CASTRO , family name, widespread throughout the Sephardi and Marrano Diaspora, common also in Rome in a family deriving from a place of this name in the Papal States. In some cases, the name was changed to Crasto. In Europe the family was numerous in Holland, England, Bordeaux, Bayonne, etc. In Amsterdam, the Henriques de Castro branch was particularly prominent: its outstanding member was david henriques de castro (1832–1898), numismatist and bibliophile, who compiled a magnificent work on the cemetery of the Sephardi community in Ouderkerk, Keur van grafsteenen op de Nederlandsch-Portugeesch-Israëlitische begraafplaats te Ouderkerk (1883), as well as a bicentennial history of the Amsterdam synagogue, De synagoge der Portugeesch-Israëlitische gemeente Amsterdam 1675–1875 (1875). The sale catalog (1899) of his great library and collections, particularly strong on materials relating to Sephardi history, is still studied. In London, the Castro family was prominent from the 18th century. Apart from members who have individual entries below, mention should be made of the ḥazzandavid isaac de castro (d. 1785), the surgeon-physician jacob de castro (1704–1789) not to be confused with his contemporary, Jacob Castro *Sarmento, and the communal leader hananel de castro (1794–1849). A Mrs. de Castro exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1777–78. Members of the English branch were active in the diamond trade in India from 1749. It was first represented in Madras by samuel de castro, son of a London diamond merchant solomon de castro. Samuel arrived in Madras in 1749. Other members of the family, such as Daniel, David, Joseph, and Isaac, resided for several years in Madras and received permission to engage in the diamond trade in India in return for coral beads, amber, and bullion. The last member of the merchant house in London, moses de castro, son of David, apparently came to Madras in about 1766 from the Dutch West Indies (Curaçao), and was subsequently listed in the records as chief consignee at Madras of coral beads and other precious commodities to England. isaac de castro (1764–1825), originally of Venice, was entrusted with organizing and managing the first Ottoman government printing press, which became an important instrument in modernizing the country's administration. moses woodrow de castro (1918–1998), a Panama lawyer, was alternate judge of the magistrate court of Panama and technical adviser to the national committee in charge of studying relationships with the United States. He was active in Jewish affairs.
Kayserling, Bibl, 35f. david henriques: jc (Oct. 21, 1898); Jewish World (April 21, 1899); A. van Creveld, Levensbericht van D. Henriquez de Castro (1899). hananel: M. Gaster, History of the Ancient Synagogue (1901), 175–80; A. Hyamson, Sephardim of England (1951), s.v. indian branch of family: H.D. Love, Vestiges of Old Madras 1640–1800, 4 vols. (1913), index; Fischel, in: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 3 (1960), 78–107, 175–95.
[Cecil Roth /
Walter Joseph Fischel]