History of Antisemitism - Seventeenth Century

Seventeenth Century

In the mid-17th century, Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch Director-General of the colony of New Amsterdam, later New York City, sought to bolster the position of the Dutch Reformed Church by trying to stem the religious influence of Jews, Lutherans, Catholics and Quakers. He stated that Jews were "deceitful", "very repugnant", and "hateful enemies and blasphemers of the name of Christ". However, religious plurality was already a cultural tradition and a legal obligation in New Amsterdam and in the Netherlands, and his superiors at the Dutch West India Company in Amsterdam overruled him.

During the mid-to-late-17th century the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was devastated by several conflicts, in which the Commonwealth lost over a third of its population (over 3 million people). The decrease of the Jewish population during that period is estimated at 100,000 to 200,000, including emigration, deaths from diseases and captivity in the Ottoman Empire. These conflicts began in 1648 when Bohdan Khmelnytsky instigated the Khmelnytsky Uprising against the Polish aristocracy and the Jews who administered their estates. Khmelnytsky's Cossacks massacred tens of thousands of Jews in the eastern and southern areas that he controlled (now the Ukraine). This persecution led many Jews to pin their hopes on a man called Shabbatai Zevi who emerged in the Ottoman Empire at this time and proclaimed himself Messiah in 1665. However his later conversion to Islam dashed these hopes and led many Jews to discredit the traditional belief in the coming of the Messiah as the hope of salvation.

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Famous quotes related to seventeenth century:

    Nothing in medieval dress distinguished the child from the adult. In the seventeenth century, however, the child, or at least the child of quality, whether noble or middle-class, ceased to be dressed like the grown-up. This is the essential point: henceforth he had an outfit reserved for his age group, which set him apart from the adults. These can be seen from the first glance at any of the numerous child portraits painted at the beginning of the seventeenth century.
    Philippe Ariés (20th century)

    It is as if, to every period of history, there corresponded a privileged age and a particular division of human life: ‘youth’ is the privileged age of the seventeenth century, childhood of the nineteenth, adolescence of the twentieth.
    Philippe Ariés (20th century)

    The general feeling was, and for a long time remained, that one had several children in order to keep just a few. As late as the seventeenth century . . . people could not allow themselves to become too attached to something that was regarded as a probable loss. This is the reason for certain remarks which shock our present-day sensibility, such as Montaigne’s observation, ‘I have lost two or three children in their infancy, not without regret, but without great sorrow.’
    Philippe Ariés (20th century)