Gabela
(1,237 words)

The gabela (from Sp. gabela, It. gabella, Fr. gabelle, excise tax; a word thought by O.E.D. to be of Teut. origin, but perhaps ultimately from Ar./med. Jud.-Ar. qabāla, a lease) was a tax on meat and other food staples that Jewish communities in Christian Spain, Islamic lands, and the Ottoman Empire imposed on their members. In the Maghreb, it was often called sija or siza (from Sp. cisa, Mod. Sp. and Port. sisa). In Tripolitania, it was called khaba. Although the terms gabela and sija appear to have come in with Sephardi exiles, such taxes existed in the Islamic world well bef…

Cite this page
Leah Bornstein-Makovetsky, “Gabela”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 20 September 2017
First published online: 2010



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