1640 - 1688 FREDERICK WILLIAM (the Great Elector of Prussia) (Germany)
After the 30 years war he reformed economic conditions and broke the hold of the guilds. He encouraged Jews and other foreigners to settle in his lands, and is accredited with building up Prussia as an important power.
C. 1640 - 1717 ABRAHAM BEN SAUL BRODA (Bohemia- Germany)
Bohemian Talmudist and educator. Broda was renowned both for his method of teaching Talmud, and the successful Yeshivot he opened in every city in which he served. He wrote numerous novella on the Talmud including Hiddushei Geonim, Hiddushei Halakot, Shema'ta Hadta, Eshel Abraham and Toledot Abraham.
1641 (22 Tamuz 5478) - 1718 SHABBTAI BEN JOSEPH (BASS) (Kalish - Prague, Bohemia)
Scholar, publisher and printer, he was also fluent on Latin. Known as the father of the Hebrew bibliography, he was the author of Siftei Yeshainim (Lips of the Sleepers) containing over 2000 categorized titles. A biblical commentator and scholar of repute, his Siftei Chachamim ( Lips of the Sages) a concise analysis of Rashi is printed today in most Bibles with commentaries. Shabbtai fought to set up a printing house and finally succeeded in doing so near Breslau. He was jailed numerous times when accused by local Church leaders of printing anti-Christian material. His printing house, founded in 1689, lasted for over 150 years. One of the reasons for his name was the beauty of his voice. He was also known as "The Singer ( Meshorer ), for his part in the choir of the Altneuschul in Prague .
1642 CHAO YING-CHENG (Moses) (China)
Helped rebuild the synagogue after the Yellow River flooded in Kai Fen. He served as a judge, and was appointed military commander of the Chekiang-Fukien circuit in 1650 after putting down groups of bandits. Chao also distinguished himself by establishing schools in the area.
1642 RECIFE, PERNAMBUCO (Brazil)
First Jewish colony where Jews were allowed to live openly as Jews in the New World.
1643 NEW ECONOMIC POLICIES ( Poland)
The Warsaw Diet legislated the rate of profit that can be made on merchandise. Christians 7% foreigners 5% and Jews 3%.
1644 July 25, LOPE DE VERA (Judah the Believer) (Spain)
A brilliant young Christian scholar who was drawn to Judaism by the outrages of the Inquisition. He was arrested in Valladolid for his inclinations toward Judaism. During his five years in prison he resisted all attempts to get him to change his ways. He changed his name to Judah the Believer and even circumcised himself with a bone. On July 25, 1644 he was burned alive for refusing to yield to the Inquisition. He chanted Hebrew prayers during the procession. Even while the flames were burning he was heard reciting the psalm "Unto thee oh Lord do I lift my soul". The Inquisitor Mirezo wrote: "He was the greatest Jewish heretic that I think has been in the church."
1644 September 19, ANTONIO DE MONTEZINOS AKA AARON LEVI
A converso Portuguese traveler, arrived in Amsterdam. Montezinos (1604-1648) persuaded Menasseh Ben Israel (see 1604), that he had found one of the Ten Lost Tribes living in the jungles of the "Quito (Pichincha) Province" of Ecuador . This was the impetus that led him to write Mikveh Israel (1648) published in English as The Hope of Israel (1652) which had a great influence on both the British parliament and public.
1645 June, - 1654 WAR BETWEEN DUTCH BRAZIL AND PORTUGAL
Began led by Portuguese catholic planters and supported by Portugal. During the war many Jews both Sephardi and Ashkenazi fought on the side of the Dutch. In one case 13 Jewish soldiers were hung and their Jewish captain burned alive by the Portuguese. Approximately 1450 Jews lived in Brazil in 1645, by 1654 less than half remained.
1647-1648 PRIVATEERING AGAINST PORTUGAL
Due to the Anglo-Dutch War of 1652 54, the Netherlands did not have a fleet to spare for the war against Portugal in Brazil. The Zeelanders (a Netherland Provence) backed by the Jewish community organized a massive privateer campaign against Portuguese shipping. Though initially very successful (220 ships captured or sunk), the Portuguese began to send heavily armed escorts to protect their ships which lessened their effect.
1646 - 1719 GLUCKEL OF HAMELIN (Germany)
A businesswoman, she was noted for her memoirs of Eastern Europe. She was one of the very few autobiographers of her day, and her writings provide an invaluable picture of everyday life in her time.
1647 - 1648 PRIVATEERING AGAINST PORTUGAL
Due to the Anglo-Dutch War of 1652 54, the Netherlands did not have a fleet to spare for the war against Portugal in Brazil. The Zeelanders (a Netherlands Provence) backed by the Jewish community organized a massive privateer campaign against Portuguese shipping. Though initially very successful (220 ships captured or sunk), the Portuguese began to send heavily armed escorts to protect their ships which lessened their effect.
1647 SIMON DE CACRES ( Barbados)
Arrived with his brother Benjamin, from Amsterdam. They received permission from Oliver Cromwell to trade in October 1653. De Cacres was one of the signers of Menasseh ben Israel's petition to allow Jews into England. Together with Carvajal they purchased the first Jewish burial ground at mile end. Cromwell used Cacres for updates on political intelligence. In one of his more daring plans, he proposed to Cromwell that he organize a Jewish army to conquer Chile from the Spanish. It was not acted upon.
1647 December 15, ISAAC DE CASTRO TARTAS (Portugal)
Was burned at the stake in Lisbon. Originally born in France, where his parents had found refuge, he decided to travel to Bahia which was under Portuguese control. There he was arrested for ‘judaizing’ and sent to Lisbon for trial. Although a Dutch citizen, he was condemned when he steadfastly refused to accept Christianity. While being burned alive, he cried out the words of Shemah Yisrael... (Here oh Israel...) with such fervor and inner calm, that the local witnesses repeated the words to their friends. The inquisition became so obsessed with this that it banned Christians from repeating the words of Shema. He was twenty-one years old.
1648 TREATY OF WESTPHALIA (France)
Victory for the Protestants. France annexed Alsace and Lorraine. This region, with its many Jews, became part within a France that was still known for its lack of toleration.
1648 DIEGO TEIXEIRA (ABRAHAM SENIOR) (Portugal-Germany)
A former Spanish diplomat, he decided after moving to Hamburg to return to Judaism and had himself and his sons circumcised. Despite a vicious denunciation by the Viennese court, the Hamburg senate refused to confiscate his property and wealth. Teixeira founded the international banking house that became known as Teixeira de Mattos. In 1655 he was appointed by Sweden as its local diplomatic and financial minister. Teixeira was active in the Jewish community and helped build the new Sephardic synagogue in Hamburg.
1648 June 10, BOGDAN CHMIELNIKI (CHMIELNITZKI) (Poland)
Bitterness over forced Catholicism by the Jesuits and the unscrupulous taxes collected (some by Jews) for the nobles set the stage for the Cossack uprising. During the reign of Vladislav IV, the Zaporozhin Cossacks lived in a semi-autonomous kingdom called Sitch. Led by their leader - or Hetman - Chmielniki, they decided to fight to establish an autonomous Ukraine with the Cossack leaders as the new aristocracy. Their victories over the Polish army encouraged the serfs to join them. The Jews were even more hated than the Poles and were massacred in almost every town. In the ten tumultuous years that followed, over seven hundred Jewish communities were destroyed and between 100,000-500,000 Jews lost their lives. This helped give rise to the messianic movement which soon followed.
1648 June 24, TULCZYN (Poland)
An agreement between the 2,000 Jews and 600 Christians of Tulczyn to defend it at all costs succeeded in preventing the Cossacks from capturing the town. Kryvonos, the Cossack leader, contacted the local governor and offered to leave the Poles alone if he gave them the Jews. The Jews found out about the plan and only through the intervention of leader Rabbi Aaron (who feared reprisals) persuaded them not to kill the local leaders. Instead, Rabbi Aaron convinced the governor to take a high ransom and give it to the Cossacks. Kryvonos accepted the ransom, entered the town, killed most of the Jews and then killed the Poles for betraying the Jews. For the most part, during the entire war, the Poles and the Jews were uneasy allies against the Cossacks.
1649 JOHN CASIMIR (Poland)
Ascended the Polish throne and negotiated a truce with Chmielniki. One of the Provisions included the expulsion of all Jews in Cossack lands. However, Casimir did allow forcibly converted Jews to return to Judaism.
1649 CHMIELNIKI ENTERED KIEV (Ukraine)
The more fortunate Jews were taken captive by the Tartars and were ransomed in Constantinople.
1649 ESTHER LIEBMANN (née Schulhoff;) ( Germany)
Business woman, financier, and court Jew. She served with her first husband Israel Aron as the purveyor of jewels to king Friedrich I of Prussia, After Aron died, she married Jost Liebman and together they established excellent relations with the King. Upon Josts death she continued running the business, and even received permission to mint coins.
1649 January, ENGLAND
The first petition to re-admit the Jews to England was presented to Lord Fairfax. The petition by Johanna and Ebenezer Cartwright called for "Repealing the Act of Parliament" for their banishment from England. Unfortunately, due to the turmoil in England and the execution of King Charles, the petition was never given a hearing.
1649 April 11, MEXICO
The largest Auto da Fe in the New World was held with 109 victims. All but one of them were accused of Judaizing. It was the largest number of Jews ever convicted in the New World. Thirteen were burned alive and 57 in effigy. Of the thirteen, twelve "repented" and so were garroted before being burned. Tomas Trevino, whose mother and wife had also been killed by the Inquisition, refused. For the most part this ended the prominence of crypto-Jews in Mexico.
1649 April 21, ACT OF TOLERATION (Maryland)
Was approved protecting anyone one (Catholics or Protestants), who believed in Jesus. For those who did not profess such a belief, there was the death penalty or confiscation of their lands - it was never actually carried out. Although the act was repealed in 1654, an anti-blasphemy law remained on the books until the 1920's.