David ben Joseph Coen Bakri

David Ben Joseph Coen Bakri

David ben Joseph Coen Bakri

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David ben Joseph Coen Bakri (born about 1770; died Feb. 4, 1811) was a financier and chief of the Algerian Jews.

His financial abilities placed him early at the head of the important firm "Bakri Brothers", founded by his father. In 1797 David married Aziza, a niece of the powerful Naphtali Busnash, who at that time became a partner in the firm, which then assumed the name "Bakri Busnash". Supported by the regency, which was but a tool in the hands of Busnash, and skillfully managed by David, the company expanded its business at sea, and many European governments entrusted them with the management of their Algerian money affairs. On several occasions they defied the British government in purchasing from French privateers the vessels that they had captured from the allies. During the dearth of food in France they supplied the latter with a considerable quantity of wheat on credit; and on their advice the Dey authorized a loan to the French Directory of five million francs, the credit for which was eventually transferred to them.

The settlement of this loan brought about thirty years later the definitive rupture between the regency and France, and, finally, the conquest of Algeria by the French. On the assassination of Busnash and the anti-Jewish riots which followed it, the firm "Bakri Busnash" became insolvent; and David himself was thrown into prison under the pretext that the firm owed the regency a sum of five million francs. Set free on a...
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