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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Savannah in Chatham County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Jewish Colonists

 
 
Jewish Colonists Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, January 17, 2010
1. Jewish Colonists Marker
A Sephardic Jew is a Jew who follows the customs and traditions followed by Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal) before their expulsion in the late 15th century. This includes both the descendants of Jews expelled from Spain under the Alhambra decree of 1492, or from Portugal by order of King Manuel I in 1497, and the descendants of crypto-Jews who left the Peninsula in later centuries to North Africa, Asia Minor, the Philippines and elsewhere around the world, and the descendants of crypto-Jews who remained in Iberia. Wikipedia
Inscription.  Near this site on July 11, 1733, five months after Oglethorpe founded Georgia, 42 Jewish colonists, having sailed from London, disembarked from the William and Sarah. It was the largest group of Jews ever to sail on one vessel from North America in colonial times.

All of the families, with the exception of three, were Sephardic Jews, originally from Portugal or Spain; the other three families were Germanic.

Congregation Mickve Israel July 11, 1983.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionColonial EraSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1913.
 
Location. 32° 4.9′ N, 81° 5.443′ W. Marker is in Savannah, Georgia, in Chatham County. Marker can be reached from East River Street. Riverside, West of the Drayton Street Ramp. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Savannah GA 31401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Savannah in the American Revolution (a few steps from this marker); Savannah Waterfront (within shouting distance of this marker); African American Monument
Jewish Colonists Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, January 17, 2010
2. Jewish Colonists Marker
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(within shouting distance of this marker); Savannah and the Slave Trade (within shouting distance of this marker); A Storeroom By Any Other Name (within shouting distance of this marker); One Building - Many Stories (within shouting distance of this marker); Vaulting Through Time (within shouting distance of this marker); Charles Blaney Cluskey (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Savannah.
 
Regarding Jewish Colonists. Samuel Nunes (or Nunez), a physician, was one of the first Jewish immigrants to the Georgia colony in 1733. He provided vital medical aid, which helped the settlement survive its first year of existence. At first James Edward Oglethorpe, a member of the Trustees who directed Georgia's early settlement, did not know what to do about the Jewish immigrants. They, along with Catholics, were excluded from the religious liberty guaranteed other groups under the Georgia charter. After consulting a Charleston, South Carolina, lawyer, who ruled that the charter guaranteed religious freedom for all non-Catholics, Oglethorpe admitted the William and Sarah passengers and so informed the
Jewish Colonists Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, January 17, 2010
3. Jewish Colonists Marker
Trustees. He conveyed particular gratitude to Nunes, who had prescribed cold baths and cool drinks to relieve the illness suffered by the colonists; those who followed his instructions survived. Oglethorpe recommended that Nunes be employed as physician of the colony. The Trustees agreed to pay Nunes but tried to deny permanent residency to the Jewish immigrants. They feared that Georgia would gain a reputation as a haven for European Jews. Oglethorpe ignored their instructions and in December 1733 permitted fourteen Jews, including Nunes, to acquire land. The immigrants soon established Congregation Mickve Israel, which has survived as the oldest Jewish congregation in the South. [The New Georgia Encyclopedia; Samuel Nunes]
 
Jewish Colonists Marker, along River Street, Riverside in Savannah image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, January 17, 2010
4. Jewish Colonists Marker, along River Street, Riverside in Savannah
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 8, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 21, 2010, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,404 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 21, 2010, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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