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Bougie

BOUGIE

BOUGIE (Ar. Bajaya ; ancient Saldae ), town in Algeria. Rebuilt in 1067, Bougie attracted Muslim, Jewish, and Christian families, who had been exempted from taxes by the Muslim authorities as an inducement to settle there. A port, and often the capital city, its commerce flourished, and it became a great intellectual center. Although the city's inhabitants were spared by the conquering *Almohades in 1152, the city later declined. Jews from the Balearic Islands, Italy, and Marseilles settled there in the 13th century, but many members of the indigenous Jewish community emigrated. Later, however, because of the 1391 persecutions, many Jews from Spain and the Balearic Isles took refuge in Bougie and eventually became the town's leading businessmen. As a result, Bougie had two separate communities: the older inhabitants and the new refugees. Among those who lived in Bougie were the scholarly rabbis Isaac ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq and Astruc Cohen, the ʿAmmar, Najar, and Stora families, Isaac Nafusi, the astronomer and instrument-maker (originally from Majorca), and the Bacri-Kohen family, which flourished there in the 15th and 16th centuries. When the Spanish conquered Bougie in 1510, Jewish property was pillaged and many Jews were sold as slaves, but the community continued to exist. In 1553 the Turks occupied Bougie, which from then on lost its importance (3,000 inhabitants, of whom 600 were Jews). The Turks granted exclusive trading rights and a concession of the port to David Bacri of Algiers in 1807. With the arrival of the French in 1833 the Jewish community left the town, a few Jews returning in 1838. Thereafter there were never more than 800 Jews in Bougie; none remained by the late 1960s.

bibliography:

R. Brunschwig, Berbèrie orientale sous les Hafṣides, 1 (1940), 377–84, 398–428; A. Hershman, Rabbi Isaac bar Sheshet Perfet and his Times (1943), index; Hirschberg, Afrikah, 2 (1965), index s.v.Bajaya.

[David Corcos]

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