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).
Minorca (mĬnôr´kə), Span. Menorca, Spanish island (1991 pop. 65,109), 271 sq mi (702 km), Baleares prov., in the W Mediterranean Sea, the second largest of the Balearic Islands. Port Mahón is the chief city and port. The terrain is mostly low but has a hilly center. Cereals, wine, olive oil, and flax are the chief products. Much of the agriculture is irrigated. Lobster fishing, the export of livestock, and local light industries add to the economy. Tourism is also important. A great number of megalithic monuments exist on the island. Minorca shared the history of the other Balearic Islands until 1708, when it was occupied by the English during the War of the Spanish Succession. England retained it until the Seven Years War, when it was seized by the French. The Treaty of Paris (1763) restored Minorca to Britain, but the French and Spanish again seized it (1782) in the American Revolution. In 1798, in the French Revolutionary Wars, England regained control; the Peace of Amiens (1802) awarded Minorca to Spain. The island still has a somewhat British flavor.
J. A. Cannon