Muslims in Spain, 1500 to 1614 / Edition 1

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Overview

Picking up at the end of his earlier classic study, Islamic Spain, 1250 to 1500 - which described the courageous efforts of the followers of Islam to preserve their secular, as well as sacred, culture in late medieval Spain - L. P. Harvey chronicles here the struggles of the Moriscos. These unwilling converts to Christianity lived clandestinely in the sixteenth century as Muslims, communicating in aljamiado - Spanish written in Arabic characters, more broadly, Muslims in Spain, 1500 to 1614 tells the story of an early modern nation struggling to deal with a determined faction of non-Christians at a time when the forces of the Counter-Reformation - themselves threatened by Ottoman political and military expansion - were endeavoring to impose absolute religious uniformity.
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Editorial Reviews

New York Times
L. P. Harvey's important new book, Muslims in Spain: 1500 to 1614, soberly recounts the ways in which Muslim culture and religion, which had been part of Spanish life for eight centuries, was forcibly suppressed, until Muslims were completely expelled from Spain, between 1609 and 1614. There was much trauma and bloodshed, much secrecy and much dissimulation.

— Edward Rothstein

Times Literary Supplement
The year’s most rewarding historical work is L. P. Harvey’s Muslims in Spain 1500-1614, a sobering account of the various ways in which a venerable Islamic culture fell victim to Christian bigotry. Harvey never urges the topicality of his subject on us, but this aspect inevitably sharpens an already compelling book.”

— Jonathan Keates

Sixteenth-Century Journal
This is a book we all have been waiting for. . . . This learned and judicious book makes [us familiar] with the final phase of nearly a thousand years of  Islam in Spain—a presence whose power to provoke controversy requires more than ever concerted efforts and historical understanding.

— James S. Amelang

First Things
In this learned and sensitive book, L.P. Harvey . . . brings the history of Islamic Spain down to its heartbreaking final chapter. . . . Painful as it is to read, this is a history not to be forgotten.

— Robert Louis Wilken

International History Review
Written in clear and precise language, which often addresses the non-specialist, Harvey's solid book answers many important questions.

— Tamar Herzog

Journal of Religion
The product of decades of scholarship by one of the world's leading authorities on Morisco culture, this book offers an engaging and insightful treatment of the history and culture of the Moriscos.— Mark D. Myerson
The Historian
Harvey's outstanding study will be of interest both to researchers and to the general student for its sensitive recreation of the last phase of Moorish Spain.

— James Casey

Comitatus
This is a very well-informed book which offers not only the Christian or the Spanish point of view but also provides insight into the Muslims' point of view of the process; it will serve well any scholar or lay-person interested in learning about and de-mystifying what happened to the Muslims of Spain.

— Yasmine Beale-Rivaya

Journal of Modern History
Harvey's deep understanding of the Moriscos and their world offers a great deal—not only to scholars of early modern Spain and the Muslim world but also to a growing audience of anglophone readers interested in the encounter between Islam and Chrtistianity, and the complicated relations between religious and cultural minorities and majorities.

— A. Katie Harris

New York Times - Edward Rothstein

"L. P. Harvey's important new book, Muslims in Spain: 1500 to 1614, soberly recounts the ways in which Muslim culture and religion, which had been part of Spanish life for eight centuries, was forcibly suppressed, until Muslims were completely expelled from Spain, between 1609 and 1614. There was much trauma and bloodshed, much secrecy and much dissimulation."
Times Literary Supplement - Jonathan Keates

“The year’s most rewarding historical work is L. P. Harvey’s Muslims in Spain 1500-1614, a sobering account of the various ways in which a venerable Islamic culture fell victim to Christian bigotry. Harvey never urges the topicality of his subject on us, but this aspect inevitably sharpens an already compelling book.”
Sixteenth Century Journal - James S. Amelang

"This is a book we all have been waiting for. . . . This learned and judicious book makes [us familiar] with the final phase of nearly a thousand years of  Islam in Spain—a presence whose power to provoke controversy requires more than ever concerted efforts and historical understanding."
First Things - Robert Louis Wilken

"In this learned and sensitive book, L.P. Harvey . . . brings the history of Islamic Spain down to its heartbreaking final chapter. . . . Painful as it is to read, this is a history not to be forgotten."
International History Review - Tamar Herzog

"Written in clear and precise language, which often addresses the non-specialist, Harvey's solid book answers many important questions."
Journal of Religion - Mark D. Myerson

"The product of decades of scholarship by one of the world's leading authorities on Morisco culture, this book offers an engaging and insightful treatment of the history and culture of the Moriscos."
The Historian - James Casey

"Harvey's outstanding study will be of interest both to researchers and to the general student for its sensitive recreation of the last phase of Moorish Spain."
Comitatus - Yasmine Beale-Rivaya

"This is a very well-informed book which offers not only the Christian or the Spanish point of view but also provides insight into the Muslims' point of view of the process; it will serve well any scholar or lay-person interested in learning about and de-mystifying what happened to the Muslims of Spain."
Journal of Modern History - A. Katie Harris

"Harvey's deep understanding of the Moriscos and their world offers a great deal--not only to scholars of early modern Spain and the Muslim world but also to a growing audience of anglophone readers interested in the encounter between Islam and Chrtistianity, and the complicated relations between religious and cultural minorities and majorities."
Thomas F. Glick

"L. P. Harvey is the leading authority on Morisco culture, the parameters of which he had largely defined. In Professor Harvey's first book, Islamic Spain, 1250 to 1500, he contextualized the culture of the Moriscos by providing a political narrative. That book is now considered a classic. Muslims in Spain, 1500 to 1614 is crafted in such a way as not to allow the reader ever to lose track of the unfolding tragedy, whose final act was the first sustained, government-directed ethnic cleansing of modern times. . . . I believe Muslims in Spain will be even more of a classic than his first book." Thomas F. Glick, author of Islamic and Christian Spain in the Early Middles Ages
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226319643
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 462
  • Sales rank: 840,472
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


L. P. Harvey is professor emeritus of Spanish at the University of London and a fellow of King’s College, London. He is currently a research associate at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. Harvey’s previous book, Islamic Spain, 1250 to 1500, is also published by the University of Chicago Press.
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Read an Excerpt

MUSLIMS IN SPAIN 1500 TO 1614

By L. P. HARVEY
The University of Chicago Press
Copyright © 2005 The University of Chicago
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-226-31963-6



Chapter One
The Beginnings of Crypto-Islam in the Iberian Peninsula

In modern Spain, at the opening of the twenty-first century, there are to be found many congregations of Muslims with their own mosques and other community institutions. And scattered in many parts of the country there reside a great number of individual Muslims who enjoy those religious and political freedoms that the modern Spanish constitution guarantees to all. However, between these Muslims now living in modern Spain and the Muslims living in Spain after 1500 and up to their final expulsion, there is no continuity or organic linkage whatsoever. (No doubt in the case of a few of the individual Muslims who now reside in Spain it might be possible to trace some genealogical connection with ancestors who came originally from the peninsula, but on-the-spot continuity is lacking.)

The first Muslims had arrived in the Iberian Peninsula in 711; the mass expulsion of all Muslims was decreed and carried out in the period 1609-14, nine centuries later. In this great final displacement of population some 300,000 people were forced to leave their homes and were deported from Spain: some of them went out by road over the Pyrenees, but most left by sea. The diaspora left them scattered from the Atlantic seaboard of Morocco in the west to Ottoman Turkey in the east (and possibly beyond). The following pages cover this final century of Muslim presence in the Iberian Peninsula and attempt to trace what happened from the time the first of Spain's Muslims were forcibly converted to Christianity up to the end, several generations later, when in a final cataclysm almost all of the descendants of these converts were expelled from their homeland.

Perhaps the most frequent designation in modern times-both in Spanish and in English-for these forcible converts has been "Moriscos." For this volume the title Muslims in Spain, 1500 to 1614, has nevertheless been preferred (to Moriscos in Spain, etc.) for two reasons. In the first place, Muslims (or Muslimes) was what these people actually called themselves within their own community. In the second place, "Moriscos" as we will see, although widely accepted, may give rise to confusion and misconceptions that are best avoided.

The special characteristic that marks off Spain's Muslim communities in this final period, distinguishing them not merely from their forebears in the medieval Iberian Peninsula but also from other orthodox Muslim communities in any other place in the world at any time was that they were all perforce crypto-Muslims. They were subjects of a Christian monarch who lived their true religion secretly because, during most of the period that concerns us, they were regarded by their Spanish rulers as having been legally converted to Christianity. They were, in the expression then in use, nuevos cristianos convertidos de moros ("New Christians, converted from being Moors") and fell under the jurisdiction of the Inquisition. (As unconverted Muslims they would not have been answerable to that tribunal, which was, in theory at least, purely concerned with internal Church discipline. Once they became converts, however, there was no doubt that they were subject to its ministrations.)

THE IMPORTANCE OF NAMES: MUSLIM, MORISCO, NEW CONVERT

Morisco gives rise to misunderstandings because, although it appears to be a word with a simple definition, in fact the usage governing it is by no means straightforward. The main problem arises because we have to deal with not just one sense but two related but still distinct sets of senses.

Let us start with the older semantic level of usage of the term (which, to avoid confusion, will be called morisco [1]). This presented no serious problems so long as it was the only sense. In the medieval Castilian of the twelfth century already, morisco (1) is an adjective associated with and derived from the noun moro (which itself might function as both noun and adjective). Moro meant "Moor" (in one or other of the two main acceptations of that word ([a] "North African" or [b] "Muslim," etc.). Closely associated with this noun moro, morisco (1) was an alternative adjectival (never substantival) form: cf. English "Moorish." Morisco (1), just like moro, is to be subdivided semantically into either "pertaining to the peoples of North Africa" or "pertaining to their Islamic religion." In the history of the Castilian language, there are abundant early attestations of both moro and morisco (1). Thus in the Poema de Mio Cid (dating from the early thirteenth century, although some would place it even earlier), moro occurs meaning "Moor" (in both senses mentioned, i.e., "North African" and "Muslim"), and alongside it we also find morisco (1) meaning "Moorish," "having to do with Moors," as in, for example, "piel morisca" or "Moorish skin," that is, "Moorish leather" (what is called in English "Morocco leather"). It needs to be stressed (and is often forgotten) that moro and morisco (1) ("Moor" and "Moorish"), going back as they do to the oldest level of the Spanish language, have never ceased to be used and can still have these same meanings, right up to the present day, even though morisco (2), the acceptation to be discussed in the next paragraph, occurs nowadays with greater frequency.

To turn then to morisco (2) (note there is no parallel moro [2]), this acceptation developed much later, not until the sixteenth century, and its semantic range is narrower and far more specific. It is the sense that will concern us most directly in this study. The Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (Diccionario de la Real Academia Española, hereafter DRAE) defines this morisco as:

Said of those Muslims who at the time of the restoration of Spain remained behind, baptized. (DRAE, s.v. "morisco")

One might out of a misguided sense of historical accuracy raise pernickety objections to that definition. In the first place, it would clearly be desirable, indeed essential, to add to those who "remained behind" (the original converts) the three or four generations of their descendants. Another key element left unstated in the Academy's definition is that these were almost all unwilling converts. Yet the Academy's wording deserves to be cited here, not merely because of its authority but also because the wording does convey the attitude of the majority community toward this religious minority.

In spite of what the DRAE and a number of other authoritative reference works imply, the word in this sense (morisco [2] = "convert from Islam") actually does not come into use in the Spanish sources immediately after 1500. It was not until later, from about the middle of the sixteenth century, that it was generalized. Before that, certainly in the early years after 1492 (the date of the conquest of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs), and in the first half of the century, it is far more usual to find expressions such as the one already mentioned, "new converts" or nuevos cristianos convertidos de moros (although a few early examples of morisco [2] may be found). "New converts" (and especially the full form, "new converts from Islam") must have been an over-long and clumsy designation, so it is hardly surprising that the single-word expression morisco (2), when it did become available, soon took over as the preferred way of referring to these "converts from Islam," especially among Christians (Muslims themselves were naturally reluctant to use it, although a few examples do occur in late Muslim texts). By the end of the sixteenth century, it even became possible to make a semantic distinction between moro and morisco (2), and to say, for example, "These Moriscos are just as much Moors (Muslims) as the people in Algiers" (Estos moriscos son tan moros como los de Argel). In 1599, Lope de Vega could use this same distinction in his play, Los cautivos de Argel, and expect his audience to grasp the point immediately. One of his characters speaks of changing "from being a Moor to being a Morisco" ("desde ser moro a morisco"; Case 1993, 121). Lope presents the man in question as having been brought up in Spain under the name of Francisco, having subsequently crossed to North Africa, where he adopted a Moorish name, "Fuquer," but in the play he contemplates moving back again to Spain. Clearly by Lope's time morisco (2) was semantically firmly established.

A useful word, then. What is there against it?

Historians in modern times, when writing about these forcible converts, not only in Spanish but in almost all modern languages, Arabic included, have certainly employed "morisco" as a conveniently specific term and have been little troubled by the problems it poses. These are not inconsiderable.

In the first place there is the anachronism of applying this designation to people well before it was in general use. That may not be an objection of any great weight, although ignorance about the sixteenth-century limits to the currency of the word "morisco" sometimes does lead otherwise well-informed modern readers of early texts into misunderstandings.

A second objection, and one of much greater moment, is the insidious ideological bias inherent in this use of the word. To accept that an individual is correctly referred to as Morisco is by implication to go along with the proposition that it was justifiable to redesignate him in that way against his own free will in the first place. It is to reclassify him, to impose a new sub-Christian identity on him without his assent. We can tell from their own writings (and, as we will see from chapter 5, there is quite a large corpus of such material) that the "converted" Muslims did not think of themselves as in any way different doctrinally from their fellow Muslims in other parts of the world (although they were, of course, conscious of the special difficulties that arose from their historical situation). Their aspirations, as clearly expressed in their own writings, were not at all those of converts to Christianity. On the contrary, they constantly expressed wishes that the institutions of Islam might be restored in their native land ("the minarets raised up again," "las açomoas empinadas"). And, as has been said, they normally speak of themselves simply as muslimes. Moro and morisco (Morisco) were names that other people had for them, not the name they used for themselves. As time went by, they did perforce have to begin to accept the label, but Morisco was not ideologically neutral when employed in the sixteenth century, and it can easily smuggle an undesirable bias into our discourse today.

However limited the use of the term Morisco in Morisco sources of the period may have been in texts from the first half of the sixteenth century, it did come to prevail in Christian sources from the second half of the century, and it is by now so well entrenched in the modern secondary literature in Spanish on these topics, and it has spread to many of the major languages, that it would hardly be possible to eliminate it altogether or replace it systematically by something less inherently ambiguous or less ideologically skewed. Even modern standard Arabic uses al-muriskiyyun. Whether the Arabic of the Muslims of Spain in this final period itself adopted the word morisco (2) as a loanword is an interesting question. A Granadan Arabic text dateable from 1587 has the unmodified Castilian morphology of the word moriscos ([sic], with a Castilian plural termination) in the middle of an Arabic sentence, but the context is an unusual one (the word is there as a necessary component in a racist joke-see appendix II).

In my opinion, it would be quite absurd to seek totally to root out such a well-established, even if potentially tricky, word as morisco (2), and for the sake of tidiness in classification to set about substituting for it some newly coined term. There will be many contexts in this volume in which the word Morisco will be used because it is convenient to do so and, indeed, some where it is the only appropriate term in the context, for once these Muslims had been forced to pretend to be what they were not, a new situation came into being, a new, complex, and inherently muddled identity was in play. But where, as in the title of this book itself, an inclusive and ideologically neutral term is needed, it is hoped that it will contribute to clarity if we permit these folk to be what they usually called themselves in their own writings. Moriscos was what they were forced to become, unwillingly; Muslims is what they were underneath.

A further remark on definitions. The Spanish Academy, in the passage just quoted, rightly speaks explicitly of Spain. The descendants of Peninsular Moriscos, when they arrived as refugees in North Africa, might understandably still for the time being be called Moriscos (by the Spanish administrators of the enclave of Oran, for example, who had the task of herding the refugees over the border into Muslim territory). Among fellow Muslims in North Africa they were not "Moriscos." Before long it became usual there to call them the andalusiyyun ("the Andalusians"), or just al-Andalus, and those are the names by which their descendants are still known.

THE OTHER "MORISCOS"

The Inquisition did its best to keep Moriscos out of theNewWorld and on the whole was successful (see Dressendörfer 1971.) So there was scope for the word morisco to evolve semantically in other directions. Morisco might indicate a dark or darkish skin color (in a usage linking back, of course, to morisco (1), "North African," "Moor"). Sometimes, in a colonial society that developed quite elaborate terminologies to distinguish various categories of persons of mixed descent, a morisco (3) emerges as a technical term for a degree of skin pigmentation. Thus, for example, one Spanish dictionary (Vox: Diccionario general ilustrado de la Lengua Española [Barcelona, 1973]) records under morisco acceptation 5 in its numbering (marking the sense as both "Mexican" and "obsolete"): "said of a descendant of a mulatto man and a European woman, or of a mulatto woman and a European man." This morisco (3) in my numbering will not concern us in this volume.

In the Philippines there is a sense of moro that should, perhaps, also be mentioned here for the sake of completeness, although it has no bearing on morisco (2). Moro is there a designation attached to a specific group who are not North African at all but who certainly are all Muslims. These people mainly live in Sulu Province. Morisco, when it occurs in the Philippines, is a local usage, and a special application of morisco (1) rather than morisco (2). Apart from such clearly delimited exceptions, morisco is a peninsular Spanish designation for a historical phenomenon specific to the Iberian Peninsula.

ETHNICITY

Were these people, or were they not, aliens in the Spanish kingdoms?

That awkward racial question will never be very far away in the course of the following pages. That many Christians felt these fellow inhabitants of their country to be in some essential way alien, because they were the descendants of invaders who had arrived long ago can be in no doubt: the whole Spanish national enterprise of the Reconquest, as well as the events of the period under study, rested on that conviction.

Still nowadays in Spain, in dozens of towns and cities, there are enacted annually pageants of "Moors and Christians." These take a variety of forms, but one unvarying feature is that the Christians eventually triumph, not the Moors, however noble (and however gorgeous and enviable their fancy attire may be). It would be a profound mistake to see these pageants as mere opportunities for dressing up, still less as shows put on for tourists. Tourists may or may not be present, but the street theater of Moros y Cristianos makes a powerful public statement about the identity of Spain's citizens; an identity that was arrived at in combat with the national enemy, the Moor. Spain's national patron saint, Saint James, has the epithet Matamoros ("Moor Killer"). The swaggering finery in which the "Moors" are arrayed in these pageants only serves to underline the triumph of the Christians who overthrew them.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from MUSLIMS IN SPAIN 1500 TO 1614 by L. P. HARVEY Copyright © 2005 by The University of Chicago. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

1 The beginnings of Crypto-Islam in the Iberian Peninsula 1
2 Spain's Muslims under a new order 45
3 The Muslims of Aragon and Valencia up to their forcible conversion 79
4 Crypto-Muslims in the lands of the Crowns of Castile and Aragon, 1525-1560 102
5 The intellectual life of Spain's Clandestine Muslims 122
6 Crisis and war: Granada, 1567-1571 204
7 Assimilation of rejection? : the 1570s and 1580s 238
8 The last books written in Arabic in al-Andalus and the question of assimilation 264
9 Expulsion 291
10 International relations 332
11 Aftermath 353
12 Hornachos: a special case 369
App. I Religious freedom and modern Spanish constitution 379
App. II "Morisco" and "Mudejar" in glosses by Alonso del Castillo 380
App. III The Sacromonte texts 382
App. IV Gongora on the Sacromonte 399
App. V Some specimen official texts relating to the expulsion of the Moriscos 401
App. VI The Moriscos of the Canaries and the Guanches 411
App. VII The literature of self-justification after the expulsion : a specimen 413
App. VIII Popular reactions of the expulsion 417
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