Ben David Family 2, c. 1600

Spencer Black 23 Feb. 2016 Blog Post 2
To whom it may concern,
The Ben David family has seen its share of history.1 We have witnessed the fall of our
government to the Turkic conquerors, and even the receding of the once great city of Venice.
With the constant changes we have witnessed as come the unease associated with it. The Turks
have impressed upon us their share of miseries, but have thus far been very good for our business
and have brought many exotic goods into our city. Their empire is vast and far reaching. They
have access to many Eastern goods. Their competition with Venice has also been beneficial to
our coffers.2 Venice can no longer monopolize in the spice trade in Cairo since the Turks have
taken over.3 Many of the Venetians from here have left for friendly shores such as the capital on
the Bosphorus.
The Turks at least ensure security within their communities. While we pay to practice our
religion, it allows us to trade without fear of reprisal as some of our brothers to the West have
encountered, however, we must still remain cautious. We have seen many people come through
the port in recent time; this must be due to stability returning to the region. One thing that can be
said of the Turks is that they protect their land. With their empire growing they have helped
ensure that legal issues and trade issues have become one and the same. I believe that we will be
safer under their rule and they will treat us fairer than the Venetian merchants had.4 The
Venetians were fair if you could benefit them; however, Cairo is now out of their reach.5

Grimaldi Family 2, 1600

Our coffers are full and the lenders are pleased with the results of trade, but there is some
troubling news from our merchants in Constantinople.1  Our century’s long rivalry with Venice
over Galata has come to an end, seemingly for a final time.2  There are few of us left in this port
and the legacy we have developed since the Byzantine influence has been destroyed completely.
One by one, we see our buildings being taken over and even our greatest achievement in Galata,
the tower overlooking every point of the great city, has left our hands and there is no hope for a
Genoese recovery at the Golden Horn.3  We Grimaldi have been one of the greatest families to
step foot onto the shores of Constantinople, yet there are but a few Genovese left in the city.  The
Latin-Rite community that we claim is being persecuted and our people have been driven out by
the Turks and have left us no choice but to draw out of Galata and take our trade to another city
that is more welcoming of our presence.
The Magnifica Comunità meets still, but our people struggle with daily existence and we
see no reason to stay in this empire.4  Even the Magnifica sees no reason to keep our council well in the city and they have replaced our podesta with their own council of twelve.5 We will let the Muslims have their control and we will not interfere any longer. With Constantinople overrun by heathens, we cannot, as good Catholics, see cause to remain.6 While we regret not being able to move freely between the Mediterranean and Black Seas, the spiritual health of our people is more important.
5 Eric Dursteler, Venetians in Constantinople: Nation, Identity, and Coexistence in the Early Modern Mediterranean (Johns Hopkins University Press: Johns Hopkins, 2006): 142.

Puigcerdà Family 2, c. 1600

Since 1600, The Puigcerdà family has continued to be heavily active in the salt trade.
Our Jewish friends have provided us links to a new market in Livorno; although much of
the salt we provide is brought into the city by way of smuggling.1  Salt merchants in Ibiza
have also been able to tap into Venetian markets as well.2  Our Jewish friends and their
connections have become crucial to Venetian commerce because of their access to special
trading privileges, especially in the lands of the Turks in the Levant.3  Indeed, Ibicenco salt
continues to be a valuable trade good, traveling vast distances to foreign lands. However, this
commerce abroad by itself has by no means guaranteed peace and prosperity at home on the
island. Ibiza and surrounding islands are constantly vulnerable to raids by the Barbary
pirates. Look out towers have been constructed along the shore of the island, and the
peasants are often forced to take refuge within our churches when the attacks transpire.
Luckily, our Corsarios do their best to keep the pirates at bay, plundering them at every
1 Francesca Trivellato, “The Sephardic Diaspora and Cross-Cultural Trade in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” Cal Tech, April 5, 2008, pg. 26,, accessed 25 February 2016.
2 Molly Greene, “Merchant of Venice, Merchant of Istanbul,” Princeton University, February 2, 2007, pg. 13,, accessed 26 February 2016.
3 Eric R. Dursteler, Venetians in Constantinople: Nation, Identity, and Coexistence in the Early Modern Mediterranean (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), 108.
opportunity. Interestingly, the work of our Corsarios provides a great deal of expensive
goods to the island, and generally benefits Ibiza economically speaking.4
4 Sue Bryant, Ibiza and Formentera (UK: New Holland Publishers, 2007),, accessed 25 February 2016, pgs. 12-13.