You might think that it was too long after the Inquisition to assume that ancestors who went to the Caribbean islands in the 1600’s were Jews escaping persecution. But there’s evidence that they were. Even if it took them a long time to get there.
In the late 1400’s, Jews left Spain and Portugal to escape the Inquisition. They emigrated north to the Netherlands. In about 1650, their Jewish descendants emigrated to a Caribbean island known as Curacao. It was a Dutch colony where the Jews were able to build a cemetery. Sephardic Jews (and later the Ashkenazic Jews) emigrated to the New World from Central and Eastern Europe. Their destinations were the Caribbean colonies of Jamaica, Barbados, Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands and Dutch Saint Eustatius. The history of those colonies show large Jewish populations. As the years went by, they may have converted to Christianity. Like everyone else, they identified with their beloved countries so spoke the language of their new country. Yes, they were Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, German and other Eastern Europeans but they may have also been Jews. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy – A How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry, Secret Genealogy II – Uncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors, Secret Genealogy III – From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians, Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees and Secret Genealogy V– Black, White and Hamite; Ancestors of Color in Our Family Trees. Available here:
Secret Genealogy II: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-II-Christian-Ancestors/dp/1484053222
Secret Genealogy III: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-III-Jewish-Anglo-Saxon-Acadians/dp/148407579X
Secret Genealogy IV: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105