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History of the Jews in Mexico

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The history of the Jews in Mexico began in 1519 with the arrival of Conversos, often called Marranos or "Crypto-Jews", referring to those Jews forcibly converted to Catholicism and that then became subject to the Spanish Inquisition.

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Mexican Jews
judíos mexicanos
יהודים מקסיקניים
Map of Jewish population by state in 2010
Total population
67,476 self-identified Jews[1] (2010 census)
Regions with significant populations
Mexico City Metropolitan Area
Mexican Spanish, Hebrew, Yiddish, Judaeo-Spanish
Related ethnic groups
Jewish diaspora, Israeli diaspora

During the period of the Viceroyalty of New Spain (1521–1821), a number of Jews came to Mexico, especially during the period of the Iberian Union (1580–1640), when Spain and Portugal were ruled by the same monarch. That political circumstance allowed freer movement by Portuguese crypto-Jewish merchants into Spanish America. When the Portuguese regained their independence from Spain in 1640, Portuguese merchants in New Spain were prosecuted by the Mexican Inquisition. When the monopoly of the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico was replaced with religious toleration during the nineteenth-century Liberal reform, Jews could openly immigrate to Mexico. They came from Europe and later from the crumbling Ottoman Empire, including Syria, until the first half of the 20th century.

Today, most Jews in Mexico are descendants of this immigration and still divided by diasporic origin, principally Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazim and Judaeo-Spanish-speaking Sephardim. It is an insular community with its own religious, social and cultural institutions, mostly in Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara. [citation needed]

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