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The History and the Age of the Moors in Spain: How the Moors Civilized Europe - the History of Africa

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Moors Photos in Spain

African Moors in Spain who introduced learning and civilization in Spain

African Moors in Spain who introduced learning and civilization in Spain

Tarik and his Black army swept up into Spain and defeated the Visigoths in successive stages - capturing and consolidating Spanish towns from the south including Toledo and Cordoba

Tarik and his Black army swept up into Spain and defeated the Visigoths in successive stages - capturing and consolidating Spanish towns from the south including Toledo and Cordoba

The mighty Moors of Spain and Portugal

The mighty Moors of Spain and Portugal

The Moors Head: The Ladino Moors. There is a history of the Jews of Cape Verde,the Guinea Rivers andGulf of Biafra

The Moors Head: The Ladino Moors. There is a history of the Jews of Cape Verde,the Guinea Rivers andGulf of Biafra

Some of the castles left-over from the rule of the Moors

Some of the castles left-over from the rule of the Moors

Early Geography Map of Europe Moorish Spain. This Map is Exhibited in Torre de la Calahorrra, Cordoba

Early Geography Map of Europe Moorish Spain. This Map is Exhibited in Torre de la Calahorrra, Cordoba

the-history-and-the-age-of-the-moors-in-spain-how-the-moors-in-spain-helped-to-civilize-europe
3 Bla-Maors(Libyan Moors)

3 Bla-Maors(Libyan Moors)

"Zenaga/Sanhaja clan: Berber clan of Southern Morocco, Mauritania and gave Senegal its original name. They united under the leadership of  Yusef bin Tashfin and created their dynasties in Morocco and Spain

"Zenaga/Sanhaja clan: Berber clan of Southern Morocco, Mauritania and gave Senegal its original name. They united under the leadership of Yusef bin Tashfin and created their dynasties in Morocco and Spain

The Alhambra, Masterpiece of Moorish Architecture of Spain. In Grenada the Moorish rulers of Spain built lavish palaces and forts.

The Alhambra, Masterpiece of Moorish Architecture of Spain. In Grenada the Moorish rulers of Spain built lavish palaces and forts.

Perfect Symmetry ... The Alhambra, Grenada. The Alhambra, today, is totally fresh and overwhelming, with its palace gardens is also amazing for its sale: few small courtyards and pavilions perched on the edge of a cliff and seem to go on and on.

Perfect Symmetry ... The Alhambra, Grenada. The Alhambra, today, is totally fresh and overwhelming, with its palace gardens is also amazing for its sale: few small courtyards and pavilions perched on the edge of a cliff and seem to go on and on.

Al-Andalus, an Arabic name given to the parts of the Iberian Peninsula governed by Arab Muslims between 711-1492

Al-Andalus, an Arabic name given to the parts of the Iberian Peninsula governed by Arab Muslims between 711-1492

Mosque of Cordoba, Spain

Mosque of Cordoba, Spain

Saint Maurice:Tarik Ibn Zayid led 300 Arabs and 6700 Africans in conquering Spain around 700 A.D.

Saint Maurice:Tarik Ibn Zayid led 300 Arabs and 6700 Africans in conquering Spain around 700 A.D.

The Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim mosqueThis is hailed as the most Southernly mosque in Europe, and was a gift to Gilbraltar and its people from the late King Fahd Al-Saud. Golbraltar was influenced by the Moors.

The Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim mosqueThis is hailed as the most Southernly mosque in Europe, and was a gift to Gilbraltar and its people from the late King Fahd Al-Saud. Golbraltar was influenced by the Moors.

Luce Morgan (1560?-1610)

Luce Morgan (1560?-1610)

Alessandro de' Medici, called "Il Moro" (The Moor") was born in the Italian city of Urbino is 1510. His mother was an African slave named Dimonetta who had been freed

Alessandro de' Medici, called "Il Moro" (The Moor") was born in the Italian city of Urbino is 1510. His mother was an African slave named Dimonetta who had been freed

Moorish Battle, 1636

Moorish Battle, 1636

The Moors and their material history and culture can be found by just reading the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus

The Moors and their material history and culture can be found by just reading the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus

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'.

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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.