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Acta Gallica (French administration)

  • HR-DADU-76
  • Fonds
  • 1808-1814

The fonds is sorted by years and contains files and documents of the French authorities concerning finances, accounting, public health, maritime affairs, trade, military affairs, police matters, private and public construction work (especially road developments), management of food supplies, education, local administration, administration of state-owned property, taxes, courts, church matters and different aspects of cultural life.

The fonds is important for researching all aspects of the life of Ragusan Jews during the French administration between 1808 and 1814. At that time, the Jews of Dubrovnik were mostly involved in business affairs connected with trade and crafts. They participated in the purchase of food supplies for the area of Dubrovnik (mainly of cereals, salt, and oil (F XIX / 4, no. 3666). Archival data show that they were also active in monetary transactions (investing capital in ship construction and exporting raw materials such as wax, cotton, leather, and wool). Furthermore, thanks to the preserved archival material, it is possible to reconstruct the functioning of Jewish religious fraternities, synagogues, ghettos, and schools in the area. The fonds contains references to many Ragusan Jewish families such as Ambonetti, Ascoli, Costantini, Levi Mandolfo, Maestro, Pardo, Terni, Tolentino, Valenzin, Venturra predominate in the fonds.

French administration

Acta Consilii Rogatorum (Decisions of the Senate of the Dubrovnik Republic)

The series contains the decisions of the Senate (Consilium Rogatorum) from the early 15th to the early 19th century. At the beginning of the 14th century, this administrative body became a permanent authority that primarily made decisions on foreign policy of the Republic and was named the Senate during the 15th century. The Senate became the central body of the administrative power of the Dubrovnik Republic, with a very wide field of activities: from making domestic and foreign policies and dealing with issues regarding economy and trade, to making decisions relevant for the destiny of individual citizens. Senate decisions were applicable to a vast geographical area: Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, Latin America. The Senate was chaired by the Rector whose mandate lasted a month. The Rector presided over both: the Minor Council and the Major Council.

The series is very important for the research of the history of the Jewish people. The documents in the series include most of the key decisions made in the times of the Republic that clearly indicate the attitude of the Republic towards the Jews, as well as how this attitude has been changing throughout the history. Attempting to analyse this attitude, one can find data on the business of Jewish merchants in the Mediterranean and the Balkans, as well as on the private life of Jewish people in the Dubrovnik Republic. According to the data, the first records of the Jews can be found in the documents written ten years after the creation of the Acta Consilii Rogatorum series. Franchus Josepovich (Franius, Josep, Yosue), a Jew from an Albanian town of Vlora, addressed the Senate in 1426 because there was a danger that his goods would be confiscated in Dubrovnik (vol. 3, ff. 292, 292v). Early records of Jews include, for example, a reference to Abram, a messenger of the last Bosnian queen, Katarina (1477; vol. 23, f. 137). Another very significant, perhaps even the most significant document on Jews in this series, is the decision about the establishment of a ghetto, made on October 15, in 1546 (vol. 47, ff. 249v-150v). This specific document describes in detail residential and business premises of the ghetto, locking time of the ghetto doors and rental prices. Certain decisions, on the expansion of the ghetto, as well as on standards of living and business conditions outside the ghetto, had been made later, and continued to be made till the fall of the Republic in 1808. The documents in this series reference to many important figures of the Sephardic world. Some of them only passed through Dubrovnik and some lived in Dubrovnik and were members of the Dubrovnik Jewish community such as: Gracia Mendez and her representatives Abner Alfarin and Isac Ergas, physicians Amatus Lusitanus, Abraham and his son-in-law Joseph Salama, a poet Didacus Pyrrhus, a merchant Daniel Rodrigues (16th century), a rabbi Aron Cohen (17th century), and a merchant Raphael Cohen (18th century). Through the decisions of the Senate, we can follow the destiny of a merchant Isaac Jeshurun, accused of a ritual murder of a Dubrovnik girl (1622). There are many references to other Jews in the series, who most often were Sephardim, and the data found refer to various aspects of their lives. Among other things, the data provide information about trading, appointments of Dubrovnik Jews as Dubrovnik state brokers (sensali), or extraordinary customs duties imposed upon the Jewish community in crisis situations such as plague epidemics. The data also reveal other important facts on treatment, rights and privileges of baptized Jewish women and men. The Senate would also give guarantees of free arrival, restricted residence, and free departure (salvus conductus) to Jewish merchant debtors. Some of these decisions were made based on petitions submitted to the Senate, being, therefore, a particularly interesting source for any research of the business and private lives of Dubrovnik Jews.

Litterae et relationes comitum et capitaneorum territorii; Lettere e relazioni di conti e capitani del territorio (Letters and reports of rectors and captains who served in the territory of the Republic)

There is no information about any Jews in the series.
The series contains letters and reports written to the Dubrovnik authorities by the local counts and captains from the territory of the Republic of Dubrovnik in the 18th century.

Litterae et commissiones Levantis; Lettere di Levante (State letters and instructions to the Eastern countries)

The series contains state letters and instructions to Ragusan ambassadors, tribute ambassadors, consuls, administrators of Dubrovnik consulates, charges d’affairs, and merchants in the cities of the Ottoman Empire in the period from the middle of the 14th to the beginning of the 19th century. The cities that are mostly referred to in the series are: Istanbul, Jedrene, Belgrade, Vlora, Volos, Alexandria, Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Travnik, Mostar and Pljevlja. The series also includes letters from the authorities of the Dubrovnik Republic to various Ottoman dignitaries and officials, from Grand Viziers in Istanbul to kadis in the Dubrovnik neighbourhood.

The series is very important for the research of the history of the Jewish people in the Ottoman Empire, as well as for any attempted analysis of their cooperation with the Jews from the Republic. The series contains state letters to the consuls of the Republic in Vlora, who were Jewish (16th and 17th centuries). The following names of the consuls are referenced: Isach Trincha, who is only referenced to in one letter (vol. 20, f. 15v), Jacob Coduto, Daniel Coduto, Zacharia Graziano, Angiolo Coduto (vol. 28-34, 37, 42-45, 47-50). In addition to the names previously mentioned, there are several other Vlora Jews that are mentioned in the documents from the 16th century. The series also contains several letters from the authorities of the Republic to their tribute ambassadors, in which there are references to Gracia Mendes. In 1552, she travelled to Istanbul via Dubrovnik. The data shows that she conducted her business from Istanbul, using the port of Dubrovnik to trade with Western countries till she died. The ambassadors of the Republic would regularly visit her and bring her letters from the authorities. According to the records, she would lend money to the ambassadors and the authorities of the Republic would then reimburse the money to her representatives in Dubrovnik, Isaac Ergas and Abner Alfarin (vol. 26-29). Other Istanbul Jews also lent money to Dubrovnik tax collectors, and the authorities would then reimburse it to their relatives in Dubrovnik. For example, in 1576, Samuel Ergas wrote a letter of recommendation to two Jews from Istanbul, Judi Algasi and Samuel Celef, asking them to lend money to the emissaries of the Republic if that was deemed necessary (vol. 33, f. 67v). Dubrovnik merchants owned real estate in some Ottoman cities and would often rent it, especially in Sofia, to Jewish merchants. Related to this fact, there are several references to conflicts that occurred among those merchants. Even though the series provides evidence to some other conflicts in which Jewish merchants were involved, it also provides evidence of different forms of successful cooperation with Jewish merchants. The authorities of the Dubrovnik Republic evidently cooperated with Jewish merchants who were influential at the sultan's court (e.g., vol. 31, ff. 25v-26v). One of those merchants, Conort, whose name is not referenced in this series, worked in the 80s of the 18th century as a dragoman of Dubrovnik ambassadors at the Sublime Porte (vol. 103, ff. 113v, 121v).

Minutae litterarum veterum; Minute di lettere per Levante (vecchie) (Rough drafts of precedent state letters addressed to the Eastern countries)

The series contains the drafts of letters and instructions of the authorities of the Republic to Dubrovnik emissaries, tribute ambassadors, consuls, administrators of Dubrovnik consulates, chargé d'affaires, or merchants in the cities of the Ottoman Empire. The preserved registers date from the middle of the 17th century to the 60s of the 18th century.

The series contains a small number of letters addressed to some Jewish people from Sarajevo, such as Abram Meramet, Abram Levi, and others (e.g., vol. 1, no. 25).

Litterae et commissiones Ponentis; Lettere di Ponente (State letters and instructions addressed to the Western countries)

The series contains letters from the authorities of the Republic to foreign rulers and other politicians, popes, and cardinals, as well as letters and instructions to Dubrovnik ambassadors, consuls, administrators of Dubrovnik consulates, charges d'affaires, and to merchants from different Western European countries and cities. Mostly referenced cities are those from the Apennine Peninsula such as Venice, Rome, Ancona, Naples, Genoa, Barletta, as well as other European cities (Vienna, London, Madrid, Paris) and the cities of Morocco, Tripoli (present-day Libya), Tunisia and Algeria. The documents in the series date from the 60s of the 16th century until the beginning of the 19th century.

The series is very important for the research of the history of converts and Jewish people of North Africa. It contains many letters sent by the authorities of the Republic to certain Jews, such as Abram Bussara, Raphael Jacob Bussara and Naftali Busnaco, who were administrators of the Dubrovnik Consulate in Algeria (vols. 76-78, 89, 90, 108, 109, 119, 125-127, 129 -131, 133-137; 1763, 1770, 1778, 1779, 1790-1792, 1794-1802). Some letters of the authorities of the Republic to the Dubrovnik consul in Vlora, Jacob Coduto can also be also found in this series (vol. 1, 2). There are other references to Jews in state letters to popes, cardinals, and Dubrovnik diplomatic representatives in Rome. Jewish physicians, who had their practice in Dubrovnik in the 16th century, are the primary topic of these letters. The data indicate that this was the reason why the Holy See would protest to the authorities of the Republic (i.e., vol. 4, ff. 242-245v). Ragusan authorities had to justify themselves to the Holy See also because of converts who returned in Dubrovnik to their original faith, as well as because of Christian maids who served in Jewish families (i.e., vol. 3, ff. 157-157v).

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