Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Marranos Living in Canary Islands- Where Cruz's Grandfather Was From

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                         
Canary Islands of Spain off of Atlantic side of Africa: a  chain of active volcanic islandsThese rugged islands are known for their black- and white-sand beaches, varied resorts and balmy climate. Tenerife, the largest island, is dominated by the sometimes-snowy peaks of volcanic Mt. Teide, part of a national park with its own astronomical observatory.

Off the Atlantic coast of Africa is an island group that belongs to Spain.  It is the Canary Islands, where Ted Cruz's grandfather, Rafael Cruz,  was born and raised.  This island group had become a haven for Jews that had to hide their religion and who were referred to as the Marranos, today called by a Hebrew word; Anusim.

It was back in Spain in the years from 1499 to 1564 that Spain had established a branch of the Inquisition that had started in 1492, when Columbus had sailed the ocean blue-looking for India.  Spain expected Jews to either convert to Christianity or leave their country.  Many left and went to Portugal, but those who could not leave due to many reasons decided to hide who they were as far as religion went.  Thus, the nasty term, Marranos.  "The first Jewish immigrants to the Canary Islands were *Conversos (another word meaning Hidden Jews or Marranos) from Spain and Portugal seeking refuge from the Inquisition and persecution."  The Inquisition followed them and some Marranos were burned at the stake.  

These Marranos disappeared in the first half of the 17th century.  Some may have intermarried with the rest of the Spaniards living in the Canary Islands.
However, a number of the founders of the Jewish London community at this period had originated from the Canary Islands.  "Antonio Rodriguee was one.
Evidently, Jews had moved to the Canary Islands before 1492 as the information from London in 1910 shows.  "Robles, whose sensational denunciation as a Spaniard on the 
outbreak of the Spanish war in 1656 first revealed the existence 
of the London Marrano community, and successfully established 
its rights of residence, had been his Deputy-Treasurer. There 
was also reason to believe that CarvajaFs brother-in-law, Simon 
de Souza, and other relatives and co-religionists of his who 
had joined him in England, notably Domingo de la Cerda 
and Antonio de Porto, were Canariote immigrants." 
In Israel is a lady with Marrano ancestors from the Canary Islands.  "As for my own family, we migrated from Mayorca, Canary Islands and some went to Holland. One of my ancestors migrated from Holland to Curacao where the first synagogue was built in the Americas. He was a merchant surnamed Levy and he sold his wares in a port village in Puerto Rico called Cabo Rojo. He moved to Puerto Rico with his wife,  a Marrano surnamed Quinones de la Torre,  to a town in the jungle covered mountains called Lares. Lares is so remote, often it cannot even be found on the map. This little village was a refuge for Marrano families for Puerto Rico had a Office of the Inquisition up into the 1850's.

Our families only married other Marrano Jewish families. We never intermarried. Marriages were normally arranged by parents and often we married cousins. I have 8 generations of my Jewish mothers documents. All of our names are on the Inquisition List, which is really just a list of the census of the Church of Spain which names all their Jews. "

The inquisition was born of ridding the peninsula of the invading Arabs and Moors and then extended to Jews as well due to religious reasons. These Jews living in this Iberian paradise known to them as Sepharad had been in Spain arriving with the Greek merchants in pre-Roman times. They were joined  later by various waves as the prosperous Roman province became a peaceful haven. They attained even greater freedom after the Moorish conquest in 711. By the 1200's Iberia was truly on its  way back to being a conglomeration of Christian kingdoms.
"History shows, the Canary Islands were Spain's only colony prior to the 1492/Americas and become a principal place for persecuted Spanish/Sephardic Jews to flee in exile, from their centuries old homes in Spain. All Spaniards in the "pre-1492-Canary Islands" were not truly natives of the Islands, but 1492-invaders from Spain, to the Canary Islands. The "Guanchos"(the native peoples of the Islands) were soon wiped out or sold in slavery by the Spanish Conqueors. It is estimated that a good number of former Sephardic Jews quietly populated the new territory in exile, in fear for their lives. Then a century later, they quietly resettled in the new "Spanish Louisiana."  So the state of Louisiana had its own Canary Islands with Marranos living there from Spain's Canary Islands.  Ted Cruz's father moved to Cuba.  

"Toward the middle of the 17th century a considerable number of Marrano merchants settled in London and formed there a secret congregation, at the head of which was Antonio Fernandez Carvajal. They conducted a large business with the LevantEast and West Indies, Canary Islands, and Brazil, and above all with the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal.

Jews had been expulsed from England in 1290 and were not allowed back until 1655, which was 163 years after Jews were forced to flee for their lives from Spain.  "Petitions favoring readmission had been presented to the army as early as 1649 by two Baptists of Amsterdam, Johanna Cartwright and her son Ebenezer ("The Petition of the Jews for the Repealing of the Act of Parliament for Their Banishment out of England"); and suggestions looking to that end were made by men of the type of Roger WilliamsHugh Peters, and by Independents generally."  

Others had read their bibles a little more carefully and had read that the Messiah would not come until Jews were in all parts of the world.  "Many were moved in the same direction by mystical Messianic reasons; and their views attracted the enthusiasm of Menasseh Ben Israel, who in 1650 published his Hope of Israel, in which he advocated the return as a preliminary to the appearance of the Messiah. The Messiah could not appear till Jews existed in all the lands of the earth. According to Antonio de Montezinos, the Ten Tribes had been discovered in the American Indians of Ecuador, and England was the only country from which Jews were excluded. If England admitted them, the Messianic age might be expected. 
Today we know this is not true, and some descendants have already been found and are living in Israel today.  One group not there are the Pashtos of Pakistan and Afghanistan, with an excellent claim to be from the 10 lost tribes.  
 What is interesting, though,  is that my father's DNA haplogroup is Q1b1a-with ancestors from Lithuania, but the Q line, which started thousands of years ago, started in Siberia, Mongolia and parts of Turkey and includes many Indian tribes in North and South America. So in a way we are related, coming from the same original branch, but went off on a different twig.   

The Canary Islands have  very high mountains.  "Roque de los Muchachos sits on the island of La Palma which is 2,400 m or 7,874 ft high.  This mountain is the home to one of the largest collections of astronomical telescopes in the world including the world's largest telescope, the 10.4m Gran Telescopio Canarias.  It's a high volcanic mountains which sit above the clouds which makes it similar to the observing conditions you can find in Mona Kea in Hawaii.  
 Mr.Rafael  Bienvenido  Cruz, Ted's father,was born March 22, 1939 in Matanzas, Cuba.  It's also an island.  In 1936, the Spanish Civil War had started here.  San Antonio, Texas was started by people from the Canary Islands, and strangely, that's where Ted Cruz moved to; Texas.  Rafael Cruz has been a Christian minister and public speaker. Cruz left the Roman Catholic Church in 1975 and became an Evangelical Christian after attending a Bible study with a colleague and having a born again experience ".  Following his conversion, his son and wife also became born-again Christians. In the Cruz home, talk at dinner time was frequently about the Bible.  

His father, who would be Ted's grandfather,  was also named Rafael Cruz, and he was a salesman for RCA, originally from the Canary IslandsSpain. His mother, Emilia Laudelina Díaz, was a teacher.  Rafael,  a Cuban émigré, knew little or no English  when he arrived in Austin, Texas to study at the University of Texas.  

"Cruz's father, Rafael, was born in Cuba, emigrated and married an American , Eleanor Elizabeth Darragh, born November 23, 1934 in Wilmington, New Castle, Delaware, USA .  Her parents were Edward J. Darragh and Elizabeth CE Kine.  While Rafael Cruz is today known for his religious beliefs and sometimes controversial statements, back then he was a successful oilman. The two were steeped in the Canadian oil industry of the early 1970s when she gave birth to a son, Rafael Edward (Ted) Cruz."
I doubt that Ted Cruz has Marrano ancestors, but it's possible.  A DNA test for his Y haplogroup would probably tell if he has this history.  Many a Catholic has found out this fact, and they were in fact Catholics from Spain long ago.  Then again, perhaps not, because it was not common for Marranos to intermarry with others.  

Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
booklet:  facts about Israel, published by the division of information, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem.


  1. Mr.Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, Ted's father.

    bienvenido. that name is a marrano name if i am recalling correctly. bienvenido/mendes/nasi families were all interrelated, intermarried as i learned when you posted about dona gracia nasi whose family is intertwined with my denasi/bassano line. we do know they were marranos and my dna confirms sephardic jewry (small but traceable-there none the less). ;)
    would be interesting to know that dna result for mr cruz but honestly i don't think it far fetched that there could be traces of jewish blood in this family. times, dates, locations and possible circumstances may have come together for this man to have that legacy, though unknown by him.
    interesting for sure.
    makes me think of the saying: what goes around comes around---these times we live in...and God seems always somehow to be using the jews to make a fair show all the while-even unbeknownest to us. He has ways to put a picture together and when the curtain rolls back one day we will see His hand working in the lives of all kinds of people. amazes me at the thought...........

  2. I believe you are right. I wouldn't be surprised if Cruz had Marrano(Anusim) ancestors. He would be surprised! Although, he is one that has defended Israel very well. It's great that you found out you have Marrano ancestors and are connected to our history in that way. Well, I do wish he would take a Y haplogroup DNA test and find out.

  3. My theory from researching my mother's ancestors is that many of the first people here in 1600's were crypto Jews. Names changed when people crossed borders. There were a few known Jews and many crypto Jews. I traced several U.S. Presidents both Republican and Democrat including Lady Diana and Kate Middleton as descendants of Humphrey De Bohun and the De Ferrer's of England. Humphrey's ancestors were Henry Mari (Mar Aaron Hen Tzui) and Richard Mari (Mar Eliyahu) my ancestors as well. The De Ferrer's descrend from Henry De Ferrer's (Mar Ahatron Barzillai) I had a Muslim ancestor too, Anthony Van Salee well known of mixed descent after he came here early 1600's. Back then Muslims were called Musselmen and Turks, Jews non believers, Gypsies vagabundos, Mennonites Menists etc. The Davidic Jews above were Catholic in Europe. The Jesus believing Jews hidden for several generations since Jesus, in many places didn't want to be ruled by Popes or Rabbis. Those who were forced to be Catholic his too. One would need to follow the religious trail of Cruz ancestors, their trades could be a tell tell sign, places they lived and his DNA test might suggest Sephardic.

  4. Thanks, Vicky, for the added information to this subject. It's so interesting. I think a DNA test would be something Cruz would enjoy doing to find out more about his ancestors. There is a big possibility he could have Sephardic ancestors.