1902 Encyclopedia > Africa > The Jews

(Part 21)


(h) The Jews

The early settlements of the Jews in Egypt are facts universally known. Under the Ptolemies, large numbers of them settled at Alexandria and in Cyrenaica, and after the destruction of Jerusalem they rapidly spread over the whole of the Roman possession in Africa; many also took refuge in Abyssinia. King Philip II. having driven them out of Spain, many thousands of families took refuge on the opposite coast of Africa. They are now numerous in all the larger towns in the north, where they carry on the occupation of merchants, brokers, &c., the trade with Europe being mostly in their hands. They live in a state of great degradation,except in Algiers, where the French restored them to freedom and independence. They have acquired much wealth, and although compelled to hide their riches from the cupidity of their rulers, they lose no opportunity of showing them whenever they can do so without risk of being plundered, fear and vanity being characteristic features of their character. The Jewesses in Marocco and Algiers are of remarkable beauty.

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Africa - Table of Contents

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The Jews of Africa
This website discusses the Jewish communities in Africa: from those in Tunisia and Morocco who have been there for 2,000 years and the 2,500 year old community in Ethiopia, through to communities which were set up in West Africa (e.g. Cape Verde) by Jews fleeing the Inquisition, and to Jewish groups dating from more recent times in African lands such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Uganda.

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