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The Royal Edict of Expulsion (1609) and the Last Andalusi Muslims (“Moriscos”) of Spain

Historical Background

Following the forcible conversion of the Andalusī Muslims of Granada in 1501 (which I have described elsewhere https://ballandalus.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/castilian-reconquista-ottoman-expansion-and-the-christianization-of-al-andalus/ ), similar edicts of conversion were promulgated that forced the Muslims populations of Castile (1502), Navarre (1515) and the Crown of Aragón (1526) to convert to Christianity, thereby criminalizing Islam as a public religion in the Iberian peninsula for the first time in 800 years. The new population of New Christians, as they were called, were referred to (derogatorily) as Moriscos. The Spanish government as well as the Church and Inquisition threatened any who continued to adhere to Islam—in any shape or form—with the death penalty, which usually meant being burned at the stake.

Image(Panels showing the Conversion of the Muslims of Granada in 1501, Altar, Royal Chapel, Granada)Despite this legislation, many (perhaps even most) of these individuals held firm to their former beliefs, practicing dissimulation (taqīyyah)—a practice legitimized by a 1504 fatwa by the Mufti of Oran Ahmad ibn Abī Juma‘a—and adhering in secret to their cultural and religious practices. Those who were discovered were subjected to interrogation and torture by the Inquisition before being executed; at least several thousand individuals were subjected to this over the course of the sixteenth century. Around 1566/1567, additional legislation was introduced that essentially banned many of the cultural practices of the Andalusīs, including their dress, names, traditional festivals, and even dances, while any use of the Arabic language itself, whether written or spoken, was officially criminalized. This coincided with an increasing amount of repression against the Moriscos in Granada, where, along with the Kingdom of Valencia, one of the biggest Andalusī communities in Spain resided. This led to the outbreak, in 1568, of a major rebellion in the Kingdom of Granada which then spread to the Alpujarras mountains and lasted until 1571.

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During the course of this rebellion, thousands of Moriscos openly repudiated Christianity, took up arms against the Spanish government and sought the aid of the Ottomans. The rebellion was one of the most violent affairs of the sixteenth century. Various atrocities were committed by the rebels against Christians—including many Andalusīs who had embraced Christianity—and priests were particularly singled out as a symbol of the Inquisition. As a result of this rebellion, the King of Spain, Philip II (r. 1556–1598) dispatched his half-brother Don Juan of Austria (d. 1578) to Granada to pacify the region. The uprising was brutally suppressed by Don Juan of Austria after nearly three years. One of his worst atrocities was to raze the town of Galera, to the east of Granada, and to sprinkle it with salt, having slaughtered 2,500 people, including 400 women and children.Following the rebellion, during which tens of thousands of Moriscos and Old Christians had perished, as many as 80,000 Andalusīs/Moriscos from Granada were forcibly deported and dispersed throughout the Kingdom of Castile.

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(Major sites of conflict during the Second War of the Alpujarras, 1568-1571)

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(Expulsion of Moriscos from Granada)

Aside from this rebellion, the Moriscos were frequently accused throughout the sixteenth century—not without some justification—of collaborating with the Ottomans and North African Barbary corsairs in their raids against the Spanish coast. Indeed, between 1502 and 1560, tens of thousands of Andalusīs from Spain made their way to North Africa where many of them rose to prominence among the ranks of the Barbary pirates.

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This was a major cause of alarm for the Spanish authorities throughout the sixteenth century. Between 1504 and 1514, Ottoman involvement in the western Mediterranean increased dramatically as Uruj (d. 1518) and Hayreddin (d. 1543) Barbarossa and other sea-raiders from the Aegean began to actively take an interest in the Andalusī cause and to organize naval actions against Spanish interests in North Africa, inspired both by notions of jihād and the lucrative opportunities of raiding. The establishment of an Ottoman naval base around 1529 in Algiers and Peñón, across the straits from Iberia, certainly strengthened the perception that the Ottomans would deliver the Andalusīs from their predicament; the alliance between the Ottomans in North Africa and the Andalusī refugees residing there underscored this association between Ottoman involvement and the Morisco cause.

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(Ohannes Umed Behzad, “Barbarossa defeats the Holy League at Preveza, 1538,” 1866. Turkish Naval Museum, Istanbul)

More significantly, the Ottoman-Spanish imperial rivalry in the western Mediterranean and North Africa had important implications for the Andalusīs, and the decisive engagements at Tunis (1535), Preveza (1538), Algiers (1541), Tripoli (1551), Mostaganem (1558), Djerba (1560) and Lepanto (1570) were closely monitored by the Moriscos who resided in Iberia, leading to an increasingly millenarian expectation, which reached its peak during the reign of the Ottoman sultan Süleyman I (r. 1520–1566), as evidenced from various Morisco prophecies that affirmed that they would be liberated from their plight by the Turks. Indeed, Hayreddin’s transport of numerous Moriscos from Iberia to North Africa—70,000 individuals in 1529 alone—increased the apocalyptic perception of Ottoman power among many Andalusīs, and was viewed as the realization of their hopes for deliverance.

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It should also be mentioned that there is solid historical evidence that indicates that the Andalusīs directly corresponded with the Ottomans by sending appeals for aid as early as 1501, so the association between the Andalusīs and the Ottoman threat was not simply a fabrication or exaggeration on the part of the Spanish authorities. In addition to being viewed as a religious and cultural threat, therefore, the Moriscos—who numbered between 500,000 and 1 million by the late sixteenth century—were perceived as a major security concern by the Spanish state. The fact that Morisco rebellions, which did not cease after 1571, coincided with other external threats facing Spain—the Ottoman challenge, the Dutch revolt, the war with Queen Elizabeth I of England (r. 1558–1603), the Huguenot agitations—made the matter one of particular urgency for the Spanish authorities.

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In order to provide a resolution to the “Morisco problem,” there were various councils that were convened during the late sixteenth century in Spain. Finally, after being convinced to do so by the Duke of Lerma Francisco Gómez de Sandoval (d. 1625), the Archbishop of Valencia Juan de Ribera (d. 1611) and the Viceroy of Valencia, the Marquis of Caracena, King Philip III (r. 1598–1621) signed the Edict of Expulsion on April 9th 1609 which decreed that all Andalusīs/Moriscos were to be expelled from Spain to North Africa. Although transporting hundreds of thousands of Moriscos to the coasts of Spain and then to North Africa was logistically a major challenge which required the mobilization of a large portion of Spain’s armies and navies, this was carried out between 1609 and 1614, with tens of thousands of Andalusīs perishing in the process. Despite evidence that small communities of Andalusīs remained, the expulsions of 1609–1614 effectively ended the 900-year long presence of Muslims in Iberia.

BenQ Digital Camera(L’expulsió dels moriscos [1894] by Gabriel Puig Roda, Museu de Belles Arts de Castelló)

https://ballandalus.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/expulsion-de-los-moriscos.jpg?w=500

If one recalls that in the early 17th century the entire population of Spain was only about 7.5 million, the expulsion of the Moriscos must have constituted a serious deficit in terms of productive manpower and tax revenue. In the Kingdom of Valencia, which lost 1/3 of its population, nearly half the villages were deserted in 1638 and much of the agricultural production of the land declined considerably, greatly weakening the Spanish economy. There is a lot of disagreement about the number of Moriscos who perished either in armed rebellion or on the journey into exile. Pedro Aznar Cardona, whose treatise justifying the expulsion was published in 1612, stated that between October 1609 and July 1611 over 50,000 died resisting expulsion, while over 60,000 died during their passage abroad either by land or sea or at the hands of their co-religionists (many of whom considered the Andalusīs to have been apostates from Islam due to their Spanish language, names and dress) after disembarking on the North African coast. If these figures are correct, then about 17% of the total Andalusī/Morisco population of Spain perished in a period of two years. Henry Charles Lea, drawing on many contemporary sources, whose combined evidence cannot be lightly dismissed, puts the death rate at 67% to 75%, although this is admittedly a higher estimate that is difficult to verify. The expulsion of the Moriscos has been characterized by several scholars and historians as an example of systematic ethnic and religious cleansing, which should be seen in light of the broader context of the homogenization of states in early modern Europe.

(Pere Oromig, “Embarco Moriscos en el Grao de Valencia,” 1616. http://www.arauco.org/SAPEREAUDE/terraaustralisincognita/historiasdealandalus/laexpulsionenlapintura.html)

(Pere Olomig and Francisco Peralta, “Embarco Moriscos en el Grao de Vinaroz,” 1613. http://www.arauco.org/SAPEREAUDE/terraaustralisincognita/historiasdealandalus/laexpulsionenlapintura.html)

The demographic factor was certainly one of the decisive arguments in favor of expulsion employed by Juan de Ribera in three memoranda to Philip III in 1602. He warned the King that, unless he took swift action, Christian Spaniards would soon find themselves outnumbered by Muslims, as all Andalusīs married and had large families, whereas a third or a quarter of all Christians remained celibate after joining the priesthood, monasteries, nunneries, Holy Orders or for other reasons; many, for example, entered military service and died in battle, while others traveled to the Indies. Ribera’s fears were prompted by a census of the Valencian population that he himself had supervised in this same year, which revealed that the Andalusī population had increased by one-third. Thus, in addition to the cultural, religious, and security dimensions of the “Morisco problem,” the demographic threat was a further reason why the Spanish authorities felt compelled to expel the Andalusīs from Iberia. For an excellent further discussion of the Expulsion of the Moriscos, I recommend Roger Boase’s “The Muslim Expulsion from Spain” (accessible through http://www.historytoday.com/roger-boase/muslim-expulsion-spain or https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-5-JeCa2Z7hMDVHSXM5bWk3WEU/edit ), in addition to the list of further reading at the bottom of this post.

One final points needs to be kept in mind when thinking about the expulsion of the Moriscos. Despite the predominance of the national narrative of the “Reconquista” that emphasizes the supposed “foreignness” of the Iberian Muslims in order to paint a picture of an embattled and indigenous Christian society fighting against a brutal ruling caste of foreign Muslim conquerors, an 800-year struggle that culminated in the latter being legitimately conquered, converted and expelled “back to Africa,” the reality was far more complicated. Even a basic study of the demographics, culture, and society of medieval Iberia demonstrates that a substantial component (even the majority, according to some historians) of the Muslims of Spain and Portugal were actually indigenous to the country (or, more accurately, as indigenous as those peoples who came to be known as Castilians, Catalans, and Portuguese). Many of these Muslims were actually speakers of Castilian, Catalan or Portuguese and throughout the Middle Ages were usually bilingual. The original class of Arab/Berber settlers who made up the initial class of conquerors numbered no more than 30-40,000 and the bulk of the Muslim population of al-Andalus/medieval Iberia was made up of Hispano-Romans or Visigothic converts. In addition, there were later arrivals of Slavs, West Africans, Basques and northern Iberian converts to Islam to al-Andalus that greatly contributed to the diversity of the Andalusii population.

https://ballandalus.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/iberia_1150.gif?w=500As early as the eleventh century and most certainly by the late fifteenth century intermarriage and acculturation had produced a completely unique society and civilization that was composed of all these elements. However, if we were to speak in “ethnic” terms (and, generally, we should not), then it becomes obvious that the Muslim community of al-Andalus was at least as “Spanish” as the northern Christians who eventually conquered the peninsula. Moreover, to speak in terms of “indigenous” and “foreign” also implies the existence of an established cultural entity known as “Spain,” whereas in fact medieval Iberia was composed of well over a dozen “ethnic” and linguistic groups, which were eventually homogenized into a coherent, single unit during the course of the early modern period. The suppression of Iberia’s Muslim and Jewish heritage was actually part of this process. It is in this broader context that the term “Moor” becomes particularly problematic and seeks to obscure the Iberian heritage of the Andalusi Muslims. As an eminent professor of Iberian studies explains:

“Because of its potent connotations, ‘Moor’ [Maurus/Moro] arguably served as the principal linguistic vehicle for suppressing the indigenous nature of the Andalusi Muslim cultural heritage in Iberia and rendering Andalusi Muslims as others in a projected Christian Iberia. It enabled Christians in thirteenth century Castile to dismiss as “foreign” the substantially mixed Andalusi Muslim population to their south, as well as Castile’s own [Muslim populations], and to disregard the extent of social and cultural ties among all Andalusis, including Muslims from Africa. Christian longing for a world of religious, cultural, ethnic and political unity—rather than diversity—effectively interfered with and rewrote the cultural history of the Peninsula in accordance with the polity that they not only imagined for themselves but then constructed for their new religious and linguistic community.”—Ross Brann, Professor of Judeo-Islamic Studies at Cornell University, in his article “The Moors?” in Medieval Encounters 15 (2009), p. 313

(Vicent Mestre, “Rebelión de los Moriscos en la Muela de Cortes,” 1613. http://www.arauco.org/SAPEREAUDE/terraaustralisincognita/historiasdealandalus/laexpulsionenlapintura.html)

(Jerónimo Espinosa, “Sublevación en la Vall de Gallinera o Laguar,” 1613. http://www.arauco.org/SAPEREAUDE/terraaustralisincognita/historiasdealandalus/laexpulsionenlapintura.html)

An Andalusī Refugee in North Africa considers the Edict of Expulsion

Shihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad ibn Qāsim al-Ḥajarī al-Andalusī was an Andalusī Muslim born around 1570 in the village of al-Ḥajar, in the vicinity of Granada, during the Second War of the Alpujarras (1568–1571). He lived for most of his youth as a Morisco (crypto-Muslim) in Spain, between Granada, Seville and Toledo, before escaping to Morocco around 1598, residing in Marrakech, where he remained until 1636 or so. While in Spain, he learned Spanish and Portuguese in addition to his native Arabic. As a result of his knowledge of the latter, he was enlisted in deciphering the so-called “Lead Books of Sacromonte” around 1588. During his time in Morocco, he entered the service of the Sa’adian Sultan Muley Zaydān (r. 1603–1627) as a translator and secretary. While in the service of the Sa’adian dynasty he also embarked on major journey to Europe, traveling to France and the Netherlands between 1609 and 1611. Around 1636, he departed to the Central Islamic Lands in order to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. Following his performance of the latter, he resided in Egypt for a time before departing for Tunis. Due to the absence of sources, it is unclear how he spent the remainder of his life. It is certain that al-Ḥajarī died sometime after 1638/1639, because he has a work (on gunpowder technology and cannons) that can be dated to these years. He was a prolific writer, traveler and translator and his works remain an important source of information for the Islamic West during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

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(Granada. Georg Braun & Franz Hogenberg. Cologne, 1598)

(Vicent Mestre, “Embarco Moriscos en el Grao de Denia,” 1613. http://www.arauco.org/SAPEREAUDE/terraaustralisincognita/historiasdealandalus/laexpulsionenlapintura.html)

As one of the official translators and court secretaries of the Moroccan ruler Muley Zaydān, it was al-Ḥajarī’s job to ensure that major documents of state as well as foreign correspondence were translated from Spanish to Arabic. One such document, which he preserves in his travelogue, Nāṣir al-Dīn ‘ala al-Qawm al-Kāfirīn,* is the 1609 Edict of Expulsion of the Moriscos which was sent from Philip III (r. 1598–1621) to the Viceroy of Valencia, ordering him to proclaim the official decision to expel the Moriscos from the Kingdom of Valencia, who numbered several hundred thousand. As a former Morisco himself, al-Ḥajarī certainly understood the critical importance of this document and certainly understood the disastrous results of this decision, which saw hundreds of thousands of Muslims expelled from their historic homeland in Spain and tens of thousands enslaved and murdered en route to North Africa. The following is my translation of his discussion of the larger context behind the expulsion as well as his translation of this edict. The text is particularly valuable because it provides a contemporary Andalusī perspective on the expulsion of the Moriscos from Spain. It is significant that he considers the demographic dimension of the Morisco problem to have been the most important factor that prompted their expulsion from the peninsula. It would be particularly interesting to compare the Arabic translation provided by al-Ḥajarī with the official Spanish document, which can be read in Mercedes García-Arenal ed., Los Moriscos (Granada: Universidad de Granada, 1996), pp. 251–255. It is quite notable that the section in al-Ḥajarī’s rendering of the edict which mentions the Andalusī communication with the Ottomans, Moroccans and northern European powers is absent from the original Spanish text and appears to be an interpolation by al-Ḥajarī himself. This sheds light on his own perspective on the relationship between the Andalusī predicament and the larger geo-political situation in the Mediterranean.

*(It has just been brought to my attention that this book has been translated into English and published in Madrid in 1997 as “Kitāb Nāṣir al-Dīn ʻalā ʼl-qawm al-kāfirīn = (The supporter of religion against the infidels)” by P.S. van Koningsveld, Gerald Wiegers and Q. al-Samarra’i. However, since I only have access to the 2003 Beirut edition of the Arabic text, the translation below is my own. Update II: I now have access to the 1997 Madrid edition, of which scans are included below but have left my translation, based on the Beirut 2003 edition, unchanged)

Translation

[While in the court of ruler/stadtholder of the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands, Maurice of Nassau (r. 1585–1625)], the prince asked me: “What do you think is the reason that led the King of Spain to expel the Andalusīs from his country?”

I replied: “You should know that, unbeknownst to the Christians, the Andalusīs had remained Muslims. Sometimes, they would be discovered openly professing and practicing their religion. The Christians would often put them on trial in order to discern their true religion, an ordeal from which no one was safe. None of them were permitted to participate in wars, which is usually the cause for the annihilation of great multitudes of people, nor were they permitted to embark on any ship, for fear that they would use the opportunity to flee to their co-religionists [in North Africa]. Indeed, the sea causes many lives to perish. Moreover, among the Christians there are many monks, priests and nuns who do not have children. Among the Andalusīs, on the other hand, there are no priests, monks or nuns but, rather, their numbers continued to grow due to their not participating in wars, their avoidance of the sea, and their having many children. In my opinion, this is the primary reason why the King of Spain felt compelled to expel them, because their numbers would continue to grow over time. Do you understand my words?”

He replied in French: “I understood everything that you said, and it is all true. Let us say that we were to make an agreement with the Andalusī leadership and send them a massive armada of ships in order to launch an invasion of Iberia with our troops, would we conquer Spain?

I said: “It is impossible for the Andalusīs to ever agree to such a thing except with the express permission of the different rulers in whose lands they now reside.”

He said: “Let us say that we were to establish an agreement with the Sultan of Marrakech and the Grand Seigneur [the Ottoman sultan], by whom I mean the Supreme Sultan, the Ruler of Islam and the Faith, to coordinate our assaults against the King of Spain and conquer his country.”

I told him: “This would indeed be an auspicious affair if it should come to pass, but it is highly doubtful that it could be achieved. But if such a thing were to occur they would indeed be able to conquer Spain, may God return it to the fold of Islam!”

[…]

In addition to all that I said to the Prince [Maurice of Nassau] about the reasons that drove the Christian King [of Spain] to expel the Andalusīs from his realm, let me elaborate further. The King of Spain, Philip [II, r. 1556–1598], the second of his name (I mention this fact because upon reading the books of history composed by Muslims in which they describe the wars between them and King Alfonso, but they fail to specify which particular king this is. There were over twelve kings of Spain named Alfonso, each is known more specifically by his number, such as “Alfonso IV” or “Alfonso VIII” or “Alfonso X.” However, the Muslim historians usually fail to specify which Alfonso they are referring to). In any case, prior to my departing the country, Philip II had ordered a census of all the Andalusīs (al-Andalus), young and old, even those still in the wombs of pregnant women. No one knew the real reason why this was done. Seventeen years later, there was another official census that was carried out—as I was informed while in Marrakech—and yet again no one knew why, but at the time it appeared that the authorities merely sought to discern whether the Andalusī population had increased or not.

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(Portrait of King Philip II of Spain by Titian, ca. 1556)

Upon finding out that there had been a major rise in the Andalusī population, they ordered their expulsion shortly afterwards. King Philip III [r. 1598–1621] issued a formal decree to his viceroy in Valencia ordering him to expel the Andalusīs. I had part of this decree translated for Sultan Muley Zaydān [r. 1603–1627], the son of Sultan Aḥmad [al-Manṣūr, r. 1578–1603] in Marrakech. It is probable—and God knows best!—that this decree was issued in early 1018 A.H. [1609]. The following is my translation:

“To the Marquis of Caracena, our Cousin and Viceroy in the Kingdom of Valencia! Peace be unto you.

You are well aware of all that has transpired over the long years with the New Christians, the Andalusīs, the residents of the Kingdom of Valencia and of Castile, with regards to whom we have exerted every effort and mechanism and guidance to ensure that they were truly converted to our glorious religion and faith. Yet, this has been to no avail and has borne little fruit and not a single true and faithful Christian can be found among them. The sedition and evil that will result from our blindness towards them has been mentioned to us by the learned and pious scholars and, thus, we have sought to resolve this matter in order to please God and to remove the cause of his anger against this nation. They have ruled that it is permissible for us, without a shadow of a doubt, to punish them for their insolence by taking action against their person and their property, as a consequence of their persevering in their perverse ways. It has been decreed that they are hypocrites and eternal enemies of the Divine and Humanity alike. It has been made evident to us that we are capable of punishing them for their crimes and misdeeds. Even so, I have decided to treat them with leniency and forbearance, leaving aside all censure. As a result, I have decreed that the large council [of scholars, bishops and officials] that has gathered in that city [Valencia] seek a way to resolve this problem without resorting to expelling them from our kingdom. At this council we have truthfully established and confirmed that they had sent messengers to the Grand Turk in Istanbul and Muley Zaydān in Marrakech, asking them to come to their aid, asserting that they possesses 150,000 Muslim [fighting] men, who are as Muslim as those in North Africa. Moreover, they have sent messengers to our naval enemies in northern Europe, promising to aid them with their ships. As for the Sultan of Istanbul, he has made peace with the Sultan of Persia with whom he had been previously preoccupied; while the Sultan of Marrakech has been pacifying the rebellions in his own country. If these were to all come to an agreement with the [Moriscos], we will find ourselves in a terrible predicament.

(Vicent Mestre, “Llegada de los Moriscos a Orán,” 1613. http://www.arauco.org/SAPEREAUDE/terraaustralisincognita/historiasdealandalus/laexpulsionenlapintura.html)

For the sake of preserving our kingdom and defending it, we have undertaken, after much consultation and prayers to God—fully dependent on his guidance and support as is befitting His Majesty and Excellence—to expel all the Andalusīs that reside in the Kingdom of Valencia because they pose the greatest threat. In order to achieve this we have ordered that this royal decree be proclaimed throughout the land:

[1] First, that all the Andalusīs in the Kingdom of Valencia, men and women, with their children and within three days from the proclamation of this decree, remove themselves from the lands in which they currently inhabit and embark on a ship from the coast, at a place that is specifically designated for this purpose. They may only take with them from their possessions and moveable property that which they can carry. They are to embark on the ships and the galleys that have been assigned to transport them to North Africa. They are to transport them without any harm being inflicted on their person or possessions and they are to provide them with adequate food for the journey. As for they who seek to carry what they can, let them do so. Whoever deviates from this command, let them be put to death.

[2] As for whoever remains [from the Moriscos], tarrying in the land, after three days from the proclamation of this order it is permissible for any who encounter them to plunder their goods and to turn them over to the authorities; if they resist, it is permissible to put them to death.

[3] All who hear this proclamation may not tarry in the land or travel from one region to another, but must follow the orders to embark from the coast.

[4] As for anyone who buries any belongings that they cannot carry with them, or burns any trees or fields, let them be put to death. We order that their neighbors carry out this order if necessary.

[5] In the lands where there are sugar mills, rice plantations and irrigation technology, we order that 6 out of every 100 Andalusī families, along with their unmarried children, remain in order to teach the new inhabitants the technical and agricultural skills necessary. Let [those selected to remain] be individuals who have demonstrated strong familiarity and adherence to our faith. It is hoped that they shall remain firmly committed to it.

[6] We order that the soldiers and the Old Christians not to confiscate anything from their wealth and not to harm their women and children and not to hide any of them in their homes. Whoever does so shall be condemned to the fate of a galley oarsman for a period of six years, with the punishment to be increased as we see fit.

[7] Let it be known that the King’s only intent is to remove them from our kingdom to North Africa. Let them not be harmed by word or deed or in any way. When they have arrived, let ten of them return to inform the others [that they had safely arrived in North Africa]. Let this be proclaimed to all the commanders and captains of the ships and galleys so they may implement this order.

[8] Young children and the orphans who are younger than four years of age are permitted to remain behind by the consent of their guardians. Children who have Christian parents shall not be expelled nor their mothers, even if they are Andalusīs. In cases where the father is Andalusī and the mother a Christian, the woman shall be permitted to remain with her children who are younger than six years of age, but her husband will be expelled.

This decree was proclaimed on the 22nd of September 1609 A.D.

After those in the Kingdom of Valencia had been expelled, those in Andalusia and neighboring territories were commanded to depart. In order to do so, they had rented ships. However, while they had amassed near the [Guadalquivir] river near Seville, the King issued a command that contradicted the first, ordering that those Moriscos departing to Muslim lands should have their young sons and daughters younger than seven years of age to be taken away. About a thousand children were taken away from their parents this way in al-Hajar al-Ahmar alone. They also took the children of those who had crossed to Tangiers and Ceuta, as they did for all the others. God Almighty will ensure that there is just recompense for this act, through the hands of the sovereign rulers of the Muslims who were chosen and favored by Him.”

[Shihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad ibn Qāsim al-Ḥajarī al-Andalusī, Nāṣir al-Dīn ‘ala al-Qawm al-Kāfirīn (Beirut, 1999), pp. 118–119, 121–124]

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Further Reading

Abd al-Karīm, Jamal. al-Mūrīskīyūn, tārīkhuhum wa-adabuhum. Cairo: Maktabat Nahdat al-Sharq, 1990.

Aguilera, Manuel Barrios. Granada Morisca, la Convivencia Negada. Granada: Comares, 2002.

Al-Hamid, ‘Abd al-Latīf ibn Muhammad. Mawqif al-dawlah al-‘Uthmānīyah tijāh ma’sat al-Muslimīn fī al-Andalus, 891 H-1018 H/1486 M-1609 M. Riyadh, 1993.

Carr, Matthew. Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain. New York: The New Press, 2009.

Chejne, Anwar G. Islam and the West : the Moriscos, a cultural and social history. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1983.

Coleman, David. Creating Christian Granada: Society and Religious Culture in an Old-World Frontier City. London, 2003

Gaignard, Catherine. Maures et Chrétiens à Grenade. Paris: L’Harmattan, 1997.

García-Arenal, Mercedes. Messianism and Puritanical Reform: Mahdīs of the Muslim West. Leiden: Brill, 2006.

Harvey, Leonard Patrick. Muslims in Spain, 1500 to 1614. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2005.

________. “The Moriscos and their International Relations,” in L’expulsió dels moriscos: conseqüències en el món islàmic i el món cristià, pp. 135–139. Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya, 1994.

________. “The Political, Social, and Cultural History of the Moriscos.” In The Legacy of Muslim Spain, ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi, pp. 201–234. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1992.

Hess, Andrew. The Forgotten Frontier: A History of the Sixteenth-Century Ibero-African Frontier. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.

________. “The Moriscos: An Ottoman Fifth-Column in Sixteenth-Century Spain,” American Historical Review 74 (1968): 1–25.

Lea, Henry Charles. The Moriscos of Spain; their conversion and expulsion. New York: Greenwood Press, 1968

Meyerson, Mark. The Muslims of Valencia in the Age of Fernando and Isabel: Between Coexistence and Crusade. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

Montoro, Jose Acosta. Aben Humeya: Rey de los moriscos. Almeria: Instituto de Estudios Almerienses, 1988.

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Taylor, Bruce. “The Enemy Within and Without: An Anatomy of Fear on the Spanish Mediterranean Littoral.” In Fear in Early Modern Society, ed. William G. Naphy and Penny Roberts, pp.78–99. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997.

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8 Comments

  1. John Woodman says:

    Very helpful and clear overview – many thanks.

  2. Daniel Masters says:

    Thank you so much for this amazing article. It’s the most thorough discussion of the Moriscos expulsion that I’ve seen on the Internet. I’m eager to read some of the other articles you’ve published on the subject of the Muslims of Spain.

  3. denise says:

    That’s why I am so respectful of muslims. I don’t even use the words, moors or moriscos.

  4. Yacta says:

    Such a detailed astonishing article! As a Moroccan I learned a lot. There is a book about Shihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad ibn Qāsim al-Ḥajarī al-Andalusī, by Amin Maalouf called “Leo the African”. I recommended for anyone who want to about the “la conquista” as well as the expelling of the Muslim, and emigration to Morocco.

    • ballandalus says:

      Thanks for the comment; I’m glad you found it interesting. Actually the book by Amin Maalouf (which I also highly recommend) is about al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Wazzan (d. 1554), another fascinating Andalusi emigre to North Africa who lived approximately one century before Shihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad ibn Qāsim al-Ḥajarī.

  5. Ibe says:

    Amazing article. Made me cry for the way Muslims were treated then.
    Thank you.

  6. William Burns says:

    Very informative! Another bit of context is that 1609 is when the Twelve Years Truce between Spain and the Dutch rebels kicked in, which helps explain why the Spanish government had the resources to devote to this massive project.

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