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Jews and Judaism played a significant role in the history of the expansion of Europe to the west as well as in the history of the economic, social, and religious development of the New World. They played an important role in the discovery, colonization, and eventually exploitation of the resources of the New World. Alone among the European peoples who came to the Americas in the colonial period, Jews were dispersed throughout the hemisphere; indeed, they were the only cohesive European ethnic or religious group that lived under both Catholic and Protestant regimes, which makes their study particularly fruitful from a comparative perspective. As distinguished from other religious or ethnic minorities, the Jewish struggle was not only against an overpowering and fierce nature but also against the political regimes that ruled over the various colonies of the Americas and often looked unfavorably upon the establishment and tleration of Jewish communities in their own territory. Jews managed to survive and occasionally to flourish against all odds, and their history in the Americas is one of the more fascinating chapters in the early modern history of European expansion.