Merchant of venice

Jews in England 1501-1600

  • Period: Jan 1, 1500 to Jan 1, 1550

    Jews Flee To England from Spain and Portugal

    After Spanish inquisitions begin at the end of the 15th century and Jews are forced out of Spain, many fled to England in hopes of hiding there even though Judaism was still outlawed
    After split from Catholic church, religious differences were more tolerated and it was easier for Jews to get in as long as they converted
  • Period: Jan 1, 1501 to

    Jews in Hiding

    Due to the fact that Judaism was banned in England at the time, any jews who were still practicing did so in secret
    They met in private homes and “underground” synagogues
    Life was hard, there was still a lot of anti-semitism, especially concerning Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice

    They received a lot of blame for major events that went wrong
  • Jan 1, 1512

    House of Mendes

    House of Mendes
    Established an English branch and became entrusted with the loan transactions of the English treasury.
    Used its vast empire to sneak Jews out of Portugal and Spain and into Muslim countries and England.
  • Jan 1, 1532

    Diego Mendes charged with Judaizing

    Head of Antwerp establishment of House of Mendes, Henry VIII personally intervened on his behalf
  • Jan 1, 1532

    First Wave

    First Wave
    Henry VIII had broken with the Catholic Church to marry Anne Boleyn. Safe from arrest, a handful of conversos, primarily traders, arrived on English shores.
  • Jan 1, 1532

    Henry VIII seperates England from Catholic ties

    Henry VIII seperates England from Catholic ties
    Severs ties with Catholic church and Pope, declares himself head of Protestant Church, and Jews originally heavily persecuted by Catholic inquisitions now have more religious freedoms even though they are still banished.
  • Jan 1, 1540

    Second Wave

    Second Wave
    Second wave of conversos joined the first, comprised mainly of musicians from Italy who had been invited to play at King Henry’s court.
  • Jan 1, 1542

    Conversos Arrested

    Conversos Arrested
    Authorities arrested a number of conversos in London following a public uproar over baptized Jews blatantly practicing their former religion.
  • Feb 4, 1542

    Privy Council attacks Jewish Merchant Strangers

    Privy Council attacks Jewish Merchant Strangers
    Orders arrest and sequestration of property of certain Merchant Strangers suspected to be Jews. Fery vew remained in London, mostly Jews who had been settled in London for over 30 years and were no longer considered Merchant Strangers.
  • Period: Jul 19, 1553 to Nov 17, 1558

    Reign of "Bloody" Mary

    Devoutly Catholic
    Heavy persecution of non-Catholics
    Religious freedoms of Jews cut back and forced into hiding and submission again
  • Period: Jan 1, 1560 to

    Elizabethan Era

    Elizabeth becomes queen
    Religious toleration to appease both sects
    Jews allowed to enter country only as Christian converts(Marranos)
    Jews now have more religious freedoms again
    Merchant of Venice published and heavy focus on anti-Semitism
  • Jan 1, 1581

    Joachim Gaunse of Prague accused of heresy

     Joachim Gaunse of Prague accused of heresy
    Professing Jew, invited to England to help oversee and develop mining operations. He was accused of heresy when he denied believing in Christianity, but whether he was punished for this is unknown.
  • Mar 30, 1581

    Papal Bull

    Papal Bull
    Pope Gregory XIII: Issued a Bull banning the use of Jewish doctors. This did not prevent many popes from using Jews as their personal physicians.
  • Converso warns of Spanish Armada

    Converso warns of Spanish Armada
    the Converso Dr. Hector Nunes was lauded as a hero for being the first to warn of the sailing of the Spanish Armada.
  • English Defeat of Spanish Armada

    English Defeat of Spanish Armada
    Spanish armada defeated
    Weakened cause of inquisition
    Flow of “conversos” from Spain and Portugal decreases
  • Anti-Semitic Play

    Anti-Semitic Play
    Christopher Marlowe’s anti-Semitic play, The Jew of Malta, was first performed.
  • Secret Synogogue

    Secret Synogogue
    Synagogue services were held privately in a house owned by Solomon Abenaes. He was then in negotiation with the English court over an Anglo-Turkish alliance against Spain.
  • Roderigo Lopez executed

    Roderigo Lopez executed
    Roderigo Lopez, Queen Elizabeth's physician and a Marrano, was executed after being accused by the Earl of Essex of trying to poison the queen. The Earl, who headed the War Party and was allied with the Portuguese pretender, Dom Antonio, was incensed at Lopez's efforts to establish peace with Spain after the defeat of the Armada. The anti-Semitism raised by the trial is reflected in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.
  • Jewish Wedding almost stopped by Elizabeth

    Jewish Wedding almost stopped by Elizabeth
    The wedding was in Holland, but the bride was on board a English ship and was captured
    Queen Elizabeth, upon seeing the bride, offered to allow her to stay in England, but only if they would convert
    The couple declined and moved to Amsterdam to be married