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DUEÑAS , city in Castile, central Spain. Its Jewish community began to flourish in the 13th century. In 1221, Ferdinand iii transferred to the monastery of Huelgas near Burgos the Jews settled on lands belonging to the monastery in Dueñas. The first document referring to the Jews of Dueñas is from 1225. At the end of the 13th century the Jewish community of Dueñas was one of the smallest in Castile. In 1290 the community paid taxes amounting to 2,427 maravedis. The Jews of Dueñas owned land and vineyards; in 1346, the king's surgeon Don Judah, an inhabitant of Dueñas, leased several gardens belonging to the local church. The community was evidently impoverished by the Black Death (1348–49), since in 1352 it paid only 300 maravedis in tax. Among those who engaged in tax farming in Dueñas were Don Çag Merdohay of Sahagún and his sons David and Shem Tob (1365). During the Civil War in Castile, the Jewish quarter of Dueñas was attacked and sacked, around 1368. The Hebrew chronicler Samuel Zarza, who gives this information, writes that the members of the community were learned and righteous. Considering the tax paid, the community remained small in the 15th century. Following the edict ordering Jews and Christians to live in separate quarters, Ferdinand and Isabella gave instructions in 1483 that the alcabalá ("indirect taxes") should not be collected from houses owned by Christians which were situated in the new Jewish quarter. In May 1492 the Jews of Dueñas complained that they would not be able to leave the city on the date fixed by the decree of expulsion, as they were being hindered in selling their possessions and collecting their debts and the townspeople kept presenting them with claims dating back for generations.

The Jewish quarter was near the castle.


Baer, Urkunden, index; Suárez Fernández, Documentos, index; León Tello, in: Instituto Tello Téllez de Meneses, 25 (1966), index. add. bibliography: J.M. Lizoain Garrido (ed.), Documentación del Monasterio de las Huelgas de Burgos (1985).

[Haim Beinart /

Yom Tov Assis (2nd ed.)]