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NUNES, HENRIQUE (ENRIQUE):

Judæo-Portuguese convert to Christianity; born in Borba, Portugal; died July, 1524. After being baptized in Castile, he entered the service of the inquisitor Lucero. His hatred toward his former coreligionists was so well known that King John III. of Portugal called him from the Canary Islands in order that his advice might be had in connection with the introduction of the Inquisition. At Santarem the king ordered him to insinuate himself among Neo-Christian families as a Jew in order that he might gather evidence as to their religious convictions. After having acted as spy among the unsuspecting Neo-Christians at Lisbon, Santarem, and other places, he reported to the king, advised him as to the most effective way to combat Judaism among the Maranos, and supplied him with a list of those who, under the seal of secrecy, had admitted their attachment to Judaism. He denounced even his own brother, and told the king that he had called the latter to Castile in order that he might be educated as a good Catholic, but that the young man had returned to Lisbon to live there as a Jew.

As soon as the Maranos discovered that Nunes was a spy they plotted to get rid of him. At Valverde, near Badajoz (or, according to other sources, on his return from Spain, whither he had been sent by the king on a mission to Charles V.), he was stabbed by two Maranos disguised as monks—Diogo Vas of Olivença and Andreas Dias of Viana. These two were tortured in order to extract information from them as to their accomplices, and were then executed. Nunes, who had received the appellation of "Firme Fé," was revered as a saint, and people ascribed marvelous healing powers to his tomb.

Bibliography:
  • Acenheiro, Chronicas dos Reis de Portugal, in Colleccão d. Liv. Ineditos, v. 350 et seq.;
  • Informatione Sommaria del Principio et Progresso della Conversione;
  • Herculano, Inquisição em Portugal, i. 195-199 et seq.;
  • Grätz, Gesch. 3d ed., ix. 225 et seq.;
  • Kayserling, Gesch. der Juden in Portugal, pp. 171 et seq.
D. M. K.
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