MESQUITA, family name of prominent American and European Sephardim of Marrano descent. The merchant LUIS DE MESQUITA (or Amesquita), of Segovia, Castile, took up residence in Mexico and was reconciled at an auto-da-fé\>\> there in 1646. BENJAMIN BUENO DE MESQUITA, who went to Jamaica from Portugal in the 1660s, petitioned the English authorities for the right to trade with the crown, which foreign merchants could not ordinarily do. Permission was granted in 1664, but soon thereafter he and two sons were banished from Jamaica on an extraneous charge. He then went to New York where he died in 1683 (the earliest date on any tombstone in New York's Jewish cemeteries). JOSEPH BUENO DE MESQUITA, one of these sons, became prominent in New York and around 1700 had important financial dealings with Lord Bellamont, the colonial governor. On behalf of Congregation Shearith Israel he purchased a burial ground, the Chattam Square cemetery, from William Merett. Joseph's will gives the name of the other brother, ABRAHAM BUENO DE MESQUITA who was then living at Nevis in the British West Indies. The name Mesquita appears also in Europe. MOSES GOMEZ DE MESQUITA (1688–1751) was haham of London's Spanish-Portuguese Jews from 1744. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: A.M. Hyamson, Sephardim of England (1951), index S.V. Bueno de Mesquita and Gomez de Mesquita; J. Picciotto, Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History (1956), 465; M. Gaster, History of the Ancient Synagogue… (1901), passim; I.S. Emmanuel, Precious Stones of the Jews of Curaçao (1957), index; J.R. Rosenbloom, Biographical Dictionary of Early American Jews (1960), 112.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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