Henrique de Carvalho family, the heritage of southern Brazil
Currently, more than 1.3 million Brazilians subscribe to the surname Carvalho. However, in such a large universe of people, it would be foolish to claim that all family members are descended from Sephardic Jews, after all, not all have the same origin, as many people have adopted the surname throughout history in different places and passed it on to their family. descendants. Likewise, the different families that today adopt the surname Henrique, less common, also have different origins.
What can be said with certainty is that branch members Henrique de Carvalho, who inhabit the extreme southern Brazil, descend from a common ancestor, son of new christian Portuguese condemned by Inquisition, called Luís Henriques de Carvalho. Before we talk about the union between the Henrique and Carvalho families and their Jewish heritage, it is interesting to know the origin of these two surnames.
When the Henrique de Carvalho family is born
The little one Penamacor Village, located in the District of Castelo Branco, Beira Interior, Portugal, was where the surnames Henriques and Carvalho were united, even in the 18th century, through the marriage between Constantino de Carvalho and Leonor Henriques.
Penamacor's history, which is still small today, with about 5,700 inhabitants, almost half of whom are elderly, dates back more than a thousand years. Strategically important because it is located in a border region between several ancient peoples, the location was born as a point of defense, having as reference the ruins of an old castle, the main local tourist spot. It became a village in 1199, under King Sancho I, who donated those lands to the Knights of the Order of the Temple.
And it was exactly because it was a border region between Portugal and Spain that the village had its history marked during the persecutions against the Jews, promoted by the Iberian kingdoms from the 15th century. In total, 97 people were prosecuted on the spot between 1557 and 1778 by the Portuguese Inquisition for “Judaizing practices”, that is, 75% of the 128 processed. In a small village, as it was common to intertwine residents by marriage, a large part of the population was of Jewish origin, with the most persecuted being those with surnames such as Ribeiro Sanches, Nunes de Paiva, Ribeiro de Paiva, Henriques, Rodrigues and Nunes, just to name the most prominent ones.
Among those sued by the Auto-da-fe, was exactly the New Christian Leonor Henriques, a widow of the also new Christian Francisco Rodrigues Morão, was married at the time to the old Christian, foot soldier, Constantino de Carvalho. Arrested on November 12, 1750, as well as her 15-year-old daughter, Rosa Henriques, captured two days earlier, was found guilty of the crime of Judaizing practices. After the trial, she was sentenced in 1752 to “Confiscation of property, abjuration in form, imprisonment and penitential habit at the discretion of the inquisitors and spiritual penances”.
The first Henriques de Carvalho in Brazil
At the time at the age of 6, the couple's son, Luís Henriques de Carvalho, began to feel the stigma of persecution and, years later, decided to embark for Brazil, where he went to meet his uncle Antonio Ribeiro de Paiva, an apothecary who lived in Rio de Janeiro and, years before, had also been condemned by the Inquisition. From Rio, he left for Porto Alegre, at the Rio Grande do Sul, where he married Francisca Luiza, in 1781. Five years and four children later, his wife died and, in 1891, Luís married again, now with Maria Ignácia Pereira, with whom he had five more children.
The descendants of Luís Henriques de Carvalho, who died in 1802 at the age of 56, spread throughout the region, especially Sao Borja and Porto Alegre. Over time, the descendants started to sign the first surname in the singular, adopting Henrique de Carvalho.
Important to remember
Last names are indications, but they do not determine whether or not you are descendants of Sephardic Jews. To prove this link, a genealogical study is really necessary.
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