Jewish Quarter

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The first Jews settlers should have arrived to Ribadavia when the King Don García the 1st elected Ribadavia as the Capital of Galician Kingdom (1063-1065), even though there is no truthful and documented news of the Jewish quarter until 1386, when the English troops of the Count of Lancaster laid siege to Ribadavia.

In any case, it can be said that the before mentioned Jewish quarter was formed around the 12th and 13th centuries favoured by not only by the settlement of Jews from the 10th century in the near lands of Celanova but also because of the existence of a powerful group of merchants in Ribavadavia since Fernando II ceded the Royal Forum in 1164. Many Jews were in charge of dealing with the financial matters of the Lordship and later of the County of Ribadavia. They were also specialized in goods and incomes management as well as in several craft works. They were also excellent wine merchants.

Regarding to the existence and location of a synagogue in Ribadavia, the last studies about it (Mª Gloria de Antonio Rubio: “Jews and Inquisition in Ribadavia”) point to one of the houses of the “Calle de la Cruz o Judairía” (“Cross Street or Jewish quarter), very close to the corner to the actual San Martiño street.

The Catholic Kings enacted the Jews expulsion order in 1492, so by that time a lot of families converted to Catholicism, keeping the Jewish cult in secret, until the popular Malsin in 1606. Both communities, Jewish and catholic, played a decisive role in the economic development of the region, which is becoming very prestigious thanks to the recovering of the “Festa da Istoria” (History Fair) and the presence of Ribadavia in the Spanish network of Jewish Communities”.