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Cities of Splendour in the Shaping of Sephardi History$
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Jane S. Gerber

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113300

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113300.001.0001

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Reconstructing Sepharad in Istanbul and Salonica 1492–1600

Reconstructing Sepharad in Istanbul and Salonica 1492–1600

(p.171) Chapter Five Reconstructing Sepharad in Istanbul and Salonica 1492–1600
Cities of Splendour in the Shaping of Sephardi History

Jane S. Gerber

Liverpool University Press

The chapter highlights the beginning of the reconstruction of Sephardi intellectual and communal life soon after the Expulsion. It gives importance in the two largest cities in the Ottoman empire, Istanbul and Salonica, that sheltered the largest concentrations of Sephardim in the sixteenth century and provided conditions for the emergence of a new transnational people. Salonica's impact on Sephardi reconstruction was primarily cultural and economic, while Istanbul's impact was political and demographic. The chapter discusses the process of constructing a new Sephardi with the 1942 cataclysm serving as a watershed. It also analyses the majority of the Iberian refugees settled in the Ottoman empire in the sixteenth century and the small number of Iberian refugees, primarily from among the Conversos of Portugal, who found refuge in the West. Salonica, as the closest Ottoman port to Europe, received the first groups of seaborne refugees in the summer of 1492. It continued to be a favourite destination for Sephardim for approximately a century. Conversely, the Iberian immigrants to Istanbul joined a long-established and diverse Romaniote population, Karaites, and Jews from many corners of Anatolia, the Balkans, and Europe. Ultimately, in both Ottoman cities, the Jewish exiles regrouped and formed new communal associations.

Keywords:   reconstruction, Sephardi, Ottoman empire, Istanbul, Salonica, Iberian refugees, Romaniote, Karaites, Anatolia, Balkans

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