Brazil Jewish Records

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The Jews in Portugal were given many privileges and rights from 1392 to 1422. Many of the Spanish Jews had immigrated to Portugal and contributed to its economy. In 1548 some Jews were banished to Brazil, and from 1530 to 1680 Jews settled in Brazil.

The Institutions of Inquisitorial Tribunals were instituted early to investigate Catholics for heresy. Accusations brought against Jews in Brazil as part of the inquisition were sent to Lisbon for trial. The inquisition officially lasted until 1821, when the rights Jews had held in 1422 were restored to them. The original records of the Portuguese Jews are in the "Inquisitorial Section" of the Portuguese National Archive.

Brazilian Association of Descendants of Jews in Inquisition (ABRADJIN) maintains a website ( that includes historical, cultural, and educational resources.

Meyer Kayserling wrote a history of the Jews in Portugal. This history, written in German, includes information about their migration. Since the book’s original publication in 1867, intensive studies on this subject have been conducted by several additional scholars. Some good background information on Brazilian Jews can be found in:

  • Kayserling, Meyer. História dos Judeus em Portugal (History of the Jews in Portugal). Translated by Gabriele Borchardt Correa da Silva and Anita Novinsky. São Paulo: Livraria Pioneira Editora, 1971. FHL 946.9 F2k
  • Os Judeus Portugueses Entre os Descobrimentos e a Diáspora (The Portuguese Jews between the Discovery and the Diaspora). Lisboa: Associação Portuguesa de Estudos Judaicos, 1994. FHL 946.9 F2j
  • Saraiva, Antonio José. Inquisição e Cristãos- Novos (Inquisition and New Christians) 3.a edição. Porto: Editorial Inova, 1969. FHL 946.9 H6s
  • Elkin, Judith Laikin. Jews of the Latin American Republics. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1980. FHL 980 F2e

See also "Judaism" in Brazil Church History.