanish physician; lived at Agramunt in the first quarter of the eighteenth century. On Nov. 30, 1725, he was condemned by the Inquisition to imprisonment for life for Judaizing. A similar sentence had previously been imposed upon the following members (all physicians) of the De Castro family: Alvarez de Castro of Pontevedra, aged twenty-five, sentenced Sept. 21, 1722, at Santiago; Joseph de Castro of Madrid, aged forty-nine, and Simon de Castro of Badajoz, aged twenty-five, sentenced Nov. 30, 1722, at Llerena. To these may be added the following, who were condemned by the Toledo Inquisition: Manuel de Castro of Madrid (1561), Teresa de Castro (1485), Francisco de Castro (1625), Jorge de Castro (1664), Ana de Castro, wife of Rodriguez Mercado (1676); Ines de Castro, wife of Luis Cardoso (Toledo, 1679); Catalina de Castro, wife of Balthazar de Castro of Guadalajara (1691).

  • Kayserling, in Monatsschrift, x. 38.
G. M. K.Hananeel de Castro:

English communal worker; son of Mosseh and Judith de Castro; born at London Oct. 16, 1794; died March 23, 1849. During 1817-18 he served with the English volunteers in Barbados, and soon after returned to London, where, in Dec., 1828, he married his cousin, Deborah de Jacob Mendes da Costa.

In London De Castro at once took an important part in the communal life of the Bevis Marks synagogue. At the time of the blood accusation at Damascus (1840) he was president of the board of deputies of the British Jews, and was among the first to urge Sir Moses Montefiore's journey to the East. About the same period (Jan. 20, 1845) he laid the foundation of Sussex Hall, consisting of a library and lecture hall, which was the first Jewish literary institution in London.

During the bitter controversies following the promulgation of the ḥerem against the Reform synagogue in 1841, Hananeel de Castro strove unceasingly to bring about a reconciliation. Finally, March 9, 1849, a few weeks before his death, he secured the repeal of the ḥerem in so far as it applied to Ascama No. 1.

  • M. Gaster, Bevis Marks Synagogue, pp. 175-176.
J. M. W. L.Isaac de Castro:

Author; lived probably in Amsterdam about 1612; wrote the extremely rare work "Sobre o Principio e Restauração do Mundo," A. de 14 de Adar, 5372.

  • Kayserling, Bibl. Esp. Port.-Jud. p. viii.
G. M. K.Isaac de Castro:

Talmudist; born in Egypt about 1630; son of Jacob de Castro. He was distinguished for his Talmudic learning, and accumulated considerable wealth.

  • Conforte, Ḳore ha-Dorot, p. 50a.
G. M. K.Isaac de Castro:

Turkish printer; progenitor of the De Castro family of Constantinople; born at Venice in 1764; died at Constantinople in 1845. He founded an important printing-establishment in the latter city. In 1815 he was commissioned by the government of the sultan Maḥmud II. to organize the national Ottoman printing-office. Of keen mind and exemplary probity, and being a great benefactor of his coreligionists, he was universally esteemed, and was decorated by the sultan Maḥmud with the Order Nishan-Iftikhar. He was an English subject. At his death he left one daughter, Dolceta, and six sons, Abram, Jacques, Moses, Nissim, Joseph, and Léon.

S. M. Fr.Jacob de Castro:

First Jew born in Hamburg (1600); died there at the age of ninety-nine. He was a brother of Benedict and Daniel de Castro.

  • Kayserling, in Monatsschrift, ix. 98.
G. M. K.Jacob de Castro

(): Rabbinical authority; lived in Egypt; died there in 1610. He was a nephew—not a son—of the master of the mint, Abraham de Castro. On a pilgrimage to Safed he was the guest of Joseph Caro, by whom he was highly esteemed. De Castro corresponded among other of his contemporaries with Samuel de Medina, and was the author of the following works, which were published after his death: "'Erek Leḥem" (An Order of Bread), novellæ and notes to the four legal codes, Constantinople, 1718; "Ohole Ya'aḳob" (Tents of Jacob), ritual decisions, Leghorn, 1783; "Ḳol Ya'aḳob" (Voice of Jacob), derashot on the Pentateuch (cited by Azulai as manuscripts), Constantinople; "Nazir," and a number of similar writings on Talmudic subjects, published by Jacob Ḥagis in his "Halakot Ḳeṭanot," Venice, 1704.

  • Azulai, Shem ha-Gedolim, i. 97, ii. 113, 127;
  • Conforte, Ḳore ha-Dorot, 33a, 41a, b, 42a.
G. M. K.Jacob de Castro:

Comedian; born in London Jan. 14, 1758; died after 1815; son of a Hebrew teacher. He was intended in his youth for the Jewish ministry, and, with this in view, attended the various scholastic institutions of the Portuguese synagogue. But he showed an early predilection for the stage, at the age of fifteen arranging plays and farces in commemoration of Purim. He first appeared at the Theater Royal, Covent Garden, in 1779, in a farce; then at the Royal Circus, at the Haymarket, in 1785. In 1786 he engaged with Philip Astley in the latter's "Amphitheater and Ambigu-Comique," remaining with him for a numbér of years, and performing in a long list of burlesques, musical farces, and pantomimes. He was the chief of a small body of performers who were colloquially spoken of as "Astley's Jews." In 1803 De Castro became manager of the Royalty Theater, but later returned to Astley, with whom he remained until his death, appearing frequently in his amphi-theater in Dublin.

  • R. Humphreys (editor), Memoirs of Jacob de Castro, London, 1824;
  • Jew. Chron. May 26, 1893. His portrait by Stanfield was engraved and published by Sherwood.
J. G. L.Jacques de Castro:

Turkish physician; son of Isaac de Castro; born in 1802; died in 1876. After finishing his medical studies at Paris, he was appointed by the sultan 'Abd al-Majid head physician of the military hospital at Constantinople. Castro was made a senator by Sultan 'Abd al-Aziz, and was appointed by Sultan Abd al-Ḥamid his consulting physician, receiving the Order of the Medjidie.

S. M. Fr.Leon Ḥayim de Castro:

Editor of the Spanish (Ladino) periodical, published at Constantinople in 1853, under the title "Or Yisrael," "La Luz de Israel."

G. M. K.Moses de Castro:

Rabbinical authority (presumably a pupil of Berab); lived in the sixteenth century. He was distinguished by great learning and ascetic piety. At first the head of a Talmudic school in Cairo, he settled later (about 1530) in Jerusalem. When Jacob Berab, rabbi of Safed, sought to invest the ordination of rabbinical judges with a higher authority, and to reestablish in Palestine a kind of Sanhedrin with himself as president, it was Moses de Castro and Levi b. Ḥabib who successfully opposed the movement.

  • Frumkin, Eben Shemu'el, p. 40;
  • Grätz, Geschder Juden, ix. 316 et seq.
G. M. K.Moses Orobio de Castro:

Son of Balthazar (Isaac) Orobio de Castro, and a popular physician in Amsterdam.

G. M. K.Nissim de Castro:

Author of a Ladino text-book on astronomy, published at Constantinople 1850, entitled, "Una Mirada á los Cielos, ó la Puerta de la Astronomia."

  • Kayserling, Bibl. Esp.-Port.-Jud. p. 36;
  • Franco, Essai sur l'Hist. des Israélites de l'Empire Ottoman, p. 242.
G. M. K.Rodrigo de Castro:

Physician; born 1550 at Lisbon; died at Hamburg, date disputed, but probably 1627. Several members of his family were physicians of some reputation, his uncle Emmanuel Vaëz having attended four kings of Portugal.

Castro studied medicine at Evora and Salamanca, and, after receiving there the degrees of doctor of philosophy and of medicine, he practised at Lisbon. Philip II. requested him on the completion of his studies to make a journey to East India, for the purpose of collecting medicinal herbs and studying them scientifically; but the request was refused. In order to escape the persecutions of the Inquisition, Castro settled in Antwerp with his wife, Katharina Rodriguez, and their two children. Here, by effecting some fortunate cures, he soon won high esteem; but when the Spanish reestablished themselves in the Netherlands, considering himself insecure, he left Antwerp, probably living in northern Holland for several years, until his countryman and colleague, possibly also relative, Henrico Rodriguez, induced him to make Hamburg his permanent home (1594). When the plague broke out in that city in 1596, Castro distinguished himself by self-sacrificingdevotion. He wrote a treatise on the plague and dedicated it to the Senate. Though he did not hold the office of "Medico del Senado" or city physician, as Daniel Levi de Barrios states in his "Relacion de los Poetas y Escritores Españoles," p. 55, he was a very popular and active physician, and was frequently summoned by the magnates of neighboring countries, among whom were the king of Denmark, the landgrave of Hesse, the count of Holstein, and the archbishop of Bremen.

During Castro's first years in Hamburg he did not avow himself a Jew; but the first list of Portuguese Jews published in the city council makes mention of Dr. Rodrigo de Castro "together with his wife, two full-grown sons, and other small children." After the death of his wife (1603), who, since there was no Jewish cemetery in Hamburg-Altona, was buried either in the Christian cemetery or in the place obtained by Castro "within the pale of the Church," he married again. For almost fifty years, thirty-five of which were spent at Hamburg, he acted as the friend and helper of suffering humanity, being styled "master of his art," "famous physician," and "prince of medicine of his time." He was buried in the cemetery of the Jewish-Portuguese congregation at Altona.

The following works of Rodrigo de Castro appeared in print: "Tractatus Brevis de Natura et Causis Pestis Quæ Hoc Anno 1596 Hamburgensem Civitatem Afflixit," Hamburg, 1596; "De Universa Mulierum Morborum Medicina," ib. 1603 (1604), 1628, 1664; Venice, 1644; Hanover, 1654; Cologne, 1689; Frankfort, 1668; "Medicus Politicus, sive de Officiis Medico-Politicis Tractatus," a kind of medical encyclopedia and methodology, Hamburg, 1614, 1662. The above were written in Latin, and the following in Portuguese: "Tratado de Herem, Em o Qual a Serca Desta Materia," etc., cited also under the title "Trattado da Halissa, En o Qual Sen a Desta Materia Dialogi xxv." 1614.

  • Kayserling, in Monatsschrift, viii. 330-339;
  • idem, Gesch. der Juden in Portugal, pp. 279 et seq.;
  • idem, Bibl. Esp.-Port.-Jud. pp. 36 et seq.;
  • M. Isler, Zur Aeltesten Gesch. der Juden in Hamburg, pp. 8 et seq., Hamburg, 1874.
D. M. K.Castro, Jose Rodrigues de:

Christian rabbinic scholar; librarian; born in Spain in 1739; died about 1795. Appointed royal librarian to Charles III. and Charles IV., he devoted himself to a revision of the bibliographical labors of Nicolas Antonio; producing at Madrid, in 1781, the "Biblioteca Española." This contains in the first volume accounts of Spanish Jewish authors, taken mainly from Bartolocci, though there is evidence that the writer knew some Rabbinic Hebrew, as his work includes Spanish translations of two Hebrew poems on chess. He addressed to Charles III. on his accession a number of Hebrew, Latin and Greek verses entitled "Congratulatio Regi," Madrid, 1759.

  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 813;
  • idem, in Zeit. für Hebr. Bibl. ii. 96;
  • Biographie Universelle, 1844, 5, v.;
  • Ersch and Gruber, Encyc., s.v.