Jewish population established a community in the area in the eleventh
century. In Ribadavia the Jewish population increased significantly
during the XII and XIII centuries, peaking at around 1,500 inhabitants
during the XV century and consituing approximately half the entire
total of Ribadavia, according to the chronicles of Friossard. Initially,
good relations were established with the Christian population, with
both groups living harmoniously together despite the differences
in their religions.
Indeed, in January 1386 when Ribadavia was siege by the Englishmen
Sir Thomas Percy, the Jews joined with the other inhabitants to
participate in the defence of Ribadavia and in the conflict lost
large amounts of gold, silver and jewellery as well as having to
partly abandon their section of the town.
Jews continued to increase their numbers in Ribadavia during the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, arriving and remaining to eventually
form their own village and close community, known as the Jewish
quarter. However, they began to be viewed with increased fear by
the Christians and were made to suffer by the rest of the town.
When on 30 March 1492 a nationwide degree of expulsion was passed
by the Catholic monarchs of the country, Ferdinand and Isabella,
were given four months to leave Spain and were not permitted to
own gold, silver or currency in the meantime.
The majority of the Jews chose to embrace the Christian faith
to allow them to remain in Galicia. Many were persecuted at the
zealous inquisition in Santiago to test whether their faith was
real and were financially ruined. According to the various cases
in Ribadavia, these ´conversos´ only appeared Christian
and in fact met each Saturday to lash an image of Jesus Christ
being crucified, in ‘full knowledge’ of the biased
inquisition. They then often had all their possessions confiscated
by the inquisition.
association www.ribadavia.net - Updated june/29/2009 - Optimized for 800