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Wattasids

WATTASIDS

WATTASIDS (Banu Wattas ), Moroccan dynasty related to the *Merinids. The Wattasids ruled much of eastern *Morocco in the 13th century and replaced the Merinids in the years 1472 to 1554. Their capital, court, and administrative center were situated in *Fez. During the Wattasids' reign the Jewish community expanded demographically and prospered, as the waves of immigration of the megorashim (the ones expelled) from Spain resettled in parts of Morocco beginning in 1492. Several Jews were diplomats, financial advisers, and ministers in the Wattasid court. The most noted among them were Jacob Rosales, Abraham Cordovi, and R. Jacob Roti, the *nagid of the Fez Jewish community during the 1530s and 1540s. Roti was an affluent merchant with international connections who carried on extensive and delicate negotiations with *Portugal – then a vital commercial and military power – which occupied key Moroccan towns. In the 1530s he even served as foreign minister. Another Jewish diplomat was Moses Abutam. In 1554, the Sharifian Sa'di dynasty overthrew the Wattasids. The Sa'dis claimed to be descendants of the Prophet *Muhammad and dominated Morocco until 1660.

bibliography:

H.Z. Hirschberg, A History of the Jews in North Africa, 1 (1974); M.M. Laskier, The Alliance Israélite Universelle and the Jewish Communities of Morocco: 18621962 (1983); N.A. Stillman, The Jews of Arab Lands (1979).

[Michael M. Laskier (2nd ed.)]

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