1152 - 1190 REIGN OF FREDERICK BARBAROSSA (Germany)
Holy Roman Emperor. The papacy and the emperor vied for power during his reign. Barbarossa viewed the Jews of his realm as both a duty to protect and a financial resource. The protection he afforded them brought new knowledge and skills from the Middle East into Europe.
A letter to the Fustat Nagid Halfon from the captain of his ship described the Jews living in India (approximately 1000) and the strong trade between Jewish merchants in the west and their brethren in India.
1154 - 1172 TRAVELS OF BENJAMIN OF TUDELA (Spain)
Jewish traveler and historian. His book Sefer Hamasot (Book of Travel) recounted his travels throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, India, Ceylon and China. He gave details about each Jewish community: its size, scholars, and economic conditions. Almost everything we know about the Jewish communities of his day came from his book.
1154 - 1184 HENRY II (England)
Henry was first of the Angevin (one of two medieval dynasties originating in France) kings. He both exploited and protected the Jews. During his reign Jews lent large sums of money to various church institutions and financed the building of cathedrals. This did not, however, increase their popularity in church circles.
1157 WORMS (Germany)
Frederick Barbarossa renewed in perpetuity the privileges granted the Jews by Henry IV.
1158 ABRAHAM IBN EZRA (1089-1164) (England)
Scholar and writer, Ibn Ezra visited England for a series of lectures. During his visit he also wrote his Letter of Shabbat and Yesod Mora, which he dedicated to Joseph ben Jacob of London.