The Judeo-Spanish origin of sugar cane

In February, just before the Symposium, I had very good news: The Royal Spanish Academy has recognized Judeo-Spanish as an official Spanish language. It will be included in the international dictionary of the Spanish language. This took place 525 years after the expulsion of Jews from Spain, the Sephardic Jews. Now that Judeo-Spanish has been recognized as a language, it allows us to review its historical and cultural impact.

For example, there is a word we all know that comes from the plantation era. It is “the ‘cane’ of rum” that is called in French, “canne“. We can affirm today that the etymology of this word comes from the Sephardic Jews who lived in Guadeloupe at the time of the plantations. The original word is “KaNeH“, as it is, without the vowels. Curiously, we can find the word “KaNeH“, three times in the Hebrew Bible, “KaNeH” which means cane. It is in verses 30:23 of Exodus (Shemot), Jeremiah (Yirmiyahu) 6:20, and there are others, but I did not mention them. We find the word “cane”: « Kaf ( ק ) » « Nun ( נ )» « Hey ( ה ) ». KaNeH ( קנה ).

Judeo-Spanish is one Spanish language written with Hebrew characters. The Sephardic Jews also used it here in the French West Indies before the expulsion of the Jews by Louis XIV, as written in the Black Code. He not only evicted the Sephardim but also confiscated their sugar cane plantations. He also enslaved the local population through evangelization. They spoke Judeo-Spanish, hence the reference to the word “KaNeH” which is of Ladino or Judeo-Spanish origin.

About the Author
Walter Hilliger dropped out of Ancient Oriental Studies at the University of Berlin (FU) to devote himself to writing. Now he lives on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, where he wrote Bread from Eden. His well-researched book traces the legendary bread fallen from heaven that the Hebrews ate as a staple diet during 40 years in the biblical story of Exodus. It argues that the 3,300-year-old miracle food never disappeared from the world. The Hilliger hypothesis is rooted in the truth of a substitute for bread, the ancient manna, and gives a natural interpretation to an element considered imaginary and abstract. The quest includes a large bibliography, which compiles hundreds of citations from various periods and languages, to open up a religious and actual reflection on topics such as the plundering of natural resources, livestock production, food-slavery and the desecration of nature.
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