Some eighteenth-century refugees from Brazil

The fact that there was no Inquisition in the south of Brazil led many New Christians to settle there during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By the late seventeenth century they made up two thirds of the white population of Rio de Janeiro.1 As in Portugal, secret Judaism has persisted in Brazil for many centuries.

King Manoel Fs edict of 1497 expelling Jews from Portugal asserted that Jews and Moors committed great evils and blasphemies in Portugal.2 The belief that every epidemic, famine or earth tremor in Portugal was due to divine vengeance for tolerating Judaism persisted over the centuries. John V of Portugal (1689-1750) and his Inquisitor General, Cardinal Nuno Ataide da Cunha, were extremely hostile to secret Judaism. The Inquisitor certainly believed in the power of malevolent witchcraft. In the 1720s he turned his attention to the old-established secret Jewish communities in northern Portugal. From 1720 to 1723

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