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Istanbul Judeo-Spanish

  • José Ignacio Hualde (a1) and Mahir Şaul (a2)


The Judeo-Spanish speaking population of Istanbul is the result of migrations that were due to the edict of expulsion of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1492. The Ottoman ruler Bayezid II provided a haven to the exiles in his realm, and many came as immigrants to the capital Istanbul and other major port cities in that year. A continuous trickle of immigration of Jews originating in Spain continued after that date, as some of those who had gone to exile in other Mediterranean and Western European countries eventually also decided to resettle in Ottoman cities. Some Spanish-speaking families continued to migrate from the cities of the Italian peninsula to Istanbul and other centers of the Ottoman empire up until the eighteenth century. Another stream included Hispano-Portuguese families, Jews who had resettled in Portugal after the expulsion but were forced to undergo conversion there in 1497, and after a period of clandestine Jewish existence started emigrating to other countries in the sixteenth century. First Bayonne in France, then Amsterdam and other Hanseatic cities became important centers for Hispano-Portuguese families that returned to Judaism, and these maintained relations with, and occasionally sent immigrants to, the Jewish communities of the Ottoman cities.

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Istanbul Judeo-Spanish

  • José Ignacio Hualde (a1) and Mahir Şaul (a2)


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