The Hebrew Portuguese Nations in Antwerp and London at the Time

By Aron Di Leone Leoni

Format: Hardcover



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At the beginning of the sixteenth century Lisbon was the capital of an immense empire stretching from the African Atlantic Coast to India and to the Spice-Islands in Asia. The whole production of the Portuguese colonies was marketed in Antwerp, the chief port of the Low Countries.

A group of merchants of Jewish origins played a pioneering role in the development of this city into the largest financial and commercial center of Europe. In a short time their community grew apace. A twin settlement was established beyond the Channel, in London. These merchants used their financial, entrepreneurial and diplomatic skills to set up a complex rescue organization which planned and financed the flight of Marranos towards lands where they could openly revert to practicing their Judaism. This volume tells the history of several people who, at different levels, devoted their wealth and their strength, and risked their lives in the service of God and of their Nation.

Son of Rav Leone Leoni, Chief Rabbi of Ferrara and Venice, and of Doctor Gemma Ravenna, Aron Leoni derived from his parents his passion for Jewish culture.
A director of Vita Mayer Corporation, he represented the Italian paper industries at the European Commission in Brussels and later worked as an independent consulting economist.
After retirement he devoted himself to the study of Judaism. Thanks to relentless research and his extensive knowledge of languages, he uncovered previously unexplored materials and documents scattered in archives throughout Europe, and published innovative studies on the history and the culture of European Sephardic Communities.

Advance praise for
The Hebrew Portuguese nations in Antwerp and London at the time of Charles V and Henry VIII : new documents and interpretations

By multitudes the Marranos defied the familiares of the Portuguese Inquisition and the imperial police in order to reach a place where they could safely revert to Judaism. Aron Leoni takes us into their journey, across seas, along the rivers and plains of Europe, through the narrow, steep alpine passes, describing vividly the yet untold saga of the Jewish underground organisation. The book is a passionate history and, at the same time, an important contribution to early modern Jewish history.
Pier Cesare Ioly Zorattini.
Professor of History of Religions
State University of Udine, Italy

This book offers a fascinating insight into the settlement-strategies adopted by the New Christians fleeing the Iberian inquisitions... A welcome contribution to Jewish history, to the History of Europe, to the origins of moderne world.
Grard Nahon
Directeur d'Etudes mrite