Moors Photos in Spain
The Historiography of Moorish Spain: The Narrative
According to Ivan Van Sertima. "It is generally assumed that the movement of Africans into Europe in significantly large numbers and into positions of real power, did not occur until the Muslim invasion of Spain in 711 A.D. In Al-Makkary's "History of the Mohammedan Dynasties in Spain", however, we learn of a great drought that afflicted Spain about three thousand years ago, a catastrophe that was followed not long afterwards by an invasion from Africa. This, of course, had nothing to do with the medieval Moors, but it is worth noting here because it actually established an ancient African Dynasty in Spain, a fact that is omitted from the 'official histories'.
The second major intrusion of an African Army into Spain before the Moors, occurs sometime around 700 B.C. during the period of the 25th Dynasty in Egypt, when the Ethiopian Taharka was a young general, but before he was succeeded to the throne by his uncle Shabataka. Africans in general were called the Ethiopians; in medieval times most africans were called Moors; in modern times some Africans were called Negroes. The Ethiopians were named by the Greeks. The Word Ethiopia means "burnt face" from the Greek names Ethios+face.
This description referred to these dark complexion of these Africans, which the Greeks attributed to sunburn. In the Literature on Africa, Africans are commonly identified in two groups: one progressive, the other, backward. The progressive peoples are called the Hamites, Kushites, Moors, etc., whereas the backward ones are called Negroes. The word Negro comes from the Latin word Niger, meaning black. Hamites, Kushites and Moors were also black, but they have been inducted into the White race. We need to put this history of Spain and Moors in its true perspective and context. The Historical account below needs some consideration.
After the destruction of the old city of Carthage in 146 B.C., the Romans established a group of five provinces in North Africa, which territory was called Africa Romana. The Ancient Libyan inhabitants of this region, originally a branch of the western Ethiopians became intermixed with the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Roman immigrants. The modern obsessions of racial and religious prejudice were unknown in the ancient world, and the various ethnic groups intermarried freely. The Romans called the indigenous dwellers of North Africa 'barbari' (barbarians), from whence we get the name "Berber"".
So, in medieval and even modern times, the Africans have generally been known as Berbers. The Romans dubbed these Africans "barbarians," not because of any cultural inferiority, but merely because certain social customs were different from those of the Romans. The Libyans or Berbers, possessed a matriarchal type of social organization, which was common to all African societies, but which seemed quite odd and strange to the Romans of Europe. The Roman Imperialists were able to conquer Carthage only because they were aided by the rulers of Numidia and Mauritania, and, by the citizens of the Phoenician colony of Utica. The tragic result of this misguided policy of the African brothers of the Carthaginians is well told by Professor J.C. deGraft-Johnson, as follows:
"The Numidian and Mauritanian kings and chief allied themselves to the Romans because they desired home rule or self-government, and for that reason they wanted the power of Carthage destroyed, as Carthaginian influence was already making itself felt in their internal and external affairs. But no sooner had the Numidian kings and chiefs assisted Rome to destroy Carthage, than Rome picked a quarrel with them and annexed their country. The Mauritanian kings, who occupied part of modern Morocco and Algeria, had hoped to exercise self-determination and enjoy full self-government, but this was not to be. Within the hundred-odd years from the fall of Carthage in 146 B.C., to 42 B.C., Rome incorporated or absorbed into her empire the regions equivalent to western Tripolitania, Tunisia, and all the coastal regions of Algeria and Morocco. Rome also annexed the old Greek colonies of Cyrenaica, and in 30 B.C., added the newly acquired territory of Egypt to the Cyrenaica possession in order to form a Roman province." (J. C. deGraft-Johnson)
"They are nearer to animals than men ... They are by nature unthinking and their manners crude. Their bellies protrude; their color is White and their hair is long. In sharpness and delicacy of spirit and intellectual perspicacity they are nil. Ignorance, lack of reasoning power and boorishness are common among them." (Davidson) Eurocentric Historians argue that Europe gave civilization to Africa, which is a complete inversion of the truth. The first civilized Europeans were the Greeks, who were chiefly civilized by the Africans of the Nile Valley. Davidson in the quote above was describing Europe before the coming of the Africans(Moors)
"The Greeks transmitted this culture to the Romans, who finally lost it, bringing on a dark age of five hundred years. Civilization was restored to Europe when another group of Africans, the Moors, brought this dark age in Europe to an end, meanwhile re-civilizing the Christian barbarians of Europe. After the end of the Helenistic culture of Alexandria, the Romans became the new custodians of civilization. But the Roman system of society was not built to last; for in its intellectual acumen, the Romans were greatly inferior to the Greeks. In the fields of pure science and abstract thought the Romans made a sorry showing.(Davidson)
Contrariwise, in the industrial arts, and in the applied sciences, their contributions to culture were of considerable merit. The defects of the Roman system, however, overshadowed its virtues, and in due time led to its disintegration. The main shortcomings of Roman civilization were slavery, militarism, and a bad fiscal system; and these vices gradually led the Empire into the debacle of the Dark Ages. As the Roman ruling class tried to postpone the looming crisis, they disestablished the old pagan cults and made Christianity the state religion, but this did not help. In the early part of the fifth century A.D., the Barbarians overran the Western Roman Empire, and by the end of the fifth century, the Roman civilization lay wasted in ruins. Sir Charles Oman gave an account of this transfer of power in the following manner:
"In the summer of 477 A.D., a band of ambassadors, who claimed to speak the will of the decayed body, which still called itself the Roman Senate, appeared before the judgement seat of the Emperor Zeno, the ruler of Constantinople and the Eastern Empire. They came to announce to him that the army of the west had slain the patrician Orestes, and deposed from his throne, the one of Orestes, the boy Emperor Romulus. But they did not then proceed to inform Zeno that another Caesar had been duly elected to replace their late sovereign. Embassies with such news had been common of late years, but this particular deputation, unlike any other which had yet visited the Bosphorus, came to announce to the Eastern Emperor that whose own mighty name sufficed for the protection of both East and West. They laid at his feet the diadem and purple robe of Romulus, and professed to transfer their homage and loyalty, to his August person."
When the fifth century ended, Europe had begun the long night of the Dark Ages, which lasted five hundred years(500-1000 A.D.). Although the fall of the Roman Empire was attributed to the Barbarians, Professor James Thompson intones: "The Dark Ages were at least as much due to corruption of the church as to the decay of Roman civilization or the Barbarian invasions. A teutonic group called the Vandals, who were dwelling by the Baltic Sea, moved southward by way of the Upper Danube into Gaul, and then into Northern Spain. By 411 A.D., they had attained an official status as subjects of the Roman Empire and were ceded grants of land from that body. Then the Visigoths invaded and caused the Vandals to retreat to southern Spain. Through luck they were invited to come and to settle in Africa Romana by Count Boniface, a Roman Legate in North Africa. Dr. J.C. deGraft-Johnson tells us some of the reasons why this was the case:
"When Count Boniface, Roman Legate in Africa , sent an invitation to the Vandals to come over in order to assist him to govern the five provinces of North Africa, he opened up a new chapter in African history. Boniface sought to protect himself as best as he could, by choosing to betray Rome and rebel against the Imperial might. The reason for all that was that after he was summoned to Rome, he learned that Empress Placida was dead set on ruining him. Calling in the Vandals was a way of self-preservation, and in the end turned traitor. Count Boniface's wife was a Vandal, and it was only natural that he should have sought help from that quarter.
"We do not know what other reasons Boniface had for inviting the Vandals to Africa, but the invitation was sent, in spite of the eloquent protest from St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. ... Count Boniface's invitation therefore was very welcome, and the Vandals there and then took the serious decision to leave Spain forever. ... This tremendous invasion found Africa unprepared. Count Boniface realized his mistake when it was too late - and the irony of the situation was that he found no city in which to seek refuge except Augustine's city of Hippo. Boniface held out in Hippo for fourteen months, but he had to surrender to the Vandals in the end. ... The city fell in 430 and with its fall began the rule of the Vandals in Africa."
King Genseric of the Vandals was recognized as a Vassal ruler by the Roman government in 435 A.D. The African subjects of the Vandal monarch were harshly treated. He seized the wealthiest African nobles and made them slaves to his sons and to his important followers. The best African land was seized and parceled out among the Vandals; while the African people were left with land of inferior quality and were afflicted with exorbitant taxes. "They found Africa flourishing and they left it desolate, with its great buildings thrown down, its people reduced to slavery, and the Church of Africa - so important in those early days of Christianity - was practically non-existent." (deGraft-Johnson)
Before I add on this story, it is important that those readers who detest my writing these "FACTS" go and read up on some of the stuff I have talked about, and if there is any repudiation to what I am writing about, present their own facts and historical data. Having said that, we will cite more from Al-Makkary who continues to inform us that "these Africans first cast anchor at a place on the western shore of Spain and settled at Cadiz. Advancing into the interior of the country, they spread themselves about, extended their settlements, built cities and towns and increased their numbers by marriage.
They settled in that part of the country between the place of their landing in the west, and the country of the Franks in the east, and appointed kings to rule over them and administer their affairs. They fielded their capital at Talikah (Italica) a city now in ruins, which once belonged to the district of Isbilah, which is the modern Seville. But after a period of one hundred and fifty seven years, during which eleven kings of the African race reigned over Andalus, they were annihilated by the Romans, who invaded and conquered the country."
The second major intrusion of an African Army into Spain before the Moors, occurs sometime around 700 B.C. during the period of the 25th dynasty in Egypt, when the Ethiopian Taharka was a young general, but before he had been ceded to the throne by his uncle Shabataka[I had to reiterate this point to make a historical connection to what I am discussing above-though I have hinted about Taharka above].(The Readers can read up on this saga in the Hub I have written titled "The Military Leadership of Egyptian Pharaohs: The Creation of Dynasties".
Africa's Civilizing of Spain
The first Islamic incursion into Africa was in 640 A.D., when General Amru captured Egypt. The Saracenic conquest was assisted by the Christians of Alexandria, who opposed the tyrant of Byzantium. These Christian heretics paid tribute to the Caliph, repaired roads and bridges and supplied provisions to the invaders. After a siege of fourteen months, Alexandria surrendered to the army of Amru in 642 A.D. Soon after the fall of Alexandria, General Abdullah, starting from Memphis with an army of forty thousand crossed the desert of Barca and laid siege to Tripoli, but the onset of a plague in his forces compelled them to retreat to Egypt.(de Graft
Twenty years later, General Akbah led an army from the Nile River to the Atlantic Ocean. Early in the eighth century, the caliph of Damascus ordered General Musa to invade Europe by way of Spain. Musa completed the conquest of North Africa in 708 A.D., and he rebuild all of Morocco except Ceuta, which was ruled by the Byzantine governor. Count Julian Musa was tired and the task was accomplished by the Moorish General, Tarik. de Graft-Johnson summarized the salient facts in the following manner:
"Among the African 'chiefs' converted to the Islamic faith during the Arab invasion of Morocco was a great General known as Tarik.... Tarikh was given the rank of General in the Arab army by Musa-ibn-Nusair. Musa later left Tarik in charge of Tangiers and made him governor or Mauritania.... The African Tarik, now Governor of Mauritania, entered into friendly relations with Count Julian, Governor of Ceuta. It was then that Tarik discovered that Julian was on very bad terms with his master Roderic, the Gothic King of Spain.
Roderic, a profligate prince, had ravished Julian's daughter, and Julian was looking for a way to avenge the dishonor done to his family. Count Julian urged the African Tarik to invade Spain, but the suggestion had to be carried out cautiously. Tarik, accordingly, informed Musa-ibn-Nusair who had appointed him governor that the intended crossing the straights to survey and examine the possibilities for an invasion."
The army, using four boats lent by Count Musa in the town of Tarifa which the Moors levied a tax, and this is from where we get the term 'tariff'. Tarif and his crew plundered and neighboring towns and returned to Africa, their boats filled to the brim with spoils of war. Professor deGraft-Johnson informs us that in 711 "Tarik crossed the straits and landed on the isthmus between the escarpment, then known as Mons Calpes and the continent....
"Tarik left a garrison at the foot of Mons Calpes (which the Africans renamed, in compliment to their General, Gebel Tarik- the Hill of Tarik - a name which was subsequently corrupted by the Spaniards into Gilbraltar). General Tarik and his African army surprised and captured several Spanish towns, among them Heraclea, which was only four miles from the rock of Gilbraltar. King Roderic soon heard about the invading army and he set about gathering a huge force to oppose Tarik. After a series of skirmishes, the two armies met near Xeres in Andalusia. The Conflict was a bloody one, but Tarik was victorious and soon became Master of Spain."
The Splendor and Affluence Of Civilization
In many of the history books, Islamic culture of the Middle Ages have been referred to as Arabic, but the Arabs were a minority in the so-called Arabic World, and their chief contribution was the Arabic language. deGraft Johnson explains this issue much more clearly:
"It was because the conquering army in Spain was largely made up of Africans from Morocco that we hear such phrases as "the Moorish invasion of Spain," and why Shakespeare's hero, Othello, is a Moor, and why the word "Blackamoor" exists in the English language - a word which leaves no doubt as to the color of the army of occupation in Spain.... The organization of education throughout the Moslem world began in the eighth century and by the ninth, learned men in the schools of Cordoba in Spain were corresponding with learned men in Kairowan, Cairo, Baghdad, Bokhara, and Samarkand. The Greek classics were rediscovered and Aristotle came into his own.
"The Museum at Alexandria, so long neglected, became the center of research and learning. Mathematics,medicine, and the physical sciences received fresh attention. The clumsy Roman numerals were soon ousted by the figures which we use to this day, and the zero sign first came into general usage. Arabic words like "algebra" and "chemistry" became universal words.... The term "Arabic" we intend in a cultural rather than a racial sense.... It was through Africa that the new knowledge of China, India, and Arabia reached Europe, and it was Africa which supplied men who protected Moslem Europe or Spain from attack, and thus made it possible for the new learning to take root and develop."
It must be recalled that the Iberian peninsula was made great by the labors of the Moors. They established the silk industry; they were highly skilled agriculturists; introducing cotton, rice, sugar cane, dates, lemons, and strawberries into the country. Abu Zaceria and Ibn Alaman wrote authoritative remarks on Moorish animal husbandry and agriculture. Ibn Khaldun, a Moorish agriculturist, wrote a treatise on farming and worked out a theory of prices and the nature of capital. (He was called the Karl Marx of the Middle Ages.) Caliph er Rahan of Cordova ordered the construction of an aqueduct, which conveyed pure water from the mountains to the city.
"Extensive irrigation systems were constructed by Moorish engineers, who also built large underground silos for storing grain. The mineral wealth of the land was utilized to the fullest. Copper, gold, silver, tin, lead, iron, quicksilver, and alum were extensively mined. Cordova and Morocco had the best tanneries in the world. The city of Toledo had the finest sword blades in the European continent . Almeria specialized in the making of sashes, which were famous for their fine texture and brilliant color. The world renowned carpets were form Teulala, and bright-hued woolens in Granada and Baza. High quality glass, pottery, vases,mosaics and jewelry were produced by Moorish artisans.
"The most wonderful city in the world of the age was Cordova: the streets were well-paved, with raised sidewalks for pedestrians. During the night, ten miles of strees were well illuminated by lamps. (This was hundreds of years before there was a paved street in Paris or a street lamp in London.) Cordova had a population of at least one million, and it was being served by four thousand public markets and five thousand mills. Public baths numbered in the hundreds.
"The amenity was present at a time when cleanliness in Christian Europe was regarded as a sin. Education was universal in Moorish Spain, available to the most humble, while in Christian Europe ninety-nine percent of the population were illiterate, and even kings could neither read nor write. The Moorish rulers lived in sumptuous palaces, while the monarchs of Germany, France, and England dwelt in big barns, with no windows and no chimneys, and with only a hole in the roof for the exit of smoke."
Education And Introduction of Europe to Moorish Culture, Foods And The Whole Bit: Architecture And Art, Diet Science, Agriculture En-vogue
In the tenth and eleventh centuries, public libraries in Europe were nonexistent, while Moorish Spain could boast of more than seventy, of which the one in Cordova housed six hundred thousand manuscripts. Christian Europe contained only two universities, while in the Moorish Spain there were seventeen great universities. The finest of these were located in Almeria, Cordova, Granada, Juen, Malaga, Seville and Toledo. Scientific progress in astronomy, chemistry, physics, mathematics, geography and philosophy flourished in Moorish Spain
Scholars, scientists and artists formed learned societies, and scientific congresses were organized to promote research and to facilitate the spread of knowledge. A brisk intellectual life flourished in all Islamic dominions, since both Caliphs of East and West were as a rule, enlightened patrons of learning. A vivid reconstruction of the splendors of Moorish Spain, as seen by Abd-er-Rhaman III, Caliph of Cordova and his companions, has been preserved for us by a recognized authority on the history of the period, Joseph McCabe as follows:
"The Germans would find Andalusia in those days a real garden of song and flowers and gaiety. It had tens of thousands of prosperous villages, and the Germans would for the first time in their lives see peaches, pomegranates, strawberries, apricots, lemons, almonds, dates, oranges and sugar-cane growing; while at the hostels they would find coffee, spinach, asparagus, the daintiest cooking, and all the spices of the East. Not an acre of ground was left untilled, and tunnels cut through mountains, aqueducts, dams and reservoirs provided ample irrigation where it was needed. The land bore a larger population than it does today - probably larger than that of Germany, France, England and Italy put together at that time - and an immeasurably happier and more prosperous population."
High culture And Civilization
McCabe continued to add:
"In Cordova, the old packed Cordova, they would find a city of 250,000 houses, 1,000,000 people when no city in Europe outside Moorish Spain had a population of 30,000. Its massive walls had a circuit of fourteen miles and had even large iron gates faced with brass. Its streets were paved - so soundly, indeed, that in some of them you tread the same stones today, just as you cross the Guadalquivir on the same noble bridge - drained by large sewers, flushed with water from the many fountains which sparkled in the sun, and lit by lamps at night.
"It had 80,455 shops besides 4,300 markets, and in these you could buy amber from the Baltic, Russian furs, Chinese tea, Indian spices, African ebony, and ivory, and such native products in leather, metal, silk, glass and pottery as could not be found elsewhere. It had 900 public baths - we are told that a poor Arab would go without bread rather than soap - and more than 1,000 mosques, the largest of which is still one of the architectural wonders of the world in spite of later Spanish disfigurements.
"Its low scarlet and gold roof, supported by 1,000 columns of marble, jasper and and porphyry, was lit by thousands of brass and silver lamps which burned perfumed oil, the largest being thirty-eight feet in circumference containing 46,000 silver plates for reflecting the light. The exquisite prayer chamber (Mihrab), the unique pulpit, and the Caliph's private section with floors of silver and gold plated doors completed this wonderful monument of opulence and art. ..."
Skill and Knowledge Refine A Constant Feature Of Moorish Civilization
McCabe points out that: "Some five miles along the broad road which let to it from the city, they would enter the most wonderful garden or park in the world. Engineers, who had a skill that was unequalled until modern times, so directed its water-supply that there were lakes, cascades and superb fountains on every side, while every shrub that would grow in Andalusia had been brought from the end of the earth.
"At the further side of it were the 400 white mansions of officials, visiting merchants, and distinguished travelers, and above the waving palms and dark cypresses and slender white manarets one saw, on the lower slope of the Sierra, framed by a higher slope which was entirely planted with roses,the white-marble palace of Al Zahra. ...
"From first to last it seems to have cost more than 30,000,000 pounds ($120,000,000) in our money; and the Spaniards have not left a stone of it. Silk awnings shut the sun from the broad marble courtyard, and the monks would surely cross themselves when they entered the great hall. Its eight large doors were scented wood and were decorated with gold, jewell ivory and ebony.
"The central dome and ceiling were supported by columns of alabaster and rock-crystal, their capitals studded with pearls and rubies. The walls were coated with onyx and mosaics, and the ceiling and the interior of the dome were plated with gold and silver. The tapestries, curtains and carpets, and the robes and gems in which the Caliph sat, on a throne of solid gold encrusted with jewels, may be left to the imagination."(J. McCabe, The Golden Ages of History)
The Moors introduced the manufacture of gunpowder into Europe, and their enemies adopted this explosive and used it to drive the Moors back into Africa, after several The Saracens failed to recover from the conquest of the Seljuk Turks in the eleventh century and the Mongols in the thirteenth century. The Mongols captured Bagdad in 1256, and by destroying its irrigation system, turned most tracts of fertile land into a desert. Cordova's Caliphate declined after 1031, and by 1492 the Moors had lost all Spain except the Kingdom of Grenada. The Moorish ruler, King Boabdil, was driven out of Spain by resurgent Christian forces of Ferdinand and Isabella in the year that Columbus visited the New World. Numerous Moors lingered awhile, but by 1610, through expulsion and migration, about a million of them had returned to North and West Africa.
The Historiography of the Creation of Moorish Spain: The Battles
As we have observed above, the history of Spain offered us some contrast: Twelve hundred years ago, Tarik the Moor took the land away from the Visigoths, adding to the long list of kingdoms subdued by the Moslems. Under the Moslem's rule, Europe became a shining example of a civilized state to all her neighbors. Spain's conquerers utilized her fertile provinces and engendered a prolific industry through the Moors's engineering skills, and thus bore fruit a hundredfold. Her conquerers built innumerable cities in the rich valleys of Guadelquivir and the Guadiana, whose names and names only, still commemorate the vanished glories of their past. Art, literature, and science prospered, and they did not prosper anywhere in Europe.
Students flocked from France and Germany and England to be enlightened from the fountain of learning which only flowed in the cities built by the Moors; surgeons and doctors were practicing serious medicine; women were encouraged to become educated, and a woman doctor was a common feature of the live of the people of Cordova. Mathematics, astronomy and botany , history, philosophy and jurisprudence could only be 'studied' only' in Spain . Land was worked on practically and scientific methods of irrigation, the arts of fortification and shipbuilding, the highest and most elaborate products of the loom, the graver and the hammer; the potter's wheel and the mason's trowel, were brought into perfection by the African Moors in Spain. Their ships commanded undisputedly commanded the Mediterranean with the Fatimites, while their swords smote and scattered the Christian armies.
In the year 1062, the Emir Yahia of Morocco visited Mecca. Here he met a religious reformer, Ibn Yasin, and persuaded him to return home with him to teach this doctrines of the Moors. Yasin and his followers moved on to West Africa and settled on an island in the Senegal River in West Africa. This movement proved to be popular and he named his disciples the Moravites (Champions of the Faith), which in time, the name changed to the Almoravides, after securing and consolidating his position in southwestern Morocco. Yahia died in 1056, and was succeeded by his brother, who led his armies to many victories. He , Abu bekr, turned over the northern part of Morocco as he retired in the South of the country, to his cousin Yusuf Tachefin, who then became the master of northwest Africa. Lady Lugard thus informs us:
"In the year 1062 Yusuf laid the foundation of the Town of Morocco with his own hands [we learn from a recognized modern authority], and not long afterwards declared the independence of the northern kingdom of which was to become the capital. ... By the year 1082 he had long been the supreme ruler of that portion of the world. His court had begun to attract the learning and civilization which civil war was driving out of Spain. ... When therefore he consented to cross over to Spain, and in the course of time drove back the Christians and established once more a supreme Sultan upon the throne of Andalusia, his conquest and the dynasty which he founded must be regarded as an African conquest and an African dynasty."(Lady Lugard)
Yusuf came across Europe commanding an army of 15,000 men, armed with swords and poinards; but his shock troops were a 6,000-strong detachment of Senegalese cavalrymen mounted on White Arabian horses, said to be as fleet as the wind. Once in Spain, Yusuf was met by the chief rulers of Spain: the kings of Almeria, Badajoz, Granada, and Seville. The Moorish army, only 10,000 men in all, joined the African forces of Yusuf and marched northward to join battle with King Alphonso, who headed a Christian army of 70,000. The opposing armies battled each other at Zalakah in October, 1086, and first the Christian hosts seemed to be winning. Al Mutammed, leading the Moslems, had three horses killed under him and, and though wounded, kept his men in line until Yusuf came up with reinforcements and attacked the Christians from the rear. J.A. Rodgers described it better this way:
"Throughout all the day the battle raged savagely. The Moorish soldiers who had fled at the first Christian attack, returned, giving fresh ardor to the combat. Night was coming. Yusuf, who in spite of his seventy-nine years, had everywhere been in the thickest of the fight, felt with the instinct of the born general, that the decisive moment had come. Three thousand of his invincible black(African) horsemen on their white chargers had been kept in reserve. Now he unleashed them. With blood-curdling yells they swept down on the Christians, passing through their ranks with fearful carnage. The White hosts, panic-stricken, wavered, broke and fled. The rout became a massacre. Alphonso, stabbed in the thigh by a black horseman, ran away with 150 of his men." (J.A Rodgers)
Ibn Khaldun, the North African historian, informs us as follows:
"After the conquest of Spain, Yusuf I returned to his palace in Morocco City, hoping to enjoy the pursuits of peace; but before long messages from his generals in Spain informed him that the Christians were again on the march, and that the kings of Andalusia were too lazy and cowardly to fight them. Yusuf ordered his generals to invade these petty kingdoms and put their towns and cities under military governors. This policy was implemented, and finally, with the fall of Seville, order was restored, and the king of Seville was taken prisoner and sent to Africa, where he died in 1895.
Yusuf died in 1106,at the ripe old age on ninety-nine. His son succeeded him on the throne of the Empire of the Two Shores. The Sultan of Morocco and Spain continued to rule with dual courts, one in Africa, and the other in Europe, until the overthrow of the African dominion, in 1145. The last last Almoravide king died in 1147, and during the whole era of the Almoravides, was under the previous dynasty of the Omayyads, there was a brief intercourse in commodities and ideas between the empire of the Moors and the Kingdoms of Sudan."
The Progression Of Moorish History: The Changes Of the Guard-The Fall
Another reformer, calling himself the Mhadi, appeared in Morocco in the early twelfth century. He named his followers Almohades (Unitarians). After the conquest of Morocco in 1147, when the last of the Almoravides king was dethroned and and executed, the Almohades seized seized the reigns of government and invaded Spain and an Almohade was placed on the throne of Moorish Spain, when in 1150 they defeated the Christian armies of Spain; and for the second time a purely African dynasty ruled over the most civilized portion of the Iberian peninsula. Under the Almohade kings, Spain's splendor was maintained and enhanced.
The castle of Gilbraltar was erected in 1160, and began building the great Mosque of Seville in 1183. The Almohades built the Geralda of Seville originally as an observatory under the supervision of the mathematician Geber. The Almoravides established a Spanish court at Seville. The Almohades set up an African court in the city of Morocco. Ibn Said in the thirteenth century descrbed Morocco as, "the Baghdad of the West," and that under the Almohade rulers, the city enjoyed its greatest prosperity. Thus, whatever was the prosperity or greatness of one part of their empire, it was shared by the other and under the Almohades, there was a shifting towards the African center. (Lady Lugard)
By the thirteenth century, the Moorish power in Spain began to decline. Due to religious and political differences, they began to shift into and split into factions and waged war amongst themselves. At the same time, the Christians of Europe, having absorbed the science and culture of the Moors, this enabled them to bring to an end the long night of the Dark Ages, began to form a united front in order to drive the Moors back into Africa.
The Dominions of the Almohades were slowly and surely captured by the Christian armies, and after that, a brilliant Almohade dynasty was ended when their last reigning sovereign was deprived of his throne in 1230. Moslem Spain declared independence under the rule of Ibn Hud, the founder of the Huddite dynasty. The Christian forces, in the meantime, conquered one great city after another, taking Valencia in 1238, Cordova in 1239, and Seville in 1260.
Corrected African Civilized Historical Analysis
By 1492, The Moors has lost all Spain except the kingdom of Granada. The Christians were still not yet free from internal disputes, but were finally united by the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, which joined in peace the formerly hostile royal houses of Aragon and Castile. The united Christian forces surrounded the city of Grenada and blocaded it for eight months. The Moorish King, Abu Abdallah (also known as Boavdil) finally surrendered. The Moors lingered in Spain for about a century; but by 1610, through expulsion and migration, a million, among them many Jews, had by then returned to Western Africa. Professor J. B. Haldane writes:
We are so accustomed to hearing of the superiority of Europeans that it is perhaps worth quoting from the Moorish writer Said of Toledo, who wrote that when Toledo was in Moorish hands, and describing the people who north of the Pyranees, he said: "They are of cold temperament and never reach maturity. They are of great stature and of a White color. But they lacked all sharpness of wit and penetration of intellect. We must remember that seven hundred years ago such a point of view had at least an empirical justification, for at that time, trigonometry was being studied in Toledo, while in Europe a man was regarded as learned if he had got as far as the fifth proposition of the First Book of Euclid."
As we learn the history of the Moors, we see that color prejudice was not what we see it as being today. Although the Arabs, who were always a minority in the culture of the Middle ages, dark complexion was regarded as a badge of honor. Alfred Tonybee observed that, "The primitive Arabs who were the ruling element of the Ommayad Caliphate and called themselves 'the swarthy people,' with a connotation of racial superiority, and their Persian and Turkish subjects 'the ruddy people,' with a connotation of racial inferiority; that is to say, they drew the distinction that we draw between blonds and brunets, but reversed the value." We shall delve a little more deeper below in the Hub on the topic of "miscegenation"
The Fallacy revealed-Truth Be told: Europe In The Dark Ages
There is this fallacy and myth that the white race is responsible for all the great civilizations of the past is nothing more than an obtuse and crude superstition propagated by European-orientated racist historians, and there are those who dissented against this view. Joseph McCabe wrote:
"The superior germ-stuff of the great White race is completely discredited[McCabe argued], by the fact that our ancestors remained in the wings, pure barbarians, during the two thousand years when the dark men of the Mediterranean race were constructing civilizations, and that our white race, first in the Greeks and then in the Teutons, devastated civilization for centuries.
"Until about 700 B.C., the philosophers of the word would have said that White men seemed incapable of civilization. ... None of our modern sophistry redeems the squalor of Europe from the fifth to the eleventh century. And it was again the dark-skinned men of the south who restored civilization. By the year 1,000 Europe was reduced to a condition which, if we were not Europeans, we should frankly call barbarism, yet at that time the Arabs had a splendid civilization in Spain, Sicily, Syria, Egypt, and Persia, and it linked on to those of India and China. We write manuals of the history of Europe or of the Middle Ages, and we confine ourselves to a small squalid area (Russia and Prussia were not yet civilized and Spain was Moorish) and ignore the brilliant civilization that ran from Portugal to the China Sea/[The New Science And The Story Of Evolution, pp. 292-98, by Joseph McCabe].
The Moors contributed a lot to Western civilization, and their expulsion from Spain was a serious set-back to Europe and is somewhat less known even to the educated classes of the Western World. Lane-Poole, in 1886, wrote:
"The history of Spain offers us a melancholy contrast. Twelve hundred years ago, Tarik the Moor added the land of the Visigoths to the long catalogue of kingdoms subdued by the Moslems. For nearly eight centuries, under her Mohammedan rulers, Spain set to all Europe a shining example of a civilized and enlightened state. Her fertile provinces, rendered doubly prolific by the industry and engineering skill of her conquerors, bore fruit an hundred-fold. Students flocked from France and Germany and England to drink from the fountain of learning which flowed only in the cities of the Moors.
In practice of war no less than in the arts of peace they long stood supreme. Their fleets disputed the command of the Mediterranean with the Fatimites, while their arms carried fire and a sword through the Christian marches. The CPid himself, the national hero, long fought on the Moorish side, and in all save education was more than half a Moor. Whatsoever makes a kingdom great and prosperous, whatsoever tends to refinement and civilization, was found in Moslem Spain."
The Reversal Of Civilization
"The fall of the Moors in 1492 gave way to the crusade of Ferdinand and Isabella, and with Granada fell all of Spain's greatness. For a brief while, indeed, the reflection of the Moorish splendor cast a borrowed light on the history of the land which it had once warmed with its sunny radiance. The Great Epoch of Isabella, Charles V, and Philip II, of Columbus, Cortes, and Pizarro, shed a last halo about the dying moments of a mighty state. Then followed the abomination of desolation, the rule of the Inquisition, and the blackness of darkness in which Spain has long plunged ever since. In the land where science was once supreme, the Spanish doctors became noted for nothing but their ignorance and incapacity, and the discoveries of Newton and Harvey were condemned as pernicious to the faith.
"Where once seventy public libraries had fed the minds of scholars, and half a million books had been gathered at Cordova or the benefit of the world, such indifference to learning afterwards prevailed, that the new capital, Madrid, possessed no public library in the eighteenth century, and even the manuscripts of the Escurial were denied in our own days to the first scholarly historian of the Moors, though himself a Spaniard. The sixteen thousand looms of Seville soon dwindled to a fifth of their ancient number; the arts and industries of Toledo and Almeria faded into insignificance; the very baths-public buildings of equal ornament and use-were destroyed because cleanliness savored too strongly of rank infidelity.
The land, deprived of the skillful irrigation of the Moors, grew impoverished and neglected; the richest and most fertile valleys languished and were deserted; most of the populous cities which had filled every district of Andalusia fell into ruinous decay; and beggars, friars and bandits took the place of scholars, merchants and knights. So low fell Spain when she had driven away the Moors. Such is the melancholy contrast offered by her history."
The total and tragic consequences of the destruction of th Moorish culture in Spain was finally described by Lane-Poole as follows"
"For centuries Spain had been the center of civilization, the seat of arts and sciences,of learning, and every form of refined enlightenment. No other country in Europe had so far approached the cultivated dominion of the Moors. .... The Moors were banished and for a while Christian Spain shone, like the moon, with a borrowed light; then came the eclipse, and in that darkness Spain has groveled ever since.
"The true memorial of the Moors is seen in desolate tracts of utter barrenness, where once the Moslem grew luxuriant vines and olives and yellow years of corn; in a stupid and ignorant population where once wit and learning flourished; in the general stagnation and degradation of a people which has hopelessly fallen in the scale of nations, and has deserved its humiliation."
Richard Parker wrote a novel based on the last days of the Moorish empire in Spain, shortly after Columbus set sail in his quest for the Indies. Though the narrative was written in fictional form, it is historically accurate and paints a good picture of the Life under the Moors in the latter part of the fifteenth century, right up to the time when the Moors and the Jews were ousted and driven out of Spain. Mr. Parker went on to add how this situation appeared to the eyes of an intelligent Moorish lad:
"The king and queen of Christian Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella, had begun to make war on our Moorish kingdom. We were Moslems-"infidels" they called us-and they wanted to drive us all out of Spain, or, what would have been worse in our eyes, conquer and rule us in their own uncivilized way. I knew the story as well as I knew my prayers, perhaps better, for my mother, as I have said, was devout, and in her devoutness went a shining pride in the ways of our people, hundreds of years before, had driven our faith half-way across the world, conquering, civilizing, making all clean and beautiful as we went. Once, she said," we had ruled all Spain. Then the tied had turned. The white barbarians, as we called the Christians, had massed against us and driven us slowly back. This war", said my mother, "was not a new one, it was the same war continued. It had been going on since the days of the Prophet."
A Decaying Civilization
In this story written by Mr. Parker, he talks about the Moorish boy Zati and the Spanish historian Hernando del Pulgar, that Pulgar had taken a liking to the boy and didn't want to see him fall into the hands of the Inquisition, as follows: "When I have shaken off this little fever, we'll go back to our beloved Seville. Then I can finnish my chronicle up to the end of the war, and die in peace."Zati replied that Pulgar should not die of dying. Pulgar replied, "Nonsense, why not? I've left you a few thousand maravedis in my will. Take the money and leave Spain as soon as you can." Leave Spain?".
"Pulgar advisedly replied:
"Anywhere, so long as you go, Spain will be no place for Moors in a few years' time. I am something of a prophet and you can take my word for it that you'll be best out of it. Already there is an order being drafted to eject all the jews from the country. Do you think the Moors will be allowed to stay long after them?" Young Zati protested that he was a Good Christian. To which Pulgar countered by saying: "You are not a true Christian at all. But even if you were, it would not save you now. Winning this war has given the White Spaniards such an idea of their own strength that they'll be having the country swept clean of any other color or race. It won't matter that the Jews have all the money and business and the Moors all the brains: they'll go just the same. You'll see." And they did go as they were expelled as explained above-and Spain has been poor ever since.
The destruction and expulsion of the Moors in Spain had tragic results and consequences. It is important to reiterate some points already discussed in this article to make sure that they remain etched in our memories forever.
Backward Exodus of the Moors - Reversal of Progress
We learn more about this phase and time of the expulsion of Moors in Spain from this extended excerpt historically narrated by Lane-Poole as follows:
"Slavery and exile awaited the survivors of the rebellion, and they were no very many. The late wars, it was said, had carried off more than twenty thousand Moors, and perhaps fifty thousand remained in the district on that famous Day of All Saints. In 1570, when the honor of the apostles and martyrs of Christendom was celebrated by the virtual martyrdom of the poor remnant of the Moors - those taken in open revolt were enslaved, the rest were marched away into banishment under escort of troops, while the passes of the hills were securely guarded. Many hapless exiles died by the way, from want, fatigue, and exposure; others reached Africa, where they might beg a daily pittance, but could find no soil to till; or France, where they received a cool welcome, though Henry IV had found them useful instruments for his intrigues in Spain.
The deportation was not finished until 1610, when half a million of Moriscos were exiled and ruined. It is stated that no less than three million of Moors were banished between the fall of Granada and the first decade of the 17th Century. The Arab chronicler mournfully records the coup-de-grace:
"The Almighty was not pleased to grant them victory, so they were overcome and slain on all sides, till at last they were driven forth from the land of Andalusia, to which calamity came to pass in our own days, in the year of the Flight, 1017. Verily to God belong lands and dominions, and He giveth them to whom he doth will."
The misguided Spaniards knew not what they were doing. The exile of the Moors delighted them; nothing more picuturesque and romantic occurred for some time. Lope de Vega sang about the Sentencia justa by which Philip II., despreciando sus barbaros tesoros, banished to Africa Las ultimas reliquias de los Moros; Velazquez painted it in a memorial picture; even the mild and tolerant Cervantes forced himself to justify it. They did not understand that they had killed their golden goose."
The Achievements of the Moors in Spain - Redux\
There are a few points which need to be clarified at this juncture about the Moors and their Civilizing of Spain and Europe. In order for us to appreciate the splendor, affluence and material and cultural civilization the Moors created in Spain, we will briefly look at some of the advancements they introduced in Spain during the period of their rule. Some of their achievement have been duly noted above. Below, then, is an attempt to put them for their importance and effect on the contemporary world. This will help and enable us to connect the past achievement with present modern concepts of development and advancement: they will help us to partly understand the present and how and why it functions and manifests itself as it does as our present reality.
As already noted above, scientific progress in astronomy, chemistry, physics, mathematics, geography and philosophy flourished in Moorish Spain. Scholars, scientists, and artists formed learned societies, and scientific congresses were organized to promote research and to facilitate the spread of knowledge. Caliph Al-Mamun of Bagdad imported hundreds of camel loads of books, and signed a treaty with the Emperor Michael III of the Byzantine Empire, in which the caliph demanded the gift of an entire library in the city of Constantinople. In this library was a rare literary treasure, the treatise of Claudius Ptolemy on the mathematic structure of the heavens.The caliph, an able astronomer, had the work translated into Arabic, under the title of The Almagest. (Johnson)
Caliph Harun al-Rashid founded the university of Bagdad; the most erudite professor of this institution was a Jewish scholar,Joshua ben-Nun. Caliph al-Rashid also endowed the Medical College Djondesabowr in Southern Persia. Caliph Al-Mamun appointed an eminent Christian scholar as president of a college in Damascus. The same caliph commissioned a geographical survey of his realms, mapping all sea and land routes with all places accurately located in respect to latitude and longitude. The Saracens adopted the decimal system of numbers from the mathematicians of India, and this place notation was perfected by Mohammed Ben Musa Al-Khwarizimni in the ninth century. He also adopted zero as a mathematical quantity, wrote the first textbook on Algebra, and was the author of a treatise on spherical trigonometry.
The medieval Moslem mathematicians solved the quadratic and cubic equations in Algebra, and made Trigonometry into a science by substituting sines and tangents for the chords of the Greeks. Although Ferdinand Magellan has been credited for establishing the sphericity of the globe by circumnavigating it in 1519, Moorish educators taught geography from globes long before the time of Magellan. As cited by Lady Lugard, the Moorish geographer El Idrisi asserted during the 12th century that: "What results from the opinions of learned men, and those skilled in observation of the heavenly bodies, is that the world is round as a sphere, of which the waters are adherent and maintained upon its surface by natural equilibrium. It is surrounded by air, and all created bodies are stable on its surfaces. The earth drawing to itself all that is heavy in the same way as a magnet attracts iron."
These are some of the historical facts that had been omitted(many deliberately so) that need to be redressed and brought to light. The Hub above is then an attempt to put African history of The Moors into its proper African-centered perspective.
Musical Influences of the Moors
The haunting music of some of the desert dwellers like the Tuarek and the so-called "Moorish" Arabs are strongly reminiscent of the traditional harmonies heard in the music of Spain and Portugal has left a characteristically beautiful, equally haunting quality in the traditional folk music of Mali and Islamic Africa in general.Listening carefully, one can discern in their melodies the early blues tonalities of blacks of the American South, and still found in the rhythms and melodies of modern blues.
During the Middle Ages masqueraders used to blacken their faces "so they might better pass as Moors" and they would dance such dances as the Morris dance of 'England and the Moresca (dances apparently named after and derived from the Moors). Another of their legacies in dance is known as "Flamenco Moro", a dance form which today's Flamenco derived. The most renowned of the Moors in the arts was such that a Frenchman wrote in the 1600s, "I can tell here what the inhabitants of Venus are like; they resemble the Moors of Grenada; a small black people, burned by the sun, full of wit, always in-love, writing verse, fond of music, arranging festivals, dances and tournaments every day". (Henri Lohte)
The Moors are thought to have introduced earliest versions of several instruments, including the Lute or el oud, the guitar or kithara and the Lyre. The arts and letters flourished among the Moors in Spain, and they were renowned for their skills and contributions to the sciences and philosophy as well. Rogers mentions certain books, one published in 1610 in which the Spaniards are described as a "white people" being ruled by a "Black[African] one". The long and lanky dark brown men called the Tuarek of the Sahel countries, or Tuwareg who can still be seen, veiled and armed with a sword and shield, striding through the desert with their camels, and are still involved in the desert commerce as they were once in charge of it in the Middle Ages.
They still trace their ancestry to the Yemenite Hejazi and Hejazi Arab 'tribes'(clans), the main bringers of Islam in Africa. They still trace their ancestry to Yemen (or Southern Arabia) and like their kinsmen in Yemen, they can be seen playing "Moorish" melodies with stringed, percussion and wind instruments under shade trees in Mauritania. The turbaned Tibbu and Zaghawa, jet black and wiry men, once known for their sorcery and their skill in metallurgy, are still spread across the hottest areas of the Sahel and southern parts of the Sahara. The "red" or pastoral Fulani, renowned for their holy wars, which converted so many Sudanese to Islam, can still be seen performing acrobatic dances, steps and turns which mirror the "breakdancing," revived by Afro-Cubans in America in the early years of the 20th century
Modernity Pre-Present-Day Europe
Johnson adds that the Moors "introduced the manufacture of gunpowder into Europe, and their enemies adopted this explosive and used it to drive the Moors back into Africa. After several centuries of progress, the culture of Islam finally retrogressed into a decadent condition.
The Moorish ruler, King Boabdil, was driven out of Spain by resurgent Christian forces of Ferdinand and Isabella in the year that Columbus visited the New World. Numerous Moors lingered in Spain awhile, but by 1610, through expulsion and migration of about a million of them had returned to North and West Africa. The decline and fall of the Moorish Empire was a great setback to modern civilization. Had this great great African Culture and civilization been able to survive, the world would have been five hundred years more advanced than it is today.
Some points needed repeating given how much of this history has been forgotten or is omitted by historians and unknown by lay people all over the world.The Moors founded and constructed many industrious and prosperous towns and cities, in the Iberian Peninsula, The remnants of their many castles an be seen in Northern Africa as in Spain and Portugal.
All this being said up to this point, one does not have to wonder why there has been very little focus in European history on the legacy of the Moors or their influence on Europe's emergence from the Dark Ages. This is unfortunate, for these men and women belonged to a "black" population whose dominance extended from the borders of Egypt to Morocco and the Atlantic, even before the time of the Muslim invasion of North Africa They are a people whose documented history goes back in North Africa to the time of the Pharaohs and the phase of Carthagenian history that produced Hannibal. It is a history which in this narrative will be expanded upon, elongated and stretched till the story about the Moors has been told in a historical half-way decent manner.
The Moors Are Africans
The Civilizing of Portugal
After having reviewed the Moor's narrative in the hub above, I came to a realization that some part of the hub had to be dedicated to explaining to the reader as to "Who the Moors were". This is done in order to show what this Hub is all about, that the History of the Moors in spain is African History. We pick up the historical discussion from Leo Africanus who in 1600 wrote: "For all the negroes of the Black Moors are descendants of Cush, the sons of Ham, who was the son of Noah. But whatever difference there is between the negroes and the tawny Moors, it is a fact that they are all the same ancestry."
Scholars who are not blinded by the fog of racism are one voice that most of the Moors were africoid in origin; even many of the marauding Arabs who crossed the desert sands of Arabia and swept down with their Islamic fervor on northern regions of African, then crossing the Sahara and moving southward-Were African. Massive miscegenation did alter the picture, producing people who were of all shades, from jet black to very near "white." Dr. Chancellor Williams hits the nail on the head on asking the questioning and and answering it when he wrote: "Now, again, just who were the Moors? the answer is very easy.
"The original Moors, like the original Egyptians, were Black Africans. As amalgamation became more and more widespread, only the Berbers, Arabs and coloreds in the Moroccan territories were called Moors, while the darkest and Black skinned Africans were called "Black-a-Moors." Eventually, "black" was dropped from "Blackamoor." In North Africa-and Morocco in particular - all Muslim Arabs, mixed breeds and Berbers are already regarded as Moors. The African Blacks, having had even the name taken from them, must contend for recognition as Moors."
J.C. DeGraft-Johnson adds the following: "It was because the conquering army in Spain was largely made up of Africans from Morocco that we hear such praises such phrases as "the Moorish invasion of Spain," and why Shakespeare's hero Othello is a Moor, and why the word "blackamoor" exists in the English Language, a word which leaves no doubt as to the color of the army of occupation in spain and Portugal."
Basil Davidson, one of the most noted historians recognized and declared that there were no lands at that time (the eighth century) "more admired by its neighbors, or more comfortable to live in, than a rich African civilization which took shape in Spain. The color of the conquering armies that came with Tarikh were described vividly by a European scholar who sympathized with Christians Spain: "...the reins of their (Moors) horses were as fire, their faces black as pitch, their eyes shone like burning candles, their horses were swift as leopards and the riders fiercer than a wolf in the sheepfold at night ...
"The noble Goths were broken in an hour, quicker than tongue can tell. Oh, luckless Spain." The same degree of intellect and learning was brought by the African Moorish conquerers of the Iberian Peninsula to Portugal. Like spain, that country was to be culturally influenced by the Moors. Its association with Africa dates as far back as the fourth, and fifth centuries when Africans arrived in southern Europe. But it was in 711 A.D. that they marched in as conquerors under the command of Tarikh.
Reafirming The Importance And Impact Of African History
To reinforce what has been said earlier these Moors, as the early writers chronicled, were "a black or dark people, some being very black(Africans). After the invasion of 711 came waves of Moors even darker.It was this occupation of Portugal which accounts for the fact that even noble families had absorbed the blood of the Moors.
Racial mixing under the Moors in Europe became widespread. The Moors ruled and occupied Lisbon and the rest of the country until well into the twelfth century. They were finally defeated and driven out by the forces of King Alfonso Henriques, who was aided by the English and Flemish Crusaders. The scene of this battle was at the Castelo de Sao Jorge or, in English, The Castle of St. George.
Today, it still stands, overlooking the city of "Lashbuna" - as the Moors named Lisbon. From that time onwards, racial mixing in Portugal, as in Spain, and elsewhere in Europe which came under the influence of the Moors , took place on a large scale. That is why historians claim that "Portugal" is in reality a Negroid land," and that when Napoleon explained that "Africa begins in Pyrenees," he meant every word that he uttered.
Even the world-famed shrine in Portugal, Fatima, where Catholic pilgrims from all over the world for in search of miracle cures for their afflictions, owes its origin to the Moors. The story goes that a Portuguese nobleman was so saddened by the death of his wife, a young Moorish beauty whom he had married after her conversion to the Christian faith, that he gave up his title and fortune and entered a monastery. His wife was buried on a high plateau called Sierra de Aire. It is from there that the named Fatima is derived.
A much deeper examination of Portugal within the Portugal, as with Spain the Moorish invasion and occupation reveals a constant intermingling of the races in Portugal, "had much to do with the later high civilization reached by the Moors." The African element was more predominant in Portugal than it was in Spain, some historians contend. The noble families in Portugal and in Spain, too, who had absorbed the blood of the Moors were innumerable.
Even some of the knights who, in the wars of conquest distinguished themselves, had such blood. Of the count of Coimbra, Don Sesnado, the chronicles tell us that he was of mixed blood, of Christian and Moor extract, and that he was a vizier among the Saracens. Another of mixed blood, Dom Fifes Serrasim, became a member of the Christian nobility by marrying a Mendes de Braganza. Many European historians who constantly project biased scholarship in their writings of Africa and Africans, persist in denying the tremendous influence, both culturally and genetically, that the Moors (Africans) had on the countries of the Iberian Peninsula, particularly Portugal and Spain.
One scholar, Gandia, stated bluntly: "As to the mixture of the Moors and the other inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula it is useless to deny its occurrence. Without going into the social life of the Christians and Moslems, it may be mentioned in passing that the son of Musa married the widow of King Roderick and that the royal family of Witza united the Moors of the Purest stock." The Moors not only colonized and civilized Spain the also civilized Portugal. The story of the Moors will be elongated/fleshed-out as this Hub is being composed.
Where Ignorance Is Bliss, 'Tis A Folly to Be Wise
In the salutation of this Hub above, I state that the "Story of Moors will be elongated. Since then, I have received some angry response with people accusing of the "fact" that the Moors were never African, and that also they did nothing for Spain, or comments like "my super-heroes are zero", or that I feel inferior about myself" and all types of accusations. This sent me on an ever growing path of research that I had to do, and in fact add more facts I might have omitted because at that time the research led me to writing about certain facts above.
So, I have decided to add upon this Hub and clear the mist, educate and inform the detractors and those ignorant of this history that I had really dug up some of the most important historical fact and connection that show how the Moors Civilized Europe. I did touch up on how the economy along with learning of all types were introduced to the French, German and latter day British, and how this came into being, which also helped to make possible for Europe to be civilized, enabling them to overcome the hum-drum and barren life of the Dark Ages...
One thing is certain about the historical record of Spain... With an ailing Spanish economy due to a drought in 1549, Pedro de Medina informs us that this drought had began to devastate Spain as early as 1070 B.C.. And then Ibn-l-Khattib Al-Makkarry (in his major historical work translated by Pasqual de Gayangos) describes it in some detail. It is Al-Makkary who informed us of how Africans banished from North Africa by an African King against whom they revolted against, entered Spain and took control of that country. The leader of these Africans was known as Batrikus, and these Africans, under him were later to be defeated by the Romans 157 years later.
The Africanization of Spain, Portugal, Scotland, Britain, France(part of it)
The Blood Mixing In Spain and Portugal
A reader of this Hub in the comment section asked me whether I would be able to "surmise what or whom became of the children produced by Africans, while in Europe? Also who are these people today?
The story of the second invasion of the Iberian peninsula by Africans and Arab warriors is legendary. DeGraft-Johnson declared that there were no land at that time (the eighth century) "more admired by its neighbors, or more comfortable to live in, than a rich African kingdom which took shape in Spain." (Davidson) It is good observe here that Davidson did not resort to the words "Arab Kingdom," but that does not mean that Arab arms did not take part in the final vicory. It was this Moorish invasion under the leadership of the African General Tarik(as discussed above in the Hub), which spurred the first great wave of "miscegenation." In less than three years the Moors had conquered the entire Iberian Penisnula. The color of the conquering soldiers was described vividly by a European scholar who sympathized with Christian Spain-just to reiterate my points:
"... the reign of the (Moors) horses were as fire, their faces as pitch, their eyes shone like burning candles, their horses were swift as leopards and he riders fiercer than a wolf in the sheepfold at night ... The noble Goths were broken in an hour, quicker than tongue can tell. Oh, luckless Spain!"
There were some writers who considered the invasion of Spain as a total disaster. The White people in these Iberian countries were not viewed in a favorable light. As stated above about the ignorance and backwardness of the Europeans during the rule of the Moors, we find that the Moors had a particularly low opinion of these Whites. They had beaten them often on the battlefield and with inferior numbers. Even the Europeans in other countries of this continent were looked upon with disdain for their low intelligence and backwards ways of life. ... The palaces of the then rulers of Germany, France and England were, when compared with those of the Moorish rulers of Spain and Portugal "scarcely better that the stable of the Moors. As Lane -Poole noted: "Whatever makes a kingdom great, whatever tends towards refinement and civilization was found in Moorish Spain."
The same degree of intellect and learning was borough by the Moorish conquerers of the Iberian peninsula to Portugal. Like Spain,, that country was to be culturally influenced by the Moors. It was this occupation of Portugal which accounts for the fact that even noble families had absorbed the blood of the Moors. From that time onwards, racial mixing in Portugal, as in Spain, and elsewhere in Europe which cam under the influence of Moors, took place on a large scale.
A deeper examination of Portugal within the time-frame of the Moorish invasion and occupation reveals a constant intermingling of White and Moor. Historians claimed that the mingling of races in Portugal, as in Spain, "had much to do with later high civilization reached by the Moors."
There are many historians who hold on to their biased scholarship whenever they write about Africa and the Africans.
In June 712 Musa-Ibn-Nusair crossed the straits with 18,000 troops, mostly Berbers, to support Tariq against possible strike-back by King Roderick. Musa captured Carmona, Medina, Sidonia and Ceremona, while his son, Abd-al-Aziz, took Seville, Niebla and Beja. After his conquest of Spain, Musa put his three sons in charge of the armies in Spain and North Africa: Abd-al-Aziz in Spain; the other two in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisa
Although Marriage and mixture took place on an extensive scale in spain and Portugal between White and Moor, the union of Egilona, widow of King Roderick, and Abd-al-Aziz eventually led to the assassination of the latter in 716 as a result of the bitter resentment that the marriage caused among Muslims. Aziz was succeeded as commander of the army in spain by his cousin, Ayyu ibn-Habib, who was eventually replaced by al-Hurr ibn Abdurrahaman. At this stage of succession, Muslim rulers were instrumental in extending their rule from Spain and Portugal to many areas in France.
The African Moors' French connection
In 717 and 719 Hurr crossed the Pyrenees and entered France. Unrest in Spain prevented him from gaining any strong foothold in France. It was not until 729 that another Moorish ruler Haytham-ibn-Ubayad was successful incapturing Lyon, Macon and Chalons-sur-Saone in France. Beaune and Autun were also under the control of the Berbers; and it was a Berber leader leader named Uthman-ibn-Abi-Nisah, known somteimes as Munuza, who governed not only Spain but parts of France, as well. Munuza established excellent realtionships with the Christians of France, Spain and Portugal, and married the daughter of Duke Eudes, Lampegie of Aquitaine
Abdullah then crossed the Pyrenees and delivered a crushing blow against the Duke Eudes on the Garonne, sacked Bordeaux ad went across Politiers into Tours. It was at this point in 732 that Abdullah went into battle with Charles NMartel. He died in that fight and Tours marked the Western limit of the Umayyad Empire. It is universally agreed that the Berbers, with their Black blood, mixed with some Arab, became a conquering people. They would have taken the whole of France had they not clashed with Charles Martel in Tours. However they remained in Southern France until 1140, principally in the Camarque on the western Riviera, which is still known as La Petite Afrique.
In the centuries that were to follow, these same African (Moorish) conquerers civilized backward Spain and Portugal. The court of the Moorish rulers at Cordoba became the center of culture. Art, learning, refinement and elegance marked the reign of these African conquerers. Commerce flourished, mathematics, science and medicine found their way through the cultural darkness of Spain. The same cultural enlightenment was taken to Portugal by the conquering Moors of Africa. Contact with the Far East brought Spain and Portugal a real renaissance when other parts of Europe were spending a thousand yeas passing through the Dark Ages which the destruction of Rome by the barbarians had brought about.
The Moors In Italy
The domination and rule of the Moors extended to parts of Italy. In 846 A.D., they held the city of Rome in a state of siege while in 878 they captured Sicily from the Normans. Twenty years later the Moors took control of Southern Italy by defeating Otto II of Germany. As in Spain and Portugal, miscegenation took place on a wide scale between the Moors and the Italians who at that time had large infusions of Germanic blood due to the invasion of the Goths and Vandals. Like Portugal and Spain the blood of Africa permeated through all layers of Italian society and found its way into the leading families and also found its way into the leading families, including the most illustrious royal family of the times - the Medicis. Color was not bar to power and honor in Italy. This was illustrated when Alessandro de Medici, known as "The Moor," became the first Duke of Florence.
The Moors and Domination of the British Isles
According to historical annals, the Moors dominated the British Isles at one point in their their historical existence. David McRitchie writes the Moors dominated Scotland as late as the time of the Saxon Kings. With unchallenged scholarly authority he declared:
"So late as the tenth century three of these provinces [of Scotland] were wholly Black and the supreme ruler of these came at a time the paramount king transmarine Scotland. We see one of the Black people - the Moors of the Romans - in the person of a King of Alban of the tenth century. History knows him as Kenneth, sometimes as Dubh the Niger. ... We know as a historic fact that a Niger Val Dubh has lived and reigned over certain Black divisions of our islands - and probably White divisions also - and that a race known as the "Sons of the Blacks" succeeded him in history."
The Moors were a leading power in the sixth and seventh century: they dominated the Mediterranean and North Atlantic; the held power over the coasts of Western Europe and the British Isles; they gave the culture of learning in the arts, sciences to a European people who would falsely claim that that they brought civilization to the world(particularly Africa and other colored people in the Diaspora) whom they said had been languishing in "darkness and nothing elevating ever came out of these backward enclaves. The civilization of the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of the countries in the Western world, was first given to them by the Africans who remained in European countries for several centuries, and this truth has stayed shrouded in perjuries, prejudices, half-truths, mythologies and/or total omission.
Dr. Samuel Johnson who compiled the first English Dictionary in the middle years of the eighteenth century defined the Morris Dance as a "Moorish dance" and the invention of the Moors in England in the seventeenth. Any kind kind of entertainment of masquerade was called "Mauresque," according to Paul Metl, "because the guise of the Black man was the most important and a popular phenomenon. In fact, Queen Elizabeth I had one favorite African in her Tudor court. She was Luce Morgan. Dr. Leslie Hoston, and expert of Shakespeare wrote: "I have been at some pains to collect the facts and report about about Luce Morgan. My reward is the discovery of a series of documents indicating that some years before she charmed Shakespeare, she had first charmed Queen Elizabeth."
According to Scobie, David McRitchie produced enough evidence to prove that a race of Africans (Moors) lived in Scotland and part of England well back into the tenth century. He writes: "Our language still retains the memory of their presence," and further adds:
"In Shakespeare's time the audience at the Globe accepted the word as meaning 'a black man,' and either then, or later on, it became tautologically extended into "Blackamoor'. The common people of the country are not likely to have known much about the ultra-British 'Moors', - not enough at any rate, to have made the world an everyday term for a Black man. Nor can the Moors of heraldry be explained sufficiently by the theory that the founders of families bearing Moors as supporters, and Moors' heads as crests, and won their spurs in assisting the Spaniards expel their Moors. The bearing is too common among ancient coats-of-arms to admit this explanation. And the heraldic representation of a "Moor" does not suggest Granada."
Scobie writes: "How were the Moors recompensed for their phenomenal contribution in civilizing Spain, Portugal and other areas of Europe steeped in barbarism and darkness? The nineteenth century scholar Stanley Lane Poole, paints a picture of European savagery of the lowest form in their genocide of the Moors. 50,000 of them were brutally murdered on the famous day of all Saints, 1570, when the honor of the apostles and the martyrs of Christendom was celebrated by the virtual martyrdom of these Moors. ... No less than three million Moors wee banished by the first decade of the seventeenth century. To use the words of the Franciscan priest Bartholomew Las Cascas, during the Columbian era, when these dastardly deeds were being perpetrate on the Moors, "Moloch must have been in the skies." As I have stated above what Lane Poole said: "They did not not understand that they have killed their golden goose." As this is being reiterated in this Hub, the goal is to recite the historical facts so's to make sure that they stay in theircorrected form, historically.
Thus far in this latter part in the Hub about the miscegenation that took place all over Europe and the countries discussed, the aim here is to show how the world was progressing at that given time, space and point, and how it was using that knowledge to prop-up the present technological civilization in all its manifestations, is because of the Moors and their civilization of civilizing of Europe in ancient times. Below then, we will look, quickly, as to why in this Hub I say, Africans civilized Spain and what part of Spain and Portugal they settled upon
Restating And Recalibrating The African Historical Perspective Of The Moors
In order not to lose sight and historical perspective about the Moors, we read from Chancellor Williams that:
"Now, again, who were the Moors? The answer is very easy. The original Moors, like the original Egyptians, were Black Africans. As amalgamation became more and more widespread, only the Berbers, Arabs and Colored in the Moroccan territories were called Moors, while the Darkest and black-skinned Africans were called "Black-a-Moors." Eventually, Black" was dropped from "Blackamoor." In North Africa, and Morocco in particular, all Muslim Arabs, mixed-breeds and Berbers are readily regarded as Moors. The African Blacks, having had even this name taken from them, must contend for recognition as Moors."
We further learn from Rashidi that: "Among the most substantial Berber Groups to occupy Spain were the Hawwara, Luwata, Nafza, Masmuda, Miknasa, Zanata, and Sanhadja. Before participating in the eigth century invasion of Spain, the Hawwara Berbers in Africa occupied the province of Tripolitania and the deserts of southern Tunisa. They worshipped the Libyan sun-god Amun, who was depicted as a bull or ram. After the invasion of Spain, they settled in Cordoba, and established a fortified city near Jaen. A wealth group of Hawwara also settled in Morida and Melellin.
"The golden age of the Umayyad dynasty in Spain came during the tenth century. Under the reigns of Abd-al-Rahman III (912-61) and Hakam II (961-76, the Umayyad dynasty established sovereignty over the most substantial portion of the Iberian peninsula. At the pinnacle of the Umayyad dynasty the great city of cordoba possessed 200,000 residences, 600 mosques, and 900 public baths.
"Among his many accomplishments, Hakam II added twenty-seven schools for the free instruction of the poor. It should be pointed out that, at least during the era of Islamic Spain, girls as well as boys went to school, and numerous Moorish women became prominent literary and artistic fields. Other Moorish women were involved in education, law, medicine and library science.
"Both Tarik and Ziyad and Abd-al-Rahman - the founder of the Umayyad dynasty in Spain in 756, are said to have belonged to the Nafza Berbers. In fact, one of the most important keys to Abd-al-Rahman's success as a monarch was his recruitment, directly from Africa,of a well-trained army of more than 40,000 Berbers. Many of the Nafza settled in Spain. Rich and numerous, the Nafza Berbers of Osuna, in Spain, ended up becoming civic leaders, writers and theologians. The Nafza also constituted a significant part of the population of Takurunna..
"The Masmuda Berbers were described as Blacks by abu Shama in his Kitab al-Ravdatayn. They settled in several parts of Spain, including Mawrur, Cordoba, Valencia, Guadalajara, and Santaver. Masmuda Berbers also settled in Southern Portugal. Neither did wealth and prestige escape the Masmuda. The previously mentioned founder of the powerful Almohad dynasty, Abd-al-Mumin, was a Masmuda Berber.
"Al-Kahina (ca. 690), the woman who led the most determined resistance to the early Arab invasion of North Africa, was a Zanata Berber. With the invasion of Spain, many Zanatas settled near Seville, in Sidonia, Alicante, Murcia, Guadalahara, and in the region of Saragossa. The Marinids, who in 1275 invaded Spain from Morocco and defeated Chrisitan Castile, were Zanata Berbers. Zanata is written several ways in various texts, including Zenata, Znaga and Zenaga. The Zenata used a Libyco-Berber Script and spoke Zenega, a Kushito-Hamitic language. This seems to be the basis for the name Senegal.The Zanata are also credited with having introduced the Camel into the Maghrib.
"The Sanhadja Berbers of the western Sahara were composed of both sedentary people and nomads. Included among the nomad Sanhadja were the Lamta and Lamtuna Berbers. The Sanhadja, known as the Mulaththamun (people of the veil) were responsible for the second significant Moorish invasion of al-Andalus (the Arabic name for Islamic Spain). In 1095, the Sanhadja Berbers initiated the Almoravid dynasty. The Almoravid dynasty was called the "Empire of the Two shores." It lasted a hundred years and stretched from the Senegal river in West Africa to the Ebro River in northern Spain.
"There has been much discussion and speculation about the Sanhadja face mufflers. In Islamic Spain the veil was considered a privilege of the true Almoravids, and its wearing was forbidden to all but the Sanhadja. It was something like a uniform or distinctive dress of the ruling class. According to Ibn Hawkal, "Since the day they were created, their faces ... have never been seen, unless it be their eyes. This is because they muffle their faces when they are young and they grow up with that custom.
"According to al-Bakri (d. 1078), there were among the Sanhadja Berbers Blacks "professing Judaism." These Blacks are referred to as the Bafour. The Bafour practiced Judaism before they were overcome and absorbed by the Almoravids. The Balfour and Sanhadjar are both linked, by the way, through their association with the early rulers of the Ghananian Empire.
"A prototype of the warrior-king, both as priest and potentate, the Almoravid emperor Yusuf ibn Tashfin led veiled fighting men into al-Andalus beginning in 1086, at the request of the hard-pressed Muslim residents of Sapin. Yusuf, a Sanhadja Berber from the Sudan, had his physical features described by the Arab chronicler, al-Fasi, as brown-skinned, small framed and hook nosed, with heavy eyebrows and woolly hair.
"Among Yusuf's troops was a personal retinue of 4,000 Blacks carrying Lamti Sields (covered in hippopotamus skin), peculiar bows, Yazani spears, Zabian javelins, and moving to the constant sound of drumming. The bizarre aspect of the African army, was a valuable psychological weapon, according to Norris."
Rearview Mirror Narrative Review
The review above was in aid towards making concrete some African elements that went into the the civilizing of Spain, Portugal and Europe by the Moors. The emphasis here is on the African origin of the civilization of Europe. It was very important in the Hub above to revisit this part of history which is rarely spoken nor written about. When I dubbed the topic of this Hub as I did, I had not yet given a very in-depth account as to who, in particular were these Africans.
And there have been some responses from some readers who constantly attempted to attack the Africans and the civilizing of Europe. Many dispute this historical assertion, fact and reality. So that in the post above, I have tried to retrace the historical facts as they pertain to which Africans, from where, settled and colonized/civilized Spain and Europe earlier on in the period of 500-600 years time-frame.
The history of the Moors in Spain civilizing and modernizing Europe, is a very broad and deep history, of which this Hub will continue to research and expose some of the historical issues and aspects that went into the this effort of civilization of Europe by Africans from Africa.
There have been responses to the Hub above, which pale in their objections as to what has been stated and written about in this Hub above. I think some facts need to be repeated again to restate the fact that the Moorish civilization in Spain was an African accomplishment. In order for us to achieve some modicum of historical intellectual acumen/agreement, I will keep up with some serious historical facts, indisputable and historically accurate.
This Hub was written in order to begin wrest the present historical narrative, into one that comes from an African-centered perspective, and that this is a fact, one needs only look at the last line of the topic of this Hub: ".. The History Of Africa". This Hub is simply that, the History of Africa, written by an African and this is written from an African-centered perspective.
What needs to be restated here is very important in clarifying the whole conundrum as to how the Africans from Africa began the whole historical reality and the fact that they civilized Europe, is not in dispute here, because the Hub above ably deals with that aspect of factual history. The side I am addressing is a much more antiquated historical beginnings as to how the Africans, actually began moving towards the conquering and civilizing of Europe when they did.
The African history that is being discussed below by Prof. Clarke and the importance of Education Clarke and Marti underline, are some important lessons one picks up and remembers, and it is also important to make note of the fact that the time in African history discussed by Clarke, is same and related to the history of Africans in South Africa. What Clarke is about to talk about at length below, give us a much more better sense as to what Africans people must know and do.
What's To Be Done?....
Prof. Clarke instructs and informs us thusly:
"African people will have to take a three-way look at themselves, using the "past" to evaluate the "present" to prophesy the "Future." In our long journey on this earth, we have had few friends, if any. All non-Africans who have come among us or been associated with us have clearly shown that they would betray us any time it was in their self-interest. We have never made good alliances with other people. Properly counted, Africans may number a billion people on the face of the earth. With that many Africans in the world, and with some political astuteness, we are in a position to make either alliances that are to our benefit or none at all. We know that the most important alliance we need to make is among ourselves.
"Can African People Save Themselves?" (Clarke)
"To be sufficiently argumentative on the subject of Black-White alliances, I would have to speak for a week, and I would still barely exhaust the subject: If there is one thing that can be said about Black people that has caused a lot of pain, and yet is historically true, it is that politically we are one of the most naïve of people. We have been taken in by practically everything and everybody that has come to us. I think this taking in, this betrayal, has something to do with both our weaknesses and our strengths. If you find strengths of a people, you will find their weaknesses, because the two are closely related.
"In the first place, we have been extremely human[man-centered-Biko] people. We have been hospitable to strangers, and nearly always to the wrong strangers. Almost all of our relationships with non-African people began with gestures of friendship. More than anyone else in the world, we have repeatedly invited our future conquerors to dinner. There is a need to look at Black-White alliances going back 2,500 years.
"Why are so many of the alliances Africans make with other people dismantled to the detriment of Africans and Africans have nothing to say about them? These alliances aren't real alliances and Africans aren't partners in them in the first place.
"Kohanna was the first African to attempt to drive the Arabs out of Africa. She called them "Interlopers" and said they had no business there. Religiously she was Hebrew, but she advised her nephew and son to join Islam because it was politic to do so. Her nephew, Tarik-bin Ziad, was the leader of a group of Africans around Senegal and Mauretania who moved up to North Africa.
"Now, this African, who came from inside Africa and who had joined Islam and made an alliance with it for political reasons, but who for other than political reasons was not even Moslem, knew that the Visigoths and the people controlling Spain were in serious trouble. He sent an army to test out and see what kind of resistance would he face in Spain, and following this, decided to take Spain.
"The conquest of Spain that is attributed to the Arabs was truly an African conquest. The Africans again began to make new alliances, and these were effective for 700 years. Why were these particular alliances so effective? (Let's talk about some of the good ones we made.) They were effective because Africans had the muscle and they called the tunes. The alliances did not break until Africans lost that muscle, and they lost that muscles in arguments with the Arabs.
"The Arabs are another overrated people in history, another people who have both good and bad to the extent that Black(African) people don't even know how to make an assessment of them. They have manipulated both Blacks(Africans) and Whites depending on the political climate. If the White political climate is good, they are White; if the Black(African) political climate is good, they are Black(African). But they are mixed people and always have been.
"When Islam advanced in East Africa, it did so with a single missionary. He would come into an African village; he would render some service that was needed; he would marry an African woman; he would convert her and then convert her family. Then he would use that family to convert other families. As the Arab moved more and more into Africa, whatever color he was originally, he was getting "Blacker" and "Blacker" He was "dissipating" his original physical being into the bloodstream of Africa.
"This went on for well over a thousand years and is still going on. By no stretch of the imagination can you call the Arabs White people, although there are many who prefer to be called White and [want] to be treated as such. Quite a few act no different from White people in their relationship with us. My point is that this African-Arab alliance was basically good in Spain, because the military arm that held Spain was African.
"The Africans entered Spain in 711; they sent another wave into Spain in 1076. The Almohads, in 1240, came from North Africa. The argument between the Almohads and the Almoravids weakened the African hold on Spain until about 1450, when Europe was rising again to its feet, thanks to an internal quarrel between Africans and Arabs. When these Arabs were expelled on 1492, the year Columbus allegedly discovered America, instead of going back to Africa and building an African nation, these Arabs went down the East Coast and began to trade arms with the Africans along the East coast of Africa and continued the Arab Slave trade. That was disaster.
"But more disaster would come later on. From 1591 to 1594 the North Africans, themselves Black(African), the Emperor of Morocco in North Africa, Yakud Almansur, would send an army across the desert, using an African trader to show the way. They would break up the kingdoms of inner Western Africa. Timbuctoo would soon be gone. The great university of Sankore, would soon be gone.
"This was in 1594 when the slave trade was 100 years old. These people in inner Africa had great universities. There are still four universities in Timbuctoo alone. Jenne was another city university, and all of this is totally left out of history. These North Africans came down and wrecked all this. Now it was Moslem against Moslem. These Africans would tell these Moslems, using White mercenaries with modern arms of the that day, "We are Moslems, we're Moslems, we're your kin," and Africans would just go ahead with their slaughter."
"The tragedy of the breaking up of the great independent states of Africa before the European slave trade could really move was the tragedy of this alliance. Islam and the Arabs will have to share the guilt in this, because at that same time they were breaking up the great African kingdoms in the Western Sudan and West Africa, the Arab slave trade had been intensified along the coast of East Africa. The partnership between Africans and Arabs of those great states had lasted for years. That partnership had now grown sour. Again, the partner had turned on the African; the guest had turned on his host, as has happened so many times with us." The African's role and influence in Spain collapsed, and the Africans tried to make new alliances. But none of them would work for very long.
The Moorish Civilization And its Evolution
"The Moorish culture was a composite culture, since the Moors indulged themselves in the acquisition of knowledge from both East and West. By the 7th and 8th centuries the ancient civilization of Egypt, Harrappa, Akkad and Cush had long since handed the batons of philosophy and science to the Greeks, Hebrews, Chinese, Indians and Persians. But through these younger civilizations, the Moors learned from the older culture.
"The Moors would have benefited in their search for knowledge from the world's greatest of Alexandria, in Egypt. Unfortunately, it was long since destroyed. History has recorded the incident: "The great library of Alexandria, accidentally damaged by Julius Caesar and destroyed by Mark Antony, was intentionally destroyed by a Christian mob on orders of the Christian Emperor Theodosius in A.D. 389. The Library at Alexandria had consisted the storehouse of knowledge of the ancient world.
"In spite of this, the Moors set out to quench their insatiable thirst for knowledge by translating into Arabic all they could lay their hands on of ancient Greek and Sanskrit material, ransacking the the monasteries for rare copies of Euclid, Galen, Plato, Aristotle(who all of them got it from Egypt) and Hindu sages. (African presence)Briefly, then, it can be said that the Moors excelled in many fields. Their achievements in the sciences were spectacular. The Moors were the first to trace "the curvilinear path of rays of light through air;" this discovery in about 1100 is a prerequisite to the design of corrective eyeglasses.
"Towards the end of the th century, their endeavors in chemistry brought them to the formulation of the chemical components of gunpowder. Through its Harrappan inheritance, India made clear to the Moors some principles of Astronomy. "The world is round as a sphere, of which the waters are adherent and maintained upon its surface by natural equilibrium. It is surrounded by air and all created bodies are stable on its surface, the earth drawing to itself all that is heavy in the same way as a magnet attracts iron. The terrestrial globe is divided into two equal parts of the equinoctial line. The circumference of the earth is divided into 360 ... the earth is essentially rotundity, being somewhat depressed at the Poles ... This is the Indian Calculation. These principles, recorded in a Moorish translation of an Indian text, would not be comprehended by the rest of Europe for 400 years. (Shaw)
"The Moors pursued practical applications as well as the natural sciences. The use of the astrolabe and the compass, revived again at a later period in Europe, were common to [Moorish] navigation. European military science was revolutionized by the introduction of artillery and firearms. The Moors were also known for their skills in medicine;
For seven centuries the medical schools of Europe owed everything they knew to [Moorish] research. Vivisection as well as dissection of dead bodies was practiced in their anatomical schools, and women as well as men were trained and performed some of the most delicate surgical operations. They amassed much information in the study of the functions of the human body and cures for its diseases."
The Story of the Moors is still going to be an ongoing one throughout this Hub, and will continue to expand, and add on the many historical features and issues that came into play and being during the African Moors' historical epoch and transformation/civilizing of Europe.
The Moors and the Chess Board
The Musical Instruments of the Moors
The Origins of the Music of the Moors in Spain
The artistic Spain of olden times thus becomes the central bond which ties ancient art to the modern. The great musicians of Andalusia knew not only how to preserve their inherited art but also how to transform and renovated it by creating a popular form through which their compositions were broadcast, thus spreading all over Europe. There it still lives because the people have loved it and adopted it. Europe therefore owes a debt and gratitude to the Andalusian Moors, who maintained and passed on a rich fund of music, a perennial spring to which all European composers have come to renew their inspiration, but without seeking its unknown sources." (Julian Ribera)
As the Hub above is being composed, many people who come and read it really react in many different ways ways to it. Those who seek knowledge find it, and then there are those who know nothing about the History of the Moors and want to debunk the information that is given in the Hub. For the latter, it would do them better if they come to learn from the Hub, or try and do their own research. But I will not alter a thing in this Hub to satisfy their lack of knowing if they do not want to learn from the Hub. I thought I should jut add this part and piece here.
Also, in any writing as long as this one and the type of extended Hubs I write, editing become an ongoing process which I do come to and correct. But, as I have said in my comments above, this does not detract from the context and content of the Hub, really. I really write very long Hubs, and this is not an excuse, and when I am not composing any new Hub, I come back to the old ones and correct any spelling or grammar errors I may incur. But this does not mean that the Hub is whipped out of shape because of that. In any case, any notation of such errors by those who respond to my Hubs, is well taken by me, and I always make it a point I correct the errors in due course.
Musical Instruments of Oriental Africa and Arabia
Understanding African Music and Debunking Myths About African Music
African music is usually perceived as being one-dimensional, primarily rhythmic in character and totally dominated by drums. Chernoff says: "If you ask people what African music is like, most will, with little hesitation and great confidence, tell you that African music is all drumming: Africans are famous or their drumming. It is exactly this mass impression that ethnomusicologists, those people who study music academically, love to correct. Anyone reasonably well-informed about music-making in Africa will immediately react against such a naïve notion by citing a wealth of musical instruments: xylophones, flutes, harps, horns, bells."
A major reason for this erroneous perception is the way the Western world continually portrays the African musical expression. The images usually depicted in the typical Western interpretation have traditionally been of "natives" dancing with emotional abandon to the beat of the "jungle drums."
During the 1940 and '50s there were some dancers and choreographers such as Kathryn Dunham, Carmen de Lavallade and Geofrey Holder and others who present musical performances with traditional African music and dance as a high musical art form; but this was not the norm. Today African music with drums and a variety of other African instruments with more positive images, have seen increasing popularity in Jazz, popular music, as well as traditional African musical performances in the West.
The new movement in America, beginning in the sixties, by those of African descent, to embrace African history, literature, customs and cultural traditions, has had a significant impact. As a result, the focus on African Studies in College and Universities, the adaptation of African dress and hairstyles, musical performances on the national and International level, have brought renewed interest in the African continent.
By far the most sophisticated responses to the popular image of Africa in the New world," says Okon Edet Uya, "are the back to Africa movements(Garveyites), the Pan African Movements and the New Black(Consciousness) Nationalism ... Whether it was surfaced as emigrationism of the eighteenth century or the new Black(African) [Consciousness) Nationalism of the 1960s and '70s, this sentiment reflected a confidence in the capacity of the African to create and control his/her own reality, unfettered by European imperialism and neocolonialism and the contaminating influences of European cultures."
Anyway, for many reasons, as this may be seen as progress(not forgetting how the European recording companies have highjacked and distorted the music of Africans from America to Africa-that is another Hub, by the way), there are still some myths that have to be debunked and stripped away so that we can begin to have a much more clearer view of the musical realities of Africans from the past to the present. So that, for instance, when it comes to African music, there is rarely presented the total musical experience of African people that can be or is viewed from, and in all its broad and rich diversity.(One can read some of the Hubs I have written on African Music and Musical experiences here on HubPages-ixwa.hubpages.com).
Chernoff syas: "For a Westerner to understand the artistry and purpose of an African musical event, it is necessary for him/her to sidestep his normal listening tendencies, slow down his aesthetic response, and glide past his initial judgment. Perhaps more than the novelty or the strangeness of the sounds, the different meaning of a music which is integrated into cultural activities presents difficulties to the Western listener and undermines his efforts to appreciate and understand African music."
In fact, the problem is bigger than we can elaborate sufficiently here on this Hub, and it is multi-layered. So that, we know that centuries of misconceptions and prejudices have led to disastrous and grave distortions. Bohannon says that "Africa has for generations now been viewed through a web of myth so permissive and so glib, that understanding it has become a twofold task: the task of clarifying the myth; and the separate task of examining whatever reality has been hidden behind it. Only if the myth is stripped away can the reality of Africa emerge." I have expanded this statement above in the various Hubs where I have dealt with African music from South Africa, Africa and the African Diaspora.
Egyptian And African Musica Instruments
Checking and Debunking Some Myths Concocted and Distorted About African Music
Musicologists generally classify musical instruments into four categories: (1) Idiophones - Marimbas, xylophones, gongs Rattles, bells, clappers, cymbals, etc. (2) membranophones - drums with skin or membrane heads (3) aerophones - flutes, Whistles, Pipes, Trumpets and horns. (4) Chordophones - Lutes, Lyres, Zithers, and Harps.
While many Membranophones are made from the trunks of trees, still other are wood bound with a variety of wood sources and other material utilized today in Ghana and Kenya. Various skin covers are used, as Kebede says, "depending upon the geographic location and availability of the animal." The prevalence of trees in the sub-sahran great forest regions obviously allows easier access for the use of trees to construct Membranophones. Once again, we see the impact of geography in the use of musical instruments'
Frobenius points out that, "Drums covered with hide are found throughout the whole of Africa, with the exception of its southernmost part of the wooden drums, however, occur only in the Congo Basin and in Upper and Lower Guines. The hide-covered drums are a development of the famous millet mortar, which points to East India. The civilization of the Mediterranean shores has similar drums made of clay, and related to those found in Persia and in prehistoric tombs of Germany. Now, the wooden drums belong to the Malayo-Negrito elements of African culture. They reoccur in Melanesia and frequently in Polynesia. Their home obviously must be the same as that of the loft bamboo cane, for these drums are developed from the bamboo (1898: 640-41)
This is a clear illustration of how music and musical instruments can be used as effective tools for studying people in culture, very often showing how they live and where they live.
North of the Sahara social and cultural factors impact on the use of Idiophones and Aerophones as the more dominant instruments.(Kebede)
Another major misconception in regard to African Music is that the music of the Arabic-speaking countries of the Maghrib (North Africa), Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and the Sudan is not really African music. To understand why this misguided perception exists it is important to realize that the Maghrib