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East India and West India Trading Company's 400+ Years of Slavery

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A must read


Related - Where the first Jews in America (Newport R.I / New Amsterdam (New York) come from?

The following passages are from Dr. Raphael's book Jews and Judaism in the United States a Documentary History (New York: Behrman House, Inc., Pub, 1983), pp. 14, 23-25.

"Jews also took an active part in the Dutch colonial slave trade; indeed, the bylaws of the Recife and Mauricia congregations (1648) included an imposta (Jewish tax) of five soldos for each Negro slave a Brazilian Jew purchased from the West Indies Company. Slave auctions were postponed if they fell on a Jewish holiday. In Curacao in the seventeenth century, as well as in the British colonies of Barbados and Jamaica in the eighteenth century, Jewish merchants played a major role in the slave trade. In fact, in all the American colonies, whether French (Martinique), British, or Dutch, Jewish merchants frequently dominated.

--- Quote from: TahoeBlue on August 29, 2010, 01:52:35 PM ---On a side note. I really enjoyed the link on the Anglo-Dutch Empire. It filled in many blanks of my understanding the the Venice-Dutch-England connection. It explains the Tudor conflicts with the Pope in Rome.
The Modern Anglo-Dutch Empire: its Origins, Evolution, and AntiHuman Outlook
Robert D. Ingraham
Slavery predates the modern Anglo-Dutch Empire, but it does not predate Empire. It is the very essence of Empire. The relegation of the vast majority of the human race to the category of “subhuman property” is at the heart of the Olympian oligarchical worldview.
The institution of slavery is not something that existed at one “stage” of man’s history, a “stage” we have now outgrown. It does not represent a part of human culture that we have now recognized as evil. It was never part of human culture. It was a principle of Empire. The degradation of large numbers of people to legal or de facto slavery is a necessary practice of Empire. Slavery is, in fact, probably the the most basic axiom of the Empire outlook.
The deliberate destruction of America’s industrial economy and banking institutions is just the beginning of the story. What humanity is now facing is not simply a financial collapse, per se, but a civilizational collapse, the destruction of all nation states and a degeneration into a global new dark age.
What we are witnessing here is the rebirth, in modern garb, of the British and Dutch East India Companies. This process began with the corporate mergers and acquisitions of the the 1980s and 1990s, much of which were funded by the British offshore financial centers, but what we are seeing today, is no longer  merely “corporate takeovers,” but the increasing cartelization of the entire world economy and banking houses, into fewer and fewer private oligarchical hands.
The present proposal in the United States, to hand whole sections of our federally regulated banking system over to the private equity funds, and to eliminate most government oversight and regulation, is part of this cartelization process.

For the individuals involved in this scheme, national sovereignty no longer exists. It is, in essence, a global system, “of the oligarchy, by the oligarchy, and for the oligarchy,” in which governments are reduced to merely the servants of that oligarchy. This is the modern Anglo-Dutch Empire.

Some things I did not know before:
Recife Nickname(s): Veneza Brasileira (Brazilian Venice), Capital of the Northeast and Mauricéia/Mauritzstad (after the Dutch colonization)

The Dutch decided to invade several sugar producing cities in Brazil, including Salvador and Natal. From 1630 to 1654[14], they took control of Recife and Olinda, making Recife the new capital of Dutch Brazil, the city of Mauritsstad. During this period, Mauritsstad became one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the world.

The first Jewish community and the first synagogue in the Americas was founded in the city

The inhabitants fought on their own to expel the Dutch, being helped by the involvement of the Dutch in the First Anglo-Dutch War. This was known as the Insurreição Pernambucana (Pernambucan Insurrection).

Most of the Jews fled to Amsterdam; others fled to North America, starting the first Jewish community of New Amsterdam (now known as New York City).
--- End quote ---

What Jewish Historians Say about slavery.

Part II

search: New Amsterdam Newport Recife jews

Newport - American Jews' Plymouth Rock
the first Jews who settled in Newport in 1658, just 38 years after the Puritans arrived at Plymouth.

The center is a project of George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom in cooperation with the Congregation Jeshuat Israel and Touro Synagogue Foundation, Inc. The Center is named, (and the Institute was founded) by Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr., who is a descendant of Isaac Touro, America's first rabbi, only then, he was known as Reverend Touro.
The Loeb Visitors Center puts faces on hundreds of Jews who were part of colonial America and were instrumental in building the fledgling nation. There are biographies for hundreds of these early Jewish Americans

One of the most intriguing is Aaron Lopez, who had fled to Newport from Lisbon in 1752 and induced 40 Portuguese Jewish families to come to Newport, too. Lopez invented a new process to manufacture spermaceti candles from whale oil (they burned longer, brighter, without smoking), manufactured ships, barrels, rum, chocolate, textiles, clothes, shoes, hats, and bottles. Within 14 years, Newport had a fleet of 150 vessels, and Lopez became the wealthiest man in Newport and one of the wealthiest in America.
They took on American names (Aaron was originally Duarte, and his wife was named Abigail). He sought citizenship, based on the 1740 British Naturalization Act which specifically allowed Jewish settlers to become nationalized citizens of the British Colony. But Rhode Island refused to grant him citizenship, saying it was a "Christian colony."
Aaron had a different strategy: he moved across the border to Massachusetts for a short time, and was granted citizenship there, which made him a citizen in Rhode Island, as well.
Fleeing the Spanish Inquisition

The history of Touro Synagogue begins much earlier, in 1492, in Spain, after King Ferdinand issued the Alhambra Decree giving Jews just four months to convert to Catholicism or leave Spain. Many became conversos and converted, but many, in fact, were “crypto Jews,” practicing in secret.

But most fled – first to Portugal, but the Inquisition followed them there, then to North Africa, then to Europe, and then Amsterdam. "The Dutch didn’t care [if you were Jewish], only that you could contribute to the economy," our Nathanson, tells us during our half-hour tour. "Jews were good in business, and as the world was being explored, Jews went with them – to Barbados, Jamaica, Curacao (which has the oldest synagogue in Western Hemisphere), and Recife, Brazil."

Fifteen years later, in 1654, Portugal took Recife from the Dutch, reigniting fears of persecution. Twenty-three Jews fled trying to get to Amsterdam. But pirates waylaid the ship; they were rescued by a French ship bound for New Amsterdam. Peter Stuyvestant didn’t like Jews and didn’t want them. But the Dutch West Indies Co. (which had some Jews on the board of directors, Nathanson relates), demanded Stuyvesant take the Jews in. They established America's first Jewish congregation, Shaare Israel.

Then in 1658, 15 Jewish families fleeing Barbados came directly to Newport. Rhode Island was already known for its "livelie experiment" in religious tolerance, and Newport had been settled in 1639 - just 19 years earlier - by a group who, like Roger Williams who had founded Providence, Rhode Island, had been kicked out of Massachusetts Bay Colony for believing in freedom to worship.

In Rhode Island, for the first time, Jews were allowed to buy property. In 1677, they bought land for a cemetery (which became either the oldest or second oldest Jewish cemetery in America).

By 1758, the Jewish community had grown and prospered and wanted to build synagogue and school. There was no rabbi in America, so they sent to Amsterdam. A 19-year old rabbinical student, Isaac Touro, came to be their religious leader.

[ I find it very interesting that in this article, slavery is  only mentioned in passing and never that these jews were directly associated with the slave trade. Even though they give the bio of Aaron Lopez SLAVE TRADER : ]

Other stations depict other aspects of life in colonial Newport, including tackling the thorny subject (only now becoming openly discussed in Newport) about slavery in Newport.

This journey back to Colonial America also confronts Newport's role in slavery By 1770, of the 9000 people in Newport (Jews were at most 300 people), nearly 3000 were slaves, or one-third the population). But in Newport, slaves could earn money - selling produce at the market on Sunday, for example - and could buy their freedom. By 1780, all were free, and they created the First Free Black Church located very near to the synagogue.

Aaron Lopez (1731–1782), born Duarte Lopez, was a Jewish merchant and philanthropist. He became the wealthiest person in Newport, Rhode Island, in British America. In 1761 and 1762, Lopez unsuccessfully sued the Colony of Rhode Island for citizenship.
Between 1761 and 1774, Lopez was involved in the slave trade.[9] While The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews describes Lopez as "Newport's leading participant in the Black Holocaust", historian Eli Faber determined Lopez underwrote 21 slave ships during a period in which Newport sent a total of 347 slave ships to Africa, and Faber described Lopez's ventures in the slave trade as "an infinitesimal part" of the British slave trade
Aaron Lopez Papers -  Merchant, of Newport, R.I. -  Papers, 1756-1783

Folder 3. Log book for ships owned by Lopez & Rivera, mostly in slave trade.
Ships: Sally (1767)  Hannah (1768) Cleopatra (1770-1773)  Africa (1773-1774) Washington (1783)
As early as 1655, Barbados' population figures included Spanish Jews; and by 1680, the island reported 54 Jewish out of 351 households. Colonizers never counted enslaved families (African or Amerindian) within their household numbers. So these numbers miss the total human population. These Barbados Jews held no servants but owned 13 enslaved people, averaging three per person.47

About the same time, “In 1658, Mordecai Campanall, Moses Pacheco, and other Jews from Curacao began to settle” in Newport, R. I. They even purchased burial grounds. In addition to Philadelphia, Newport became the home of many Quakers, another despised religious group who had become experts in the banking and commercial fields and in the selling of slaves.

The Quakers arrived in Newport by 1657 and by 1690 equaled one-half of that city's population.

Led by these two groups, trading, including the buying and selling of humans, became the dominant mode of that New England community. In 1708, Col. Robert Quay told the Board of Trade that Rhode Island's “chief trade is to ye West Indies (particularly to Curacao and Surinam).”48

Using the rum secured through the molasses trade with the Caribbean as an article of exchange, Newport mariners began the buying and selling of Africans quite early. The Jewish involvement and presence there and in the Caribbean islands dated from the very beginning. We already have mentioned Jews in Barbados, Curacao and Surinam during that time. Jamaica also documented their presence by 1693. In fact, the Jamaican colonial powers levied an additional 750-pound tax on the Jews to raise money to finance sloops for use against the French. At that time, American money didn't exist, but historically a pound has been worth almost twice our dollar, so this levy appears to be no slight amount.
The Jewish pattern of developing international commercial connections continued in this hemisphere. In Newport, a dozen or so merchants built the Jewish community and aided in making that city commercially important in world trade before the American Revolution. Isaac Elizer, a Newport merchant-shipper like many of his friends and associates, engaged in the slave traffic among New England, Africa, and the Caribbean islands, particularly Guadeloupe.50

Newport's commercial importance equaled that of Boston and Philadelphia, and surpassed New York and Charleston (S. C.). By 1750, Newport sent many more ships into international and coasting trade than New York or Boston. Up to 18 vessels from the West Indies arrived in Newport in one day. In fact, Max J. Kohler argues, “The Jewish Merchants were not merely the capitalists who furnished the wherewithal for this trade, but their enterprise created the trade itself, introduced new arts and industries involved, and furnished the trade connections through their co-religionists in different foreign ports with which the relations were formed.” Jewish merchants were so prosperous and successful in these endeavors that when they left Newport, the prosperity of that city left with them.51

Jews reached Newport about 1658; the records conflict but most scholars accept that year. Mordecai Campbell, Moses Packechoe (Pacheco), Levi and others making up about 15 families, including three first-degree Masons, resided about that time in that city.

They created the House of Campannall, which some writers claim to be the introductions of the Masonic order in this country.52 These first Jewish families consisted of money-brokers, merchants and traders: Isaac Isaacs, money-broker; Isaac Benjamin, Isaac Moses, merchants; and Jacob Frannc (or Franci) and Abraham Benjamin, traders. Some had commercial relations with New York in the 17th century, according to a letter that stated, “Lara had shipped certain goods from Rhode Island to New York that were seized by a pirate vessel.”53

The most famous of these early Newport Jews included the Lopez and Rivera families. The Lopez family came from Portugal and fled the Inquisition. The Riveras came from Spain. Both Marranos (or secret Jews) in Europe, they arrived in the Americas separately at different times. In order to trade in the English colonies, they had to be naturalized. Abraham Rivera, Moses Lopez and Solomon Hart, Jr. secured their naturalization in New York between 1740 and 1741, and Jacob Frannc about 1746. Lopez developed an improved method for manufacturing potash and received a patent for 10 years from Rhode Island. Newport refused Aaron Lopez naturalization, but he gained it in Massachusetts.54

From as early as 1764, Rivera and Aaron Lopez were active in the slave trade. They always had at least one ship a year in the trade. In 1767, Lopez focused on the Jamaica trade with hopes of bringing in molasses, enslaved Africans, coffee, rum and sugar. He sent his son, Moses, to work in Jamaica. Rivera, Lopez's father-in-law, built and owned the Cleopatra, which Lopez eventually used as a slave ship.

Lopez also worked with other Jewish Newport merchants, especially Myer Pollack, in the Triangular Trade. They bought molasses in the West Indies to make it rum in Newport, to export it to Africa and to return to the West Indies with slaves. The Custom House records list the volume of molasses coming into Newport on Oct. 10, 1769 for Lopez's industry from Jamaica, and for Pollack's Hope from Hispaniola and the Nancy from St. Eustatius.55

As a Newport merchant-shipper, Lopez attempted to sell lumber, oil and vessels in the English market, but mostly he engaged himself heavily in the trade of capturing, buying and selling Africans. In fact, he “was active in contracting for the building of ships which he used for himself or sold to Europe or in the West Indies when the market was right.” In 1772, he contracted with a Capt. Peleg Clarke to provide the latter a slave ship; and in 1772 and 17?? [date unclear] they had four “slavers” to Africa each year.

Like many other Newport Jews who held residences in other places like Portugal, the West Indies, Boston, Leicester (Mass.), Providence, Richmond, Wilmington, Savannah, Charleston, North Carolina and New Orleans, Lopez also owned significant property in Jamaica. A particularly important point should be emphasized here. Intercolonial trade during the colonial and revolutionary times existed very sparsely because, with the exception of the Jews, people from the different colonies remained strangers. For millennia, the Jews had engaged in and, at times in certain places, had dominated international trade. They continued to do so in this hemisphere. When “the intercolonial 'trust' or combine formed in 1761,” it was “composed largely of American Jewish Merchants.”56

At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Aaron Lopez owned many vessels engaged in European and West Indian trade in addition to the whaling industry. At this time Lopez was considered the pre-eminent merchant in all of New England.57 He developed Newport for a quarter of a century, eventually owning 30 vessels engaged in international trade and many more in the coasting market.58

The case of the Newport merchant-shippers is instructive because these Jewish merchants not only engaged in the actual trade of capturing, buying and selling Africans but also profited from other industries ancillary to it. The shipbuilding industry in Newport, partially financed by Jewish moneylenders and owned by many Jewish shipbuilders, profited handsomely from the transporting of enslaved Africans. These Jews also gained from insuring the slave ships and their cargoes.59

Newport was not the only seat of Jewish activity in the buying and selling of humans to make them slaves. One Samuel Jacobs, a troubled son of a well-to-do Jewish merchant in Quebec, also journeyed in 1785 to Jamaica to become “a man” by taking up the life of a merchant. Bertram Wallace Korn, in Jews and Negro Slavery, claims that “Jewish Settlers in the West Indies Colonies were at least as influential as those on the North American mainland.”60 Benjamin Monsanto from the Hague and his wife, Clara, from Curacao were Marranos (Christianized Jews). They lived in Natchez, Miss., and engaged in the international and domestic slave trade.61

From Abyssinian to Zion: a guide to Manhattan's houses of worship  

Shearith Israel, Congregation

The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, at 8 west 70th Street. It is the oldest Jewish congregation in North America, tracing itself to 23 Jews, mostly Spanish and Portuguese, who arrived in New York from RECIFE, Brazil, in 1654

Tombstone Benjamin Bueno de Mesquita died 1683

The history of American Jews started in a roundabout way. The Sephardic Jews from Portugal ,whose exodus towards Holland, Turkey and the Portuguese colonies in the Atlantic are well known, had also settled in Recife, Brazil.

One interesting facet is that the first Jews to emigrate to North America, were people who in 1654 had to leave Recife, whither they had settled for over 20 years, during the Dutch occupation, under the leadership of the count Johan Maurits of Nassau,.

This initial group of 23 Jews opened the way for the arrival of other Sephardic Jews.... But the tradition of the pioneers of Recife is still maintained in the synagogue of Shearith Israel Congregation, which they founded.

The present synagogue, facing Central Park, in the corner of 70th Street West, is the fifth built by the congregation. The previous ones were demolished. But there still exists the first Jewish cemetery, now the oldest of the city. It can be found in Chatham Square, in an old suburb which became Chinatown. The gravestones of 107 tombs were almost worn out by time. But some names do not leave any doubt about the origin: Mendes, Gomez, Seixas, Pinto, Fonseca, Burgos, Lopes, Rivera, Cardozo.
Gershom Mendes Seixas, founder of the New York Stock Exchange; Benjamin Cardozo, judge of the Supreme Court, linked with Franklin Roosevelt.

None of them were alive when the flight from Recife took place. After the expulsion of the Dutch, by the Portuguese, the Jews were given three months to leave or to convert to Christianity. Fearing the fire of the Inquisition, almost all sold what they had, and left Recife in 1654 in 16 vessels, most of them wanting to sail to Amsterdam. One of the vessels, "Valk", was lost in a tempest. Tradition says that this ship was sacked and burnt by Spanish pirates in the Caribbean. Then a French pirate, Jacques de la Motte, rescued the passengers and took them to New Amsterdam ( former name of New York) where there was a small settlement of the Dutch Indies Company in the island of Manhattan. They were four couples, two widows, and 13 children.

When they landed, the fugitives did not have the 2500 gold coins claimed by the Frenchman, and this debt was pardoned by a Dutch Tribunal. They also escaped expulsion, thanks to the pressure of the Company of the Indies on the governor Peter Stuyvesant. Ten years later, when the British conquered Manhattan and renamed it as New York, there were already small Sephardic communities in New England. But quite contrary to what happens in Israel, where the Sephardic Jews are second class citizens, in the United States for centuries they constituted the "Jewish nobility", a web of rich merchants, which contributed greatly to the prosperity of the country.
Gershom Mendes Seixas: The First Native-Born U.S. Rabbi
Seixas' brothers were also active in the life and development of the United States. Abraham Mendes was an officer in the Revolutionary Army who fought the British in the southem states.
Benjamin was a founder of the New York Stock Exchange.
Moses Mendes was one of the organizers and the first cashier of the Bank of Rhode Island. He was also the president of the Newport Jewish Congregation.

The history of the New York Stock Exchange begins with the signing of the Buttonwood Agreement by twenty-four New York City stockbrokers and merchants on May 17, 1792, outside at 68 Wall Street under a Buttonwood tree. In the beginning there were five securities traded in New York City with the first listed company on the NYSE being the Bank of New York.

The 24 brokers who signed the agreement, thus becoming the first NYSE members were:

Leonard Bleecker
Hugh Smith
Armstrong & Barnewall  
Samuel March  
Bernard Hart
Alexander Zuntz  
Andrew D. Barclay
Sutton & Hardy
Benjamin Seixas
John Henry
John A. Hardenbrook  
Samuel Beebe
Benjamin Winthrop  
John Ferrers  
Ephraim Hart  
Isaac M. Gomez  
Gulian McEvers  
Augustine H. Lawrence  
G. N. Bleecker
John Bush  
Peter Anspach  
Charles McEvers, Jr.  
David Reedy  
Robinson & Hartshorne  

Thermate Residue:
Being of Pennsylvania Quaker and Pennsylvania Deutsch extraction, I have to say, it ain't lookin' to good for this Lopez dude.

Slavery in the United States A Social, Political, and Historical Encyclopedia

Imprint       ABC-CLIO
Publication Date    03/2007
Subject    American History
Pages    740
Volumes    2
Size    8 1/2x11


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