Mercenary Wars – Surinam
By Terri Aspinall (undated) (edited)
The first Europeans to arrive in Surinam were the Dutch around 1630, who immediately started trading with the locals, as they had done in other parts of South America. However it was the English who were the first to settle the area a few years later, when a Captain Marshall started a colony, with the intentions of cultivating tobacco, however the venture failed financially.
In 1650 Lord Willoughby who at the time was the Governor of Barbados financed a fleet led by Major Anthony Rowse to settle in Surinam and set up a plantation in his name. Two years later Lord Willoughby sailed to Surinam to help fortify the settlement and set up a trading post. ‘Willoughbyland’ as it was named consisted of around 30.000 acres and a fort. In 1663 most of the work on the 50 plantations was undertaken by native Indians and several thousand [enslaved Africans], along with about 1,000 Europeans.
On the 26th February 1667 the settlement was invaded by seven Dutch ships led by Abraham Crijnssen. Continue reading
History of Jews in Jamaica
The first Jews came to the island during the Spanish occupation of the Island, 1494-1655. These Jews came from Spain and Portugal. They fled because of the Spanish inquisition. To conceal their identity they referred to themselves as “Portuguese” or “Spanish” and practiced their religion secretly.
At the time of the British conquest of the island in 1655, General enables recorded the presence of many “Portuguese” in Jamaica. The Jews were allowed to remain after the conquest and began to practice their religion openly. They were granted British citizenship by Cromwell and this was confirmed in 1660 by King Charles. They attained full political rights in 1831. The status of British citizenship enabled ownership of property by Jews.
Jamaica’s Jew population was never large. It was formerly believed that only 200 people were Continue reading
History of the Jews in Haiti
In 1492, the first Jew to ever set foot in Haiti was Luis de Torres, an interpreter for Christopher Columbus. After Haiti was taken over and colonized by the French in 1633, many Dutch Jews (whom many were Marrano) emigrated from Brazil in 1634 and became employees of the French sugar slave plantations and further developed the trade. In 1683, Jews were expelled from all French colonies, including Haiti. Nevertheless, a few Jews remained as leading officials in French trading companies.
The “Black Code” of 1685, not only restricted the activities of free Africans, but forbade the exercise of any religion other than Roman Catholicism (it included a provision that all Africans and African Americans must be baptized and instructed in the Roman Catholic religion), and in turn ordered all the Jews out of France’s colonies. Only Jews holding special “Lettres patentes” could settle there. Most prominent were the members of the Jewish Gradis company, which had offices in Cap Francois (today’s Continue reading
Review of Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean
Edward Kritzler, Sephardic Horizons, 2010
Reviewed by Robert B. Nussenblatt
Kritzler, a journalist who moved from New York to the island of Jamaica, has spent decades studying the Jewish history of his adopted island. His notes and sources take up 45 pages, and he offers the interested reader a chronology of historic events as well. While a very enjoyable read, for the reader seeking a more serious evaluation of the subject, this book will not fulfill that need. Kritzler’s message throughout the book is the central role that Western Sephardim played in the development of the Caribbean by Europeans. He describes them as, “a global tribe of inside traders, bonded by heritage, language, and a hatred for Spain.” While the book has a historic basis, it is written as an entertaining novel, with the expected sensationalism.
Who were the Western Sephardim? This term denotes the minority of Sephardim who stayed in the Iberian Peninsula after the expulsion from Spain in 1492. Many forcibly converted (the anusim), some of them continuing to practice some form of crypto-Judaism over sometimes several generations. Many of these Jews left Spain and Portugal and found their way to North Africa, Northern Germany, and to what is today Belgium and the Netherlands. Often highly educated and assimilated into Christian (Spanish and Continue reading
Ethnicity and Identity in the Caribbean: Decentering a Myth
By Ralph R. Premdas, Kellogg Institute, 1996 (edited)
The Caribbean as an unified region that confers a sense of common citizenship and community is a figment of the imagination. To be sure, there is a geographical expression called ‘the Caribbean’ often associated with a site, a sea, and several islands. There are also many people who describe themselves as Caribbean persons, claiming an unique identity which has its own cohering characteristics that distinguish them from others. And there are many tourists and other foreigners who can swear that they went to this Caribbean place and met real Caribbean persons. They will all convincingly attest to a Caribbean reality. The truth, however, is that the Caribbean even as a geographical expression is a very imprecise place that is difficult to define.
Some analysts include Florida, the Yucatan, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Venezuela, while others exclude them altogether. It is not only an imaginary region but one that is arbitrarily appointed to its designation. It will be difficult to pinpoint precisely where this Caribbean place is, for no country carries the name Caribbean either separately or in hyphenated form. In this Caribbean place, however, and wherever we Continue reading
The Jewish Pirates Who Ruled the Caribbean
By Andrew Paul, 2017 (edited)
As European nations pushed westward in a mad dash for colonies from the 16th to 18th centuries, the Caribbean became a pirate’s paradise. [Pirates] like Edward “Blackbeard” Teach and William “Captain” Kidd famously stalked the waters in search of vulnerable trading vessels. What’s less well known is that among the rogue sailor ranks were European Jews. History books rarely noted the exploits of Jewish pirates, despite their prevalence and success, but historical graveyards unearthed in the Caribbean within the last decade revealed tombstones with Stars of David, Hebrew, and skull and crossbones insignia.
Ferdinand and Isabella Make Piracy Possible
In the very same month that Columbus set sail in search of a new route to Asia, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ordered the expulsion of all Jews and Muslims from Spain, and Portugal followed suit a few years later.
Many fled to more tolerant Middle Eastern countries such as the Ottoman Empire, but a large number made their way to the new colonies, where they became sugar [plantation owners], [slave] merchants, Continue reading
Peter Jordens shares a post on a new book by Ellen B.A. Neslo: Een ongekende elite: De opkomst van een gekleurde elite in koloniaal Suriname 1800-1863 [A Formerly Unknown Elite: The Rise of a Colored Elite in Colonial Suriname, 1800-1863]. The text is a PhD dissertation (University of Utrecht, The Netherlands) published by HaEs Producties […]
via Book on the Rise of the Colored Elite in 19th century Suriname — Repeating Islands