Just as the Native Americans were forced to convert to Christianity while secretly honoring their own spirituality, many of New Mexico’s early Spanish settlers also practiced a hidden faith. They were the Sephardic Jews who had eluded the Inquisition under the guise of being conversos, Jews who had converted to Catholicism. They became known as crypto-Jews because they practiced their Jewish faith secretly while presenting a different persona to the public. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that revelations of their existence came to light.
Eleven of Santa Fe’s Founding Families Were Jewish
In 2010 I had the opportunity to publish the official publication commemorating the 400th anniversary of Santa Fe. In that issue the author and genealogist José A. Esquibel chronicled the history of the founders. Of the 19 first families, 11 were Jewish. In fact, it was a Jewish woman who rescued La Conquistadora from a burning chapel during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. The Madonna was carried to safety by Josefa López Sambrano de Grijalva, wife of Francisco Lucero de Godoy. Lucero de Godoy was the eldest grandson of Francisco Gómez and Ana Robledo both families were Jewish.