Baruch Spinoza

Birth Name: Baruch Espinosa

Date of Birth: 24 November, 1632

Place of Birth: Amsterdam, Dutch Republic

Date of Death: 21 February 1677

Place of Death: The Hague, Dutch Republic

Ethnicity: Sephardi Jewish

Baruch Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher. He was a prominent exponent of Rationalism, and a key and seminal figure of the Enlightenment and biblical criticism. He played a leading role in the Dutch Golden Age of the 1600s. He was also known as Benedictus de Spinoza, the Latin version of his name.

Baruch was the son of Hana/Ana Débora and Miguel/Michael de Espinoza, a merchant. His first name meant “blessed” in Hebrew. His full name in Hebrew is ברוך שפינוזה, and he also used the name Bento in the Netherlands. His father was born in Vidigueira, near Beja in Alentejo, Portugal, and then moved with his family to Nantes in France, and then Amsterdam. His mother was born in Amsterdam, to parents from Portugal.

Like many Sephardi Jews, his ancestors left Portugal after the Portuguese Inquisition of 1536, settling in Amsterdam. As with other Portuguese Jews, they had been forced to convert to Catholicism in Portugal, and then, after the Decree of Toleration was issued with the Union of Utrecht in 1579, began practicing Judaism again. Baruch spoke mainly Portuguese, and also knew Hebrew, Spanish, Dutch, and Latin.

Baruch’s paternal grandfather was named Isaac de Spinoza/Espinosa (the son of Fernão Espinhosa). Isaac was born in Lisbon.

Baruch’s paternal grandmother was named Mor Álvares (the daughter of Joseph Alvares). Mor was born in Vidigueira Municipality, Beja, Portugal. Joseph was the son of Luis Alvarez/Alvares and Beatrix Mendes Jorge Abas.

Baruch’s maternal grandfather was Henrique Garcês (the son of Francisco Bentalhado and Violante Gomes). Henrique was born in Porto, Portugal. Francisco was the son of Henrique Bentalhado and Grácia Henriques. Violante was the daughter of Fernão Alvares and Beatriz Gomes.

Baruch’s maternal grandmother was Maria Nunes (the daughter of Duarte Fernandes and Isabel Nunes). Maria was born in Ponte de Lima, Viana do Castelo, Portugal. Duarte was the son of Duarte Fernandes and Maria do Porto. Isabel was the daughter of Manoel Lopes and Maria Nunes Homem.

Sources: Genealogies of Baruch Espinoza –

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