History of the Marranos in England

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The History of Marranos in England consists of the Marranos' contribution and achievement in England.

Arrival of Marranos[edit]

Toward the middle of the 17th century a considerable number of Marrano merchants settled in London and formed there a secret congregation, at the head of which was Antonio Fernandez Carvajal. They conducted a large business with the Levant, East and West Indies, Canary Islands, and Brazil, and above all with the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal. They formed an important link in the network of trade spread especially throughout the Spanish and Portuguese world by the Marranos or secret Jews (see Commerce). Their position enabled them to give Cromwell and his secretary, John Thurloe, important information as to the plans both of Charles Stuart in Holland and of the Spaniards in the New World (see L. Wolf, "Cromwell's Secret Intelligencers"). Outwardly they passed as Spaniards and Catholics; but they held prayer-meetings at Creechurch Lane, and became known to the government as Jews by faith.

Puritans call for the Jews' return[edit]

Meanwhile public opinion in England had been prepared by the Puritan movement for a sympathetic treatment of any proposal by the Judaizing sects among the extremists of the Parliamentary party for the readmission of the Jews into England. Petitions favoring readmission had been presented to the army as early as 1649 by two Baptists of Amsterdam, Johanna Cartwright and her son Ebenezer ("The Petition of the Jews for the Repealing of the Act of Parliament for Their Banishment out of England"); and suggestions looking to that end were made by men of the type of Roger Williams, Hugh Peters, and by Independents generally. Many were moved in the same direction by mystical Messianic reasons; and their views attracted the enthusiasm of Menasseh Ben Israel, who in 1650 published his Hope of Israel, in which he advocated the return as a preliminary to the appearance of the Messiah. The Messiah could not appear till Jews existed in all the lands of the earth. According to Antonio de Montesinos, the Ten Tribes had been discovered in the North-American Indians, and England was the only country from which Jews were excluded. If England admitted them, the Messianic age might be expected.

In fiction[edit]

"The Queen's Fool", historical novel by Philippa Gregory, is told from the point of view of a (fictional) Marrano girl living in England at the time of Queen Mary I.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Katz, David. The Jews in the History of England, 1485–1850. Oxford: Clarendon, 1994.

External links[edit]