A new book released by Tony Martin which provides a comprehensive treatment of Caribbean history. Currently available only through Amazon.com.
Jews and Slavery in the Caribbean and South America
Nine out of ten captured Africans were shipped to Brazil. Jewish scholar Dr. Arnold Wiznitzer described the early Jewish presence: “[Jews] dominated the slave trade ... The buyers … at the auctions were almost always Jews, and because of this lack of competitors they could buy slaves at low prices.”
According to Jewish scholar Dr. Harold Brackman, during the 1600s “slave trading in Brazil became a ‘Jewish' mercantile specialty in much the same way it had been in early medieval Europe.” In fact, wrote Jewish scholar Jonathan Schorsch, “Jewish merchants routinely possessed enormous numbers of slaves temporarily before selling them off.” If a slave auction fell on a Jewish holiday it was postponed due to lack of buyers and sellers!
The Jewish Encyclopedia adds that “Jewish commercial activity” in this time included a “monopoly of the slave trade.” Jewish traders bought Africans in lots from the Trans-Atlantic shippers and retailed them to inland plantation owners.
The Jews of Surinam gave their slave plantations Hebrew names such as Machanayim, Nachamu, and Goshen. According to Dr. Marcus Arkin, they used “many thousands” of Black slaves. Rabbi Herbert I. Bloom added that the “slave trade was one of the most important Jewish activities ...” In 1694, Jews owned 9,000 Africans, and by 1791 there were 100 “Jewish mulattoes” in Surinam—the result of the rape of African women by their Jewish enslavers.
The prominent Jewish historian Dr. Cecil Roth wrote that the slave revolts in parts of South America “were largely directed against [Jews], as being the greatest slave-holders of the region.” Jews set up militias with the sole purpose of fighting the Black Maroons, the escaped Africans who were fighting to free their enslaved brethren.
The first Hebrew poem written in the New World was an attack on the Black Maroon leader. The Jewish militias murdered the Maroons and cut off their hands to award as trophies.
The Jews of Barbados, wrote one Jewish scholar, “made a good deal of their money by purchasing and hiring out negroes ...”
All Barbadian Jews—including the rabbi—owned Black slaves. Jews warehoused so many African slaves in Barbados that authorities moved to limit the number of captives they could possess. Jews became the major traders in “refuse slaves”—Africans who were weak and sick from the Middle Passage voyage. Jewish traders “fattened them up” and sold them at a profit.
A major Jewish shipper from France had a monopoly on trade to the notorious slave dungeon at Gorée Island—the Auschwitz of the Black Holocaust. Sugar fueled and expanded the slave trade, and according to Jewish scholars, Jews “acquired large sugarcane plantations and became the leading entrepreneurs in the sugar trade.”
Jewish scholars Isaac and Susan Emmanuel reported that in Curacao, which was a major slave-trading depot, “the shipping business was mainly a Jewish enterprise.”