||Biography in French of the Marrano statesman, Solomon Even Yaish (Abenaes), by Abraham Galanté. He was a person of considerable attainment and accomplishment, influential in the politics of the time. Born a Christian in Portugal he returned to Judaism and played a very important role in the Ottoman court. The text, in eight chapters with footnotes. is preceded by a full page of Galanté’s numerous other publications.
Solomon Even Yaish (Abenaes, Abenaish, Abenyaex, Aben-Ayesh, c. 1520–1603) was born as Alvaro Mendes to a Converso family of Tavira, Portugal, He made a fortune in India by farming the diamond mines of the kingdom of Narsinghgrah. Still ostensibly a Christian, he returned to Europe, becoming a kn ight of Santiago, and lived successively in Madrid, Florence, Paris, and London. When the Spaniards seized Portugal in 1580, he embraced the cause of the pretender to the Portuguese throne Dom Antonio, prior of Crato, and became one of his most active supporters. In 1585 he settled in Turkey where he reverted to Judaism under the name Solomon Abenaes. Because of his wealth, experience, and connections, he came to be highly regarded at the Turkish court, renewing the position of Joseph Nasi, who had died in 1579. He farmed the Turkish customs revenue, and was created duke of Mytilene, one of the largest Aegean islands. He succeeded in maintaining his position, notwithstanding constant intrigues, for some 20 years. Like Nasi he had an elaborate information service all over Europe which proved highly useful to the Turkish government. Above all, Abenaes devoted himself to the cause of an Anglo-Turkish alliance against Spain, as the support of the claims of Dom Antonio to the Portuguese throne depended on this. For this purpose he maintained close contact with the Marrano group in England, headed by Dr. Hector Nunez and the queen's physician Roderigo Lopez, his relative by marriage. Through them Abenaes was able to bring the Turkish government the first news of the defeat of the Great Armada in 1588. At one time he put forward the audacious plan of establishing Dom Antonio in the Portuguese dominions in India, from where he would be able to sail with strong forces and gain control of Portugal itself. Dom Antonio proved, however, weak and vacillating, and Abenaes accordingly broke with him; Dom Antonio in turn accused him of treachery. In 1591 Abenaes sent a personal representative, Solomon Cormano, to London to present his case before the queen, and in 1592 Judah Zarefati (Serfatim), with the same object. The execution of Roderigo Lopez in 1594 on the charge of attempting to poison the queen did not seriously affect Abenaes' position nor did the intrigues against him in Constantinople by David Passy, his Jewish rival, instigated by Dom Antonio and the French ambassador.
Abenaes was one of the architects of the Anglo-Turkish alliance which stemmed the menacing advance of the Spanish power at the close of the 16th century. Shortly after his arrival in Turkey Abenaes secured the renewal, in his own favor, of the grant of Tiberias and seven adjoining townships that had originally been made to Nasi. His name is thus associated with th is important attempt to reestablish an autonomous Jewish life in Erez Israel. His son Jacob Abenaes (formerly Francisco Mendes) actually settled in Tiberias, but to his father's disappointment, instead of helping in political and administrative organization, spent his time in study.
The author, Abraham Galanté (1873–1961), was a Turkish politician, scholar, and historian born in Bodrum, Turkey. Galanté was a teacher and inspector in the Jewish and Turkish schools of Rhodes and Smyrna. He fought the misrule of Sultan Abd al-Hamid II and partly in consequence of this he left for Egypt, where from 1905 to 1908 he edited the Ladino newspaper La Vara and also contributed to Arabic, French, and Turkish newspapers and periodicals. He encouraged the acculturation of Turkish Jewry to its homeland, and conducted an active campaign for the adoption of the Turkish language by the Jews. At the same time he fought vigorously for Jewish rights. After the revolution of the Young Turks, Galanté returned to Istanbul, at whose university he was appointed professor of Semitic languages in 1914 and later professor of the history of the Ancient Orient. Galanté was a delegate to the first Turkish National Assembly after World War I and also a member of the Parliament which met in 1943. His principal field of scientific activity was the study of Jewish history in Turkey. His works (mainly in French) include: Don Joseph Nassi, Duc de Naxos (1913); Esther Kyra (1926); Documents officiels turcs concernant les Juifs de Turquie (collections, 1931–54); Nouveaux documents sur Sabbetai Sevi (1935); Histoire des Juifs d'Anatolie (1937–39; appendix 1948); and Histoire des Juifs d'Istanbul (1941–42).