Origin of the Sephardic Community of Livorno


By Fernando Rodríguez Izquierdo
In 1591, Ferdinando I de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, son of Leonor de Toledo, a descendant of converts, was aware of the problems that Jews had in Spain. He needed them for his big project. He wanted to develop Livorno, with a Free Port, that created wealth to finance the works of Florence, Lucca, Pisa and other Cities of Tuscany. Taking advantage of the participation of his ships involved in the naval alliance against barbaris pirates and enjoying great mobility, throughout the Mediterranean, he sent emissaries to Cordoba, Seville, Lucena, Cadiz and Jerez, looking for the professionals he needed. Some 200 highly trained Jews were clandestinely collected off the coast of Cadiz. They formed the firstSephardic Community of Livorno, from whose HEBRA we accompanied photocopies of the originals, from 5404, thanks to the kindness of the researcher and member of the Hebrew Community of Livorno, Mr Gabriele Bedarida, who presented us with a copy of his book Gli Ebrei to Livorno, in which he writes with great affection of this community. Among the many advantages they received was the most advanced Bill of Rights in Europe at the time: La Livornine, lettere patenti,which granted them freedom of worship, tax status, possibility of studying at any University of Tuscany, etc. The Grand Duke's expectations were fulfilled, the Hebrews created an emporium of wealth, establishing commercial relations with his brothers from London, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Le Havre, Marseille, Genova, Venice and other ports in the East. We hope that the many people who see their names in this relationship will be filled with happiness as they check the antiquity of their Jewish lineage: Acosta, Arias, Alburquerque, Antúnez, Agiar, Well, Báez, Crespín, Chávez, Campos, Coronel, Cordovero, Camacho, Cohen, Correa, Cáceres, Coello, Díaz, Ergás, Franco, Faro, Ferreira, Happy, Fonseca, Gaon, González, Guevara, Henríquez, Henry Hurtado, LEON, Luna, Lucena, Loisada, López, Lara, Machorro, Montero, Méndez, Medina, Mezquita, Morón, Matos, Morata, Núñez, Provence, Peña, Pardo, Páez, Pasariño, Piñero, de Paz, Real, Raposo, Rodríguez, Ribero, Ribera, Riveiro, Ramis, Del Río, Rosales, Rabello, Roque, Saravia, Silva, Sierra, Soria, Salom, Sacudo, Toro, Tubío, Tubí, Téllez, Vega, Valentín, Váez, Villa, Vecino, Valle and others.