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Jewish EmancipationA History Across Five Centuries$
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David Sorkin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164946

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164946.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 19 June 2021

Merchant Colonies

Merchant Colonies

(p.17) Chapter One Merchant Colonies
Jewish Emancipation

David Sorkin

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the merchant colonies who invited Jewish merchants into their cities on exceptionally propitious terms, constituting the west European region of emancipation. Raison d'état and shifting trade patterns induced governments in such cities as Ancona, Livorno, and Venice to grant Jews extensive privileges of residence and trade, worship, and communal autonomy. In Bordeaux, Jews originally gained privileges as New Christians; over time they emerged as Jews and received confirmation of those privileges. In Livorno and Bordeaux, those privileges entailed virtual parity with Christian merchants. Meanwhile, Hamburg's Senate first attracted a Jewish merchant colony by extending privileges but later, by imposing heavy taxes, drove it away. In Amsterdam and London, which had ceased granting charters to foreign merchant colonies, Jews found themselves in the novel and ambiguous situation of functioning without a charter. They therefore gained rights on an ad hoc basis, becoming members of an emerging civil society. The Jews of Bordeaux, Amsterdam, and London were to make virtually seamless transitions from corporate or civic parity to equal citizenship.

Keywords:   merchant colonies, Jewish merchants, emancipation, west Europe, Jews, corporate parity, equal citizenship, communal autonomy, Christian merchants

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