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Hebrews Of the Caribbean

January 17, 2013 Long before Wall Street, Jews were prominent in the field of piracy !ichard Sinai reminisces about his home town of "ew #rleans, $anti%Semitism$ and its connection to Jewish piracy by R. Sinai ( As a child growing up in "ew #rleans, & was always aware of that our city had a uni'ue, colorful, and (iolent past )efore "ew #rleans was an *merican city, it flew under +rench,Spanish , and in 1,02 the Louisiana -urchase too. place & lo(ed listening to stories of what life was li.e before tele(ision,radios, and the internet /y mother and father were the children of first generation !ussian Jewish immigrants /y 0randmother said that the family had left for *merica because of the pogroms & hadn1t yet understood why the Jews were always being harassed &t was in grade school when & first heard the word $Jew$ used as a (erb, and then came the crushing $2hrist% .iller$ & wondered why this was & .new & was different from the other .ids, & was a $.i.e$ & spo.e to other Jews and they e3plained that $Jews$ were hated because we were .nown as the 2hosen -eople and that people were 4ealous, because Jews were smarter than other ethnicity & didn1t belie(e it *fter all% e(ery other !eligion or cult claims to be fa(ored by 0od &1(e .nown a lot of Jews and some of them did not stri.e me as 1intelligent1 5hese e3cuses made no sense to me, so & began to search out the truth !"S #$R%!& 'RO( S#A)* &n 1672 , when Jews were e3pelled from Spain, many decided to cross the border into -ortugal *fter 8 years -ortugal also decided to e3pel its Jews 5rade routes with the 2aribbean were beginning to flourish, /any Jews got in(ol(ed in the thri(ing trade with the 2aribbean #thers chose to remain behind in 9urope, where they migrated to :olland When 2hristoper 2olumbus made his first (oyage to the "ew World, he was purported to ha(e 8 Jews on the manifest; /arco surgeon )ernal, physician< *lon=o de la 2alle, bursar 0abriel Sanche= the 5reasurer of *ragon Luis de 5orres, the ship interpreter 5orres was the first man ashore, the first to disco(er the use of tobacco 9(entually he mo(ed to 2uba and is the father of the Jewish%controlled tobacco business as it e3ists today 5:9 5!&*"0>L*! 5!*?9 *aron Lope=, a Jewish merchant, and shipowner, was one of the wealthiest men in the

new nation of *merica :is ships sailed from !hode &sland to 2uracao, )arbados, and Surinam in the 2aribbean 5hese Jewish merchants operated a 1triangular trade1 Sla(es were ta.en from *frica to the West &ndies and were traded for molasses 5he molasses was shipped to the 2olonies @"ewport, 2harleston, Sa(annahA and con(erted to rum 5he rum and manufactured goods were shipped bac. to *frica &n Surinam alone, there were nearly 100 Jewish families by 1700 5hey owned more than 60 estates and 7,000 sla(es )y 1730, Jews owned 118 plantations and dominated the sugar e3port business which sent out 21,B,0,000 pounds of sugar to 9uropean and "ew World mar.ets annually O+ ,A+- #)RA.!S 5he most infamous and feared Jewish pirate predated the 2aribbean and plundered the )arbary2oast @"orth *frica A :e was Sinan $the 0reat Jew,$@d 186BA !edbeard1s second in command Sinan was such a s.illed na(igator that he was belie(ed to be a practitioner of the )lac. *rts :e successfully led B,000 troops against the Spanish fortress at 5ripoli, Libya :e $put the garrison %%all sa(e a few %% in chains, and carried them off to grace his triumph $

*nother lesser .nown, but nonetheless daring pirate, was /oses 2ohen :enri'ues &n 1B2,, :enri'ues 4oined forces with *dmiral -iet :ein who was with the ?utch West &ndies 2o 5he duo was able to pull off a gold and sil(er heist from the Spanish "a(y 9mboldened by the raid, :enri'ues and :ein continued raiding Spanish ships off the 2uban coast 5hey successfully relie(ed the Spaniards of the 0old and Sil(er that was bound for the "ew World * short time after, :enri'ues led a Jewish contingent to )ra=il where he established his own pirate island /oses also became an ad(isor to :enry /organ, arguably one of the most famous pirates of all time /oses :enri'ues managed to e(ade capture throughout his e3ploits and was ne(er held to answer for his crimes !A* /A')..! Jean Lafitte1s family name was was Lefitto 5he Lefitto family li(ed in the &berian -eninsula for generations Jean and brother -ierre were born in -ort%*u%-rince, Saint ?omingue and raised by their Sephardic Jewish grandmother ?uring the "apoleonic period, Lafitte relocated to +rench Santo ?omingo until a sla(e rebellion forced him to flee to "ew #rleans Jean and his brother -ierre sailed the 0ulf of /e3ico and learned to na(igate the ma=e of waterways 4ust below the city of "ew #rleans 9(entually, he became a pirate, but he always called himself a pri(ateer because that label has a more legal ring to it :e carried a letter from 2artagena, @.nown today as 2olombiaA authori=ing Lafitte and his buccaneers @.nown as the )aratarians because of the area where they operatedA to

capture Spanish ships and ta.e any goods and sla(es on board :owe(er, the $2artagena Letter$ was not recogni=ed by the >nited States, and Lafitte and his 1,000 followers were not welcome in the >nited States &n 1,18, Lafitte warned the *merican forces that the )ritish would attac. from the 0ulf of /e3ico :e .new this because he had been approached by the )ritish first *ndrew Jac.son accepted Lafitte1s help ?espite o(erwhelming manpower on the )ritish side, the ragtag irregular army of 0eneral Jac.son was (ictorious 0eneral Jac.son saw that Lafitte was pardoned for his acts of piracy, and made his family > S 2iti=ens +or all of his heroics or (illainy, he is re(ered to this day as an *merican hero