Joseph Rabban

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Joseph Rabban (early Malayalam: Issuppu Irappan) was a prominent Jewish merchant chief on the Malabar Coast, India in 11th century CE. [1]

Image of the Sasanam outlining grant of rights to Joseph Rabban by the King of Cranganore (probably end of the first millennium CE).

According to the Jewish copper-plates of Cochin (CE 1000), a charter issued by the Cheras of Cranganore, Rabban was granted land (rights of Anjuvannam along with the other proprietary rights enjoyed by high-ranking Chera nobles) in the Chera kingdom. [2]

Rabban's descendants continued to have prominence over other Jews of the Malabar coast for centuries. A conflict broke out between descendants, Joseph Azar, and his brother in the 1340s. The ensuing strife led to intervention by neighbouring potentates and the eradication of Jewish autonomy in southern India.[3] [4]


  1. ^ MGS Narayanan. Cultural Symbiosis in Kerala: The Jewish Copper Plates of Cochin. Kerala Historical Society, Trivandrum. pp 79-82.
  2. ^ Burnell, The Indian Antiquary, iii. 333-334
  3. ^ Nathan Katz (2000), Who Are the Jews of India?, p. 15, "Joseph Azar was the last in the line of Joseph Rabban"
  4. ^ Sidney Mendelssohn (1920), The Jews of Asia, p. 109
  • Blady, Ken. Jewish Communities in Exotic Places. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson Inc., 2000. pp. 115–130.

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