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: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-Volume-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114082
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
Secret Genealogy V: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-Hamite-Ancestors-Family-ebook/dp/B01HJ622DU
Because Spanish and Portuguese “New Christians” or “Conversos” became involved in slave trading and massive agricultural businesses that found their way onto American shores, someone with Southern ancestry might follow history back far enough to find Jewish ancestry. Remember, not all but many of these “Conversos” or “New Christians” were still proud and fond of their Judaism and when caught were executed for practicing it. They built big empires and amassed great wealth with their plantations along Africa’s coastline and into the interior. They colonized the coast of Brazil and the West Indies and the Caribbean Sea. Barbados and Jamaica were used as stopover ports where cargos of humans were revitalized before going to the early colonies along the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. Again, some of these “New Christians” and/or “Conversos” of Jewish ancestry intermarried with Native American captives, African American captives and Scottish, Irish, Italian, German Indentured Servants. Before the middle 1700s there were well over thirty-thousand African Americans in South Carolina. South Carolina began cultivating rice and the planters needed experienced agriculturalists and the enslaved Africans provided that. In the north, Rhode Island depended on Jamaica and Barbados for molasses to make rum. There was an amazing growth of agricultural endeavors closer to the equator that eventually spread to the warmer southern areas that we now know of as Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana, etc., which brought the practice of multi-ethnic sexual relations, both consensual and non-consensual.
Suellen Ocean is the author of the historical series, The Lion’s Trace Available here:
The Lies of the Lion (Book 1)
The Guild (Book 2)
The Last Quadroon (Book 3)
eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords: