BADAJOZ , city in Castile, western Spain, near the Portuguese frontier. Jewish settlement evidently began to develop in the 11th century, when Jewish artisans and merchants engaged in international trade are mentioned. After the Christian reconquest, the Jews of Badajoz were ordered to pay the oncena in addition to other taxes for which they were liable (1258). In the 15th century the Badajoz community claimed that it had been exempted from all taxes and imposts and was required to produce evidence at the synod of *Valladolid. The tax assessment for Castilian Jewry of 1474 required the Badajoz and Almendral communities to pay the sum of 7,500 maravedis. The enactment ordering the segregation of Jews from Christians was implemented in Badajoz during the 1480s, and many Jews were turned out of their homes. After the edict of expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, large numbers of the exiles passed through Badajoz on their way to Portugal. Badajoz remained an important Converso center. Between 1493 and 1499 the local inquisitional tribunal punished no fewer than 231 New Christians. David *Reuveni was burned at an auto-da-fé in Badajoz in 1535 after a long imprisonment there. The temporary union of Portugal and Spain in 1580 facilitated the return of some descendants of the Castilian refugees to Castile. In 1635 a large group of Portuguese Marranos was discovered in Badajoz and was relentlessly pursued by the Inquisition. In 1639 some members of the Acosta family, one of the most important families in the city – two sisters and their sister-inlaw – were accused by the Inquisition in nearby Llerena of remaining loyal to Judaism. The family's Jewish origin was well known in the city. The family had arrived from Portugal at the end of the 16th century. The scandal that the trial of members of a very wealthy and influential family caused was devastating. The three women, Isabel, Beatriz, and Clara, belonged to a family that had originally left Castile for Portugal in 1492 because they wanted to remain Jewish but soon found themselves trapped in Portugal and forcibly converted in 1497. The three were thrown into prison. The trial was the consequence of a love affair between a female member of the family and an employee of the family business who was of Morisco origin. During the trial the differences between the members of the same New Christian family became clear: Some were Crypto-Jews, others wished to integrate within Christian society, while a few wished to maintain the family link at all costs.
M. Ramón Martínez, Historia del reino de Badajoz durante la dominación española (1905), 80–81; J. Lucio d'Azevedo, Evolução do Sebastianismo (1918), 194ff.; H.C. Lea, History of the Inquisition of Spain (1922), index; Suárez Fernández, Documentos, index; Rodríguez-Moñino, in: REJ, 115 (1956), 73–86; Baer, Urkunden, index; A.Z. Aescoly, Ha-Tenu'ot ha-Meshiḥiyyot be-Yisrael (1956), 372; Ashtor, Korot, 2 (1966), 128–366. add. bibliography: P. Huerga Criado, in Sefarad, 49 (1989), 97–121
[Haim Beinart /
Yom Tov Assis (2nd ed.)]