Liv­ing in Sil­ver­a­do: Secret Jews in the Sil­ver Min­ing Towns of Colo­nial Mexico

David M. Gitlitz

  • From the Publisher
January 1, 2013

In this thor­ough­ly researched work, David M. Gitlitz traces the lives and for­tunes of three clus­ters of six­teenth-cen­tu­ry cryp­to-Jews in Mex­i­co’s sil­ver min­ing towns. Pre­vi­ous stud­ies of six­teenth-cen­tu­ry Mex­i­can cryp­to-Jews focus on the mer­chant com­mu­ni­ty cen­tered in Mex­i­co City, but here Gitlitz looks beyond Mex­i­co’s major pop­u­la­tion cen­ter to explore how clan­des­tine reli­gious com­mu­ni­ties were estab­lished in the reales, the hin­ter­land min­ing camps, and how they dif­fered from those of the cap­i­tal in their strug­gles to retain their Jew­ish iden­ti­ty in a world dom­i­nat­ed eco­nom­i­cal­ly by sil­ver and reli­gious­ly by the Catholic Church.

In Liv­ing in Sil­ver­a­do Gitlitz paints an unusu­al­ly vivid por­trait of the lives of Mex­i­co’s ear­ly set­tlers. Unlike tra­di­tion­al schol­ar­ship that has focused main­ly on macro issues of the sil­ver boom, Gitlitz close­ly ana­lyzes the com­plex work­ings of the hacien­das that mined and refined sil­ver, and in doing so he pro­vides a won­der­ful­ly detailed sense of the dai­ly expe­ri­ences of Mex­i­co’s ear­ly secret Jews.

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