The Forgotten Diaspora: Jewish Communities in West Africa and the Making of the Atlantic World (Paperback)
  • The Forgotten Diaspora: Jewish Communities in West Africa and the Making of the Atlantic World (Paperback)
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The Forgotten Diaspora: Jewish Communities in West Africa and the Making of the Atlantic World (Paperback)

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£32.99
Paperback 280 Pages / Published: 31/07/2013
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This book traces the history of early seventeenth-century Portuguese Sephardic traders who settled in two communities on Senegal's Petite Cote. There, they lived as public Jews, under the spiritual guidance of a rabbi sent by the newly established Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam and were protected from agents of the Inquisition by local Muslim rulers. The Petite Cote communities included several Jews of mixed Portuguese-African heritage as well as African wives, offspring, and servants. The blade weapons trade was an important part of their commercial activities. These merchants participated marginally in the slave trade but fully in the arms trade, illegally supplying West African markets with swords. This arms trade depended on artisans and merchants based in Morocco, Lisbon, and northern Europe and affected warfare in the Sahel and along the Upper Guinea Coast. The study discovers previously unknown Jewish communities and by doing so offers a reinterpretation of the dynamics and processes of identity construction throughout the Atlantic world.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107667464
Number of pages: 280
Weight: 430 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'A fascinating and richly documented study of identity negotiation among Portuguese New Christian merchants who settled in seventeenth-century Senegambia. These men married or cohabited with women from African elites, maintained contacts with the Sephardim of Amsterdam, traded across multiple boundaries (behaving when necessary as Catholics), and lived openly as Jews.' Miriam Bodian, University of Texas, Austin
'In this richly textured study, Mark and Horta show how a forgotten diaspora of Sephardic Jews from Lisbon connected three continents and laid the foundation for the emergence of a dynamic Atlantic world. Theirs is a history of the intimacy of Jewish-Muslim relations, the flexible nature of Jewish identity and practice in an African setting, and the ways that Judaism influenced African spirituality. This is a story that had to be told.' Walter Hawthorne, Michigan State University and author of From Africa to Brazil: Culture, Identity, and an Atlantic Slave Trade, 1600-1830
'This is a superb piece of detective work. Mark and Horta trace the history of several Jewish communities in late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Senegambia and use it to cast light on the history of the Jewish Diaspora, on West African commerce, and on the construction of race in the early modern world.' Martin Klein, University of Toronto
'... meticulously researched ... this path-breaking book has persuasively demonstrated the importance of West African Jews for understanding the early modern Atlantic world.' Daniel J. Schroeter, Journal of African History
"A fascinating and richly documented study of identity negotiation among Portuguese New Christian merchants who settled in seventeenth-century Senegambia. These men married or cohabited with women from African elites, maintained contacts with the Sephardim of Amsterdam, traded across multiple boundaries (behaving when necessary as Catholics), and lived openly as Jews." Miriam Bodian, University of Texas, Austin
"In this richly textured study, Mark and Horta show how a forgotten diaspora of Sephardic Jews from Lisbon connected three continents and laid the foundation for the emergence of a dynamic Atlantic world. Theirs is a history of the intimacy of Jewish-Muslim relations, the flexible nature of Jewish identity and practice in an African setting, and the ways that Judaism influenced African spirituality. This is a story that had to be told." Walter Hawthorne, Michigan State University and author of From Africa to Brazil: Culture, Identity, and an Atlantic Slave Trade, 1600-1830
"This is a superb piece of detective work. Mark and Horta trace the history of several Jewish communities in late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Senegambia and use it to cast light on the history of the Jewish Diaspora, on West African commerce, and on the construction of race in the early modern world." Martin Klein, University of Toronto
"This is a triumph of historical reconstruction, and is due in large part to the meticulous thoroughness with which the authors have read and interpreted the documents they have found, and the deep knowledge they have of the sources." Tobias O. Green, H-Net
"Highly recommended." C. Higgs, Choice
"... meticulously researched ... this path-breaking book has persuasively demonstrated the importance of West African Jews for understanding the early modern Atlantic world." Daniel J. Schroeter, Journal of African History

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