The history of Conversos and Crypto-Jews is fascinating. The historiography of the Converso experience can be just as interesting. The Guardian reports that the oldest Jewish document of the New World will be returned to Mexico later this month. Sadly, it disappeared more than seven decades ago.
The document in question is the autobiography of Luis de Carvajal, el Mozo. Carvajal was the son of the famed governor of the Nuevo Reino de Leon. Luis de Carvajal el Mozo and many members of his family died in 1596. One member of the family survived and was later executed decades later.
The return of the manuscript comes at an interesting time. While it is relatively small, there is a growing interest in the lost Converso history of Mexico. This interest stems from amateur and professional historians as well as by individuals who believe they are the descendants of the Conversos who arrived during the age of the Conquistadors.
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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