La sociedad comercial de un mercader de la India en Almería (1139)

Translated title of the contribution: An India trader’s partnership in Almería (1139)

Mordechai Akiva Friedman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article contains an edition and analysis of the earliest known legal document from Almeria. This is a partnership deed written in Judeo-Arabic in 1139, preserved in the Cairo Geniza. The parties to the contract were H{dot below}alfon, an Egyptian-Jewish India trader and world traveler, famous for his association with Judah ha-Levi, and Ibn al-Naghira, a North African Jewish merchant. This two had already entered a partnership a year earlier in Fez, Morocco. Other documents from or concerning Almeria from this period are cited. The newly identified deed was executed prior to H{dot below}alfon’s departure from Almeria for Egypt. It clarifies aspects of H{dot below}alfon’s biography and helps in the reconstruction of data on Judah ha-Levi’s life. It provides confirmation or corrections of the interpretation of other items from H{dot below}alfon’s archive. Two pieces of the original contract have been identified, but it is still incomplete. Some of the witnesses who signed in Almeria were international traders who accompanied H{dot below}alfon, on his return trip to Egypt. Their signatures were validated by a court in Alexandria. Because of the death of his brother, H{dot below}alfon stayed in Alexandria for a year before traveling to Fustat (Old Cairo), where the local Jewish court, in turn, verified the signatures of members of the Alexandrian court. New information on the particulars of several of the signatories is provided. The document sheds light on the international trade routes and contacts between communities from al-Andalus to Egypt.

Translated title of the contributionAn India trader’s partnership in Almería (1139)
Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)75-96
Number of pages22
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Al-andalus
  • Almeria
  • Geniza
  • India trade
  • Judeo-Arabic
  • Partnership


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