Eminent specialists in Caribbean history, language and art, as a part of the ongoing project "Mapping Western Sefardic Diaspora – Hamburg's Portuguese in the Caribbean," came together in Hamburg in 2014 to present new findings and to discuss new approaches for the future.
The fifteen essays in this piece –the majority in English, but also in French and Spanish– offer a wide-ranging exploration of the pivotal role of Sefardim and Ashkenazim, Crypto-Jews and New Jews as intermediaries in bridging imperial boundaries in the Atlantic World during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The authors: Christian Cwik, Aviva Ben-Ur, Barry L. Stiefel, Ineke Phaf-Rheinberger, Stanley Mirvis, Jessica V. Roitman, Natalie A. Zacek, Tirtsah Levie Bernfeld, Asunción Lloret Florenciano, Susann Fischer, Eva-Martha Eckkrammer, Harm den Boer, Gerard Nahon, and Michael Studemund-Halévy, scholars from Israel, the US, the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, Austria and Germany, explore the rise of Jewish merchant capitalism in the Caribbean and the kin-based diasporic entrepreneurial networks of the Nación, and their significant role both in Europe's expansion in the Americas and in the creation of an Atlantic world that was shaped by all parties involved: Sefardim and (later) Ashkenazim, Calvinists and Anglicans, 'white Jews' and 'Jews of color'.
They focus on how political autonomy functioned in the Caribbean, present the short-lived Jewish presence in Dutch Brazil, display the role of the Ashkenazim in the Jamaica Spanish colony dominated by the Sefardi, investigate the goals and practices of Jewish intermarriage in the British West Indies, discuss the controversial theories about the formation of a new colonial language, a Jewish-Caribbean koiné or papiamento sefardí, the use of slave labor in the building of synagogues, and the importance of Sefardi iconography and epigraphy for local Jewish history.
An essential monography to those who wish to deep into the Jewish Caribbean World during the 17th and 18th centuries.
· Review by Dra. Paloma Díaz-Mas in Miscelánea de Estudios Árabes y Hebraicos. Sección Hebreo, vol. 66 ( 2017), pgs. 227-231: OPEN PDF