PERNAMBUCO, BRAZIL – GATEWAY TO NEW YORK
350 YEARS AGO (1654) – A historic journey from
RECIFE, BRAZIL to NEW AMSTERDAM (NEW YORK)
The origins of the first Jewish community of North America
The history of early American Jews is intimately connected with that of Brazilian Jewry. The first organized Jewish community in the Western Hemisphere traced its roots to Recife, Brazil. That community’s existence ended on January 26, 1654, when the Dutch people of Brazil signed a Capitulation agreement that returned the South American territory that they had occupied for nearly 25 years to the Portuguese “Liberation” forces. Between 1645 and 1654, the Jewish population in Brazil declined from a peak of 1,450 to 600 due to the continuous fighting between the Dutch and the Portuguese, the loss of trade, economic adversity, and the impending threat of religious intolerance.