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XIMENES FAMILY

The Ximenes

The Spanish city of Segovia was the birthplace of the numerous Ximenes family. Known internationally by the Roman aqueduct with more than 160 arches and, most of them granite and without mortar, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. The well-known patriarch was called Abraham Senior,a royal consultant, who married twice and had 13 children.

Persecuted by the Inquisition of Spain and Portugal (formerly the Iberian Peninsula), many of his descendants fled to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, because there the government was tolerant of the Jews and they could practice Judaism freely. In addition, the city was known as an important financial centre in Europe. David Senior Colonel (Catholic name), son of Abrahan Senior, was one of those who fled to the Netherlands and then migrated to Pernambuco during the Dutch occupation in 1636.

David and his family moved to Pernambuco, where brother Antonio de Mendonça Saraiva already lived and there increased his wealth. He owned real estate and sugar mills and became the richest man in the region. He died in 1650 at the age of 75. Many researchers believe that Branca Dias, an important name of Judaism in Brazil, and descendant of it.

Another important member of the Ximenes family was Duarte Ximenes de Aragon, lord of Engenho Araripe, married to Filipa de Abreu Soares. From Pernambuco, their descendants migrated to Ceará,more precisely to Sobral and neighboring cities. The region is now an important and well-known barn of descendants of Sephardic Jews,many of whom have already gained Portuguese citizenship by this route.