Family Ferreira da Fonseca, Undated Business Letter, [1669]

Today, while on the docks I came across an interesting read. In the Gazeta do Portugal, they announced that the Ottoman Empire now had control over the island of Crete. The first thing I thought to myself was that this turn in events could either benefit many people or potentially be bad. It could potentially be bad because the Ottoman Empire could try to continue to expand their empire and could then take over Western Europe and even Portugal. As I kept reading through the article, I also saw that many of the Cretans were converting to Islam. Many will argue that this is not a good thing, but the island of Crete is allowing many Christians, Jews, and Muslims to purchase lands that they might not have been able to afford elsewhere, live together, practice their faiths openly around each other, and even marry each other.[1] These new social orders are quite attractive to people such as myself and my family. Living in a garrison city that is surrounded with piracy is not the easiest lifestyle for my family.[2] If anything went wrong in Ceuta I could always send my family to Crete where they will more than likely be accepted due to the fact that Crete is appearing to be hospitable of many different people.

[1] Green, Molly. A Shared World: Christians and Muslims in the Early Modern Mediterranean (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000),  105.

[2] Koch, Peter. To the Ends of the Earth: The Age of the European Explorers (North Carolina: McFarland & Company Inc., 2003), 36.


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