Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spainby Matthew Carr
In a brutal and traumatic exodus, entire families and communities were obliged to abandon homes and
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In April 1609, King Philip III of Spain signed an edict denouncing the Muslim inhabitants of Spain as heretics, traitors, and apostates. Later that year, the entire Muslim population of Spain was given three days to leave Spanish territory, on threat of death.
In a brutal and traumatic exodus, entire families and communities were obliged to abandon homes and villages where they had lived for generations, leaving their property in the hands of their Christian neighbors. In Aragon and Catalonia, Muslims were escorted by government commissioners who forced them to pay whenever they drank water from a river or took refuge in the shade.
For five years the expulsion continued to grind on, until an estimated 300,000 Muslims had been removed from Spanish territory, nearly 5 percent of the total population. By 1614 Spain had successfully implemented what was then the largest act of ethnic cleansing in European history, and Muslim Spain had effectively ceased to exist.
Blood and Faith is celebrated journalist Matthew Carr’s riveting chronicle of this virtually unknown episode, set against the vivid historical backdrop of the history of Muslim Spain. Here is a remarkable window onto a little-known period in modern Europe—a rich and complex tale of competing faiths and beliefs, of cultural oppression and resistance against overwhelming odds.
“Offers a grim lesson about religious and racial repression in our contemporary age of contested faiths.”
—David Levering Lewis, author of God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215
“Carr deftly narrates the complex events leading up to this little-known but horrific episode as a warning against religious intolerance and xenophobia.”
“A fascinating account of perhaps the first major episode of European ethnic cleansing and, just as importantly, the story of the beginning of the conviction that ‘blood’ matters more than belief; a conviction that led, in the end, to modern racism.”
—Kwame Anthony Appiah
- New Press, The
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Meet the Author
Matthew Carr is a writer, broadcaster, and journalist and the author of Infernal Machine: A History of Terrorism and the acclaimed memoir My Father’s House.
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