Paradesi Jews

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Paradesi Jews
WLANL - 23dingenvoormusea - David Henriques de Castro.jpg
Portrait of David Henriques de Castro, by Gabriel Haim Henriques de Castro (1838-1897)
Regions with significant populations
Israel 70
India 5+2[1]
Languages
Initially Ladino, later Judeo-Malayalam, Tamil now mostly Hebrew
Religion
Orthodox Judaism
Related ethnic groups
Spanish and Portuguese Jews
Cochin Jews
Sephardic Jews
Sephardic Jews in India
Luso-Indian
De Castro family (Sephardi Jewish)
Henriques family

Paradesi Jews were originally Sephardic immigrants to India from Sepharad (Spain and Portugal) during the 15th and 16th centuries who fled conversion or persecution in the wake of the Alhambra Decree expelling Jews from Spain. They are sometimes referred to as White Jews, although that usage is generally considered pejorative or discriminatory and refers to relatively recent Jewish immigrants (end of the 15th century onward), predominantly Sephardim.[2]

Paradesi Jews of Cochin were mainly traders are a community of Sephardic Jews settled among the larger Cochin Jewish community located in Kerala, a coastal southern state of India.[2]

Paradesi Jews of Madras traded in diamonds, precious stones and corals, they had very good relations with the rulers of Golkonda, they maintained trade connections to Europe, and their language skills were useful. Although the Sephardim spoke Ladino (i.e. Spanish or Judeo-Spanish), in India they learned Tamil and Judeo-Malayalam from the Malabar Jews.[3][full citation needed]

History[edit]

The East India Company (EIC) wanted to break the monopoly of Portugal in trading with diamonds and precious stones from the mines of Golkonda. The EIC entered India around 1600 and had built Fort St. George (White Town) fortress by 1644[4][full citation needed] at the coastal city of Madras, now known as Chennai.

EIC policy permitted only its shareholders to trade in diamonds and precious stones from the mines. The Company considered the Madras Jews to be interlopers because they traded separately through their Jewish community connections.[5]

Madras Jews specialised in diamonds, precious stones and corals.[6] They had very good relations with the rulers of Golkonda and this was seen as beneficial to St. George, so Madras Jews were gradually accepted as honourable citizens of St. George/Madras.[7][need quotation to verify]

Jacques (Jaime) de Paiva (Pavia), originally from Amsterdam, was an early Jewish arrival and a leader of the community. He established good relations with those in power and bought several mines. Through his efforts, Jews were permitted to live within Fort St. George.[8]

De Paiva died in 1687 after a visit to his mines and was buried in the Jewish cemetery he had established in Peddanaickenpet, which later became the north Mint Street.[8][a] In 1670, the Portuguese population in Madras numbered around 3000.[citation needed] Before his death he established ‘The Colony of Jewish Traders of Madraspatam’ with Antonio do Porto, Pedro Pereira and Fernando Mendes Henriques.[8] This enabled more Portuguese Jews, from Leghorn, the Caribbean, London and Amsterdam to settle in Madras.[citation needed] Coral Merchant Street was name after the Jews' business.[10]

Three Portuguese Jews were nominated to be aldermen of Madras Corporation.[11] Three - Bartolomeo Rodrigues, Domingo do Porto and Alvaro da Fonseca - also founded the largest trading house in Madras. The large tomb of Rodrigues, who died in Madras in 1692, became a landmark in Peddanaickenpet but was later destroyed.[12]

Samuel de Castro came to Madras from Curaçao and Salomon Franco came from Leghorn.[8][13]

Isaac Sardo Abendana (1662-1709), who came from Holland, died in Madras. He was a close friend of Thomas Pitt and may have been responsible for the fortune that Pitt amassed.[14]

Portuguese Jews were used as diplomats by the East India Company to expand English trading. Avraham Navarro was the most prominent of these.[15]

Plan of Fort St George and the city of Madras in 1726,Shows b.Jews Burying Place, Four Brothers Garden and Bartolomeo Rodrigues Tomb

Paradesi Synagogues and Cemeteries[edit]

The Paradesi Jews had built three Paradesi Synagogues and Cemeteries.

In 1500 First Paradesi Synagogues and Cemeteries was built in Coral Merchant St, George Town, Madras, which had a large presence of Portuguese Jews in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Neither the synagogue nor the Jewish population remains today.[16]

In 1568 Second Paradesi Synagogue and Cemetery was built in Cochin-Jew Street, the oldest synagogue in Cochin, adjacent to Mattancherry Palace, Cochin, now part of the Indian city of Ernakulam, on land given to them by the Raja of Kochi.[17]

In 1650 Third Paradesi Synagogue and Cemetery was built by Jaime de Paiva or Jacques de Paivia in Madras, Peddanaickenpet, which later became the North end of Mint street,[8][b] demolished by local government in 1934 and the tombstones were moved to the Central Park of Madras along with the gate of the cemetery on which Beit ha-Haim (the usual designation for a Jewish cemetery, literally "House of Life") were written in Hebrew.[18] The tombstones were moved again in 1979 to Kasimedu, when government school was approved to be built. In 1983, they were moved to Lloyds Road, when the Chennai Harbour expansion project was approved. In this whole process 17 tombstones went missing, including that of Jacques (Jaime) de Paiva (Pavia).[10][13]

Notable Chennai Paradesi Jews[edit]

Jacques (Jaime) de Paiva (Pavia) - He was first Madras Jewish community leader, he built Paradesi Synagogue and Cemetery in Madras, Peddanaickenpet. [8][19]

Bartolomeo Rodrigues - Among 12 aldermen who founded Madras Corporation[20]

Domingo do Porto - Among 12 aldermen who founded Madras Corporation[21]

Alvaro da Fonseca - Among 12 aldermen who founded Madras Corporation[22]

Above Four were called four brothers, they had their own garden in which Bartolomeo Rodrigues Tomb was built. Plan of Fort St George and the city of Madras in 1726, shows Four Brothers Garden and Bartolomeo Rodrigues Tomb

Antonio do Porto - The Colony of Jewish Traders of Madraspatam[23]

Pedro Pereira- The Colony of Jewish Traders of Madraspatam[24]

Fernando Mendes Henriques - The Colony of Jewish Traders of Madraspatam[25]

Avraham Navarro - Prominent Jewish diplomats of East India Company[26]

Samuel de Castro - Founder of De Castro Trading house.[8][13]

Salomon Franco - Founder of De Castro Trading house.[8][13]

Isaac Sardo Abendana – Best Diamond Appraiser[27]

Places Named After Chennai Paradesi Jews[edit]

Isaac Street and Pereira Street This Colonial Street has a long history, there was a synagogue and Jewish cemetery

Isaac Street named after Isaac Henriques De Castro who was killed in the Holocaust

Pereira Street named after Pedro Pereira- Member of, The Colony of Jewish Traders of Madraspatam[28]

De Caster Main Road Probably incorrect spelling of De Castro, a Portuguese personage of those days. (Editor’s Note: Samuel de Castro / Caster was a Portuguese Jew who traded in diamonds and coral. He lived in the Fort in the mid-18th Century and was co-owner of ‘The Great House on Charles Street’, which survives as Admiralty / Clive House. His son Moses obtained from the Council several grants of land in the Great Choultry Plain and Royapettah.[29] [30]

Coral Merchant Street History: This Colonial Street has a long history and during seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it was a synagogue. The Pagadalpet (coral-town) in the northern part of Muthialpet is named as coral merchant street. A small sized Portuguese Jews belonging to Paiva or Porto families lived here as a settlement since from 1688 and they chiefly engaged in the export the diamonds of Golconda to London and imported coral beads as well as in raw form their fellow Hebrew merchants in London. From the records it is learned that they were allowed to reside within the Fort St.George and had their cemeteries in Peddanaickenpetta. Also there was an association ‘The Colony of Jewish Traders of Madraspatam' prevailed. At the turn of 18th century the Colconda diamond trade dwindled down and the population of the jews reduced gradually and today there is no Jewish presence at this street and could not find neither a synagogue nor the Jewish cemetery. [31]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ A synagogue once also existed at Mint Street.[9]
  2. ^ A synagogue once also existed at Mint Street.[9]

Citations

  1. ^ Census of India 2001
  2. ^ a b The Jews of India: A Story of Three Communities by Orpa Slapak. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. 2003. p. 28. ISBN 965-278-179-7.
  3. ^ Katz 2000; Koder 1973; Thomas Puthiakunnel 1973
  4. ^ Roberts, J: "History of the World" (Penguin, 1994).
  5. ^ Sudan, Rajani (2016). The Alchemy of Empire: Abject Materials and the Technologies of Colonialism. Oxford University Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-82327-067-5. 
  6. ^ Gill, Liz (1 September 2011). "Chennai: Where life is enshrined". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-05-24. 
  7. ^ Muthiah, S., ed. (2008). Madras, Chennai: A 400-year Record of the First City of Modern India. 1. Palaniappa Brothers. p. 183. ISBN 978-8-18379-468-8. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Muthiah, S. (3 September 2007). "The Portuguese Jews of Madras". The Hindu. Retrieved 2016-05-24. 
  9. ^ a b Sundaram, Krithika (31 October 2012). "18th century Jewish cemetery lies in shambles, craves for attention". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  10. ^ a b Muthiah, S. (30 September 2002). "Will Chennai's Jews be there?". The Hindu. Retrieved 2016-05-24. 
  11. ^ Muthiah, S. (2014). Madras Rediscovered. Westland. ISBN 978-9-38572-477-0. 
  12. ^ Parthasarathy, Anusha (3 September 2013). "Lustre dims, legacy stays". The Hindu. Retrieved 2016-05-24. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Chennai - India". International Jewish Cemetery Project. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  14. ^ "The Portuguese Jews of Madras". The Hindu. 3 September 2007. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  15. ^ Fischel, Walter J. (1956). "Abraham Navarro: Jewish Interpreter and Diplomat in the Service of the English East India Company (1682-1692)". Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research. 25: 39–62. doi:10.2307/3622342. JSTOR 3622342. (subscription required (help)). 
  16. ^ https://books.google.nl/books?id=LnflUVu0w2QC&pg=PA30&lpg=PA30&dq=coral+merchant+street+chennai&source=bl&ots=m-pyk4RPjN&sig=7e8vVq6hQ87C0cqlpRYCFYNjJJw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=2B84U72tH4v8iQfiwoFA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=coral%20merchant%20street%20chennai&f=false
  17. ^ "Paradesi Synagogue, Attractions, Mattancherry, Ernakulam, Kerala, India". Kerala Tourism. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  18. ^ "The Portuguese Jewish Community Of Madras, India, In The Seventeenth Century". Sefarad.org. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  19. ^ Sundaram, Krithika (31 October 2012). "18th century Jewish cemetery lies in shambles, craves for attention". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  20. ^ httpwww.thehindu.comtodays-papertp-featurestp-metroplusthe-portuguese-jews-of-madrasarticle2252700.ece
  21. ^ httpwww.thehindu.comtodays-papertp-featurestp-metroplusthe-portuguese-jews-of-madrasarticle2252700.ece
  22. ^ httpwww.thehindu.comtodays-papertp-featurestp-metroplusthe-portuguese-jews-of-madrasarticle2252700.ece
  23. ^ httpwww.thehindu.comtodays-papertp-featurestp-metroplusthe-portuguese-jews-of-madrasarticle2252700.ece
  24. ^ httpwww.thehindu.comtodays-papertp-featurestp-metroplusthe-portuguese-jews-of-madrasarticle2252700.ece
  25. ^ httpwww.thehindu.comtodays-papertp-featurestp-metroplusthe-portuguese-jews-of-madrasarticle2252700.ece
  26. ^ Fischel, Walter J. (1956). "Abraham Navarro: Jewish Interpreter and Diplomat in the Service of the English East India Company (1682-1692)". Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research. 25: 39–62. doi:10.2307/3622342. JSTOR 3622342. (subscription required (help)). 
  27. ^ httpwww.thehindu.comtodays-papertp-featurestp-metroplusthe-portuguese-jews-of-madrasarticle2252700.ece
  28. ^ httpwww.thehindu.comtodays-papertp-featurestp-metroplusthe-portuguese-jews-of-madrasarticle2252700.ece
  29. ^ httpmadrasmusings.comVol%2020%20No%205readerswrite.html
  30. ^ https://sriramv.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/some-more-history-behind-chennai-street-names/
  31. ^ http://muthusamyphotostream.blogspot.in/2014/05/coral-merchant-street-george-town.html?m=1

Further reading[edit]

  • Diamonds and Coral: Anglo-Dutch Jews and Eighteenth-Century Trade New edition by Gedalia Yogev (Author)
  • Renascent Empire?: The House of Braganza and the Quest for Stability in Portuguese Monsoon Asia C.1640-1683 by Glenn Joseph Ames
  • Global Trade and Commercial Networks: Eighteenth-Century Diamond Merchants By Tijl Vanneste
  • Goods from the East, 1600-1800: Trading Eurasia By Felicia Gottmann, Hanna Hodacs, Chris Nierstrasz
  • The Jewish Merchant-Colony in Madras (Fort St. George) during the 17th and 18th Centuries: A Contribution to the Economic and Social History of the Jews in India (Concluded) Walter J. Fischel
  • The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History edited by W. Rubinstein, Michael A. Jolles
  • Harikrishnan, Charmy (2008-11-23). "The Last Tribe: a lament for the dying Jewry in Kerala". The Indian Express. 

External links[edit]