- COSTA (Mendes da Costa), Anglo-Jewish Sephardi family, prominent in the 17th and 18th centuries. The founder was ALVARO (JACOB) DA COSTA (d. 1680), born a Marrano in Portugal, who escaped via Rouen to London. He was one of the prominent Anglo-Jewish personalities of the Restoration period, though he did not formally enter the community. He helped to finance Charles II during his exile. ANTHONY (MOSES; c. 1667–1747), his grandson, one of the wealthiest London merchants of his day, is (incorrectly) said to have been a director of the Bank of England. In 1727 he successfully brought an action against the Russia Company, which had refused him membership because of his religion. The company procured from Parliament a modification of its charter so as to reserve for itself the right of refusal. In 1729 he was one of the three Jewish subcommissioners appointed for the colonization of Georgia and in 1736 he was elected a member of the Royal Society. catherine da costa (1679–1756), Anthony's wife, daughter of Dr. Fernando mendes and named after Catherine of Braganza, was a competent painter and JOHN (Abraham) was one of the three London merchants who in 1710 provided £300,000 for the provisioning of the English army in Flanders. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Picciotto, Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History (19562), 103–4; M. Gaster, History of the Ancient Synagogue of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews (1901), 97; Wolf, in: JHSET, 1 (1893–94), 71; 5 (1902–05), 20–22; A.M. Hyamson, Sephardim of England (1951), 99–100; Rubens, in: JHSET, 14 (1935–39), 95–97. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Katz, England, index; E. Samuel, At the Ends of the Earth: Essays on the History of the Jews in England and Portugal (2004), index; ODNB online for Anthony Moses da Costa and Catherine da Costa. (Cecil Roth)
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.