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This wide-ranging narrative explores the role that Jews, Conversos, and Crypto-Jews played in settling and building the Atlantic world between 1500 and 1800. Through the interwoven themes of markets, politics, religion, culture, and identity, the essays here demonstrate that the world of Atlantic Jewry, most often typified by Port Jews involved in mercantile pursuits, was more complex than commonly depicted.
The first section discusses the diaspora in relation to maritime systems, commerce, and culture on the Atlantic and includes an overview of Jewish history on both sides of the ocean. The second section provides an in-depth look at Jewish mercantilism, from settlements in Dutch America to involvement in building British, Portuguese, and other trading cultures to the dispersal of Sephardic merchants. In the third section, the chapter authors assess the roles of identity and religion in settling the Atlantic, looking closely at religious conversion; slavery; relationships among Jews, Christians, and Muslims; and the legacy of the lost tribes of Israel. A concluding commentary elucidates the fluidity of identity and boundaries in the formation of the Atlantic world.
Featuring chapters by Jonathan Israel, Natalie Zemon Davis, Aviva Ben-Ur, Holly Snyder, and other prominent Jewish historians, this collection opens new avenues of inquiry into the Jewish diaspora and integrates Jewish trade and settlements into the broader narrative of Atlantic exploration.
Johns Hopkins University Press
— David Hancock
— David Graizbord
— Jonathan Schorsch
— Rachel Kranson
— Ana Schaposchnik
Atlantic Diasporas is well organized, fascinating, groundbreaking, and extremely useful both as a platform to promote further research and as an assigned text.
Part I Contexts
1 Jews and Crypto-Jews in the Atlantic World Systems, 1500-1800 Jonathan Israel 3
2 Jewish History in an Age of Atlanticism Adam Sutcliffe 18
Part II Mercantilism
3 Networks of Colonial Entrepreneurs: The Founders of the Jewish Settlements in Dutch America, 1650s and 1660s Wim Klooster 33
4 English Markets, Jewish Merchants, and Atlantic Endeavors: Jews and the Making of British Transatlantic Commercial Culture, 1650-1800 Holly Snyder 50
5 La Nacion among the Nations: Portuguese and Other Maritime Trading Diasporas in the Atlantic, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert 75
6 Sephardic Merchants in the Early Modern Atlantic and Beyond: Toward a Comparative Historical Approach to Business Cooperation Francesca Trivellato 99
Part III Identity and Religion
7 Jews and New Christians in Dutch Brazil, 1630-1654 Bruno Feitler 123
8 A Matriarchal Matter: Slavery, Conversion, and Upward Mobility in Suriname's Jewish Community Aviva Ben-Ur 152
9 Catholics, Jews, and Muslims in Early Seventeenth-Century Guine Peter Mark Jose da Silva Horta 170
10 "These Indians Are Jews!" Lost Tribes, Crypto-Jews, and Jewish Self-Fashioning in Antonio de Montezino's Relacion of 1644 Ronnie Perelis 195
Epilogue Natalie Zemon Davis 213
List of Contributors 295