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Execution of Mariana de Carabajal at Mexico, from El Libro Rojo, 1870

Francisca Nuñez de Carabajal (Portuguese: Francisca Nunes de Carvalhal) (ca. 1540, Portugal – December 8, 1596, Mexico City) was a Marrana (Crypto-Jew) in New Spain executed by burning at the stake by the Inquisition for "judaizing" in 1596.

Arrival in MexicoEdit

Around 1580 Don Luis de Carabajal, Spanish governor of Nuevo León, brought with him to Mexico his brother-in-law, Don Francisco Rodríguez de Matos, and his sister, Doña Francisca Nuñez de Carabajal, with eight of their nine children, Doña Isabel, the oldest, 25 years of age, widow of Gabriel de Herrera; Doña Catalina, Doña Mariana, Doña Leonor, Don Baltasar, Don Luis, Miguel and Anica (the last two being very young). Another son, Gaspar, a pious young man, perhaps a monk, in the convent of Santo Domingo, Mexico, had arrived a short time before. Doña Catalina and Doña Leonor married respectively Antonio Diaz de Caceres (see Caceres family) and Jorge de Almeida—two Spanish merchants residing in Mexico City and interested in the Taxco mines. The entire family then removed to the capital, where, in the year 1590, while in the midst of prosperity, and seemingly leading Christian lives, they were seized by the Inquisition.


Torture of Francisca de Carabajal at Mexico, from El Libro Rojo, 1870

The eldest, Doña Isabel, was tortured until she implicated the whole of the Carabajal family. The whole family was forced to confess and abjure at a public auto-de-fé, celebrated on Saturday, February 24, 1590.

Luis de Carabajal the younger, with his mother and four sisters, was condemned to perpetual imprisonment, and his brother, Baltasar, who had fled upon the first warning of danger, was, along with his deceased father Francisco Rodriguez de Matos, burnt in effigy. In January, 1595, Doña Francisca and her children were accused of a relapse into Judaism and convicted.

During their imprisonment they were tempted to communicate with one another on Spanish pear seeds, on which they wrote touching messages of encouragement to remain true to their faith. They were found out and at the resulting auto-de-fé, Doña Francisca and her children, Isabel, Catalina, Leonor, and Luis, died at the stake, together with Manuel Diaz, Beatriz Enriquez, Diego Enriquez, and Manuel de Lucena. Of her other children, Doña Mariana, who lost her reason for a time, was tried and put to death at an auto-de-fé held in Mexico City on March 25, 1601; Anica, the youngest child, being "reconciled" at the same time.


  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCyrus Adler and George Alexander Kohut (1901–1906). "Carabajal". In Singer, Isidore; et al. (eds.). The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.
  • Vicente Riva Palacio, El Libro Rojo, Mexico, 1870.
  • C.K. Landis, Carabajal the Jew, a Legend of Monterey, Vineland, N. J., 1894.