Ladino and Spanish Jews in Latin America

David Quarter davidquarter at
Fri Nov 21 00:10:24 MST 2003

From:           	"Nestor Gorojovsky" <nestorgoro at>

<<<<Sepharadi Jews were strictly forbidden from America. The few
came either were converts or got assimilated after some time of
clandestine Jewish practice (these were called "judaizantes", that
"those who follow Jewish practices") by the Inquisition.


Thus, there could be no (and there were no) thriving and long-lived
Jewish communities in Colonial Hispanic America. A few came from the
Portuguese colonies, but also these were assimilated. And they were
assimilated too.

The current Jewish communities in Latin American have nothing to
do with the old, eventual, and highly improbable, Jewish communities
in the early days of Spanish rule. We came down from either Central
or Eastern Europe, and the Sepharadim came here from the Ottoman
Empire. There is no link at all between Jews in Latin America today
and Spain.>?>>>>

I'm aware that there were laws prohibiting Jews from settling in
Spanish and Portugese colonies, but in terms of the Americas in
general, there are/were a few striving Sephardic Jewish
communities in the colonies owned by the Dutch. One in particular
and  the oldest one in the Caribean is found on the island of
Curacao. The first Jews to settle there had fled the Spanish
inquistion, and became slave traders and plantation owners.

There were/are also smaller Sephardic Jewish communities in
other parts of the netherland Antillles, such as Aruba (my mother's
island of birth).

and Sint Maarten/St. Marten (my grand-ma's island of birth).

They remain to this day. I happen to be a descendant of one of
these Jews.

One of the official languages in Aruba (apart from Spanish, Duthc
and English) is papiamento.

 Papiamento is type of patois, which is a blend of Portugese,
English, Dutch, and the original language spoken by the
indigenous peoples of the Island ("Arubanos") . The Portugese
influence in Papiamento enamated from the presense of Portugese
Jews who had migrated to Aruba via Curacao after having fled

I believe Papiamento is now only spoken in Aruba and Curaco (and
perhaps Bonaire), although any emigrant from these islands,
including my mother and her family, would be fluent in it.

(on the Jewish community in: Surinam):


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