In 826 BCE (before the common era) King Solomon finished the construction of the temple in Jerusalem. Seeing the greatness of the temple and understanding that in order to keep it so, it was going to take a good amount of finances. In the Book of I Kings, it says he creates a fleet of ships to open a trade route with what was then known as Tarshish. Tarshish was the west coast area of a pennisula that was empty, uninhabited, a type of early Las Vegas, full of gold and silver and in the middle of nowhere. He made that trade route quite famous and became very wealthy because of it. Eventually, Jerusalem was invaded by Babylon and murder and destruction followed. Those original inhabitants of Jerusalem were known as Sefardic Jews and were no match against the power and might of the Babylonian empire which was the power of the earth at the time.So many began to flee to Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Turkey and Salonika Greece. But the great majority continued on to that peninsula they knew as Tarshish. Once there, they saw it was plush and fertile and decided to make it their home calling it "Sefarad". Sefer means book in Hebrew, not the type with pages as we know today but the kind written on a scroll. The first 5 books of the bible are written on one scroll and that scroll is known as "Sefer Torah". Sefaradi is Hebrew for Sefardic and means "the people of the book" (the Torah). Sefarad is Hebrew and means "the place of the people of the book". The Babylonians continued their onslaught and captured all the inhabitants of Israel and brought them into captivity in Babylon for 70 years. While all of Israel was in enslaved in captivity, the Sefaradi were living freely as Jews in Tarshish, continuing in the covenant of Avraham, Yitzak and Ya'acov and following the teachings of Moshe in the Torah. Once the 70 year period was over in Babylon, Israel was free to leave but there was no Israel to go to...The Temple along with Jerusalem had been destroyed and all of Israel was in desolation. So they decided to disperse. But before dispersing, they looked at Sefarad and saw that the Sefaradi had remained "Jewish" continuing in the ways of the forefathers abd decided to give that place Sefarad a loving "knickname", they called it "Iveria". Ivri means "Hebrew". Iveria means "the place if the Hebrews".As the centuries passed, the peninsula known originally as Tarshish was now known as both Sefarad and Iveria until Iveria became "Iberia"...the "Iberian" peninsula...Spain! The original inhabitants of Spain were the Sefardic Jews and they were the ones who owned everything, all the businesses, the banks, etc.. It came to the point where the king and queen of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabela, had been trying to convince the Sefaradi to become a part of the "Mother Church" with no success. So they hired a Spanish Monk named "Torquemada" to see if he might be able to devise a way to convince the Jews to be part of the mother church. And he did...he invented the "Spanish Inquisition". From 1482 to 1492 they were torturing and killing the Sefaradi. .Many converted under the great strain of persecution in order to save the lives of their loved ones. In 1492 Cristobal Colon, approached the queen of Spain with a great problem. He said that he could find no one to go on the great voyage that was planned on the 3 ships Spain had commissioned because everyone thought the world was "flat". So, she gave him the keys to the dungeons and said he could have all the "criminals" he wanted to take on the voyage. Those "criminals" were the "criminals of the state"...the Sefardic Jews they had been persecuting for 10 years! Colon fills the ship with as many as he could take while the rest are fleeing for their lives due to the fact that when the queen gave Colon those keys, her husband the king signed a proclomation that "all" the Jews had to now leave Spain!Colon (Columbus) fills the ships with as many Sefardic Jews as he can. The great majority went running to Portugal who were welcomed with open arms by he king...who 6 months later placed them all in slavery! Colon sets sail and arrives on an island in the Caribbean which the Spaniards named "Hispaniola". Today we know this island as "the Dominican Republic". And as a result of Colon's continued voyages, the Sefaradi were able to settle in various places that tiday we know as Cuba, Puerto Rico and the entire Caribbean as well as "all" of Latin America and Mexico. In fact the very first Jews to arrive in America and founded the very first Synagogue were the Sefardic Jews from Portugal...and is today still functioning as a Synagogue and is the oldest Synagogue in the United States. There is much more to this amazing story in history. We invite you to visit our list of almost 6,000 Surnames which are either Latino, Brazilian and many that are even Italian and are "all" 100% pure Sefardic. Which means that even if only one of your family surnames are on that list, you are a descendant of Sefardic Jews from Spain...which means that you have the blood of Ya'acov/Jacob/Israel in your veins! That is a very great honor. Let us know what you find. Shalom.
Machado Joseph Disease
Sefardic DNA Project
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