Portugal: Brazilians Can Request The Portuguese Nationality By Way Of Sephardic Jews

Last Updated: 11 November 2019
Article by Wagner Silva

Many Brazilians continue to arrive in Portugal in order to make this small European country, very welcoming, your new home, your new country.

The increase in violence in the large Brazilian cities, the economic slowdown and the constant political instability that has taken hold in Brazilian democracy in recent years, have been crucial for many Brazilians taken advantage of the fact that they are descendants of Portuguese by consanguinity straight from 1st or 2nd degree (parents or grandparents) to apply for Portuguese nationality by attribution, that is nationality granted in its original form.

However, the requests described above are not the only ones that can provide Brazilians with a chance to obtain Portuguese nationality, and there are also requests by way of the Sephardic Jews.

Created by Decree-Law 30-A / 2015, this is a little known route among Brazilians who want to obtain Portuguese nationality, since many must have never heard or if they have heard they must have rejected it immediately because they think that only those direct descendants of Jews or practitioners of Judaism could follow this request, which is a tremendous mistake.

Thus, in order to better understand how this procedure works, it is necessary to briefly go through the historical plot of the Sephardic Jews.

Historical Synthesis of Sephardic Jews.

Sephardic Jews are Jews descended from the ancient and traditional Jewish communities of the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain). From the end of the fifteenth century the Sephardic were persecuted by the Kingdoms of Spain and Portugal, and later by the Inquisition, being forced to convert to Catholicism, under penalty of being expelled from their territory, which caused the flight of thousands of Jews to various countries, such as Brazil.

Many Portuguese Jews, seeking to escape Catholic intolerance in Portugal, saw in the "new world", Brazil, the opportunity to freely practice their faith, including the Christianized who practiced Judaism in secret.

It was in Brazil that the first Jewish community in America was established. With the expulsion of the Jews from Portugal, soon after the discoveries, Jews converted to Catholicism (New Christians) had already settled in the then new colony.

Northeastern Brazil, during the period of Dutch domination that lasted 24 years (16th century), many Sephardic settlers settled in the country, especially in Recife, where they became prosperous traders and founded the first synagogue in the Americas, called Kahal Zur Israel located in Recife - Pernambuco.

The latest records of the presence of Sephardic Jews indicate that after consolidation in northeastern Brazil, many moved to the following states:

State of Amazonas aiming at the exploration of rubber, where it is possible to find one of the oldest synagogues in operation in Brazil; State of Pará also aiming at the exploration of rubber; State of Minas Gerais aiming at the exploration and development of Mining; State of Rio de Janeiro with the decline of rubber exploitation.

These had a major involvement in religious syncretism, making the proportion of Jewish descendants among the white population of the Northern (largely Sephardic) Region the largest in the country.

In the end, with the conversion of many Sephardic Jews to Christianity and their involvement with religious syncretism, many Brazilians unknowingly had their origins in Portuguese Jews.

Descendants of Sephardic Jews.

Given the historical synthesis, many of their descendants were estranged from their genuine Jewish cultures, eventually following other religions with the rise of religious syncretism, which makes it difficult to know whether we are descended from these Sephardic Jews.

Over time, the alliance between history and science has been able to provide us with the means to achieve the discovery of this genetic lineage for the cases of these Brazilian descendants of the Sephardic Jews.

Decree-Law 30-A/2015 provides for the procedures to be adopted to apply for Portuguese nationality by naturalization through the Sephardic Jews.

The first step, and one that may indicate possible descent with the Sephardic Jews, is to analyze the list of surnames identified in Decree-Law 30-A/2015.

In the diáspora of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom subsist, among others, family surnames such as: Abrantes, Aguilar, Andrade, Brandão, Brito, Bueno, Cardoso, Carvalho, Castro, Costa, Coutinho, Dourado, Fonseca, Furtado, Gomes, Gouveia, Granjo, Henriques, Lara, Marques, Melo e Prado, Mesquita, Mendes, Neto, Nunes, Pereira, Pinheiro, Rodrigues, Rosa, Sarmento, Silva, Soares, Teixeira e Teles.

In the diaspora of Latin America, for example, among others: Almeida, Avelar, Bravo, Carvajal, Crespo, Duarte, Ferreira, Franco, Gato, Gonçalves, Guerreiro, Leão, Lopes, Leiria, Lobo, Lousada, Machorro, Martins, Montesino, Moreno, Mota, Macias, Miranda, Oliveira, Osório, Pardo, Pina, Pinto, Pimentel, Pizarro, Querido, Rei, Ribeiro, Salvador, Torres e Viana.

In other regions of the world descendants of Sephardic Jews of Portuguese origin who keep the following surnames: Amorim, Azevedo, Álvares, Barros, Basto, Belmonte, Cáceres, Caetano, Campos, Carneiro, Cruz, Dias, Duarte, Elias, Estrela, Gaiola, Josué, Lemos, Lombroso, Lopes, Machado, Mascarenhas, Mattos, Meira, Mello e Canto, Mendes da Costa, Miranda, Morão, Morões, Mota, Moucada, Negro, Oliveira, Osório (ou Ozório), Paiva, Pilão, Pinto, Pessoa, Preto, Souza, Vaz e Vargas.

With the surname on one of these lists, the second step will be to search with family members for the origin of that surname so that it is possible to assemble a genealogy that is linked or that may be linked with the Sephardic Jews.

Decree-Law 30-A/2015 also provides for the means that can be used to demonstrate the genealogical connection of his surname with Sephardic Jews and thus apply for Portuguese nationality.

This research must necessarily be conducted with the support of a Specialized Lawyer in this area and with the support of the Jewish Communities in Brazil and Portugal.

Therefore, this route can become an important request for those Brazilians who wish to have Portuguese nationality without having straight 1st or 2nd degree consanguinity descent (parents or grandparents) with Portuguese citizens.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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