Ciudad Real

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CIUDAD REAL , town in Castile, Spain. Jews probably settled there at the period of its foundation as a frontier post by *Alfonsox (1252–84) under the name of Villa Real; they are mentioned in financial transactions here as early as 1264. The annual tax paid in 1290, 25,486 maravedis, indicates that the community was of average size. The Jewish quarter was located in the eastern part of the city. It was destroyed during the anti-Jewish riots of 1391, and the Jewish community ceased to exist, but a number of *Conversos remained. The riots against the Conversos in Castile in 1449 began in June in Ciudad Real. Here they defended themselves actively in street fighting, but the populace set fire to their homes and the survivors fled from the city. Riots recurred in 1464, 1467, and 1469, and reached a climax in 1474. Although no Jewish community existed, Don Abraham *Benveniste of Guadalajara was tax farmer in Ciudad Real in 1481.

In 1483, an Inquisitional tribunal was set up in Ciudad Real, empowered to prosecute those Conversos living in La Mancha, the archdiocese of Toledo, and throughout Campo de Calatrava, who were suspected of Judaizing practices. This tribunal was the third to be established in Castile, after those of Seville and Córdoba. It operated for two years, during which many Conversos were burnt at the stake. Fifty-seven files of cases tried by the Inquisition are extant, which suggest that the Conversos in Ciudad Real remained loyal to Judaism and even invited rabbis and scholars to instruct them in Jewish religion and law. The establishment of the tribunal in Ciudad Real may be considered a preliminary step towards its transfer to Toledo, where a strong Converso community resided. In the first period of the trials the most important Conversos suspected of judaizing were summoned so that their trial would encourage others to come forward and confess. There were about 50 Converso households in Ciudad Real at the time, which means that, on the basis of the records, not one Converso family escaped the attention of the tribunal.


Baer, Spain, index; L. Delgado Merchán, Historia documentada de Ciudad Real (1907). add. bibliography: H. Beinart, Anusim be-Din ha-Inkviziẓyah (1965), passim (Eng. 1981, Span.1983); idem, Records of the Trial of The Spanish Inquisition in Ciudad Real, 4 vols. (1974–85); J. Miguel Blazquez, Ciudad Real y la Inquisición (1987); L.R. Villegas Diaz, in: Encuentros en Sefarad, (1987), 175–88.

[Haim Beinart /

Yom Tov Assis (2nd ed.)]