The immigration of anusim or crypto-Jews to New Spain took place from 1492 to 1700. The first to arrive came from Spain with the conquerors and colonizers; Portuguese anusim started to arrive in 1580. Hostility and secrecy played an important role in the adaptation of anusim to life in America because they had to keep their religion in secret. Mexico offered a familiar culture and the possibility of contact with the mother country. Family structure was centered upon the mother. The role women played in the preservation of Judaism was very important, since they were responsible for the way in which the religion was passed on through several centuries even when they were isolated from centers of worship.