To the End of the Earth: A History of the Crypto-Jews of New Mexico

To the End of the Earth: A History of the Crypto-Jews of New Mexico

by Stanley Hordes
Pub. Date:
Columbia University Press
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To the End of the Earth: A History of the Crypto-Jews of New Mexico

In 1981, while working as New Mexico State Historian, Stanley M. Hordes began to hear stories of Hispanos who lit candles on Friday night and abstained from eating pork. Puzzling over the matter, Hordes realized that these practices might very well have been passed down through the centuries from early crypto-Jewish settlers in New Spain. After extensive research and hundreds of interviews, Hordes concluded that there was, in New Mexico and the Southwest, a Sephardic legacy derived from the converso community of Spanish Jews.

In To the End of the Earth, Hordes explores the remarkable story of crypto-Jews and the tenuous preservation of Jewish rituals and traditions in Mexico and New Mexico over the past five hundred years. He follows the crypto-Jews from their Jewish origins in medieval Spain and Portugal to their efforts to escape persecution by migrating to the New World and settling in the far reaches of the northern Mexican frontier.

Drawing on individual biographies (including those of colonial officials accused of secretly practicing Judaism), family histories, Inquisition records, letters, and other primary sources, Hordes provides a richly detailed account of the economic, social and religious lives of crypto-Jews during the colonial period and after the annexation of New Mexico by the United States in 1846. While the American government offered more religious freedom than had the Spanish colonial rulers, cultural assimilation into Anglo-American society weakened many elements of the crypto-Jewish tradition.

Hordes concludes with a discussion of the reemergence of crypto-Jewish culture and the reclamation of Jewish ancestry within the Hispano community in the late twentieth century. He examines the publicity surrounding the rediscovery of the crypto-Jewish community and explores the challenges inherent in a study that attempts to reconstruct the history of a people who tried to leave no documentary record.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231129367
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 08/17/2005
Pages: 376
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
1 The origins of crypto-Judaism on the Iberian Peninsula, 200 B.C.E.-1492 13
2 The crypto-Jewish experience in New Spain, 1521-1649 30
3 The origins of the first crypto-Jewish settlement in New Mexico : Luis de Carvajal and the failed colony of Gaspar Castano de Sosa, 1579-1591 72
4 Juan de Onate and the participation of crypto-Jews in the first permanent colony in New Mexico, 1595-1607 104
5 Franciscans, the Inquisition, and secret Judaism in New Mexico, 1610-1680 133
6 The role of crypto-Jews in the life of the New Mexico colony, 1680-1846 177
7 Adjustments to Anglo-American society, 1846-1950 215
8 Vestiges of crypto-Judaism in New Mexico at the turn of the twenty-first century 243
App Pemphigus Vulgaris among Hispanos in New Mexico and its possible connection with crypto-Jewish populations 289

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