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During the 19th century, Botbol was one of the twenty most common surnames within Moroccan Jewish community. The origin of this surname (and its variants: Abitbol and Boutboul) is likely derived from the Hebrew shoresh ט.ב.ל (ṭ.b.l) meaning "purification in a ritual bath". The name means "father of the bath", i.e., the one in charge of this ritual bath. In Arabic (بوطبول), it means "father of the tambourine" which indicates a profession, i.e., the maker or salesman of this popular Moroccan musical instrument, and is the name of a musical family from Fes. The Botbol name is now found in Morocco and in the Moroccan diaspora.
Many of the Botbol families in Morocco arrived between 1478, persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition, and 1492 when the Catholic Monarchs signed the Alhambra Decree, the edict ordering the expulsion of all Jews from Spain and its possessions. Some of the Botbols may have gone to Antwerp at this time, and become the Botbijl families found there today. Botbols were known in early 16th century Flanders of that era, and were referred to as Maghrebi Jews.
Other variations of the name:
- "حاييم بوطبول... أسطورة حية". Maroc Local et Nouvelles du Monde | Nouvelles juives du Maroc, dernières nouvelles | מרוקו ג׳וייש טיימס, חדשות מרוקו והעולם | Morocco News | أخبار المغرب (in Arabic). 2019-10-14. Retrieved 2022-04-04.