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Re: [pepysdiary] 'Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean' by Edward Kritzler

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  • Nick Balmer
    Hello Terry, This article is interesting for the light it throws on the 17th Diaspora of the Spanish Jews or Morisco s. These Jews who had been part of the
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 30, 2008
      Hello Terry,
      This article is interesting for the light it throws on the 17th Diaspora of the Spanish Jews or Morisco's. These Jews who had been part of the Moorish and Spanish population for many hundreds of years were forced to flee Spain in the face of the Inquisition.
      Many were very effective traders and Middlemen, and they brought their technical know how and Capital networks to Holland & Britain, enabling both our economies to expand enormously after 1648.
      South America and the Caribbean wasn't the only colonial venture that benefitted from these Jews.
      A considerable number went on out to Cochin in South West India. Cochin had had a Jewish community from before the Fall of the Temple. After the Roman victory over the Jews, many of the exiled Jews had moved to Yemen and then onto Cochin following the original Indian trade routes. 
      The Rajah's of Cochin and Travancore welcomed the Jews and afforded them sanctuary.  http://www.bh.org.il/Communities/Archive/Cochin.asp
      The decendants of these first Jews became known by the late 18th Century as the Black Jews, to distinguish them from the later Jews arriving via Holland from Spain who were called the White Jews to distinguish them from the earlier wave who had become almost totally integrated into Cochin Society.
      Their Synagogue survives to this day, and a soon pictures of this building together with Dutch and local Cochin buildings surrounding the Jewish streets can be seen here http://malabardays.blogspot.com/2007/01/day-three-was-transylvanian-in-cochin.html
      The Jews from Cochin and later those based in the British settlement at Bombay played a very important part in developing the Capital Markets that financed the trade between Europe and India.
      In the 17th & 18th Century the employees of both the Dutch VOC and the English EIC where allowed to trade privately provided it was inside the Indian Ocean, or in limited amounts as part of their baggage allowance when returning to Europe.
      These limitations were frequently flouted or avoided by using the Jewish financial networks to transmit funds back to England or Holland outside the EIC or VOC network.
      It is very difficult to put an account together for the volumes of these remittances or indeed the private trade, but it is very likely that it equalled that of the official network at times. Certainly during periods of conflict like the English Civil War when the East India Company could not send money from England to its settlements in India, it is quite probably that these settlements would of collapsed but for the injections of liquidity that came from the Jews and Indian merchants who underwrote the trade.
      The Rajah's of Cochin & Travancore were one of the very few countries to afford the Jews sanctuary over the centuries, and this was recognised by an award in 2005.
      Nick Balmer
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