Jewish Tours

Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Virtual Jewish History Tour


By Beth Weiss

The Inquisition

The Converso community prospered enough to be persecuted during the Inquisition. In 1627 Francisco Maldonado de Silva, the director of Santiago's well-respected hospital, San Juan de Dios, was arrested and sent to Lima. During his time in prison he gave spiritual inspiration to many other Conversos and even succeeded to proselytize to Catholics. He was sentenced to death in 1639. Despite the persecution many Conversos continued to live in Chile.

Jews from other countries became interested in the Jewish community in Chile. Simon de Caceres, an ex-Converso based in London, tried get permission from Oliver Cromwell to lead a military contingent of Jews to conquer uninhabited lands in Chile in 1656.

The persecution of Conversos ceased when the country gained formal independence from Spain in 1818.

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