CARVAJAL, ABRAHAM ISRAEL

CARVAJAL, ABRAHAM ISRAEL (born Antonio Fernandez, 1590–1659), founder of the London Jewish community. Carvajal, who was born into a Marrano family in Fundão, Portugal, settled as a merchant in the Canary Islands and later in Rouen. When the Rouen Marrano colony was temporarily disbanded in 1632–33, Carvajal moved to London and engaged in large-scale trade with the East and West Indies. He owned his own ships and served as grain contractor for the parliamentary forces during the Civil War. His foreign connections enabled him to participate in organizing an information service abroad for oliver cromwell . He was head of the crypto-Jewish community at the time that manasseh ben israel undertook his mission to request the readmission of the Jews to England. Jewish services were apparently held in his house. In March 1655–66 Carvajal was one of the signatories under his Jewish name to the petition to Cromwell asking for freedom of worship. In the following year, Carvajal and simon de caceres leased the ground for the original congregational cemetery. Samuel Pepys attended the memorial service for Carvajal in 1659, when the bells of the parish church were tolled. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: L. Wolf, Jews in the Canary Islands (1926), index; Wolf, in JHSET, 2 (1894–95), 14–46; 10 (1921–23), 228ff.; Roth, England, 159ff.; Stokes, in: JHSEM, 1 (1925), 18–20; Samuel, ibid., 2 (1935), 24–29; 3 (1937) 47–50. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Katz, England, 133–35; ODNB online. (Cecil Roth)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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