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century, more than 200,000 Jews lived in Portugal, which was about 20 percent of the total population.
Jews lived in separate quarters, but had freedom to move within the country; these quarters remained until the Jewish expulsion from Portugal.
Tensions arose between the Jewish community, who choose to remain faithful to their religion, and the local clergy and middle/lower classes.
The clergy wanted to invoke restrictions of the Lateran Council against the Jews, but King Dinis (1279-1235) resisted and reassured the Jews that they did not have to pay tithes to the church.
The crown recognized the Jewish community as a distinct legal entity and appointed specific rulers to adjucate their cases.
Each of these quarters had its own synagogue, slaughter house, hospital, jails, bath houses and other institutions.
A rabbi served as the administrative and legal authority within the commune.
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From the Golden Age of Discovery to the Inquisition, Portugese Jewry went from the heights of wealth and success to the depths of anguish and despair.
King Affonso Henriques (1139-85) entrusted Yahia ben Yahi III, a Jew, with the role of royal tax collector and supervisor; Yahia be Yahi III also became the first chief Rabbi of the Portugese Jewish community.