Doña Gracia Nasi Mendes

Gracia Nasi was born into an ancient and venerable sephardic family that immigrated to Portugal when Spain expelled its Jews in 1492. Along with the thousands of other sephardic refugees of the Spanish Inquisition, the family was forcibly converted to Christianity by the Portuguese king in 1497. These converted Jews were known by the gentiles as “Conversos” or “New Christians”. The sephardic people called them “Anusim” (the forced ones).

Being suspected by the inquisition Gracia escapes to Italy and from Italy to Istanbul, where she buys the cities of Tiberia, Gaza, Jaffo, Safed and Jerusalem. She builds a trade fleet and organizes embargos on the catholic countries saving the lives of sephardic people.

She died in 1569 and was buried in Jerusalem

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