Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Jewish Descent of Hispanics

Spain had a large Jewish community from ancient times until the 15th century. At one point there were more Jews living in Spain than there had ever been in Israel. From The Jerusalem Post:
There has long been speculation of significant Jewish ancestry among the populations of Latin and North America and Europe. Much of that was consistent with historical data, in that we know that extremely large numbers of those Jews who had been forcibly converted in Spain and Portugal – referred to variously as Anousim, Marranos, Conversos and Crypto-Jews – fled the Iberian Peninsula to the New World during the Age of Discovery, beginning late in the 15th century.

Throughout the years, many tried to place a number on the descendants of these Jews, the progeny of a couple of hundred thousand who were forced to the baptismal font to regain kidnapped children held hostage or as a result of repressive legislation and oppression.

Now, unprecedented genetic research undertaken by dozens of professors from around the world has provided evidence that almost a quarter of Latinos and Hispanics have significant Jewish DNA. The study, published in Nature Communications in December 2018, revealed that the number of descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities is far higher than even the largest estimates previously suggested. The last official approximation of the number of people in Latin America, conducted by the United Nations in 2016, resulted in a figure of over 650 million. Add to that assessment the 60 million or so Latinos and Hispanics in the U.S., as well as the data from earlier genetic research showing that around 20% of the current population of 60 million people in the Iberian Peninsula have Jewish ancestry and the statistic becomes staggering. There could be as many as 200 million descendants of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities around the world today. (Read more.)

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