In 1391, the massacres began in Spain as a result of bloodlibels. Many Jews were persecuted and killed on the Iberian peninsula and Spanish territories, such as Majorca,Canary Islands, and Balearic Islands.Some prominent Sephardic families left to Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.
In the year 1492, on Tisha Be’Ab, the Jews were expelled from Spain. The great majority went next door to Portugal, while others left for Turkey and North Africa. In1495, there was a mass forced conversion upon the Jews in Portugal. Moreover,many continued to practice their faith in secret for the next 500 years. Out of these Crypto Jews, emerged a small group of 10 families who left to Hamburg,Germany, while others left to the New World as New Christians.
Those still in Spain at dawn faced a choice: convert to Christianity or face a slow torturous death at the hands of the Catholic church. When the sun rose, not a single self-professed Jew remained on Spanish soil. The many who refused to convert embarked on a worldwide search for religious freedom frustrated in the New World by centuries of laws forbidding those of Jewish ancestry to enter Spanish colonies. FortheseJews, known as Sephardim, Curacao and other Dutch colonies in the Americas were more than simply a port in a storm. They were the key that unlocked a closed door to the Americas.


From the 15thCentury, Hispaniola was settled by conversos---Sephardic Jews who suffered the forced conversions by the hand of the Catholic Church.These Jews were practicing Christians, but hid their Jewish origins by feigning allegiance to the church in order to climb the social ladder. Bartholome de las Casas, an investigator of the Holy Office suggested the church that a tribunal be instituted on Hispaniola,due to fact that there were many New Christians still holding on to their Jewish practices.


During the17thcentury, after two centuries of practicing Judaism clandestinely, the crypto Jews began practicing their faith openly. This was due to the intervention of Sephardic Jews in North Africa who sponsored pirates on the island of Tortuga,where they intercepted the Spanish ships. Hence, the Jews felt protected by the English after the Treaty of Madrid in 1670. (JewishPirates of The Caribbean,Edward Kritzler). As a result,the Sephardic Jews of Jamaica and Hispaniola returned to the open practice of Judaism and joined their brothers on Curacao, Suriname, and Barbados.


The Sephardic Jews of the Canary Islands began arriving on Hispaniola during the 17thcentury. Over 500 families moved to the regions of Bani, Santo Domingo, Monte Cristi, Puerto Plata, Azua, and Samana.

According to the Revista Judia de Cultura, 2003, Sefarad Editores, España; the following are Sephardic surnames:
Alemán, Amiama, Barceló, Bermudez, Brea, Caceres, Frías, Calderón, Campo, Caraballo, Díaz, Delgado, Diez, Duarte, Dujarric, Henríquez, Espinosa, Ravelo, Then, Fajardo, Ferreira, Fernández, Rodríguez, López, Gallo, García, Hernández, Herrera, Jimenez, Lara, Mercado, Nadal, Olivera, Pacheco, Paredes, Pelerano, Peña ,Perez, Ramírez, Romero, Salgado, Sanchez, Silva, Torres. The following Sephardic families established themselves in the Cibao region: Cotui, Bani, San Jose de Ocoa, Moca, La Vega, Sabana Iglesia, San Francisco de Macoris, and Puerto Plata:
Ramirez, Pimentel, Gómez, Mejía, Ortíz, Espinosa, Andrade, Flores, González, Gutierrez, Ortega, Ruiz, Ravelo, Sandoval, Sierra, Torres, Moya, Cordova, Barrios, Campos. (Emma Moya, laherencia del Norte, Vol XXII,winter 1996).


When the Spanish power weakened on Hispaniola at the end of the18th century, Sephardic Jewish migration increased from Curaçao. They began arriving after the Dominican Independence in 1844, they arrived in massive numbers. These are some of the families that arrived to the Dominican Republic:
Pardo, Maduro, Naar, Crasto, Senior, Namias, de Marchena, de Leon, Curiel, Cohen, Cardoso, Da Silva, Henriquez y Carvajal, Leyba, Pereyra, Salas, de Sola, Del Valle, Attias, Dias, Da Costa-Gomes, Jesurun, Levy, Lopez-Penha, da Motta, Ricardo.

Para la version en espanol de "History of Sephardim-From Expulsion to Hispanionla", por favor visite: http://www.scribd.com/doc/33519539/Judios-Dominicanos

Currently, the Sephardic Beth Midrash of the Dominican Republic is conducting a sociological/antropological study on the descendents of the Spanish/Portuguese Jews that immigrated there throughout the centuries. If you are a descendent of any of these families and would like to obtain more information about them, please contact R'Elazar-DeMota at: haham@nidheisraelrepdom.org.
Feel free to donate for every family search conducted. Donations can be made through PayPal - The Yosef Avidan Foundation in the following link: 

Also, if you are interested in being part of the research, please contact R'Elazar-DeMota haham@nidheisraelrepdom.org

Actualmente el Centro de Estudios Sefaradies de la República Dominicana, a través de su director, R'Elazar-DeMota, está conduciendo una investigación sociológica/antropológica sobre los descendientes de estos judíos de origen hispano-portugues. Si estas interesado en ser parte de esta investigación escribe a haham@nidheisraelrepdom.org

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