Jamaica - 3rd largest island in the Caribbean and long-term Jewish haven; the Spanish effectively ignored the religious insincerity of the New Christians before 1655. Crypto-Jews were present from the days when Christopher Columbus and his family held the island (ref 6 suggests Columbus encouraged their presence as did his in-laws from the House of Braganza). After 1655 Jews were officially welcome though not greeted with much enthusiasm by local merchants who could not match their strong network of overseas associates and their knowledge of Portuguese and Spanish. Jamaica's sugar production surpassed that of Barbados in the 1720s though its sugar production was eventually exceeded by that of Cuba and Hispaniola.   Watercolour painted around 1800 by John Henry Schroeter of the Richmond sugar estates in the Parish of Saint Ann, Jamaica. These were based on a Charles 2 land grant to a John Shelton in 1674, sold in 1784 to major creditor Emanuel Baruh Lousada, a Jewish merchant of Kingston, who onsold them to Jacob Israel Bernal in 1788. The Jewish merchants were thus able to use their financial resources to gain from the fluctuations in the sugar markets. Emanuel was a grandson of one of the pioneering Baruh Lousada brothers of Jamaica, and became something of a legal authority. His descendants inter-married with the (closely) related Baruh Lousadas of England.

 

Jamaica was taken by England from Spain in 1655, but the conquest was somewhat unconvincing. English occupancy proved a messy affair and the slaves released by the departing Spanish settlers proved troublesome. In the end though, Jamaica became an economic success - in ref 117 can be found an extremely lucid account of the 3 components from which Jamaican economic surge was constructed - the enormously profitable contraband trade with the Spanish colonies in which the merchants received valuable consideration in the form of bullion, dyestuffs, exotic but fashionable foods and food additives; the growing sugar plantation business; and the profitable ancillary business of plantation financing and supply, shipping, insurance and sugar sales. This drew Jewish merchants from all over the Atlantic. An account of how some planters relocated from Barbados to Jamaica in the late 1600s can be found in ref 129, which also describes the impact of the buccaneers who were invited in for defensive purposes and who provided a stream of pirated goods. Some of the New Christians in Jamaica in 1655 stayed on, having assisted the English with information and benefited from the goodwill of Cromwell and then Charles 2 both of whom recognized the importance of the Jews to English trade. Some of the Jamaican New Christians may have left for the nearby colonies of Cuba and Hispaniola only to return once English intentions became clear. Naturally, since these intentions were favourable the Jamaican New Christians - existing and new arrivals - reverted to Judaism as fast as they could without imperilling obvious relatives in Catholic countries. From the existing New Christians of Jamaica no doubt came the Lousada ancestors reported elsewhere to have been in Jamaica for 'many generations' before 1655 - the identity of these ancestors is not established but clues seem to reside in the Lamego family history.

Despite its uncertain beginning from the English viewpoint, Jamaica became a key stepping stone in the history of the English Baruh Lousadas, for it is from there that they made their successful (second) passage to England. We have concurred with some of the authorities on a crucial point here - that Jacob #380 and Emanuel #41 came to Jamaica from Barbados (see note 4 below). We have formed no hypotheses as to exactly what linkages led to their move to Jamaica (but see note 3 below). In Jamaica, Jacob #380 and Emanuel #41 married Lamegos (respectively Abigail the elder and Esther) and had 5 children each. Emanuel's son Jacob #36 married Abigail Lamego the younger in Bevis Marks in 1743. The main English family branch was headed by Jacob #36. A special-purpose chart of the Jamaican Baruh Lousadas can be found by clicking here. Emanuel #135 married his cousin Esther, daughter of Jacob #36, in 1763. They were the parents of Isaac the 1st Lousada Duke - who in 1807 married his second cousin Lydia (formerly Leah) whose grandfather Jacob #36 was the brother of his grandfather Aaron #125. A marriage between first cousins took place in 1836 when Lydia's nephew Isaac #68 married Sarah her daughter and this couple lived for a time at Sidmouth, the coastal town where Emanuel #87 (a son of Jacob #36) established Peak House. Emanuel's first son Aaron #125 (see note 1 below) was born in 1706, married Rachel Mendes da Costa 1720-89, was an executor of the will of Isaac Mendes da Costa #1337 (his brother-in-law) that received probate in 1766, and he died in 1768 (ref 89). He is mentioned in his brother Jacob's will (probate 1752). He is not mentioned in Aaron Lamego's will (probate 1747) as are his siblings Jacob, Rebecca, Abigail and Rachel (see also note 2 below). This omission probably meant that Aaron #125 inherited the business of Aaron Lamego - perhaps together with his brother-in-law Isaac Lamego - and needed no further benefit in the will.

Aaron #125 of Jamaica became an extremely wealthy plantation financier presumably building upon the inherited Lamego business. His son Emanuel #135 continued on these lines, but then owned for a time the Richmond sugar estates (see picture above and the further notes on it). The Carlisle and Banks estates also came into Lousada hands and were there at the time of abolition of slavery in 1834 (see note 5 below). Carlisle was in the Parish of Vere and Banks in the part of the Parish of St Ann (which is now part of Clarendon (the remainder of Vere is in Manchester).

Notes:

1. Aaron bore the name of both his paternal and maternal grandfathers. A similar comment can be made about Aaron #1174 the only known son of Jacob #380.The will of Esther Baruh Lousada #386 makes it clear that Aaron #125 is the son of Esther Lamego.

2. There is a related question as why the 5 children of Emanuel #41 are not mentioned in the will of their cousins Aaron #1174 (who died in 1768) and Leah #385 (who died in 1765), children of Jacob #380. This might suggest that Emanuel #41 and Jacob #380 were not brothers. Cousins however were not always mentioned in wills if there was separation and lack of knowledge as to whether the person was still alive. This was a real issue here as all of the 4 siblings of Aaron #125 were probably dead by 1765 - certainly Jacob #36 in 1752, Rachel in 1754, Abigail in 1745 while Rebecca seemed to have no children after 1749 (though appeared in Jacob's will which was proven in 1752) - and perhaps it would have been natural to assume that Aaron #125 was dead as well. This assumption would not have been far wrong, for these 2 Aarons died in the same year - 1768 - as did their cousin Aaron #714 of Barbados!

3. Perhaps a clue lies in their mother's name of (Rachel) Gomez Henriques which suggests early Lamego ancestry, and in any case there was an indirect link between the Baruch Lousadas and the Rouen Lamegos via the Levi Montezinos family. The Curiel/Acosta in-laws of the Lamegos were present in both Barbados and Jamaica and may have provided an additional link, as they may also have provided a link which drew Aaron Lamego to Jamaica from Bordeaux or Rouen a generation earlier. However Hannah and Esther, sisters of Jacob and Emanuel, lived married lives in Jamaica. Alvin and Touro were their respective married names - names which can be found in Curacao so perhaps the Barbados Baruh Louzadas links with Curacao dating to 1685 if not earlier were also relevant. Her mother's 1703 will shows that Esther married before 1703 and hence before Hannah, and thus Esther may have led her 3 siblings - Jacob, Emanuel and Hannah - to Jamaica.

4. This was probably around 1705. Jacob and Emanuel were the 2 youngest sons of Aaron Baruh Lousada #376 of Barbados and were born there in 1681 and 1682 respectively (ref 5). Jacob appears to have had a first wife Leah in Barbados, but she died in 1702 and there were no offspring recorded in his mother's 1703 will.

5. Some details of the Lousada plantations have emerged from the current (2015) studies of the legacies of British slave ownership (see ref 165).