Contacts between Jews in Smyrna and the Levant Company of London in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries*

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The Sephardi Jewish community in Smyrna was founded in the second half of the sixteenth century.((A Jewish community existed in Smyrna in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, but no evidence survives from the Byzantine period. Apparently, most of the Jews embraced Christ? ianity: W. M. Ramsay, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia and their Place in the Plan of the Apocalypse (London 1904) 271-3. A select bibliography on the Jews in Smyrna during the Ottoman period follows: A. Galante, Histoire des Juifs d'Anatolie, I, Les Juifs d'hmir (Smyrne) (Istanbul 1937); D. Yelin, 'The Community of Izmir', Hashiloah III (1898) 460-7; A. Frei mann, 'The tombstones of the Rabbis of Izmir', in Inyane Sabbetai Zevi (Berlin 1912) 139-50; S. Werses, 'Rabbi Eliahu Hakohen of Izmir', Yavneh II (1940) 156-73; S. Werses, 'The Community Life of Izmir' (a history of the Jews in Izmir during the 17th and 18th centuries) Yavneh III (1942) 93-111; M. Benayahu, 'The Great Fires in Izmir and Adrianopoli', Reshumot II (1946) 144-54; C. Roth, 'The Sephardi Print in Izmir', Kirjath Sepher XXVIII (1952-3) 390-3; A. Yaari, 'The Hebrew Print in Izmir', Areseth I (1959) 97-222; S. L. Eckstein, The Life, Work and Influence of Rabbi Chajim Pallaggi on the Jewish Community in Izmir (New York c. 19 71); Y. Barnai, 'Portuguese Marranos in Izmir in the 17th Century', Proceedings of the Eighth World Congress of Jewish Studies (Jeru? salem 1982) 85-8; Y. Barnai, 'On the Jewish Community of Izmir in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Century', Zion XLVII (1982) 56-76; Y. Barnai, 'The Origins of the Jewish Community in Izmir in the Ottoman Period', Pe'amim XII (1982) 47-58.)) The first settlers were Jews from Tire and Manissa in Anatolia, but the majority came from Salonika in the wake of an economic slump. Smyrna was gaining prominence as a business centre for traders from Europe, especially England, a fact which encouraged the influx of Jews to the city and offered scope to their initiative. During the seventeenth century their numbers increased because of emigration from Anatolia, the Balkans, Leghorn, Bordeaux and Amsterdam, including Marranos from Portugal.((Barnai, Pe'amim (see n. 1). The following references ought to be added: Molho, Otzar Yehudey Sefarad II (1959) 38; on Jews from Portugal who came to Smyrna recently, in a document dated 11 May 1694: SP 105-114, p. 639; and 18 January 1696: SP 105-334, p. 50b. The earliest reference to a Jew coming from Leghorn to Smyrna is 1672: Haim Ben veniste, Bnei Hayye (Salonika 5548-5551). Hoshen Mishpat II, 92. In dealing with the commercial connections of Marseilles with the Levant, a rich Jewish family from Bordeaux was mentioned in 1759 as being active in Smyrna. In the same source, Jews from Leg? horn living in Smyrna are alluded to: R. Paris, Histoire du commerce de Marseille ed. G. Ram bert, t. 5, 1660-1789 (Paris 1957) 256.))

The estimates given by European travellers for the number of Jews testifies to an increase during the seventeenth century. A French dealer in

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