Bernardini - Chapter 23
New Christians as Sugar Cultivators and Traders in the Portuguese Atlantic, 1450-1800
SUGAR SHAPED NEWWORLD SOCIETY in the Portuguese, British, French,
Dutch, and Danish colonies of South America and the Caribbean.
Between 1400 and 1800, sugar, slavery, and plantations were the three key
factors in the Atlantic economy in which Europeans, Americans, Africans,
and Asians of different religious backgrounds entered. Settlers of Jewish
descent, called New Christians, were among the participants who cultivated
and traded this sweet cash crop (see Fig. 23.1).1 This chapter will
demonstrate that New Christians found in sugar cultivation and trade
new opportunities to gain upward social mobility, but that in order to
prosper from their newly acquired status and to avoid Inquisitorial prosecution,
New Christians accommodated socially and religiously to local
society and its mores.