The Memoirs of Luis Carvajal

For the first time in more than seventy-five years, the memoirs of perhaps the most famous Crypto-Jew , Luis Carvajal el Mozo are on display. The memoirs, measuring only three by four inches as well as other religious manuscripts by Carvajal are on display at the the New-York Historical Society.

The display forms part of the Society’s exhibit titled “The First Jewish Americans: Freedom and Culture in the New World.”  Luis Carvajal el Mozo (the younger) was the nephew of his namesake, the conquistador Luis Carvajal y de la Cueva. The older Carvajal had been an admiral and served as the governor of a large tract of land in Northern Mexico and extending into southern Texas and parts of present day New Mexico.

The older Carvajal was Portuguese-born and was awarded a large swath of territory in New Spain, known as el Nuevo Reino de León, in 1579. The older Carvajal was eventually arrested and his extended family, including his nephew, wer e prosecuted for Judaizing.

For more details on the exhibit, see the original article titled “Lost diary of tortured Mexican ‘converso’ features in early-American Jewish exhibit” from the Times of Israel.

Posted by Rabbi Juan Bejarano-Gutierrez the director of the B’nei Anusim Center for Education and the author of Secret Jews: The Complex Identity of Crypto-Jews and Crypto-Judaism.



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