MINORCA , Mediterranean island of the Balearic group. The earliest information about the Jews on the island dates from 418 c.e. when Severus, the bishop of Minorca, reports on the victory of Christianity in the island. The agitation he fomented led to the destruction of the synagogue. Many Jews, especially the women, died for their faith: a few succeeded in hiding in the forests and caves. According to Severus he gained 540 Jews for Christianity. While it existed, the community was organized as a national group under the leadership of a "defensor": the last, Theodore, acted as *archisynagogos. There is no information available on the Jews during the Byzantine and Muslim rule. When Minorca was reconquered by the Christians during the reign of James i of Aragon, he received help from the Jews to equip the expedition. Most of the later history of the Jews of Minorca is closely connected with that of their coreligionists in *Majorca. In 1319 King Sancho I declared that they and the Jews of the nearby island of Ibiza were to be included in all the levies imposed upon them by the communal leaders of Majorca. The Jews shared the sufferings of the general population when Minorca was almost depleted of its inhabitants during the *Black Death (1348). After the disorders which swept Spain in 1391, there were apparently no Jews on the island. Nevertheless, a number of Judaizers in Minorca were sentenced by the Inquisition of Majorca which maintained a commission at Mahón. A small Jewish community existed again in Minorca during the temporary English occupation in the 18th century (1720–56; 1762–81).
Baer, Spain, 1 (1961), 17, 174, 381, 404; P.G. Segeni, Carta encíclica del obispo Severo (1937); C. Roth, in: B. Schindler (ed.), Gaster Anniversary Volume (1936), 492–7; B. Braunstein, Chuetas of Majorca (1936), 118ff.; J. Parkes, Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue (1963), 204–5; López de Meneses, in: Estudios de edad media de la Corona de Aragon, 6 (1956), 255, 353, 388. add. bibliography: R. Moulinas, in: rej, 132 (1973), 605–15; E.D. Hunt, in: Journal of Theological Studies, n. s. 33 (1982), 106–23; J. Mascaró Pasarius, in: Revista de Menorca, 74 (1983), 241–81; F. Lotter, in: Proceedings of 9thWorld Congress of Jewish Studies (1986), Division B, vol. 1, 23–30; R. Rosselló Vaquer, Els jueus dins la societat menorquina del segle xiv (1990).
J. A. Cannon