Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair(s)

Susan Cogan


Susan Cogan


James Sanders


Felipe Valencia


This thesis studies identity among a group of Roman Catholic converts and accused heretics in Mexico City, called Crypto-Jews. The areas of identity that were examined in depth were, religious identity, gender identity, and racial identity. The records that exist for Crypto-Jews in Mexico City are limited but can be found among the records of the Holy Office of the Inquisition.

In order to study the documents of the Office of the Inquisition in Mexico City, I had to travel to the University of California, Berkeley’s Bancroft Library. I was supported in this endeavor by the History Department at Utah State University during the Spring semester of 2017. While there, I found primary sources written by the Holy Office of the Inquisition that contained the Inquisition trial records of many accused Crypto-Jews. This thesis uses five Inquisition documents from the trials of Manuel de Lucena, Isabel de Carvajal, Leonor de Carvajal, Margarita Moreira, and Antonia Núñez. Other primary sources include a translated copy of Luis de Carvajal’s memoir.

Through the study of these Inquisition documents, I have concluded that Crypto-Jewish identity was an amalgam of many cultural influences including Spanish, colonial, Roman Catholic, Jewish, and early medieval. The combination of these cultural influences was processed by Crypto-Jews to form a unique identity. This identity was specific to the people whose records I was able to study and is a unique contribution to the historical study of Crypto-Jews.



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