Who Dominated The Slave Trade?
The story of the slaves in America begins with Christopher Columbus. His voyage to America was not financed by Queen Isabella, but by Luis de Santangelo, who advanced the sum of 17,000 ducats (about 5,000 pounds-today equal to 50,000 pounds) to finance the voyage, which began on August 3, 1492.
Columbus was accompanied by five 'maranos' (Jews who had foresworn their religion and supposedly became Catholics), Luis de Torres, interpreter, Marco, the surgeon, Bemal, the physician, Alonzo de la Calle and Gabriel Sanchez.
Gabriel Sanchez, abetted by the other four Jews, sold Columbus on the idea of capturing 500 Indians and selling them as slaves in Seville, Spain, which was done. Columbus did not receive any of the money from the sale of the slaves, but he became the victim of a conspiracy fostered by Bemal, the ship's doctor. He, Columbus, suffered injustice and imprisonment as his reward. Betrayed by the five maranos (Jews) whom he had trusted and helped. This, ironically, was the beginning of slavery in the Americas.
The Jews were expelled from Spain on August 2, 1492, and from Portugal in 1497. Many of these Jews emigrated to Holland, where they set up the Dutch West Indies Company to exploit the new world.
In 1654, the first Jew, Jacob Barsimson, emigrated from Holland to New Amsterdam (New York) and in the next decade many more followed him, settling along the East Coast, principally in New Amsterdam and Newport, Rhode Island. They were prevented by ordinances issued by Governor Peter Stuyvesant from engaging in the domestic economy, so they quickly discovered that the territory inhabited by the Indians would be a fertile field. There were no laws preventing the Jews from trading with the Indians.
The first Jew to begin trading with the Indians was Hayman Levy, who imported cheap glass beads, textiles, earrings, armbands and other cheap adornments from Holland which were traded for valuable fur pelts. Hayman Levy was soon joined by Jews Nicholas Lowe and Joseph Simon. Lowe conceived the idea of trading rum and whiskey to the Indians and set up a distillery in Newport, where these two liquors were produced. Within a short time there were 22 distilleries in Newport, all of them owned by Jews, manufacturing and distributing 'firewater.' The story of the debauching of the Indians with its resultant massacres of the early settlers, is a dramatic story in itself.
It is essential to comprehend the seaport of Newport. It is important in order to recognize the Jewish share in the Slave commerce. There was a period when it was commonly referred to as 'The Jewish Newport- World center of Slave Commerce.' All together, at this time, there were in North America six Jewish communities: Newport, Charleston, New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, and Savanuah. There were also many other Jews, scattered over the entire East Coast. Although New York held first place in the settlers of Jews in North America, Newport held second place.
New York was also the main source of Kosher meat, supplying the North American settlements, then the West Indies and also South America. Now Newport took over! Newport also became the great trade harbour of the East Coast of North America. There, vessels from other ports met, to exchange commodities. Newport, as previously mentioned, represented the foremost place in the commerce of rum, whiskey, and liquor dealings. And to conclude, it finally became the Main Center of Slave dealings. It was from this port that the ships left on their way across the ocean, to gather their black human cargo and then derive great sums of money in exchange for them.
An authentic, contemporary report, based on authority, indicates that of 128 Slave ships, for instance, unloaded in Charleston, within one year, their "Cargo," 120 of these were undersigned by Jews from Newport and Charleston by their own name. About the rest of them, one can surmise, although they were entered as Boston, Norfolk , and Baltimore , their real owners were similarly the Jewish slave dealers from Newport and Charleston.
One is able to assess the Jewish share in the entire dealings of the Newport, if one considers the undertaking of a lone Jew, the Portuguese, Aaron Lopez, who plays an important part in the over-all story of the Jews and Slavery.
Concerning the entire commerce of the Colonies, and the later State of Rhode Island, (which included Newport) bills of lading, concessions, receipts, and port clearances carried the signature name of the Jew Aaron Lopez (3). This all took place during the years 1726 to 1774. He had therefore more than 50% of all dealings under his personal control for almost fifty years. Aside from that there were other ships which he owned, but sailed under other names.
In the year 1749, the first Masonic Lodge was established. Ninety percent of the members of this first lodge, fourteen all told, were Jews. And one knows that...
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