Paiva, Jacques

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PAIVA, JACQUES (d. 1687), London diamond merchant originally from Holland, one of the earliest Jewish settlers in Fort St. George (*Madras). He was authorized by the East India Company in London to travel to Madras in 1684, taking with him "one man-servant, one Christian maid, and one Jewish servant to attend on his wife in his voyage to the port, he paying the charge of their transportation." During his stay in Madras, Paiva was one of the representatives of the "Hebrew" merchants. While on a trip to the diamond mines in Golconda in 1687, he fell dangerously ill and was taken back to Fort St. George, where he died. He was buried in the cemetery at the Memorial Hall in Peddenaipetam, which apparently had been acquired with Paiva's help. His will throws remarkable light on the gem trade between England and India in the 17th century. His widow subsequently lived with Elihu Yale, the governor of Madras after whom Yale University is named.


W.J. Fischel, in: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 3 (1960), 78–107, 175–95; C. Roth, Anglo-Jewish Letters (1938), 78–81; H.D. Love, Vestiges of Old Madras, 4 vols. (1913). add. bibliography: E. Samuel, "Manuel Levy Duarte (1631–1714): An Amsterdam Merchant Jeweller's Trade with London," in: idem, At the Ends of the Earth: Essays on the History of England and Portugal (2004), 232–32, index.

[Walter Joseph Fischel]