SUASSO

SUASSO, family of bankers originally from Spain with branches in Holland and England in the 17th and 18th centuries. One of its most distinguished members was ANTONIO (ISAAC) LOPEZ SUASSO (second half of the 17th century), who lived in The Hague and was considered one of the wealthiest merchants in Holland. He was also one of the leading shareholders of the West India Company, his investments in 1674 amounting to 107,677 gulden. In recognition of his diplomatic services, King Charles II of Spain granted him an estate in Brabant, together with the title of baron, despite the fact that he was a Jew. An ardent supporter of the House of Orange, Isaac Lopez placed 2,000,000 gulden unconditionally at the disposal of William III when he set out for England in 1688. His son, FRANCISCO (ABRAHAM ISRAEL) LOPEZ, second baron of Avernas de Gras, acted as the trustee for the affairs of Queen Christina of Sweden (1632–54) in Hamburg during the years following her abdication. He married Judith, the daughter of Manuel de Teixeira de Sampaio, and his daughter married Isaac Teixera d'Andrade. His sons were ANTONIO (ISAAC) LOPEZ, who in 1714 married the daughter of Moses Mendes da Costa, the governor of the Bank of England, and ALVARO (JACOB ISRAEL) LOPEZ, who in 1735 became a member of the Royal Society. ANTONIO LOPEZ (1776–1857), great-grandson of the first baron of Avernas de Gras, was born in Amsterdam, and, in accordance with the will of his maternal grandmother, assumed his mother's name, Diaz de Fonseca, and was converted to Christianity. He joined the British army, fought against the French, and in 1829 retired with the rank of captain. His last years were devoted to writing about political and military matters, his most important work being La Politique Dégagée des Illusions Libérales (2 vols., 1838). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J.S. da Silva Rosa, Geschiedenis der Portugeesche Joden te Amsterdam (1925), index; Baron, Social, 2 (1937), 180, 230; 3 (1937), 133; H.I. Bloom, The Economic Activities of the Jews of Amsterdam (1937), index; Brugmans-Frank, 400, 416, 585, 597; A.M. Hyamson, The Sephardim of England (1951), index; H. Kellenbenz, Sephardim an der unteren Elbe (1958), index, s.v. Lopes Suasso; Landa, in: JHSET, 13 (1932–35), 273, 276, 287; C. Roth, ibid., 15 (1939–45), 16f.; Sutherland, ibid., 17 (1951–52), 87; Rubens, ibid., 18 (1953–55), 103, 110.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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