5 de Setembro de 2017.

Judaism in Madeira

A brief exploration of the hidden history of Jewish people on the island of Madeira. For as long as Madeira has existed as a territory under Portuguese control there has been a notable, if hidden, Jewish population living on the island. During the time following the island’s discovery this primarily comprised of Crypto-Jews, who hid their faith publicly due to the ongoing Spanish Inquisition. The city of Funchal was established in 1508, less than 20 years after the Alhambra Decree which ordered all practicing Jews to be expelled from Spain. In this context it is interesting that many Portuguese historians speculate that Zarco, the official discoverer of the island and first captain of Funchal, was himself of Crypto-Jewish ancestry. In […]
10 de Agosto de 2017.

British Experiences of Iberia

Comparing my first experiences of Iberian life to the British soldiers who arrived in 1807. Upon arriving in Madeira I read The British Soldier in the Peninsular War (G. Daly, Hobart, 2013) in order to learn more about the history of the island. I have compared my experiences to the soldiers who occupied Madeira from 1807. The first thing that struck me upon arrival was the temperate weather and dramatic terrain. Lieutenant Sherer of the Cumberland Regiment was similarly taken, describing the wooded mountains of Portugal as ‘enchanting’. However upon entering the cities the initial optimism of the soldiers turned to revulsion; John Douglas wrote home complaining of poor hygiene and disease in Lisbon. While I have not been to […]