Toledanos lived and prospered in Spain for centuries. How Jews came to live in Spain is a subject of speculation and controversy. Some believe they may have been brought by Nebuchadnezzar as slaves with his army as he conquered his way through northern Africa and into Spain. Other sources point to Jews in Spain as a result of the Roman conquest and occupation of Judea and Samaria and the consequent exportation of slaves to Rome. Whether Jews were forcibly brought or whether they escaped and emigrated away from oppression is academic. It is highly probable that all of the above contributed to the presence of Jews in Spain and the birth of the Jewish community in Toledo .


The Iberian Peninsula was conquered by many masters including the Visigoths, Rome, the Moorish Caliphates and the houses of Aragon, Leon and Castile. Jews enjoyed different degrees of freedom under the many regimes. The 13th, 14th and 15th centuries were particularly turbulent times for Jews in Spain. Warring kings, the Catholic clergy, Crusaders or officials of the Hermanidad used the Jewish communities opportunistically as enemies or allies. The victimizing of Jews through massacres, confiscation, taxation and prohibitions became progressively worse. Many Jews converted or pretended to convert to Christianity at this time. Jewish converts were known as Conversos. The pejorative form of Conversos is Marranos or pigs.


The Alhambra Decree or Edict of Expulsion in 1492 by Ferdinand & Isabella was the final imposition issued against the Jews of Spain. The edict is dated March 31, 1492. It ordered all Jews to leave the kingdom by the last day of July. Estimates of Jews who fled Spain during this time vary widely. It is safe to say that around 200,000 fled. Of this total around 20,000 fled to Morocco. Toledano ancestors were probably in this group.


The first four generations in the family genealogy are fictional estimates. Other than the name, Toledano, there is no direct connection of Daniel1, Joseph2, Toledano3 and Toledano4 to subsequent generations that are well documented. The first two generations, referred to as Daniel1 and Joseph2 are believed to have been born in Spain. However, while fictional, the story created around the first generations is probable. The story starts with a myth that claims that the first person in the family to be expelled from Spain was named Daniel Toledano. This is why the family tree is titled "The Descendants of Daniel Toledano".


The second piece of information is more solid but has no established connection to the family. In Judios, Sefaraditas, Conversos, Rabbi Joseph Serels places Rabbi Habbi (sic) David Joseph Toledano living in Fez in 1492. He is identified as one of the leaders of the exiles in Morocco. The record goes on to say that Rabbi Habbi preferred to have gone to Salonika. Nevertheless he became Chief Rabbi of the exiles and head of the Yeshiva in Fez. Rabbi Habbi faced opposition from the Chief Rabbi of Morocco who was against recognizing the validity of the Kohanim (priestly caste) of the "Marranos" even after their return to Judaism. Read translation.

Decreto de la Alhambra (Edict of Expulsion) March 31, 1492

In Historia dos Judeus em Portugal we learn of another Toledano leaving Spain. In 1485 Eliezer Toledano moved his printing press to Portugal. Judios, Sefaraditas, Conversos also refers to Eliezer and adds that he again moved his press to Fez, Morocco where in 1516 he reproduced a copy of the Lisbon edition of Compendium de las Leyes by Abudraham. Circa 1521 Spanish authorities prohibited the exportation of paper to Morocco. Eliezer Toledano for the third time moved his printing business to Salonica.


This information gives a glimpse of what may have happened to our ancestors in Spain. Toledanos undoubtedly suffered during the periods of persecution. They possibly became Conversos but did not give up their religion. Eventually they decided to flee to Fez, Morocco. Fleeing one's home involved pain, risk and vulnerability. Deportees were victimized by robbers, pirates or swindlers. The routes to were fraught with disease, pestilence, privations, and quarantines. Anxiety, fear, & depression were unwanted travel companions. Some even decided to turn around and return to certain persecution in Spain.


It is possible that we are descended from Rabbi Habbi David Joseph Toledano or Eliezer Toledano. Both left Spain, emigrated to Morocco and then to Salonica. There are many subsequent Habibs, Josephs and Eleazars in the family. We remain hopeful that one day we will be able to identify all our ancestors.


Toledanos living in Spain prior to 1492