Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain

Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain

by Matthew Carr
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 is a well-known tragedy. Less well-known is the later expulsion in 1609 of the descendants of the Moors, who had ruled Spain for centuries. Carr (The Infernal Machine: A History of Terrorism) examines the uneasy coexistence of Christians and Muslims beginning in 1492, when Spain was united under the Christian Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Over the next century, Christian leaders grew less and less tolerant of Iberian Muslims, requiring them to convert to Catholicism. In April 1609, this growing intolerance culminated in an edict accusing these converts, known as Moriscos, of heresy and apostasy and decreeing their expulsion. Over the next five years, an estimated 350,000 Muslims were forced to abandon their homes; many died on the journey to the ships that would take them to North Africa, and many others were terrorized, raped, robbed and killed by forces that were supposed to protect them. Carr deftly narrates the complex events leading up to this little-known but horrific episode as a warning against religious intolerance and xenophobia. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

“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.”
Publishers Weekly

“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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595585240
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
08/11/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
File size:
571 KB

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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