The Sephardic Synagogue was consecrated on 5 August in 1675 and still stands today (see note 6 below). This building symbolizes the zenith of the Dutch Sephardim who by 1619 had organized 3 communities but by 1639 they had amalgamated their 3 communities and synagogues (Beth Israel, Neve Shalom, Beth Jacob) into one using the Beth Israel synagogue until the new synagogue was built. No doubt a spur to its completion was the rapid growth of the Ashkenasi community - who only organized their first community in 1635, but then went on to complete their united Synagogue before 1675 and then to outnumber the Sephardim by two to one in 1700 (ref 26 provides a useful depiction of these times). The architect of the Portuguese Synagogue was Elias Bouman, one of the leading Dutch architects of the time. Records exist of the Mahamad (see note 1) and community members (see note 7) in this period, and the large number of charitable activities of the community (see note 8 below). Rembrandt's House Museum is nearby; Rembrandt had Sephardic neighbours and his artistic interest was captured many times by the Amsterdam Sephardic community (his etching of Menasseh ben Isarel can be found via note 6 below and a portrait of Dr Ephraim Bueno can be found here - scroll down). Other artists were interested also - impressions of Jewish cultural events at the Synagogue may be found in ref 223.     This is a heavily romanticized painting by Jacob van Ruisdael c1628-82, arguably the greatest Dutch landscape painter, of the Sephardic cemetery at Oudekerk. It was painted around 1656 and is entitled 'The Jewish Cemetery' and hangs in Dresden. It has an even more romantic sister painting 'The Jewish Cemetery at Oudekerk' which hangs in Detroit. More prosaic views can be obtained via note 6 below. The Oudekerk Cemetery is called Beth Haim (House of Life!), and is about 20 kilometers upriver from Amsterdam. It was established in 1614, and in note 9 below we show where 6 members of the Baruch Lousada family were buried. Many other related people were buried there as well including many from the Den Haag Louzada branch and people related by marriage.

The Sephardic Jews and Amsterdam's Golden Age

The Northern Provinces decisively parted from Spain in 1588, setting the stage for Amsterdam to emerge as the main trading and cultural centre for Sephardic Jews. Many Sephardic families developed their base here and converted to Judaism, but retaining for decades their links with New Christian kinsmen in France and the Iberian world including nearby Antwerp. Their commercial success in turn greatly added to the wealth of Amsterdam. Spain inadvertently helped - the Dutch-Spanish truce of 1609-21 enabled the Amsterdam Jews to greatly increase their Iberian trade (though there was a slump when the truce ended), and then d'Olivares pursued a financial strategy which largely protected wealthy New Christians in Madrid from the Spanish Inquisition during 1626-43 thereby enabling a vast transfer of accumulated wealth to Amsterdam with the New Christian families who fled Madrid after he fell. The 1648 Treaty of Munster finally settled the withdrawal of the Northern Provinces from the Spanish Netherlands, and hugely helped Sephardic merchants sailing under the Dutch flag. Portugal also engaged in self-harm (as suggested in ref 297 p114) - the Portuguese Inquisition so disabled the New Christian merchants of Porto in the 1620s that Amsterdam developed direct links with Brazil, leading to a Dutch foothold there for decades (see notes 7 and 12 below). This hurt Spain more than Portugal in the long run, for Portugal removed the Dutch from Brazil but not before removing itself from union with Spain!

But the fall of Dutch Brazil in 1654 was a catalytic event. Amsterdam played a key role in the sugar trade (see note 3 below) and the strong demand for sugar led to the Dutch Provinces and the Sephardic Jews cooperating in the establishment of replacement sugar-growing colonies. An existing English colony - Barbados - received a boost from this, and new sugar-producing colonies - Surinam, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Domingue, Jamaica - then developed in competition with the Iberian colonies, though sugar was not the only factor at work. Plantation supply and contraband trade with the Iberian colonies added to Jamaica's economic strength, and consolidated Curacao's position. Displaced Brazil Jews experienced in sugar played a major role in this round of colonisation, and were joined by other Jews from Livorno and Amsterdam; while New Christians from France and from Iberia and Iberian colonies also participated and converted.

Amsterdam data (see notes 2, 11 and 13 below) together with ref 5 allowed us to construct a picture of the Baruch Lousada diaspora, and supports the idea that though some of the family was in Livorno when David #44 was born in 1640, after the fall of Dutch Brazil in 1654 there was a virtually simultaneous arrival in Barbados (first Aaron #376, then David #44 who was replaced by Abraham #45 later of London with a presence in Amsterdam), London (Moses #46 and Jacob #1388) and Amsterdam (Isaac #42 and Solomon #1501, and presumably the young Moses #1585, with Jacob #1388 moving from London by 1662 and David #44 later from Barbados by 1672). However, from the same source we know that Moses Baruh Lousada #46 appeared annually in Amsterdam in the period 1649-59 (perhaps visiting from France - see note 10 below). Seemingly during the period of these visits the Amsterdam Jewish community evolved a more or less deliberate response to the deteriorating situation in Dutch Brazil (see note 5 below). Those Baruch Lousadas who appeared in Amsterdam are shown in a special-purpose chart. We show separately their link to the New Christian society which developed in Villaflor (see note 11 below) from which many Amsterdam and London family connections flowed.



1. On Sep 2017 a 1670 document came to light giving the signatures of 266 community members (see note 7 below) - probably part of the preparation for the construction of the Sephardic Synagogue. The members of the 1670 Mahamad are shown here and as can be seen they include an elderly Abraham Israel Pereira #1628 who was the father of Jacob #1765.

2. In May and June 2013, Ton Tielen substantially assisted our grasp of the Amsterdam Jewish archives - in particular by finding proof of another sibling Jacob Baruh Lousada (ref 99). This sibling was probably the Jacob reported as being in London in 1660 with Moses (ref 6). Ton Tielen kindly provided us with data of the taxes paid by the Lousada family to the Jewish community from which it seems Jacob went to Amsterdam in 1662 and was there at the time of the death of his father Isaac in 1667, but Jacob died in Amsterdam in 1681, whereupon David assumed the leading role in the family until his death in 1699. Another possible sibling Solomon emerges, but the tax data as a whole shows that the family did not arrive in Amsterdam until 1662 ie after Moses and Jacob first appeared in London. But as indicated in ref 105, Ton Tielen revisited the tax records, advising that Moses Baruh Lousada was a regular annual visitor to Amsterdam in the 1649-59 period; he may even have been semi-permanent but not yet commercially successful enough to pay the 'finta', though ultimately he was known to have reached London by 1660 and from France (suggesting that he was not living in Amsterdam in the 1649-59 period). Also found was the family's 1699 financial settlement which corrected the long-held grievance of the Barbados branch of the family, and which gives us a snapshot of the family at a time between the 1699 deaths of Moses in London and David in Amsterdam; in doing so it clarified the origins of the current day Louzadas of Leiden and their connection with the English Lousadas. Further details from Amsterdam are discussed in note 7.

3. From ref 117 p73 we learn that the number of sugar refineries in Amsterdam was 25 in 1620 and 60 in 1660. This illustrates the growth in sugar demand and also why in 1654 when the Dutch were ejected from Brazil there was such a need to establish replacement supplies of sugar from new plantations. This led, in a complex way via failed colonisation ventures in Cayenne, Pomeroon and Tobago, to the (Jewish) success of Surinam. A financier of the later Amsterdam sugar refineries was Abraham Israel Pereira #1628, formerly known as Tomas Rodrigues Pereira about whom much was known (ref 23 p174, ref 59, ref 26, and ref 123) and our work uncovered new information (see note 11 below). Pereira appears to have reached Amsterdam by 1645 and there is a report of him in 1655 requesting permission to build a sugar refinery with his brother Isaac #1895 (see note 4 below). Pereira was born in Villaflor in 1606, married in Madrid in 1628, was a Mahamad member in 1670 (see note 1) and died in Amsterdam on 30 Oct 1674 (ref 144).

4. This refinery was onsold to a Dutchman in 1664 for 45,000 guilders (ref 143 p84). Some Delftware gallery notes provide some interesting detail on the Pereira refinery, though the 1664 sale date seems to have been misinterpreted for it was the refinery itself that seems to have been sold in 1664. The 1659 date on the Delftware suggests that was the year of production commencing! For more detail see ref 297 especially p154 and on p104 it is noted that Raphael Montezinos a merchant of Venice was employed in the Pereira refinery! There is no reason to think he was the same Raphael who was the father of Rebecca Montezinos of Livorno! But the Pereiras were related to the Baruch Lousadas - see note 11 below.

5. The end was likely well before 1654 with some Dutch territory already having been lost due to an earlier revolt of Portuguese planters.

6. John Bury visited Amsterdam in March 2012 and provided a pictorial diary (PDF, 6MB) of his visit; views of the interior can be found in it and also here, and views of the Oudekerk cemetery can also be found in it. The diary also contains an image of Rembrandt's portrait of Menasseh ben Israel. He also collected some marriage data relevant to our understanding of the Amsterdam/Barbados Lousadas. Edgar Samuel updated this data, confirming who were the (step-)parents of Moses Baruh Lousada #46 and his Barbados Lousada siblings as partially enumerated by Wilfred Samuel (ref 5). Julian Land visited the Portuguese Synagogue with Ton Tielen (see note 2 above) in Sep 2013 and the results can be found here. Later we became familiar with the online Amsterdam Jewish records for Jewish deaths and marriages, while the marriage banns and the vast notary records became progressively more acessible.

7. A list of the signatories of the 1639 Code of Ascamoth for Amsterdam is given here (thanks to Ton Tielen) whilst a 1648 list of Recife community members is given here. As Ton Tielen pointed out there are names in common, but then after the 1654 exit, many Recife Jews appeared in Amsterdam. On 26 Sep 2017 Ton Tielen communicated his transcribed signatures of the 266 community members who signed the 1670 document identified in ref 220. This contains the signatures of Jacob Baruch Lousada d1681 #1388, and Isaac Louzada 1645-1714 #50 one of the Den Haag Louzadas. Isaac #50 was the father of Sarah #1790, the last wife of Jacob Israel Pereira #1765.

8. David Baruch Lousada #44 was perhaps typical of the way community members supported charitable activities - in his case Dotar, Aby Yetomin, and Terra Santa and his son Isaac and grandson David to a lesser extent emulated him. On 12 Aug 2018 Ton Tielen communicated fascinating details of how the community assisted poor Sephardim migrate throughout the diaspora. See also ref 236 for a list of poor Jews going to Gibraltar and North Africa with Mahamad assistance.

9. Guidance as to how to see a plan of the burial plots may be found here where details of the specific location of 7 family and other interesting graves may also be found.

10. From where he came to England as noted here. Rouen appears to have been his abode at least for a period around 1649 (see ref 201).

11. A key Amsterdam document for us was the will (ref 141) of Jacob Israel Pereira #1765. This will reveals a close relationship with the Baruch Lousadas and in particular shows that Jacob's father Abraham Israel Pereira (see note 3) and Abraham #45 were cousins germain. We then pursued research in Spain and Portugal to identify the parents of Abraham Israel Pereira. Fernando Gonzalez del Campo Roman thereby broke new ground by finding the details of the birth, parents (Beatriz Geronima and Antonio Rodrigues Pereira) and Madrid years of Abraham Israel Pereira. Ultimately we were able to reveal a grouping of Villaflor and related families who were in Madrid in the 1610-30 period. The identification of Luna the wife of Isaac #42 as a sister of Beatriz Geronima is our hypothesis

12. For the (now vanished) first synagogue in Brazil see ref 302.

13. Synagogue marriage data and Beth Haim burial data may be found in the DutchJewry databases (see ref 312).