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 THE JEWS OF THE CARIBBEAN
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GEOGRAPHY

The West Indies are the islands of the Caribbean Sea.  They are divided into the Greater Antilles and the Lesser Antilles.

The Greater Antilles islands include  Cuba, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

The Lesser Antilles Islands include the smaller islands of the Caribbean and are divided into the Windward Islands and Leeward Islands. The Lesser Antilles chain starts in the Virgin Islands and wraps the eastern Caribbean to Trinidad and Tobago.

The Windward Islands include Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad and Tabago.

The Leeward Islands are the northwestern islands of the Lesser Antilles. They’re given this name as they’re away from the wind (“lee”). They include, the Virgin Islands, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Antigua Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla

The Portuguese Jewish diaspora was born out of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and the forced conversion/expulsion of the Jews from Portugal in 1497   Some went to the Caribbean while maintaining strong connections with Portuguese Jews of western Europe, the Ottoman empire and the Far East.  They saw the New World as their opportunity to escape European persecution. Where they settled contributed to local growth. Later, many went to the USA when having to flee from the Inquisition again.

Their local contribution included the introduction of sugar cane which was to become the mainstay of the economy for several hundred years and in creating trade routes between the islands and their mother countries.

Jewish pirates became part of a revenge strategy against the Iberian powers  Many of them mixed traditional Jewish lifestyles with sailing

TODAY

 Union of Jewish Congregations of Latin America and the Caribbean

The Union aims to preserve the continuity of Judaism locally by acting as a central link to the small Jewish communities of Latin America and the Caribbean.  Otherwise thjey mat be ignored and isolated, having to face the multiple survival challenges of micro communities.

Communities within the Union are

 Aruba  (?)  Bahamas  (?)  Colombia  (5,200)

 Costa Rica (3,000)   Cuba (1,500)   Curacao

 El Salvador  (200)   Honduras  Jamaica  (400)

 Mexico  (50,000 - 67,476)  Panama  (11,000)  Suriname   (400)

(Figures in ( ) is the Wikipedia 2014 Jewish population)

LINKS

Chabad-Lubavitch Centers in the Caribbean

Kosher Travel

Totally Jewish Travel

GREATER AND LESSER ANTILLES

WINWARD AND LEEWARD ISLANDS

THE

INCREDIBLE

STORY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE


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