Lot 202
  • 202


8,000 - 12,000 USD
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Ink on heavy paper (15 3/4 x 12 5/8 in.; 401 x 321 mm); written in Sephardic square script in black ink on fourteen long lines; underlines in pencil on lines 4-5; signatures in Hebrew and English characters below. Printed wreath-like cartouche above and Corinthian columns at sides; first three words enlarged; two embossed stamps of the Island Treasury, Jamaica, at head. Creased along folds lines with two small holes slightly affecting text; ink transferred to opposite side of page when sheet was folded; slight wear to outer edges. Matted.

Catalogue Note

A remarkable survival from the Jewish community of Jamaica. Celebrating the wedding of David ben Abraham Nunes Henriques and Amy bat Alfred Delgado in Kingston on Wednesday night, 23 Menahem Av 5644 (August 14, 1884).

Conversos from Portugal began settling in Jamaica in the first half of the sixteenth century. Because the island was a Spanish colony at the time, they could not yet openly practice their Judaism. After the British occupied Jamaica in 1655, however, Jews were granted religious freedom and the local Jewish population grew and prospered. By the close of the eighteenth century, Kingston had established itself as an important center of commerce with two functioning synagogues.

The bride‚Äôs grandfather, Moses Delgado, was a major figure in the history of Jewish Jamaica. President of the Kaal Kadosh Shahar Ashamaim, the Sephardic synagogue of Kingston, he was responsible for the successful campaign that resulted in the passage of the law in 1831 granting full civil rights to the Jews. As a token of gratitude, the Jewish community presented Delgado with a magnificent silver tankard (worth 1,000 guineas at the time of the gift).

Because a great earthquake in 1907 leveled much of Kingston, the present document constitutes a rare and historically valuable relic of nineteenth-century Caribbean Jewish life.


Mordechai Arbell, The Jewish Nation of the Caribbean: The Spanish-Portuguese Jewish Settlements in the Caribbean and the Guianas (Jerusalem: Gefen Publishing House, 2002), 240-241.

Marilyn Delevante and Anthony Alberga, The Island of One People: An Account of the History of the Jews of Jamaica (Kingston; Miami: Ian Randle, 2008), 75-76.