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CALATRAVA , Spanish order of knights, founded to protect the frontier areas and as a means of prosecuting the war with the Muslims. The Order was founded in 1158 when Sancho iii granted it the village and fortress of Calatrava, after which it was named. Judah Ibn Ezra had previously held authority here as supervisor and military purveyor for the armies of Castile in the wars against the Muslims. Numerous settlements were established on the lands of the Order in Castile and Aragon, in which Jews took up permanent residence. They were granted privileges by the Order, which had the right of jurisdiction over them. Among such settlements were *Alcaniz in Aragon, where 30 families were living in the 14th century under the protection of the Order, Almaden, *Almagro, *Chillón, and *Maqueda.

When anti-Jewish disorders and restrictions increased in the 15th century, the Order took an independent line in its attitude toward the Jews, maintaining normal relations with Jewish scholars, moneylenders, and tax farmers. In 1422 the grandmaster Don Luis de Guzmán initiated the project for a Spanish translation of the Bible, which he delegated to Moses *Arragel. A unique event in the depressed state of the Jewish communities of Castile in this period was the erection of a synagogue in Almagro, the seat of the Order, in the 1460s. In the following decade, when the Conversos in Castile again suffered from persecutions, many found refuge on the lands of the Order. The dossiers of the Inquisition relating to persons living on the lands of the Order indicate the existence of groups of Conversos in many places where there were formerly Jewish congregations.


Baer, Spain, 1 (1961), 77, 80, 421; H. Beinart, Anusim be-Din ha-Inkviziẓyah (1965), index; S. Montero Díaz et al., La Orden de Calatrava (1959); Queirós Linares, in: Revista de la Universidad de Madrid, 52 (1964), 635–6; D.W. Lomax, La Orden de Santiago (1965), index.

[Haim Beinart]