In 1497, during the event known as the General Conversion, the Portuguese Crown assumed the custody of unmarried Jewish youths and forcibly baptized them. This article explains how the Crown used marriage and wardship as part of a strategy to assimilate these crist.os novos (New Christians). To this end, Manuel I and his councilors expanded and manipulated the traditional custom of wardship as a means of encouraging mainstream families to take on cristãos novos as wards. The assets of the wards were controlled by their guardians until the ward entered into marriage or reached age twenty-five. Drawing on pardons detailed in the Manueline chancery registers, the article evaluates the success and impact of the Manueline marriage strategy. It examines marriages that ended in adultery and abandonment and posits that endogamous marriages among cristãos novos were the basis of exploitation by the Portuguese authorities.