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JOHN °, kings of Portugal.

john ii (1455–1495), king of Portugal from 1481; one of the most distinguished Portuguese kings, he succeeded his father Alfonso v and became a most capable, but tyrannical ruler. He harshly repressed the feudal nobility, strengthened the monarchy, and promoted his country to greatness. John captured Tangier from the Moors, and the Portuguese exploration of Africa was extended during his reign. Two years after John succeeded to the throne, Don Isaac *Abrabanel had to flee Portugal because of his relations with the duke of Braganza, who was executed by John with several other members of the nobility in 1483. After the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, John authorized many refugees to settle temporarily in Portugal, mainly out of financial considerations. About 120,000 Jews then moved from Spain to Portugal, among them 600 wealthy families whom the king allowed to settle in his realm against payment of 100 ducats per head. Among the newcomers there was also Abraham *Zacuto who was appointed physician and astronomer to the king. John further allowed numerous refugees to stay in Portugal for eight months on payment of eight gold cruzados each; those who remained after that period were to be considered slaves. This proviso was effectively implemented in 1493, when he ordered those exiles from Spain who had stayed on in Portugal to be sold as slaves. Their children were removed and many of them sent to the Santo Tomé islands off the African coast, where they died because of the harsh conditions.

john iii (1502–1557), king of Portugal from 1521; son of Emanuel i, grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Spanish monarchs, and brother-in-law of Emperor Charles v. In 1525 David *Reuveni arrived in Portugal and succeeded in rousing the king's interest in his fantastic projects. That year John asked the pope for permission to establish the Inquisition in Portugal, but this was delayed through negotiations by the *Marranos and their supporters with the pope. However, in 1531 the king appointed the monk, Diego da Silva, head of the Inquisition in Portugal without waiting for papal authorization, which was given in 1536. In that year a tribunal of the Inquisition began activities in *Évora against the Marranos there. In 1547, after numerous Marranos had fled from Portugal, John revived the law enacted in 1499 prohibiting the Marranos from leaving the country.


M. Kayserling, Geschichte der Juden in Portugal (1876), index s.v.João; J. Mendes dos Remedios, Os Judeus em Portugal (1895), passim; N. Slouschz, Ha-Anusim be-Portugal (1932), passim; Roth, Marranos, index; Baron, Social2, 11 (1967), 245–6; 13 (1969), 47ff.