MARANO (accursed or banned), a term applied to Jewish Christians in Spain. Converted to Roman Catholicism under compulsion, these " New Christians " often continued to observe Jewish rites in their homes, as the Inquisition records attest. It was in fact largely due to the Maranos that the Spanish Inquisition was founded. The Maranos made rapid strides in prosperity, and " accumulated honours, wealth and popular hatred " (Lea, History of the Spanish Inquisition, i. 125). This was one of the causes that led to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. Maranos emigrated to various countries, but many remained in the Peninsula. Subsequently distinguished individuals left home for more tolerant lands. The Jewish community in London was refounded by Maranos in the first half of the 17th century. Hamburg commerce, too, owed much to the enterprise of Portuguese Maranos. In Amsterdam many Maranos found asylum; Spinoza was descended from such a family. There are still remnants of Marano families in Portugal.
See Lea, loc. cit. and elsewhere; see index s.v. " New Christian "; Graetz, History of the Jews, Eng. trans, see index s.v. " Marranos "; M. Kayserling, in Jewish Encyclopedia, viii. 318 seq. ; and for the present day Jewish Quarterly Review, xv. 251 seq. (I. A.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)