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Book Notes: Reluctant Cosmopolitans: The Portuguese Jews of Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam, Daniel M. Swetchinski

Edgar Samuel

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Reluctant Cosmopolitans: The Portuguese Jews of Seventeenth century Amsterdam, Daniel M. Swetschinski (Littmann Library, 2000) ISBN 1-874774-46-3, 387 pp. This is a thoroughly researched study of all aspects of the prosperous, well organized and tolerated Portuguese Jewish community of seventeenth-century Amsterdam. The tables in the volume, showing the origins of the immigrants and the direction and commodities of their foreign trade, are new and most interesting. Of Portuguese Jews marrying in Amsterdam, 395 were born in Portugal, 209 in Spain, 227 in France and 123 in Italy. The immigration from Portugal was very concentrated, with 136 born in Lisbon and 56 from Oporto, but it is surprising how few came from the south, where the persecution by the Evora Inquisition was most active; only 1 came from Evora with its large New Christian population and only 4 from the Algarve. Despite heavy salt imports from Setubal only one person came from there. The analysis of the freight contracts is interesting too because the number of such contracts with Portugal remained larger than with Spain, even after the Dutch Republic obtained trading privileges in Spain and England obtained them in Portugal. Dr Swetschinski's discussion goes beyond the geography of migration and the community's foreign trade to discuss the liberalism of the Dutch Repub? lic, the religious life, heresies, social control and cultural life of the Portuguese Jewish community. It is a pity that the editors should have placed a picture 173</page><page sequence="2">Book Notes of a Purim ball in the 1780s on the front cover, when there are many good seventeenth-century prints which could have been used instead. Edgar Samuel</page></plain_text>