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Book Notes: The Jews and the Expansion of Europe to the West, 1450-1800, Paolo Bernardini and Norman Fielding (eds.)

Edgar Samuel

<plain_text><page sequence="1">The Jews and the Expansion of Europe to the West, 1450-1800, edited by Paolo Bernardini and Norman Fielding (Berghahn Books, New York and Oxford 2000) isbn 1571811532, 567 pp. ?35:00. This collection of twenty-five essays presented at a conference at Brown University on the theme of Jewish participation in the colonization of the New World, relates mainly to Latin America and the Caribbean. The one paper about British North America concentrates on eighteenth-century New York. It is not practicable to survey all twenty-five papers in a short review, but some can be briefly mentioned, as follows: Patricia Seed's 'Jewish scientists and the origin of modern navigation' stresses the importance of the discovery by fifteenth-century Portuguese Jewish mathematicians of accurate methods of measuring latitude, which enabled Portuguese pilots to discover sea routes to India and Brazil and to circumnavigate the world. Four articles discuss settlement in the French colonies and four the much larger migration to the Dutch colonies. Eva Alexandra Uchmany's 'The participation of New Christians and Crypto Jews in the conquest, colonization and trade of Spanish America 1521 1660' surveys their role in Mexico and elsewhere. Anita Novinsky's, 'New Christians and the Gold Route in Minas Gerais, Brazil' explains the importance of Crypto-Jewish settlers in the south of Brazil and the fierce persecution which afflicted their descendants in the eighteenth century. Simon Drescher's 'Jews and New Christians in the Atlantic Slave trade' is useful, andjames Boyajian's 'New Christians and Jews in the Sugar Trade 14550-1750' is an important survey. The volume is at once interesting, important and carefully edited. Edgar Samuel 208</page></plain_text>