Susan's Reviews > Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved Out an Empire in the New World in Their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom--and Revenge

Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean by Edward Kritzler
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Oct 27, 2010

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Read in October, 2010

In 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain. Some of them converted to Catholicism to avoid deportation. However, if they continued to practice their former religion, they became particular targets of the Inquisition. The author’s thesis is that part of Columbus’ agenda for his voyages was to find someplace where they could find refuge. The author presents a surprising amount of evidence for his case, especially in the history of Jamaica, which Columbus’ descendants kept free of the Inquisition for a century, thus providing a haven for the Jews. When political machinations did bring the dreaded persecutors to the island, the Jews connived with the English to oust the Spanish and preserve their refuge. It is a good idea to ignore the title of the book. There are a few colorful Jewish pirates, but the story is mainly about the involvement of Jews in the early colonization and, especially, their role in the establishment of trade in Spanish and Portuguese America.
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