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Beginning with the initial planning, organization and promotion of the first British colonial efforts, Sephardic Jews and Muslim Moors were present as navigators, ship captains, sailors, metallurgists, cartographers, financiers and colonists.
Spaniards had to be extremely careful about entering any of these fields Spanish life as a whole was the worse for these injustices Spain was swamped with fortune hunters from all parts of Europe ... Just as the irrigation canals dug by the Moors in Andalusia were allowed to silt up, so the very channels on which the country’s health depended fell into neglect.”' We document that Spain’s loss was Britain’s gain.
To answer this, we chronicle the significant efforts by English, Scottish and Irish Freemasons in recruit- ing and protecting the identities of these non— Christian settlers.
Leaders in Freemasonry attempted to create a safe-haven for multi-ethnic peoples regardless of religious creed, much as they commit themselves today to charitable and non-sectarian international causes.
We present contemporaneous testimony suggesting that even the leading Knickerbocker families of the New York colony — the van Cortlandts, Philipses, van Rensselaers, De La Nos and De Lanceys — were of Sephardic ancestry.This fresh look at Colonial American genealogies and settler lists presents for the first time in one source the Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic and Jewish origins and meaning of more than 5,000 surnames, the vast majority of them widely assumed before to be sturdy British family names of ancient bearing.Many of our name etymologies plainly contradict the standard reference works.The decipherment of surname history is an involved subject, one that can extend over centuries of transformation in several countries and require knowledge of a multitude of languages. Wilson derive all vari- ations from the Greek name Philippus.For instance, in order to understand the sea change suffered by the ancient Jewish name Phoebus to English Phillips (and Scottish Forbes and Frobisher), with stages along the way as Pharabas and Ferebee and Furby, one must have an appreciation for the synthesizing religions of the Roman Empire, including the Cult of Mithras and naming practices of Greek-speaking congregations of Jews, as well as conversion of Berber populations to Judaism, conquest of Spain by Berber armies in 710 and subsequent devel- opment of Judeo-Arab culture, not to mention the medieval French, Norman, Anglo-Saxon and Scottish linguistic, orthographic and social filters the surname passed through until it became enshrined in modern times as “good ole English” Phillips. Its true etymology, at least for Jews who adopted the name, was established, like many others, by the Victorian scholar Joseph Jacobs, who made so many far-reaching contributions to Jewish historical studies that he may be said to have redefined the field.