Traces of Jewish history in Toledo
The most ancient Jewish settlement in the Iberian Peninsula
According to Isaac Abravanel (Abarbanel), a Jewish theologist born in 1437, the first settlers in Toledo were exiles from the tribes on Judah and Benjamin. This Jews probably established themselves there when the city became the capital of the Visigoths. Definitely, it was in some moment during the fourth or fifth centuries. Many Jewish buildings in Toledo have been well preserved, as well as some tombstones, that are preserved in the archeological museum of the town.
The Muslims ruled Toledo during the 11th century. In that period, a large population of Jews occupied Toledo, owning a wide variety of businesses such as textile manufacture, tanning and dyeing or commerce. With time, Toledo became a center of Jewish scholarship, translation and science. This situation remained unchanged after the conquest of Toledo by Alfonso VI in 1085. The community developed to become the most prominent in the kingdom of Castile, one of the most important in medieval Spain.
The language used by the Jews in Toledo was a mix of Arabic and Hebrew. In their documents there are sources that reveal a well-developed economic life, with records of Jews having purchased land, as lenders and borrowers. There are also written proof of partnership with Christians in real estate transaction and in commerce.