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.