History Community ~ All Empires Homepage


This is the Archive on WORLD Historia, the old original forum.

 You cannot post here - you can only read.

 

Here is the link to the new forum:

  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Calendar   Register Register  Login Login


Forum LockedCrypto-Jews in America

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>
Author
Killabee View Drop Down
Earl
Earl


Joined: 01-Feb-2006
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 274
Post Options Post Options   Quote Killabee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Crypto-Jews in America
    Posted: 26-Oct-2007 at 01:00
I don't know if it is a reposted topic.
 
According to genetic study, there are million of Latino who can trace their ancestry to Jews who were forcibily converted to Catholicism but practiced Judaism in secret during the Inquisition period with a high concentration in New Mexico and surrounding area. Maybe that explains why there are many Latino(with authentic hispanic surname, not the recent Arab immigrant descendant like Carlos Slim or Shakira) that I know share similar phenotypes with Middle-Easterner rather than Iberian native.
 
Any thought about this?
Back to Top
pinguin View Drop Down
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Avatar

Joined: 29-Sep-2006
Location: Chile
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7508
Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Oct-2007 at 02:29

First, one must distinguish religion from genetics. According to a rabbi I once asked the same question, the descendents of Jews that has abandoned the Jewish religion it is called an Hebrew descendent. If you see that way there are two questions really:

(1) How many descendents of Jewish people, or Hebrew descendents, has the Iberian population both in Spain and in the Americas?
 
(2) How many crypto-Jews exits in Spain and in Latin America?
 
 
The first question has an easy answer. Almost all the Spanish and Spanish American population has some degree of Hebrew ancestry. There is no doubt about it, because hundred of thousands of Jews converted to Christianism in the dark days of Inquisition, and even before, and become assimilated to the general population.
 
To the second question the answer is also easy. There is just a very small number who were really Cripto-Jews.
 
Now, with respect to the "Middle Eastern" aspect of many Spanish and Iberoamerican people the answer is also easy. Not only Jews, but also Phoenicians, Carthagians, Greeks, Arabs, Lebabeses and Maghrebians are part of the melting pot of Spain. Spain is a mixed nation hybrid between mediterranean and north european influences. That's the way it is.
 
By the way, it is curious that a large percentage of the most famous figures of arts and politics in Spain, after the expulsion of the Jews, were "New Christians" or converse Jews.
 
Finally another though. People usually don't know that the Sephardites (Spanish Jews) and the Spanish and Ibero American people share most of theirs culture and language (Ladino is a dialect of Castillian Spanish), including last names. I have the impression that we are just a single people separated by religion. Sepharad means Spain in Hebrew.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Edited by pinguin - 26-Oct-2007 at 02:32
Back to Top
garciaparra22 View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary


Joined: 17-Oct-2007
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 57
Post Options Post Options   Quote garciaparra22 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2007 at 23:21

Flour Tortillas and
Other Jewish Legacies
of Colonial Texas

Charles M. Robinson III

Photograph,%20Charles%20M.%20Robinson%20III

Charles M. Robinson III is a history instructor at South Texas Community College in McAllen, Texas. He received his master’s degree from the University of Texas-Pan American and has written Frontier Forts of Texas; Bad Hand: A Biography of General Ranald S. Mackenzie, which won the Fehrenbach award from the Texas Historical Commission; The Indian Trial: The Complete Story of the Warren Wagon Train Massacre and the Fall of the Kiowa Nation; and The Men Who Wear the Star: The Story of the Texas Rangers. His book The Court Martial of Lieutenant Henry Flipper was a finalist for the Spur Award given by the Western Writers of America. He is also a linguist, speaking English, Spanish, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish.

***

Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.

Ye shall eat nothing leavened: in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.

Exodus 12:19-20 (King James Version)

This ancient Jewish law mandates observance of the Passover, when the Hebrews were freed from Egyptian slavery. For the long journey back to their homeland, they needed bread, but, faced with the possibility that the Egyptians might change their minds and reenslave them, they left Egypt in a hurry. There was no time to wait for dough to rise, so they baked their bread without yeast for leavening [makes bread rise to become light and airy]. In commemoration of their deliverance from slavery, unleavened bread has been an integral part of Judaism ever since. On the U.S.-Mexican border, this flat, round, solid cake is known as the flour tortilla, part of a strong but largely forgotten legacy of the Sephardic [Spanish] Jews who colonized South Texas and Northern Mexico during the colonial period (1560s-1820s).

Tortilla simply means a small torte, or cake, and was made on both sides of the Atlantic before Columbus. The version found in ancient Mexico, depicted in Aztec codices [books] and still almost universal in the Mexican interior, is made of meal ground from corn that has been soaked in lime1Graphic%20link%20to%20footnote%201. But much of the border was settled by conversos, converted Sephardic Jews or people of Jewish descent from Spain and Portugal, who immigrated to Mexico in the early years of the colonial period and brought with them their unleavened tortilla of flour.

Photograph%20of%20corn%20and%20flour%20tortillas
Corn (left) and flour (right) tortilla.
Courtesy of Charles Robinson III.

Even outsiders noticed the distinction between the two. Teresa Griffin Viele, whose husband was posted to Ringgold Barracks, Texas, in the 1850s, wrote that in Camargo, on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, the people made corn tortillas. Across the river in Rio Grande City, Texas, the Hispanic population had "cakes" made from flour and lard2Graphic%20link%20to%20footnote%202.

Photograph,%20making%20tortillas Photograph,%20making%20tortillas
Making flour tortillas the
modern way by machine
at the De Alba Tortilla
Factory in San Benito, Texas.
Courtesy of
Charles Robinson III.

Making tortillas along the
Rio Grande the old-fashioned way
Institute of Texan Cultures, 75-1090

The conversos had adopted Christianity as a group to avoid persecution and death. Their suppression had begun with a series of massacres in 1391 and continued with outbursts of mob violence in the Christian-controlled areas of Spain throughout the closing of the fourteenth century and the Moorish Wars. These Jews and recently converted Spanish Muslims generally were lumped together under the single term "New Christians."

While considered Roman Catholic, the conversos’ loyalties were always suspect. In 1478 Queen Isabella I reestablished the long-dormant [inactive] Inquisition, or Holy Office, in Castile in an effort to achieve unity within the country divided by centuries of fighting and war. The Holy Office began active operations two years later, its first target being the Jewish conversos. In 1492 the local governments of Castile and Aragon began enforcing earlier edicts [laws] expelling all practicing Jews, with Portugal following suit four years later. As the burden of proof was almost entirely on the accused, and innocence was virtually impossible to prove, many of these conversos fled the country.

Although the law prohibited Jews and New Christians from immigrating to the New World, large numbers followed in the wake of Columbus. Establishing themselves in the colonies, they became a ruling class, influencing, to some degree, the people and cultures around them. In newly conquered Mexico, their presence was felt to such a degree that, technically at least, they were expelled from the country on the grounds that their presence might "profane" [harm] efforts to convert the native Indian population to Christianity. Yet their numbers were so great that this edict was almost impossible to enforce3Graphic%20link%20to%20footnote%203.

In 1571 the Inquisition was formally established in Mexico. Because the Indians were excluded from its jurisdiction, its efforts were directed at conversos and persons accused of heretical practices [against the church]. The first auto de fe [execution] was held in Mexico City in 1574. Sixty-three persons were sentenced, of whom five were burned at the stake. It is significant that the establishment of the Inquisition coincided with the first large-scale movement of people to the north. This was the initial colonization effort in what later became the northernmost states of modern Mexico and the southwestern U.S.4Graphic%20link%20to%20footnote%204

The settlement of the New Kingdom of León (Nuevo León) includes what is now the southern part of Texas, the modern Mexican states of Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and portions of Chihuahua, Durango, Zacatecas, and San Luis Potosí. Settling began in earnest in 1580, under the leadership of the converso Luis de Carvajal y de la Cueva, nine years after the establishment of the Mexican Inquisition.

Carvajal initially had visited the region in 1576, where he helped settle the mining area of San Gregorio near what is now Cerralvo, Nuevo León. Two years later, in Tampico, he drew up a general plan of colonization and went to Spain, where, on May 31, 1579, he signed the necessary documents formally establishing the province and granting him colonization rights.

The grant included settlements established in the region in 1577 by Captain Alberto del Canto, supposedly a Crypto-Jew [a nominal or weak Christian who practiced Judaism in secret]. In addition to del Canto, Carvajal recruited as captains two acquaintances, Gaspar Castaño de Sosa, who may have been a Portuguese Crypto-Jew, and Diego de Montemayor, whose religious background was questionable.

The colonists recruited in Spain included a hundred soldiers and sixty married laborers with their wives and children, who arrived in Tampico (now Alto Tampico, Veracruz), on August 8, 1580. As far as is known, Nuevo León was the only grant that did not require prospective settlers to prove limpieza de sangre [pure Christian blood], and for that reason, a substantial number of the settlers were Crypto-Jews. Thus, it may be said that Nuevo León essentially was a Jewish colony. Many of these settlers later became founding families in what is now South Texas and New Mexico.

The seat of the new colony would be León (now Cerralvo), established in 1582. Other major settlements founded over the next fourteen years were San Francisco de Apodaca, established by Castaño; Trinidad (now Monclova, Coahuila), established by Carvajal; and Monterrey, founded by Montemayor5Graphic%20link%20to%20footnote%205.

Such tranquility as may have existed in the new colony was short-lived. Carvajal became involved in a property dispute with the nearby colony of Nueva Vizcaya (Zacatecas), which claimed the area around Saltillo in modern Coahuila. This led to intrigues [schemes] in the viceregal court in Mexico City, where the reigning viceroy, the Count of Coruna, was sympathetic to the Nueva Vizcaya faction. Consequently, when Carvajal began a campaign against the Indians of the Panuco region in 1584, he was accused of illegal traffic in Indian slaves. From there it was an easy step to investigate his background, and Coruna denounced him to the Inquisition.

The Holy Office began investigating Nuevo León in general and the Carvajal family in particular. In 1590 Carvajal and his relatives were tried by the Inquisition. After confessing and giving up their Jewish beliefs, they performed penance [punishment rituals] and were accepted back into the Roman Catholic Church. Carvajal died about five years later, apparently still holding his position in the province.

In 1596 Diego de Montemayor was appointed lieutenant governor and captain general of the province. That same year, however, the Inquisition arrested Carvajal’s nephew, also named Luis, as a relapsed Jew. Under sentence of torture, he gave the Inquisitors names of 116 purported [supposed] Crypto-Jews, including his mother and two sisters. The sisters, Isabel de Carvajal de Andrade and Leonor de Carvajal, and an associate, Manuel de Lucena, were condemned, garroted [strangled by the tightening of screws in an iron collar around the neck], and their bodies burned at the stake in the auto de fe of 1596.

For the next fifty years, the Holy Office hunted down members of the Carvajal family as an example to terrorize other Crypto-Jews into obedience. Eventually the Carvajals who did not flee the country were exterminated [killed]. In the process, the Inquisition determined that many of the settlers of Nuevo León were also Crypto-Jews, but little action was taken. Much of the Holy Office’s effort appears to have been primarily directed at removing the Carvajals. The remaining Crypto-Jews continued to form a large population in the province6Graphic%20link%20to%20footnote%206.

The people who emigrated from Nuevo León to the Rio Grande region of Texas, particularly to Webb, Zapata, and Starr Counties throughout the middle eighteenth century, seem to have been aware of their Jewish heritage and made it a part of their daily lives. Roman Catholic priests at the time were few and far between, and those who did serve in the local parishes often were themselves conversos. Consequently, Jewish customs could be practiced with the tolerance—if not with the approval—of the local religious establishment. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that a large number of Hispanics in Texas are Crypto-Jews faithfully observing Mosaic law or are aware of their Sephardic [Spanish Jewish] heritage. Many people follow the ancient ways simply because they are traditions handed down through the family. They know little—if anything—of the colonial era and generally assume their families have always been Roman Catholic. The break with the Sephardic consciousness seems to have occurred at the end of the Mexican War, when South Texas and the American Southwest joined the United States. This brought a rift [break] with the old life, and the sympathetic Mexican clergy in the Texas borderlands was replaced in 1849 with French Oblates who made a profound [major] impact on the religious practices of the people7Graphic%20link%20to%20footnote%207.

Photograph%20of%20Texas%20Land%20Agency%20Poster   Photograph%20of%20Jacob%20de%20Cordova
The Texas Land Agency was begun by
Jacob de Cordova, Jewish settler, in 1845.
  Jacob de Cordova,
Jewish settler

Nevertheless, many traditions of the Texas border have their roots in Spanish Judaism. Common examples of regional traditions include the following:

    • Hispanics customarily cover mirrors in the homes
      of a person who has died.
    • Most people sweep the floor away from the walls
      toward the center of the room, a custom that originated
      out of respect for the mezzuzah, the container that holds
      the scroll with the Hebrew profession of faith that is
      usually fastened to a wall or doorpost.
    • Another common practice is to orient the beds
      north to south.
    • Many Hispanic children are given Old Testament
      names, such as Moises, Jacobo, Abram, Aaron,
      Israel, and Josue (Joshua) for boys; Sara, Ester,
      Raquel, and Dalila are popular for girls. Spanish
      Jewish surnames found on the border include,
      among others, Amado, Durán, Falcón,
      and especially Garza
      8Graphic%20link%20to%20footnote%208.

On the surface, the eating habits of the Hispanics in South Texas do not differ radically from other ranching areas in Mexico. A closer look, however, shows far less swine [pig] farming, which might be traced back to the Mosaic prohibition on pork.

Photograph%20of%20sheep%20herd
Sheep herds

Although pork is readily available in supermarkets, beef and various cuts of becerra [lamb] tend to predominate in markets that cater to Hispanic customers. In fact, well into the nineteenth century, sheep often outnumbered cattle on South Texas ranches until overgrazing damaged the ranges. V.W. Lehmann’s study of the sheep industry includes figures for the colonial Rio Grande settlements that show thousands of sheep were introduced into the region during the eighteenth century. The inventories also include cattle, horses, donkeys, goats, and mules, but pigs are noticeably absent.

Photograph,%20swine%20%28pigs%29
Although swine are easily raised in Texas,
they were absent in earlier times.

Cabrito [young Spanish goat] is an expensive delicacy in the Mexican interior and reserved for special occasions. In the border area, however, it is commonplace, both in restaurants and at home barbecues. Homemade road signs offer cabrito freshly slaughtered daily, and live cabrito on the hoof is sold from pickup trucks for as little as $25 a head. Teresa Viele noted the market in Rio Grande City offered "goat’s flesh, and beef, cut in strips and dried in the sun." She did not mention swine9Graphic%20link%20to%20footnote%209.

Goat herds

It should be pointed out, however, that dietary [eating] customs are not inflexible, and the old ways often are diluted [watered down]. Although Mosaic law prohibits consumption of blood, and Hispanics frequently discard eggs with blood spots, cabrito con sangre [goat in blood sauce] is a popular dish. And while pork may not be the meat of choice, people do eat it, and some even save the blood of a slaughtered pig for cooking.

Photograph,%20making%20tortillas
Tortilla making beside the railroad tracks

Thus the observed use of flour tortillas, unleavened bread made from flour and lard, came to the area with the Sephardic Jews of Spain and Portugal. They continue in use today among all the people of Texas, having become part of our mainstream fast food diet.

 

Photograph,%20mixing%20flour%20tortillas

Kneading and shaping the
tortilla dough into individual balls

Photograph,%20rolling%20and%20browning%20flour%20tortillas


Rita Robinson Saldaña making flour tortillas by mixing the flour, lard, and salt with water.

Photograph,%20shaping%20flour%20tortillas

The final stage of handmaking flour tortillas is rolling them out to a small circle and then lightly browning them on a hot griddle.

Photographs,
courtesy of Charles Robinson III.

After centuries in which the Jewish heritage was suppressed and largely forgotten, there seems to be a new awareness among younger Hispanics about their origins. There is a Hispano Crypto-Jewish Resource Center connected with the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Denver. Likewise, the University of Arizona Library at Tucson maintains the Bloom Southwestern Jewish Archives, dealing not only with Spanish Jews, but the Jewish heritage of the Southwest.

Suggested Resources:

Atkinson, William C. A History of Spain and Portugal. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1960.

Bancroft, Hubert Howe. The History of Mexico. The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft 10 vols. San Francisco: A.L. Bancroft and Company, 1883.

Cerwin, Herbert. These Are the Mexicans. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1947.

Doyon, Bernard, O.M.I. The Cavalry of Christ on the Rio Grande, 1849-1883. Milwaukee: Catholic Life Publications, 1956.

Garza, Luis. "The Spanish Inquisition and Its Impact on South Texas." Term paper. South Texas Community College. McAllen, Texas, April 18, 1998.

Halevy, Schulamith C. "Anusim in North America: The Ingathering." Published on the Internet.

Lehmann, V.W. Forgotten Legions: Sheep in the Rio Grande Plain of Texas. El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1969.

"Mexican Inquisition Documents at the Bancroft Library." Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley, November 26, 1996.

Parkes, Henry Bamford. A History of Mexico. 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1960.

Santos, Richard G. "Tejanos, Manitos and the Sephardic Crypto Jews." Presented at the University of Texas at San Antonio Downtown Campus, March 24, 1998.

Vazquez, Alanis, Fernando. Cerralvo, la Cuna de Nuevo León. Privately printed, 1992.

Viele, Teresa Griffin. Following the Drum: A Glimpse of Frontier Life. 1858; reprint, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984.

Hidden History
Education
Institute of Texan Cultures
UTSA

© Copyright 2001
The University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures at San Antonio

Back to Top
garciaparra22 View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary


Joined: 17-Oct-2007
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 57
Post Options Post Options   Quote garciaparra22 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2007 at 23:23

The settlement of the New Kingdom of León (Nuevo León) includes what is now the southern part of Texas, the modern Mexican states of Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and portions of Chihuahua, Durango, Zacatecas, and San Luis Potosí. Settling began in earnest in 1580, under the leadership of the converso Luis de Carvajal y de la Cueva, nine years after the establishment of the Mexican Inquisition.

 

Alot of the Early "Spaniard colonist" in Mexico were actually Crypto-Jews,who founded many Cities in Mexico.

Back to Top
garciaparra22 View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary


Joined: 17-Oct-2007
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 57
Post Options Post Options   Quote garciaparra22 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2007 at 23:28
Hey Pinguin and other Latino Americanos, do you guys eat Capirotada or something similiar to it?
 
My parents made real good Capirotada.
 
 

Capirotada

Capirotada is a common Mexican bread pudding that is traditionally eaten during Lent or Passover. It is generally composed of toasted french bread soaked in mulled syrup, cheese (often with other dairy as well, such as butter or milk), raisins, and peanuts. The syrup is generally made with water, piloncillo Mexican brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, star anise (or aniseed), cloves, and peppercorns.

Historically, capirotada originates from Sephardi jews. It's wheat bread pilon-cillo, to which raw sugar, cinnamon, cheese, butter, pecans, peanuts and raisins are added. These are identical ingredients to those used by secret Spanish Jews in the New Spain of 1640 to make their breads and cakes. Even the ingredients and receipes have been recorded by the Holy Office of the Inquisition and saved to this day in the archives.

 
 
Back to Top
garciaparra22 View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary


Joined: 17-Oct-2007
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 57
Post Options Post Options   Quote garciaparra22 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2007 at 23:31

TEXAS MEXICAN SECRET SPANISH JEWS TODAY
by  Anne deSola Cardoza

from Halapid Summer, 1995

Jewish food, oral traditions, culture, and secret religious customs are showing up today in the folklore, habits and practices of the descendants of early settlers in southern Texas and the surrounding areas of Mexico.  In northern Mexico and what today is Texas, the Jews of Nuevo Leon and its capital, Monterrey, Mexico, lived without fear of harassment from the Holy Office of the 1640's and beyond.  Many of the leading non-Jewish families today of that area are descended from secret Jewish ancestors, according to scholar, Richard G. Santos.
    Santos states there are hundreds, if not thousands of descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jews living today in San Antonio and throughout South Texas.  Not all are aware of their Jewish heritage.  Santos is a renowned scholar in ethnic studies of South Texas secret Spanish Jewry.  He presented a paper to the Interfaith Institute at the Chapman Graduate Center of Trinity University on secret Sephardic Jewish customs in today's Texas and nearby Mexican areas.
     Here’s how we know that many Tex-Mex Hispanics today are of Jewish ancestry.  It's a well accepted fact that the founding families of Monterrey and the nearby Mexican border area, "Nuevo Reyno de Leon" are of Sephardic Jewish origin.  If we go back to the Diccionario Porrua de Historia Geografia y Biografia, it states that Luis de Carvajal y de a Cucva brought a shipload of Jews to settle his Mexican colony - with some Jews being converts to Catholicism from Judaism and others "openly addicted to their (Jewish) doctrine".
Seymour Liebman, a scholar on Mexican colonial secret Jews, in his book "Jews in New Spain", explained why Jews settled in areas far away from Mexico City in order to escape the long arm of the Inquisition in the sixteenth century.
     There's an old, universally known anti-Semitic Mexican joke, a one-liner that says, "la gente de Monterrey son muy judios ... son muy codo".  In English it translates, "The people of Monterrey are very Jewish ... very tightwad".
    Secret Jews colonized the states of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Tamualipas and good old Texas, USA in the 1640's-1680s and thereafter.  The majority of Texas's Spanish-speaking immigrants came from Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, and Coahuila (the old Neuvo Reyno de Leon) beginning in the 1680s.
 Seventeenth century secret Jews who settled in what is today southern Texas, particularly around San Antonio took with them their Jewish foods, particularly what they call "Semitic bread" or pan de semita ...

Sephardic Jewish foods in old Texas

    Why do Mexican Americans in Texas and in the Mexican province of nearby Monterrey eat "Semitic bread" on Passover/Lent?  According to scholar Richard G. Santos, Tex-Mex pastries such as pan dulce, pan de semita, trenzas, cuernos, pan de hero, and pan de los protestantes (Protestant's bread) are similar to familiar Jewish pastries eaten by Sephardic Jews today in many other parts of the world.
    Pan de semita was eaten in pre-inquisition Spain by Jews and Arab Moors.  Today, it is popular in Texas and in that part of Mexico bordering Texas.  It translates into English as "Semitic bread".  It's a Mexican-American custom in the Texas and Tex-Mex border area today to eat pan de semita during Lent which occurs on or around the Jewish Passover.
    You bake pan de semita by combining two cups of flour, one half to two-thirds cup of water, a few tablespoons of butter or olive oil, mix and bake unleavened.  Even among devout Catholic Mexicans pork lard is never used, that’s why it's called Semitic bread.  Pan de  semita is really the recipe for secret Jewish Matzoth, and it’s eaten by all Mexicans today in the north Mexican/Texas border area, regardless of religion.
Only in Texas and along, the Texas-Mexican border is a special type of  pan de semita baked,  according to Dr. Santos, who himself is descended from secret Spanish Jews of the area who’ve lived in that part of Texas and Monterrey since colonial times.
    The special pan de semita of the border has special ingredients: only vegetable oil, flour, raisins, pecans and water.  The raisins, pecans, and vegetable oil were identified, according to Dr. Santos, as selected ingredients of secret Jews of New Spain.
Take two cups of flour, a cup or less of water, a handful of olive oil and mix with a half cup to two thirds cup each of raisins and pecans.  Then you knead and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned and easy to chew.
    Pastry bakers from Mexico claim this type of pan de semita is unknown in central Mexico.  Other pan de semitas are found in Guadalahara made from wheat (Semita de trigo) in which milk is substituted for the water.  In Texas and Guadalahara one also finds Semita de aniz (anis).  However , semita de trigo and semita de aniz never include raisins and pecans and the use of pork lard is forbidden.  Only olive oil or butter can be used to make semitic bread.
    In Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Coahuila and among Mexican Americans in Texas two ways of butchering chicken are performed.  Chickens can only be slaughtered by either wringing the neck by hand or by taking the head off with only one stroke of a sharp knife and immediately all blood must be removed into a container.  The fowl is next plunged into hot water to remove any remaining blood.
This method is the same today as the Crypto-Jews performed in 17th century  Mexico as described by Seymour Leibman.   The secret Jews of Mexico in the 1640s decapitated chickens and hung them on a clothesline so the blood would drain into a container of water.  Then the fowl was soaked in hot water and washed long enough to remove all the blood.
    In the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, there is a ritual today of using this method of butchering chickens with an added gesture of drawing a cross on the ground and placing the chicken at the center of intersecting lines.
Eating cactus and egg omelets during the Passover/Lent has been a custom of secret Jews of the 17th century and of Mexican Americans from Texas and Northern Mexico today.  The omelets are called nopalitos lampreados. The custom is to eat this food only during Lent.  Is this an old Passover rite of secret Jews as well?   Many add bitter herbs to their foods during Lent.  Another influence of  Passover?  Some do not eat pork on Friday and others do not eat pork after 6 P.M. or sundown on Friday.
    Another Lenten/Passover food is “capirotada,” a wheat bread (pilon-cillo) to which raw sugar, cinnamon, cheese, butter pecans, peanuts and raisins are added.  These are identical ingredients to those used by secret Spanish Jews in the New Spain of 1640.  The ingredients and recipes have been recorded by the Holy Office of the Inquisition and saved to this day in the archives.
Mexican Americans from Texas ate meat on Fridays long before the Catholic Church relaxed the rules which forbid such activity.  Older women cover their hands while praying in the same manner as Jewish women cover their heads.
The township of San Fernando de Bexar, today’s San Antonio, was established in 1731 by sixteen families who were descendants of  Canary Islanders.  
    These families intermarried with the local population of nearby Nuevo Reyno de Leon, many of whom were Spanish and Portuguese secret Jews.   Though all Mexican Americans of the are not of Sephardic descent, a large number still use the oral traditions which are eminently of Sephardic origin.  Historical exposure to and intermarriage with Sephardic secret Jews has occurred in the parts of Mexico that were “safer havens” for secret Jewish settlement.  The safest haven was Southern Texas and the surrounding Mexican border area.  The Holy Office was not active there in the 17th century.  
Today Texans in the San Antonio area are celebrating the secret Jewish origins of some of their foods, culture and oral traditions.


Anne deSola is a full-time author specializing in writing psycho-suspense novels involving Sephardic Jewish subjects or characters and is the author of 33 books, both fiction and non fiction, and filmstrips.  She also writes a weekly business opportunities career column for a national newspaper.

Society For Crypto Judaic Studies
Back to Top
garciaparra22 View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary


Joined: 17-Oct-2007
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 57
Post Options Post Options   Quote garciaparra22 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2007 at 23:38

Eating cactus and egg omelets during the Passover/Lent has been a custom of secret Jews of the 17th century and of Mexican Americans from Texas and Northern Mexico today.  The omelets are called nopalitos lampreados. The custom is to eat this food only during Lent
 
 
Yup, my parents made that during LENT.
Back to Top
garciaparra22 View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary


Joined: 17-Oct-2007
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 57
Post Options Post Options   Quote garciaparra22 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2007 at 23:41
 
ACCESS%20MEXICO%20CONNECT




Author%20-%20Shep%20Lenchek
By Shep Lenchek © 2000

His Bio

His E-mail


Jews in Mexico, A Stuggle for Survival
Part 1 of a 3 Part Series


The survival of Judaism in Mexico is a tale of tenacity and tolerance. The story begins in Spain with the "Conversos", Jews who had converted to Christianity, always under duress.

It starts in 600 AD, the Visigoth king, Reccard, forcibly baptized 90,000 of his Jewish subjects and expelled those who would not accept Christianity. Some of the Conversos continued to practice their religion secretly for almost a century, then openly during the 800 years of Moorish rule. The number of Conversos grew during the 15th century when, in 1479, Ferdinand and Isabella launched a massive campaign to forcibly convert the Jewish population in Spain to Christianity.

With the birth of the Spanish Inquisition some three years later, the "Conversos" were now accused of secretly practicing Judaism. In 1492, all practicing Jews were expelled from Spain.

By 1530 the Royal Viceroy of Nueva Espagna, Antonio de Mendoza, had established law and order in the New World (some historians feel Mendoza himself came from a "Crypto-Jewish family. Mendoza was a very common name among Spanish Jews).

The "Conversos" were under increasing pressure from the Inquisition. Looking for a place in which they could retain their Spanish identity, they focused on Mexico. In 1531 large numbers of them left Spain and Portugal for the New World.

The inquisition had not yet come to Nueva Espagna and the new arrivals soon married into prominent Mexican families, became priests and bishops and enjoyed a 40 year period during which time, many began to practice Judaism openly. Doctors, lawyers. notaries-public, tailors, teachers and silversmiths, they brought much needed skills to the new colony and were well received. They settled in Vera Cruz, Campeche, Oaxaca, Guadalajara, Morelia and Mexico City.

By 1571 the Inquisition had arrived in the New World and again both practicing Jews and Conversos were under religious threat.

In 1579 the King of Portugal granted land for a colony north of Nueva Espagna, to a Portuguese nobleman, Luis de Carvajal. Named the "Kingdom of Nueva Leon," both Conversos and practicing Jews, banned in the Spanish colony, were welcome. But by 1641 the colony was gone. However, some of the original settlers had moved on to Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, then still part of Mexico, bringing with them seeds of Judaism that still survive.

One such family, named Villarreal, who freely acknowledge remote Jewish ancestors, has a web-site on the Internet (http://members.aol.com/daniel5822/villarrealindex.html) that gives us an interesting look into the entire situation from the point of view of the Conversos. Located in South Texas, but with branches of the family still in Mexico, they openly acknowledge their Jewish heritage and are attempting to contact others with similar backgrounds, but make it clear that they will remain Catholics. They arrived as Conquistadors in 1519, most certainly 'New Christians,' since no practicing Jew could have served with Cortes. In 1573 they received a document from the King of Spain granting them the same status as "Old Christians. Yet in 1590, they left "Nueva Espagna" and settled in "The Kingdom of Nueva Leon."

Exactly why the ancestors of the Villarreal family left Nueva Espagna after approximately 71 years, during which they and their descendents enjoyed privileged status as original Conquistadors, is a question the living members of the family cannot answer. Perhaps it substantiates claims that the Inquisition often persecuted people who had sincerely accepted Catholicism, simply to strip them of wealth and power. This family was truly converted to Catholicism and remains so, but must have felt a threat to their safety from the Inquisition. Unlike others who fled, once safe in the "Kingdom of Nueva Leon," they did not return to Judaism. It appears that Jewish ancestry could cause problems for even devout Catholics.

Some 10 years later, all vestiges of open Judaism had disappeared. But what remained was perhaps as many as 20,000 Mexicans who had Jewish ancestors, almost five percent of the European population of that time.

It was not until 1865, during the reign of the ill fated Emperor, Maximilian, that an edict of religious tolerance was issued. Until then, only Catholics could be citizens. Some Jews who had arrived in the guise of "Conversos" and escaped the Inquisition, may have continued to practice Judaism secretly, but it was highly dangerous. As late as 1867 there were only 20 Jewish families in Mexico City and perhaps a dozen more in the rest of the country. It was not until late 1882, after the assassination of the Russian Tsar, Alexander II, that significant numbers of practicing Jews entered the country. In 1867 Benito Juarez, a Zapotepec Indian and a liberal, dealt what amounted to a deathblow to the Catholic Church. He banished the Papal Nuncio, seized church property, secularized hospitals run by the church and banned priests and nuns from wearing clerical garb in public. Religious processions were prohibited.

Now, Protestants were allowed to establish themselves in Mexico. With complete separation of Church and State now being enforced, and with the Catholic Church fighting for its life, it had neither the strength nor the inclination to concern itself with Jewish immigration. Basically, the only problems faced by the new arrivals were economic. The Jews who escaped from Russia to Mexico are the ancestors of possibly half of the present Jewish population.

In 1884 the Mexican government invited more than one dozen Jewish bankers to open branch banks in the country. With some sources of credit now available, Jews settled all over the country. Many of them became peddlers With merchandise strapped on a burro or mule, they brought housewares, clothing and novelties - heretofore not available locally - to the remote villages scattered throughout the Republic. Judaism has always recognized that the obligation to provide for the family comes before most other rules of Jewish law. Thus those who ventured into the hinterland were able to violate the rules of Kashruth, a code that sets up dietary rules, with a clear conscience, while remaining observant Jews.

By the time the next wave of Jews started to arrive in 1911 and 1913 and again in 1920-21, most of the former peddlers now owned stores. These newcomers came from what had been the Ottoman Empire and had lived there since being expelled from Spain. The Empire was breaking up, and centuries of tolerance were now over. As Sephardim, they re-established the style of worship that had existed in Spain before 1492. Language was no problem, since they spoke Ladino, a dialect of Spanish. Lacking capital, many of them started "sidewalk" businesses, displaying things on blankets spread on the sidewalk. Others became peddlers, replacing their more affluent co-religionists, who had settled in the larger cities of the Republic. Coming from a primitive part of the world, they had no difficulty in adapting to conditions in small-town Mexico. Some settled in places where Jews were totally unknown. But Mexicans and Jews adopted to each other well. In both groups, the family was the predominant social group and those who chose to settle in such places had experience in surviving in a non-Jewish environment. They struggled against living conditions, not hostility or persecution.

The next and last significant number of Jews to seek refuge in Mexico also came from Russia after WW I. Now a well-established Jewish community was there to receive them. The majority of those who chose Mexico rather than the United States, had either relatives or friends already settled in the country. Additionally in 1921 and again in 1924, new laws, passed in the U.S., restricted immigration, making Mexico even more attractive. Easing the way for this new influx, in 1917, President Venustiano Carranza started to revive the anti-clerical provisions of the Constitution of 1857 that had destroyed the position of the Catholic Church. Never popular, these laws had been disregarded and the Church had re-established itself. Now, Carranza, seeking to bring a form of Socialism to the country, revived them, and once again the church was in no position to protest the arrival of non-Catholics into the country. Additionally, they viewed the spread of Protestantism as a much greater threat, than that of Judaism.

From 1920 to 1930 Jews in Mexico enjoyed a period of stability during which they prospered.

The only recorded incidents of official anti-Semitism came in the 1930's. Suffering from a depression, Mexican labor unions pressured the government to enact restrictions on "Chinese and Jewish" immigration. Later in the same decade, neo-Nazi right wingers, financed from Berlin, staged anti-Jewish demonstrations in Mexico City. But not a single act of violence against Jews or Jewish property can be documented. It was just sound and fury without action, and garnered little support. This is not to say that some individual Mexicans do not harbor anti-Semitic feelings.

Despite strenuous efforts by the Jewish community to rescue Jews from the Nazis, they had little success. The Mexican government, now headed by Lazaro Cardenas, was more than willing to look the other way and did so when some 200 Jews from Cuba entered the country illegally

By and large, since the end of WW II, Mexicans Jews have encountered no more and possibly less anti-Jewish bias than other Jews throughout the Western World.

The Jewish experience must be divided into two parts - those whose families experienced persecution in Mexico, and those who have not. Conversos, who arrived between 1753 and 1821, when Mexico gained Independence from Spain and the Inquisition in Mexico ended, had been persecuted. By 1651, most of the "Crypto-Jews," had been wiped out. Their only legacy is those Mexican families, devout Catholics, who practice some Jewish customs, perhaps without realizing it. Those who suffered were those who had been promised a haven in the 'Kingdom of Nueva Leon." Some of them became Catholics. Their descendents know of their Jewish heritage, but remain Christians.

The Inquisition was never as virulent in Mexico as it was in Spain, where more than 4,000 people were burned at the stake. Many more were imprisoned for the "Jewish Heresy." Massacres were instigated that took thousands of lives. By contrast, between 1571 when the Inquisition was established in Mexico and 1821 when it ended, only about 110 people were actually burned at the stake. Perhaps the same number died under torture or in prison, either awaiting trial or after sentencing. There were no popular outcries against Jews. The Inquisition was imposed from Spain. It cannot be blamed on Mexicans.

Those who arrived between 1821 and 1865 were not allowed to become Mexican citizens. While this discouraged Jewish immigration, those who did enter the country, faced basically the same problems as those who were citizens. Political and economic chaos, not bias, was the problem.

Between 1882 and the 1930's those entering the country lived in harmony with their fellow Mexicans and since WWII there have been no real threats to Judaism. The miniscule number of Jews, just a small fraction of the total population, makes them invisible to the average Mexican. They no longer interest the Catholic Church. Passion plays still depict the Jews as being responsible for the crucifixion but when the play is over, it seems to have had no visible impact on day to day relationships between Jews and their neighbors.

The combination of tenacity on the part of Jews, and tolerance by Mexicans, both official and as individuals, has permitted Judaism to put down deep roots. Mexican Jews still struggle today against inter-marriage and migration to the United States and Israel. They have taken positive steps to handle these problems and, barring a radical change in the attitude of Mexicans or their government, are here to stay. We will examine these steps and the situation faced by Mexican Jews today in Part II.


Part 2

 


Back to Top
garciaparra22 View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary


Joined: 17-Oct-2007
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 57
Post Options Post Options   Quote garciaparra22 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2007 at 23:47
 
Back%20to%20Communities

Electronic%20Shop

-->Information
-->Virtual%20Exhibition

Related%20Sites
Events
News
E%20mail
Hebrew%20Information

Beth%20Hatefutsoth

Communities Main Page
Search Order

Crypto-Jews in Mexico during the Spanish Colonial Era

Spanish Policy toward New Christians / The New Christians / Accusations of Judaizing / The Carvajal affair /The Auto-da-Fé of 1649 / Bibliography / Links

The day in March 1519 when the Spanish expedition led by Hernan Cortes landed on the coast of the American mainland constituted a turning point in the history of Mexico. The arrival of the Europeans coincided with a time of crisis in the Aztec Empire. Driven by reports of the fabulous wealth of the realm and taking full advantage of their superior weaponry and the assistance offered by local native peoples who decided the time had arrived to settle their accounts with the Aztecs, the Spanish invaders accomplished in a few years one of the most astonishing conquests in history. When on August 13, 1521, Cortes finally captured Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital later renamed Mexico City, the last in a long chain of rich indigenous civilizations that had flourished in Mexico since prehistoric times came to a violent end. By the end of the 16th century Spanish rule in New Spain was well established over the entire territory of modern Mexico and beyond.

Spanish Policy toward New Christians

The Spanish New World, and especially Nueva España (New Spain), as the Spanish conquistadors called Mexico, attracted from the beginning of the 16th century large numbers of New Christians – recent Jewish converts to Christianity. Unlike the Portuguese in their dominions, the Spanish administration already in 1528 prohibited the settlement in Mexico of persons suspected of being potential agents of religious heresy, like New Christians and descendents of convicts of the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition  as far as the fourth generation.

The establishment of a local Inquisition in 1571 contributed to a more vigorous implementation of that policy, which led to an increasingly hostile attitude towards every person suspected of practicing crypto-Judaism, especially during the campaigns conducted in the 1580s and 1590s and again in the 1640s.

The first “judaizantes” (“Judaizers”) were tried in 1528 and an auto-da-fé was conducted in the Cathedral of Mexico. Hernando Alonso, a carpenter employed by the conquistador army of Hernan Cortes, was one of the two convicted men burned at the stake on that day. However, it was during the late years of the 16th century and the first half of the 17th century that most of the trials and executions took place, culminating with the infamous auto-da-fé of April 11, 1649.

Torture by the Inquisition
Illustration, “History of the Inquisition in Mexico”
Beth Hatefutsoth – Visual Documentation Center
Courtesy of Matilde Gini Bar Natan
“Even though I did not commit what I am accused of, I want to admit it so they will take me out of here”.
In the prison of the Inquisition
Illustration, “History of the Inquisition in Mexico”
Beth Hatefutsoth – Visual Documentation Center
Courtesy of Matilde Gini Bar Natan

The New Christians

Almost all information now available on possible Jewish settlement in Mexico during the colonial period is based on inquisitorial documents. The investigators took great care in recording every piece of testimony. Every bit of evidence they could extract from someone suspected of secretly practicing Jewish rites was of the utmost importance for gathering new valuable intelligence that could be further used in their zeal to extirpate every trace of Judaism in Mexico. Prisoners were requested to disclose the names of their relatives and acquaintances as well as to reconstruct their genealogical tree. The surviving files contain precise descriptions of traditions and practices supposed to be Jewish and provide an invaluable opportunity for understanding the world of the New Christians in Mexico.

The great majority of the New Christians were small merchants, peddlers, artisans, a handful made a living as physicians and even as military men, while a small but prominent group was engaged in international trade. Indeed much of that commerce was dominated by New Christians who succeeded in establishing lucrative connections with fellow crypto-Jews in other American colonies and with European Jews, especially from the Netherlands.

New Christians arrived in the American colonies despite the official Spanish policy that interdicted settlement of people who either could not prove their limpieza de sangre (“purity of blood”) or had been previously prosecuted by the Spanish or Portuguese Inquisition. A large number of New Christians in Mexico originated from Portugal; their influence was so widely felt that sometimes “Portuguese” became synonymous with New Christian, in other words, Jewish.

In comparison to the general population, the New Christians were well educated; probably all of the men were literate and quite often the women too. They read portions of the Bible, which served as the main source for their knowledge of Judaic practice, but also several other books including the New Testament and additional Christian religious texts. In general their knowledge of Christianity was more profound than that displayed by the average Spanish colonist. There were also a few New Christians who had acquired some familiarity with the indigenous culture: for instance while being held in the inquisitorial prisons they used the Nahuatl language as a secret means of communication.

As in the Spain and Portugal, the women served as the main guardians of Jewish tradition. Religious education was given to children when they were about 10-15 years of age. The New Christians’ faith and practices reflected similar behavior by other Spanish and Portugueseconversos (“converts”) and included belief that the Messiah has yet to come, that one must observe Shabbat, and observe specific fasts. Fasting on particular days was considered to be instrumental in preventing calamities; the most valued being the “Day of the Great Fast” (ayuno del día grande). It started and finished with a light meal, and was observed by large numbers of crypto-Jews. The protocols of the Inquisition preserved the texts of their prayers, mostly in Spanish, but occasionally containing Hebrew words as well.

Endogamy was widespread among New Christians. Sometimes they conducted inquiries of their own in order to be sure the future in-laws kept the Judaic traditions. Family connections facilitated the establishment of small covert groups whose members strove to help each other, especially in matters related to the observance of the traditions. This milieu, a sort of embryonic community that at times was guided and instructed by a spiritual leader, used to meet in secret houses of prayer under great risk of being denounced by neighbors. However, it seems that there had never been a real Jewish community in Mexico during the 16th and the 17th centuries; the group led by Luis de Carvajal the Younger was perhaps the best organized and closest to the framework of a community.

Accusations of Judaizing

It was not unusual for an individual to be denounced to the Inquisition by his former best friends, neighbors, and associates. This was an easy way to take revenge against someone, for instance a commercial rival.

The accusations brought against individuals charged with observing Jewish rites clandestinely contain allegations regarding the observance of genuine Jewish rituals as well as other customs supposed to be Jewish. Many a victim of inquisitorial investigations, frequently conducted under torture, admitted to at least part of the charges. It is important to note that not all those suspected or convicted of crypto-Judaism actually practiced any Jewish rites, moreover some of them had no connection whatsoever with the Jewish people and were innocent victims of denunciation. Pedro de la Rocabal was accused of being “a Jew and a Lutheran”, June 1595. However, other victims considered themselves to be Jewish, even if their rites were not actually within the accepted Judaic practice and beliefs of the time. In total about 1,500 persons were accused of Judaizing during the 16th and the 17th centuries: more than a hundred were executed in public and some two hundred died whilst in prison. On the other hand it seems that the Inquisition never reached a number of real crypto-Jews, who managed to live undisturbed in various Mexican settlements.

Typical accusations against suspects of crypto-Judaism included: Observance of Shabbat, which included such things as: wearing clean clothes on Saturdays, eating meat on Fridays, paying visits to friends; the refusal to eat treif food, especially pork, or showing some traces of Jewish ritual slaughter or abstaining from eating specific meals; anti-Catholic “provocations”, such as not fasting on Fridays, absence from Mass, working on Sundays or compelling servants to work on Catholic feast days; acts of hate towards Christianity, such as flagellation of crucifixes, blasphemies against the Saints, etc.

Dona Isabel Rodriguez de Carvajal’s torture on the rack
Illustration, “History of the Inquisition in Mexico”
Beth Hatefutsoth – Visual Documentation Center
Courtesy of Matilde Gini Bar Natan
Dona Marianna de Carvajal being burnt at the stake, Mexico, 1601
Illustration, “History of the Inquisition in Mexico”
Beth Hatefutsoth – Visual Documentation Center
Courtesy of Matilde Gini Bar Natan

The Carvajal affair

Luis de Carvajal el Mozo (“The Younger”) was the nephew of the Spanish governor of the same name who was sent to colonize the northeastern territories (the modern Mexican State of Nuevo Leon). Carvajal the Younger was born around 1566 and by 1587 he was probably the most influential spiritual leader of the Mexican crypto-Jews, aspiring to become the leader of all crypto-Jews in New Spain. He attempted to contact each and every person he thought to be of Jewish origin and convince them to observe the Law of Moses. Luis de Carvajal the Younger was tried twice by the Inquisition and finally burned at the stake in an auto-da-fé on December 8, 1596 along with his mother, three sisters and five other crypto-Jews.

The auto-da-fé of 1649

The largest auto-da-fé ever held in Spanish colonies in America took place in Mexico City on April 11, 1649. Christians from as far as 50 miles from the city were compelled to attend the event. A total of 108 men and women were accused of secretly practicing Judaism, however 57 died prior to the event while incarcerated by the Inquisition. Their bones were brought to the execution place and burned along with 13 people sentenced to death. Of them Tomas Trevino de Sobremonte alone refused to kiss the cross before being put to death and consequently was burned alive. Reportedly he yelled at his executioners while they set the fire at his feet: “Throw more wood on this fire, you wretched ones, because I am paying for this.” (Liebman:51)

By the end of the 17th century the remaining crypto-Jews assimilated into the Mexican population. Some of their traditions, having lost their original Jewish meaning, enriched the local folklore. During the 20th century members of the native Mexican communities of Venta Prieta and Vallejo claimed to be descended from the crypto-Jews of the colonial period and returned to Judaism. A number of Christian Mexican families, like the Villarreal Family, now residing in Texas, proudly affirm their Jewish roots.

HFG

Bibliography

BIBELNIK Pinhas. The Religion of the Crypto-Jews in Seventeenth Century Mexico. Pe’amim, 76(1998) ):69-102 (in Hebrew

MEGGED Baruch. The Organization of Crypto-Jewish Communities in New Spain in the Sixteenth Century. Pe’amim, 76(1998):52-68 (in Hebrew)

LIEBMAN Seymour B. The religion and mores of the colonial New World Marranos. Inquisicão: ensaios sobre mentalidad. Trabalhos apresentados no I Congresso internacional, São Paulo, maio 1987. Organizadoras: Anita Novinsky, M.L. Tucci Carneiro. Rio de Janeiro: Expressão e Cultura, 1992:49-71

Related Items

The Jews of Mexico -  A New Virtual Exhibition

Native Mexican Jews

Links

The Villarreal Family and the Spanish Inquisition

Converso Descendants in the American Southwest: A Report on Research, Resources, and the Changing Search for Identity by Seth Ward

Sephardic Genealogy Resources: Crypto-Jews

Conversos Judasaintes Tried by the Méxican Inquisition 1528-1815

Crypto-Jews and the Inquisition in New Spain in the 17th Century

Exhibition Family%20Names Genealogy Music

Documentation Communities Education

Disclaimer | הצהרה

Back to Top pinguin View Drop Down
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Avatar

Joined: 29-Sep-2006
Location: Chile
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7508 Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Oct-2007 at 23:51
Flour tortillas?
 
Come on, those are traditional in here in Chile and the rest of South America. In fact, it is the only kind we knew before Taco Time.
 
Anyways, it is well know several Jewish customs exist in the Hispanic culture. One that calls my attention is the respect many people have for literature and books, which I believe is a sephardite heritage.
 
Other tradition is the deeply inrooted disrespect many people have for Catholic religion, which cames from centuries ago. Making jokes about priest and nuns, and even about the Saints and Jesus Christ himself, is part of our Hispanic culture. I have the impression it developed in part as consecuence of the represion of the inquisition against Jews and all the rest of the Hispanic people.
 
 
 
Back to Top garciaparra22 View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary


Joined: 17-Oct-2007
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 57 Post Options Post Options   Quote garciaparra22 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2007 at 00:04
Originally posted by pinguin

Flour tortillas?
 
Come on, those are traditional in here in Chile and the rest of South America. In fact, it is the only kind we knew before Taco Time.
 
Anyways, it is well know several Jewish customs exist in the Hispanic culture. One that calls my attention is the respect many people have for literature and books, which I believe is a sephardite heritage.
 
Other tradition is the deeply inrooted disrespect many people have for Catholic religion, which cames from centuries ago. Making jokes about priest and nuns, and even about the Saints and Jesus Christ himself, is part of our Hispanic culture. I have the impression it developed in part as consecuence of the represion of the inquisition against Jews and all the rest of the Hispanic people.
 
 
 
 
DO you guys in Chile eat anything simaliar like Capirotada?
Back to Top garciaparra22 View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary


Joined: 17-Oct-2007
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 57 Post Options Post Options   Quote garciaparra22 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2007 at 00:08
Monterrey is Mexico's wealthiest and most industrial City of Mexico and it was founded by crypto-Jews many people of Monterrey have a Jewish ancestor that settled in Monterrey 500 years ago.
 
 
Nuevo Leon - 1590s to early 1600s
 

The history of the colonization of Mexico can be described as a northward expansion over increasingly hostile geography well-populated by hostile tribes and loose confederations of indigenous peoples. This expansion was largely financed by the exploitation of mineral wealth, the exploitation of indigenous peoples as labor in mines and the establishment of ranchos for livestock. One troublesome region was a large expanse covering the North-Eastern quadrant of the current geography of Mexico. Chichimec, Apache and other tribes had proved resistant to Christianization and "settling" and in general were perceived to render the frontier (frontera) a lawless and unsettled region.

 

Luis Carvajal y de la Cueva was a Portuguese royal accountant and a New Christian, who received a royal charter to settle the large expanse of land in the hostile frontier, named Nuevo Leon. Significantly, Carvajal y de la Cueva received an exemption from the King of Spain to allow any New Christian to participate in the settling of this region. This exemption allowed an increased number of peoples to come to the hostile region while doing so with immigrants that were legally barred from entering Mexico elsewhere. Carvajal chartered ships from Portugal and the passenger list is thought to have consisted exclusively of New Christians.

With Carvajal as governor the colony was based in the city of Monterrey, currently in the state of Nuevo Leon. Within a few years, reports were filed in Mexico City claiming specifically of Jewish rites being performed in the Northern Province and of lax Christianization efforts to convert heathen indigenous peoples.

The governor, his immediate family members and others were called to appear before the Inquisition in Mexico City. They were arrested and jailed. The governor subsequently died in jail, while his family members were rehabilitated. One of these was Anna Carvajal, a niece of the Governor. She and others were eventually caught again and sentenced to a burning at the stake for relapsing.

The governor's nephews changed their name to Lumbroso. One of these was Joseph Lumbroso, also known as Luis de carvajal el mozo, who is said to have circumcised himself in the desert to conform to Jewish law. His memoirs, letters and inquisition record survive. Two other nephews also changed their names to Lumbroso and became famous rabbis in Italy.

 

During the time in which Governor Carvajal was in office, the city of Monterrey became a target of migration by other crypto-Jews feeling the pressure of the Mexican Inquisition in the south. Thus, the story of Nuevo Leon and the founding of Monterrey is significant for openly concentrating a crypto-Jewish community from all parts of Mexico. Such Jewish communities did not exist in Mexico until the immigration of Ashkenazi communities in the late 1800s and 1900s.

In the early days of the European colonization of Mexico, crypto-Jewish conversos from both Spain and Portugal migrated to the Mexican port of Vera Cruz as well to Mexico City (the revitalized Tenochtitlan), a Spanish-controlled colony that was thought to be more lax in inquisition-related matters.

Many of the immigrants from Portugal were secondary immigrants from the Jewish Expulsion in Spain of 1492. However, a later similar decree was also issued in Portugal in 1497 effectively converted all Jewish children, making them wards of the state unless the parents also converted. Therefore, many of the early crypto-Jewish migrants to Mexico in the early colonial days were technically first to second generation Portuguese with Spanish roots before that. The number of such Portuguese migrants was significant enough that the label of "Portuguese" became synonymous with "Jewish" throughout the Spanish colonies. Immigration to Mexico offered lucrative trade possibilities in a well-populated colony with nascent Spanish culture counterbalanced by a large non-Christian population. It was largely thought that inquisition-activities would be lax given that the lands were over-whelmingly populated by non-Christian indigenous peoples.

So many perceived crypto-Jews were going to Mexico during the 1500s that officials complained in written documents to Spain that Spanish society in Mexico would become significantly Jewish. Officials found and condemned clandestine synagogues in Mexico City. At this point, colonial administrators instituted The Law of the Pure Blood, which prohibited migration to Mexico for New Christians (Christiano Nuevo), i.e. anyone who could not prove to be Old Christians for at least the last three generations. During this early time the Mexican Inquisition was formally instituted to insure the orthodoxy of all migrants into Mexico. The Mexico Inquisition was also deployed in the traditional manner to begin ensuring orthodoxy of converted indigenous peoples. The first burnings or Autos de Fe of the Mexican Inquisition were largely targeted at indigenous converts convicted of heresy or crypto-Jews convicted of relapsing into their ancestral faith.[citation needed]

 
Back to Top garciaparra22 View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary


Joined: 17-Oct-2007
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 57 Post Options Post Options   Quote garciaparra22 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2007 at 00:12
Originally posted by garciaparra22

Hey Pinguin and other Latino Americanos, do you guys eat Capirotada or something similiar to it?
 
My parents made real good Capirotada.
 
 

Capirotada

Capirotada is a common Mexican bread pudding that is traditionally eaten during Lent or Passover. It is generally composed of toasted french bread soaked in mulled syrup, cheese (often with other dairy as well, such as butter or milk), raisins, and peanuts. The syrup is generally made with water, piloncillo Mexican brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, star anise (or aniseed), cloves, and peppercorns.

Historically, capirotada originates from Sephardi jews. It's wheat bread pilon-cillo, to which raw sugar, cinnamon, cheese, butter, pecans, peanuts and raisins are added. These are identical ingredients to those used by secret Spanish Jews in the New Spain of 1640 to make their breads and cakes. Even the ingredients and receipes have been recorded by the Holy Office of the Inquisition and saved to this day in the archives.

 
 
Back to Top pinguin View Drop Down
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Avatar

Joined: 29-Sep-2006
Location: Chile
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7508 Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2007 at 01:37
Originally posted by garciaparra22

... 
DO you guys in Chile eat anything simaliar like Capirotada?
 
Nope. But your description of the flour tortilla sounds very familiar to me. By the way, we have a large Jewish community in Chile wich is mainly Azkenazi, though, and that came mainly during and after WW II.
 
Besides, for some reasons, in the North of chile goat milk and chesses are part of the local tradition. Goat meat is also very appreciated in here, although we also eat pork, both by Spanish influence but mainly German. (It is hard to avoid pork when you have German sausages and beer available, and we had a large Germanic immigration in here)
 
On the other hand, it is quite well known that many conversos escaped from Spain and came to the New World as settlers and immigrants since the beginning of the Spanish Empire. In places like Chile, where Inquisition was a joke, they enjoyed a level of freedom they didn't have otherwise.
 
In the capitals of the Colonial Empire, though, in cities like Mexico and Lima, the Inquisition was very strong and torture was a matter of routine.
 
I believe, that's one of the reasons why for Latinos in general religion is just a formal thing. Most people hate the institution of the Church (even Catholics) and although believe in God and in religion, they don't trust the authority of the Catholic hierarchy. That a common topic in Latin American history, that can even be seen in the Independence movements, in the priests of the poors, in the Jesuit conflicts with the Church and in the revelious priest of the Theology of the liberation.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Edited by pinguin - 29-Oct-2007 at 01:39
Back to Top garciaparra22 View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary


Joined: 17-Oct-2007
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 57 Post Options Post Options   Quote garciaparra22 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2007 at 03:31
Originally posted by pinguin

Originally posted by garciaparra22

... 
DO you guys in Chile eat anything simaliar like Capirotada?
 
Nope. But your description of the flour tortilla sounds very familiar to me. By the way, we have a large Jewish community in Chile wich is mainly Azkenazi, though, and that came mainly during and after WW II.
 
Besides, for some reasons, in the North of chile goat milk and chesses are part of the local tradition. Goat meat is also very appreciated in here, although we also eat pork, both by Spanish influence but mainly German. (It is hard to avoid pork when you have German sausages and beer available, and we had a large Germanic immigration in here)
 
On the other hand, it is quite well known that many conversos escaped from Spain and came to the New World as settlers and immigrants since the beginning of the Spanish Empire. In places like Chile, where Inquisition was a joke, they enjoyed a level of freedom they didn't have otherwise.
 
In the capitals of the Colonial Empire, though, in cities like Mexico and Lima, the Inquisition was very strong and torture was a matter of routine.
 
I believe, that's one of the reasons why for Latinos in general religion is just a formal thing. Most people hate the institution of the Church (even Catholics) and although believe in God and in religion, they don't trust the authority of the Catholic hierarchy. That a common topic in Latin American history, that can even be seen in the Independence movements, in the priests of the poors, in the Jesuit conflicts with the Church and in the revelious priest of the Theology of the liberation.
 
 
I didn't know that flour torrtillas were eaten in Chile.
Yeah the Inquisition was strong in Mexico City thats why the crypto-Jews settled in the Northern state of Nuevo Leon(Monterrey).
 
Mexico's father of Independence was father Miguel Hidalgo.

The head figure and chief instigator of the Mexican Independence movement was Miguel Hidalgo, the Creole parish priest of the small town of Dolores. Soon after becoming a priest, Hidalgo began to promote the idea of an uprising by the native and mixed-blood peasantry against wealthy Spanish land-owners and aristocrats. He even promoted fornication and other priests considered him a heretic, false priest. He realized the need for diversification of industrial activities in an area that had the mines of Guanajuato as its major business. At the same time, during his seven years at Dolores, Hidalgo promoted discussion groups at his house, where indígenas, mestizos, criollos, and peninsulares were all welcomed. The themes of these discussions were current events, to which Hidalgo added his own input of social and economic concerns. The independence movement was born out of these informal discussions and was directed against Spanish domination of political and economic life in New Spain.

Back to Top pinguin View Drop Down
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Avatar

Joined: 29-Sep-2006
Location: Chile
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7508 Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2007 at 03:52

Yes, Hidalgo's fight is recognized in the hemisphere.

I will add an important fact, at least with respect of the independence movements in South America. The Jesuits were the most respected priests in there, because they colaborated with the education of the poors, the indians and the rich. They really identified with locals, and the people respected and loved them. Amerindian relations with them, particularly, was very close and the American Baroque was born of that interaction.
 
However, the Spanish crown had the brilliant idea of expel the Jesuits at the end of the 18th century. They were removed from all the territories of the Americas and replaced by Dominicans (a group very loyal to the crown)
 
That event marks the beginning of the revolts down south. Since that point the sentimental link between South America and Spain was broken. Independence wars exploded some decades after that.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Back to Top garciaparra22 View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary


Joined: 17-Oct-2007
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 57 Post Options Post Options   Quote garciaparra22 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2007 at 04:00
Originally posted by pinguin

Yes, Hidalgo's fight is recognized in the hemisphere.

I will add an important fact, at least with respect of the independence movements in South America. The Jesuits were the most respected priests in there, because they colaborated with the education of the poors, the indians and the rich. They really identified with locals, and the people respected and loved them. Amerindian relations with them, particularly, was very close and the American Baroque was born of that interaction.
 
However, the Spanish crown had the brilliant idea of expel the Jesuits at the end of the 18th century. They were removed from all the territories of the Americas and replaced by Dominicans (a group very loyal to the crown)
 
That event marks the beginning of the revolts down south. Since that point the sentimental link between South America and Spain was broken. Independence wars exploded some decades after that.
 
 
Interesting. Did you know that Mexico did not have diplomatic relations with the Vatican for many decades?
 

Mexico and the Vatican broke diplomatic relations in the mid-19th century after President Benito Juarez confiscated all church properties here, suppressed religious orders and decreed the separation of church and state to end the dominance of the church. The Vatican does have an Apostolic Delegate as its representative here, but he is accredited to the Mexican church, not the Government, and lacks diplomatic credentials.

1990

Mexico and Vatican Move Toward Restoring Ties

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE7DE173BF936A25751C0A966958260

Back to Top pinguin View Drop Down
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Avatar

Joined: 29-Sep-2006
Location: Chile
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7508 Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2007 at 04:11
Originally posted by garciaparra22

[
 
Interesting. Did you know that Mexico did not have diplomatic relations with the Vatican for many decades?
 

Mexico and the Vatican broke diplomatic relations in the mid-19th century after President Benito Juarez confiscated all church properties here, suppressed religious orders and decreed the separation of church and state to end the dominance of the church. The Vatican does have an Apostolic Delegate as its representative here, but he is accredited to the Mexican church, not the Government, and lacks diplomatic credentials.

 
 
Yes. I know. I also know that during the Spanish Civil War, the priest were a main target of the Republicans.
 
People outside the Iberian World could hardly undestand how in a society so "fanatically" Catholic could be so much hate against the Roman Church, theirs priests and nuns. I believe the reason is simple: the memory of the Inquisition.
 
In Latin America, the priests that have been loved are those that work with the poor people, and that many times lost theirs lives deffending them. The cardinals and priest of hierarchy, though, are usually seen with suspiction. And religion in general is seen with suspiction.
 
And it is surprising the number of agnostics and atheistics in the Iberian world, both in Europe and in the Americas, is really large.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Back to Top garciaparra22 View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary


Joined: 17-Oct-2007
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 57 Post Options Post Options   Quote garciaparra22 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2007 at 04:45
Originally posted by pinguin

Originally posted by garciaparra22

[
 
Interesting. Did you know that Mexico did not have diplomatic relations with the Vatican for many decades?
 

Mexico and the Vatican broke diplomatic relations in the mid-19th century after President Benito Juarez confiscated all church properties here, suppressed religious orders and decreed the separation of church and state to end the dominance of the church. The Vatican does have an Apostolic Delegate as its representative here, but he is accredited to the Mexican church, not the Government, and lacks diplomatic credentials.

 
 
Yes. I know. I also know that during the Spanish Civil War, the priest were a main target of the Republicans.
 
People outside the Iberian World could hardly undestand how in a society so "fanatically" Catholic could be so much hate against the Roman Church, theirs priests and nuns. I believe the reason is simple: the memory of the Inquisition.
 
In Latin America, the priests that have been loved are those that work with the poor people, and that many times lost theirs lives deffending them. The cardinals and priest of hierarchy, though, are usually seen with suspiction. And religion in general is seen with suspiction.
 
And it is surprising the number of agnostics and atheistics in the Iberian world, both in Europe and in the Americas, is really large.
 
 
I was surprised to  read how the Spanish priest were rounded up and massacred during the Civil war.
Back to Top pinguin View Drop Down
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Avatar

Joined: 29-Sep-2006
Location: Chile
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 7508 Post Options Post Options   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2007 at 05:18
Yeap. Don't forget that franco's band in the Civil War proclaimed to defend the "real deep" Spain. Which meant to restablish the hard-line Catholic faith.
 
Even today, some people hate the Opus Dei above all, because they see in that institution the rest of the old attitude of the Catholic Church of controlling the mind of people.
 
In the case of Benito Juarez, the separation of Church and States was part of the liberal agenda of theirs times. However, we should keep in mind that Juarez was pure Indigenous, and perhaps the experience of his people influenced his decisions.
 
 


Edited by pinguin - 29-Oct-2007 at 05:20
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down



This page was generated in 0.061 seconds.