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Ambivalent Acts Of The Inquisition Toward New Christians In The Seventeenth-Century Iberian Domains

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Chapter Summary

The present chapter provides an overview of the impact of the imperial and political rivalries involving Spain, Portugal, France and the Netherlands on the descendents of Portuguese Jews and New Christians in the New World, particularly Brazil, during the seventeenth century. Throughout Bento Teixeira's trial, Brazil, and especially the captaincy of Pernambuco, is depicted as a Promised Land. The messianic vision of Brazil as "terra da promissão" appears especially in his epic poem Prosopopéia. Around 1635 a large percentage of the Europeans who lived in Pernambuco were descendents of Portuguese cristãos-novos that had returned to Judaism. Subjects of Jewish origin such as Bento Teixeira, Ambrósio Fernandes Brandão, and Manuel Beckman, who came to Brazil during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, played a major role in the development of Brazilian colonial society as writers, school teachers, tax collectors and community leaders.

Keywords: Ambrósio Fernandes Brandão; Bento Teixeira; Manuel Beckman; new christians; Portuguese cristãos-novos; seventeenth-century Iberian domains



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