The Forgotten Diaspora: Jewish Communities in West Africa and the Making of the Atlantic World

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 14, 2011 - History
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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 Côte. 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 Côte 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.

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1 Two Sephardic Communities on Senegals Petite Côte
2 Jewish Identity in Senegambia
3 Religious Interaction
4 The Blade Weapons Trade in SeventeenthCentury West Africa
5 The LusoAfrican Ivories as Historical Source for the Weapons Trade and for the Jewish Presence in Guinea of Cape Verde
6 The Later Years
Appendix I The Jewish Traders of Porto dAle and Joal Their Relatives and Some of Their New Christian Partners in Senegambia
Appendix II A Chronological Outline of the Institutional Proceedings against the Jews of Porto dAle and Joal 16111643

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About the author (2011)

Peter Mark is Professor of Art History at Wesleyan University. He is the author of several books, including ortuguese' Style and Luso-African Identity: Precolonial Senegambia, Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries (2002) and The Wild Bull and the Sacred Forest: Form, Meaning and Change in Senegambian Initiation Masks of the Diola (Cambridge University Press, 1992), as well as multiple scholarly articles. Professor Mark has twice been an Alexander von Humboldt research Fellow at the Frobenius-Institut, Goethe Universitt (Frankfurt). He has also held National Endowment for the Humanities and Fulbright Fellowships.

Jos da Silva Horta is Assistant Professor, with tenure, of African History and of Expansion History at Lisbon University, where he is also a researcher at the Center of History. He serves as director of the Faculty of Letters Doctoral Program in African History and of the African Studies Undergraduate Program. He is author of A uin do Cabo Verde': produo textual e representaes (1578684), PhD dissertation, 2002 (revised to the press). His publications include A representao do Africano na Literatura de Viagens, do Senegal Serra Leoa (1453508) (1991) and articles in international journals.

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