Vinhais is the seat of small municipality of 35 parishes and 10000 people spread over 700 km² in Alto Tras-os-Montes, Portugal. The municipality is bordered by Spain to the north and west (see map of Portugal and Western Spain).   Villaflor is 100km to the south (but still north of the Duoro River). It is now known locally as the olive oil capital of Portugal. This town around 1600 was central to the lives of the Baruch Lousadas and associated families who lived there as New Christians.

 

Before our ancestors were in Villaflor around 1606, they appear to have been in the town of Vinhais in 1590. For from the latter town came Amador de Lousada, a shoemaker, who was aged 50 when arrested in 1590 by the Coimbra Inquisition and he was then sentenced in 1591 to perpetual penitence (ref 180 - see transcript which gives Amador's parents and siblings). Edgar Samuel by email 2 Mar 2016 stated his strong suspicion that Amador de Lousada was a direct ancestor. Amador de Lousada was baptised at the church of Sao Fagundo in Vinhais around the date of his birth in 1540, though his father Pedro must have lived for a time in one of the Lousada villages in order to have acquired the surname he did. Perhaps his father was born in Spain and was a young child upon arriving in Portugal in late 1492 or early 1493. A chart of the family as revealed in ref 180 can be found here.

Probably because of the growing pressure from the Portuguese Inquisition - as shown by the trial of Amador de Lousada and the leads for further enquiry it produced - our ancestors moved quite a distance to Villaflor, but perhaps this was not far enough from the gaze of the Portuguese Inquisition. After a decade or so they dispersed - with associated families - to diverse locations in Portugal, Spain including Seville and Madrid, Bordeaux and Southwest France, Antwerp, Amsterdam and Hamburg.