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A Man of Three Worlds

Samuel Pallache, a Moroccan Jew in Catholic and Protestant Europe

Mercedes Garc

Publication Year: 2003

In the late fifteenth century, many of the Jews expelled from Spain made their way to Morocco and established a dynamic community in Fez. A number of Jewish families became prominent in commerce and public life there. Among the Jews of Fez of Hispanic origin was Samuel Pallache, who served the Moroccan sultan as a commercial and diplomatic agent in Holland until Pallache's death in 1616. Before that, he had tried to return with his family to Spain, and to this end he tried to convert to Catholicism and worked as an informer, intermediary, and spy in Moroccan affairs for the Spanish court. Later he became a privateer against Spanish ships and was tried in London for that reason. His religious identity proved to be as mutable as his political allegiances: when in Amsterdam, he was devoutly Jewish; when in Spain, a loyal converso (a baptized Jew). In A Man of Three Worlds, Mercedes Garc

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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p. v

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pp. vii-xi

Samuel Pallache was born in Morocco circa 1550 and grew up in interesting times. His grandparents were refugees, expelled from Spain in 1492 along with all other Jews. For him, as for many of his people, the memory of that year remained a vivid one...

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pp. xiii-xv

This short book has taken a long time to write. Preparing it meant spending many hours in archives looking for items of information that often turned out to be minute and were always widely dispersed. As this search went on, we accumulated numerous debts of gratitude...

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Note on Terminology

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p. xvii

This book is based on documentation in several different languages, and individuals’ names are generally spelled as those concerned would themselves have written them, except where a well-established English alternative exists. An exception has been made for members of the Pallache...

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pp. xix-xxiv

There are individuals whose life stories can be read as epitomes of the great conflicts of their times. We are not referring to major figures who made decisions that marked an epoch, but to the “minor lives” of people forced to contend with economic and political developments beyond their...

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Chapter 1: From Fez to Madrid

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pp. 1-20

This paragraph by Miguel de Barrios, also known as Daniel Levi de Barrios, a distinguished Jewish writer born in Spain in the early seventeenth century, is the first known reference to the brothers Samuel and Joseph Pallache in a historical work...

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Chapter 2: Jews in Morocco

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pp. 21-52

All that we know for certain of Samuel Pallache’s background and early years is that the Pallache family was of Spanish origin and that Samuel lived in the city of Fez during the late sixteenth century.1 It therefore seems logical...

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Chapter 3: Between the Dutch Republic and Morocco

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pp. 53-82

After the Expulsion of 1492, Saint-Jean-de-Luz on France’s Côte Basque became a common staging post for Jews fleeing Iberia, who traveled on from there to Venice, Tunis, Istanbul, and other places.1 At some time in the spring of 1608, Samuel and Joseph Pallache followed...

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Chapter 4: Privateering, Prison, and Death

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pp. 83-100

As we have seen, it can be difficult to distinguish clearly between commerce, smuggling, and piracy in the early seventeenth century. Samuel Pallache took full advantage of this gray area on several occasions, and there are indications that he concentrated increasingly on the least...

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Chapter 5: After Samuel: The Pallache Family

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pp. 101-127

Several members of the Pallache family continued to live in the Dutch Republic after Samuel’s death. A notarial document recording the purchase by the Neve Salom community of Samuel’s Torah scrolls provides some details of the makeup of the family at this time...

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pp. 128-132

This book has sought to trace the story of Samuel Pallache’s life as accurately as extant records will allow. Beyond that, we have also tried to make sense of his Moroccan and Dutch contexts by examining his work in the fields of commercial and diplomatic relations between Europe and the...


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pp. 133-152


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pp. 153-154


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pp. 155-164


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pp. 165-173

E-ISBN-13: 9780801895838
E-ISBN-10: 0801895839
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801886232
Print-ISBN-10: 0801886236

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2003

OCLC Number: 647867802
MUSE Marc Record: Download for A Man of Three Worlds

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Sephardim -- Morocco -- Fès -- Biography.
  • Madrid (Spain) -- Biography.
  • Amsterdam (Netherlands) -- Biography.
  • Jews -- Morocco -- Fès -- Biography.
  • Pallache, Samuel, d. 1616.
  • Fès (Morocco) -- Biography.
  • Spies -- Spain -- Biography.
  • Jews, Moroccan -- Netherlands -- Amsterdam -- Biography.
  • Jews, Moroccan -- Spain -- Madrid -- Biography.
  • Jewish businesspeople -- Biography.
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