6 illustrations, 17 figs., 3 tables

Living in Silverado

Secret Jews in the Silver Mining Towns of Colonial Mexico
By David M. Gitlitz



In this thoroughly researched work, David M. Gitlitz traces the lives and fortunes of three clusters of sixteenth-century crypto-Jews in Mexico’s silver mining towns. Previous studies of sixteenth-century Mexican crypto-Jews focus on the merchant community centered in Mexico City, but here Gitlitz looks beyond Mexico’s major population center to explore how clandestine religious communities were established in the reales, the hinterland mining camps, and how they differed from those of the capital in their struggles to retain their Jewish identity in a world dominated economically by silver and religiously by the Catholic Church.

In Living in Silverado Gitlitz paints an unusually vivid portrait of the lives of Mexico’s early settlers. Unlike traditional scholarship that has focused mainly on macro issues of the silver boom, Gitlitz closely analyzes the complex workings of the haciendas that mined and refined silver, and in doing so he provides a wonderfully detailed sense of the daily experiences of Mexico’s early secret Jews.

Contributor Bios
David M. Gitlitz is a professor emeritus of Hispanic studies at the University of Rhode Island. His publications include Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews and The Lost Minyan (both from UNM Press).