The Jews in the Canary Islands: a Re-evaluation

When Lucien Wolf published in 1926 his book The Jews in the Canary Islands a new world of Jewish life came to light.

The Canary Islands were taken over by Spain a few years after the Expulsion of 1492. Consequently in the Canary Islands no open Jews, only conversos,x could settle; they were accessible either to the descendants of those Jews who were converted during the riots of 1391 or later during the fifteenth century; or to Jews who were converted shortly before and after the Expulsion from Spain of 1492 and the forced conversion of 1497 in Portugal. These latter conversos, owing to their immediate and recent personal connection with Judaism, possessed much more Jewish knowledge than their brethren, the descendants of the earlier conversions, such as those of the fourteenth century. Both kinds of conversos arrived in the Canary Islands with the first wave of settlers, before the

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