The Spanish Expulsion of the Moriscos and its Historical Impact



María Elvira Sagarzazu – Argentinian investigative historian, researcher, novelist and essayist

✺ The Spanish Expulsion of the Moriscos and its Historical Impact

I met María Elvira Sagarzazu for the first time during the 10th International Symposium on The Moriscos and the Mediterranean in the 16th and 17th Centuries which was organised by my good friend and Morisco mentor Professor Abduljelil Temimi in Zaghouan (Tunis) between 9-12 May 2001.

Maria is a well-known investigative historian, researcher, novelist, essayist and translator. She was born (1942) in Monte Caseros, Corrientes- Argentina, and resides in Rosario.
Her research on the Moriscos are original and very interesting. She has a page at Wikipedia, seven books listed at


María’s research work includes aspects of the Arab presence in the Americas since the time of the conquest of America, revealing the contribution of the Moorish culture to the Río de la Plata and contributing to the construction of Argentina’s identity. In her several historical novels, she describes in interesting details of the ways of life of her characters according to their social context, presents the reader the flavours, perfumes, clothing and the interior of the houses where the narratives unfold. These are the themes of women in Islamic society and social and human encounters between Islam and Christianity.
What follows is Maria’s assessment and thoughts on the plight of the Moriscos covering a number of questions I have suggested to her and answers to many others she considered important.
The reader would notice that Maria’s thoughts focuses on the Moriscos but she is giving the Spanish Crown the space to explain their policies towards their Morisco subjects. In her opinion, sixteenth-century Spain was both involved in her long-lasting conflict against Islam, and in colonizing America. The situation for the Muslim communities of Spain became increasingly harsh stands as the main reason why some of its members may have sought refuge in the Americas (Dressendörfer, Crypto- musulmanes en la Inquisición de Nueva España, 1978:485). The Spanish Crown failed to control the illegal entrance of Moriscos no matter how hard authorities tried to avoid it. Moriscos were considered ‘unfit’ to spread the Christian-European way of life Spain intended to transmit to America.
Traces of the Hispano-Arabic cultural background were identified while studying the habits and the language of rural dwellers of the River Plate region. This evidence as well as the conclusions derived from it, reveals the role played by the Moriscos at the early stages of the Spanish American colonization. No matter how limited and conditioned, the direct Morisco participation in the making of Americas’ societies implied lasting consequences that should be discussed in the frame of historical analysis.
A previous outlook assessing Moriscos traces in the Americas as merely indirect and owing to the Christian Spaniards, rather conveys the unrest felt by members of the Spanish society towards the ex-Muslim community. Its occurrence in Morisco studies too seems due to unlimited confidence in official documents and in archival evidence, or by neglecting field studies.

■The Morisco case. Light and shadows ■
María Elvira Sagarzazu

Note on illustrations: The images in this article are collected from the Internet and used only as illustrations and we take no responsibility for their authenticity or correct captions. Copyright is reserved for the rightful owner/owners of these images.

When speaking about cultures, legacy is often employed to indicate a body of material handed down to us from either predecessors from ones´ culture, or, from a culture different from our own. Yet, some considerations may help understand the concept lying within the Latin root wherefrom such word draws its meaning in English. Its stem is the same as that for law, lex, which originates legate, meaning bequeath. Two concepts spring from this root: a) one pointing to an act falling within the province of law, and b) a second segment of meaning indicating given for gift, that is for nothing. Hence, whatever is inherited is at the same time acquired without question and unintentionally. Culturally speaking, this concept is central to any sound discussion regarding handed down material.
Our approach to the Morisco case considers their fate as linked to a time in which the concept of religious tolerance was unknown both to the European and the Islamic civilization. Europe owes such a view of religion to the XVIII century philosophy of Enlightenment. Before this, people failed to realize their freedom to believe in religions other than that of the establishment, nor to disbelieve in God.
This outlook on faith ushered superstitions and suspicion towards anyone not thinking or worshipping “as everybody else did”, be it the mainstream, the establishment, the Crown or the government. Furthermore, none of the monotheist religions discarded the opinion that each of their doctrines is the only true one, so that their members believe that theirs is the only acceptable religion.
We also approach the Morisco age from a point a view that aims to unfold the consequences of intercultural relations and its frequent outcome of social unrest. Attention shall be paid to the obstacles lying along the road of ethnic and religious coexistence, as we are dealing with a time when assessing the meaning of cultural legacy was an intellectual goal far from being conceived.
Ethnocentrism has been the rule until quite recently. Cultures from the Amazon to the Pacific Ocean and from Pole to Pole have upheld that peoples from different cultural backgrounds were unfit in different degrees to share their own societies. This extreme thought became entirely turned upside down by multiculturalists. Multiculturalism proved just as unable of assessing societies by regarding all of them equally worthy, thus overlooking their achievements, on which differences are rooted.
Moriscos lived and disappeared before social studies were known. The information regarding people and their behaviour was not a matter of scientific research but an issue commented upon by travellers, each of them reacting to what they witnessed according to their own cultural background, as Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo did. But until the modern appearance of social studies in the XX century, there were no systematic studies about the factors involved in the process of passing down culture from one generation to the next. The concept of cultural agents and social actors was unknown, and with it the role of family and society in the passing down of a cultural heritage. Also, the fact that while performing the role, social actors are influenced by their own habits and mind frames.
It also went unseen that, in the process of acquiring a legacy, those receiving it incorporate to their selves some social material entirely unsought for, and thus not resisted. These steps summarize the usual way culture has been transmitted through the ages. Yet, at some times and places, war and conquest have also been means of introducing traditions.
When the Arabs took over Spain in 711 A.C, their tradition spread throughout most of the territory, with Christian inhabitants living and coping willingly or not under the new foreign rule of Islam. Different responses were given to the sudden imposition, thus various degrees of Islamization occurred. By conquest too, the Islamic culture and traditions were introduced in societies different from that of the Arabs. Nor only Turks and Persians underwent distressful times before becoming thoroughly Islamized due to the fact the to be a Moslem entailed more than acquiring a new religion; Islam carried along traditions that up to that time had developed and belonged to the Arabic people alone.

Moriscos blessed by Juan de Ribera. All rights reserved to the rightful owner.

We cannot extend considering the manifold ways that bring people in touch with a culture different from their own (migration, immigration, marriage, and so on). But, when for any reason, a number of people begin to acquire or follow different ways of life from that of a previously established majority; the behaviour of the minority seems to pose some kind of a threat against the majority. If survival chances are with that minority group, after some time they may be dwelling in a new cultural twilight zone which in time may progress as to create a cultural environment of its own
It is a matter of historical experience that the building of new cultural spaces has brought along social unrest [1]; the reason behind this is the nature of the identity process, based in exercising difference and even opposition towards the power and traditions of the mainstream. Asserting a different cultural identity within a given society involves underlining the distance already existing between groups (majority and minority). A sense of aloofness may start connecting as much as divorcing both groups in society, that is, from the mainstream towards members of the parting side, and vice versa.
After these considerations, we shall see how the factor that brings the Morisco to life often today is by no means alien to politics. It is visible target; we know who are responsible for it since their expulsion was demanded by one of the leading nations of the time. Also, because it was not a conflict between anonymous entities fighting in a remote territory, and so unlike other deportations, this one was well documented.
Moriscos and their identity
Expulsion of the Moriscos from Vinaros by Pere Oromig – 1613. All rights reserved to the rightful owner.
It is not simple to describe what was like to be a Morisco in Spain. They were a part of the Moslem Umma but yet suffered from what today is regarded as identity conflict. Being their society cantered on religion, the banning of Islam and its institutions determined the end of the community. They considered themselves Spaniards, when this name was scarcely used by Christians, who still preferred to be called after their regional identities (Catalonian, Aragonese, etc). At that time, in the XV century, there were no Spaniards because there was no Spain as yet; Spain as a unified state came into existence after the fall of Grenade, in 1492. Before this time, her territories were those of Hispania in Roman times, and were conformed by several kingdoms, some even with a language of their own. But one of those kingdoms, Grenade, was still under Moslem rule until most of the XV century, with Arabic being spoken there. Grenade remained as the only Moslem kingdom after Cordoba´s Caliphate split into smaller emirates.
At that time, the peoples living in most of the territory later to become Spain, though not a homogeneous territory, culturally speaking, shared their Christian faith. This fact turned religion into a powerful political instrument of unity for the Christian authorities, and as such was employed to re-conquest Spain from the Moors, as Moslems were called.
From the Middle Ages on to the beginning of the XIX century, Catholicism played a key role in the unification of these different communities that together conformed Spain. Faith became welded to the Spanish nationality, much in the same way as Islam did when trying to control Persia, Syria, Egypt and Iraq under a unified Moslem rule.
The process by which Spain was unified at the end of the Middle Ages resembles this early conquest of the Middle East. Also, the taking over of the Americas by Spain was compared by early historians with their own previous process of regaining territories from the Moors, regarded as infidels. For the Spanish Crown, America was too “Tierra de infields”, land of the infidel.
The idea of making war to spread religion firstly known to Moslems as jihad, provided inspiration to the Pope in 1096, who resorted to the same concept to justify the Crusades. Later on, the same instrument was used by Spain to justify the conquest of America.
Difference, not too different, how much different?
Expulsion de los-moriscos blanquenos el-13 de diciembre de1613 (Luis Molina). All rights reserved to the rightful owner.
In the process of becoming a nation, the quest for homogeneity seams to appear at some time or other. Such need of uniformity starts losing strength as people and their authorities obtain a desirable degree of coherence and civil responsibility to some extent independent of external formalities. At this point of civil maturity, nations may stop considering differences a dangerous source of social unrest. But before diversity and freedom can be a part of any assertive society, homogeneity is pursued by means that have included deportation, persecution, censorship, imprisonment and death even in places where some of these terms were unknown, as it was among the American natives. The Jesuit annals from the XVII century, for example, relate in a direct prose how the indigenous nations of Carios, Charrúas and Guaranís- were constantly at war against each other before the Europeans arrived.

Moriscos blessed by Juan de Ribera. All rights reserved to the rightful owner.

War has been a common answer to reduce diversity. In the wake of this, deportation is a step forward in concern, and a minor instrument compared to extermination.
It seems clear now that what stood in the way of conciliation between Moriscos and authorities was linked to the fact that the State required some degree of acceptance of its official religion after unification in 1492, then the possibility for Moslem subjects to be considered full right citizens had vanished. Still, from that time to the year when expulsion began, 1609, there was a long period during which both parts failed to find a way to reconcile their interests.
On the other hand, Moriscos were part of the economy. The sugar cane industry in Valencia, cattle rodeos, vegetables growing and the silk industry employed many Moriscos, and the barons for whom they worked claimed repeatedly that they would be out of business without Morisco labour. [2] The Crown waited a bit more to expatriate Moriscos. It has been said that the expulsion of Moriscos affected the Spanish economy to a great extent. This would have been true if the expulsion occurred in the Middle Ages, but by the time it happened, the Moslem community had lost most of its relevant business men who were already living in Tunisia, Algeria, Istanbul or Salonika. [3] Many wealthy families too, as the Hermes of Grenada, renounced their Islamic faith in order to remain in Spain. This option was much favoured [4].
The conflict between Spaniards and Moriscos was not due to cultural or racial hate but due to belief [5]. As Harvey has pointed out [6], the necessity for a cultural frontier was felt as both groups lived in close contact, sharing the same land. Confronting each other was the way Christian and Moslem communities preserved their separate traditions. However, other considerations should also be taken into account.
One, a Moslem community under Christian rule was prone to fail integrating due to their conception of the world as divided in Dar al Harb (House of War) and Dar al Islam (House of Islam). Because of this imperative, fatwa after fatwa Moriscos were unsuccessfully reminded by Muslim alphaqees [7] from Morocco of the sin they were living in by not leaving the House of War to return to Islamic territories.
The conflict between Moriscos and the Spanish establishment was not a watermark of the Morisco group only; they were the last of the several Moslem communities facing conflict by staying in territories were Islam had been banned. Regarding this point, when Arabs were dominating most of Spain, in the X century, they resorted to harsh repression to bring Christians under their rule. In Ibn Hawqal words “…they are Visigoths following the Christian religion. At times, they rebel and some seek refuge in castles. It is difficult to subject them, because they are insolent and rebellious. When they break submission, it´s hard to submit them unless they are exterminated, which is a sad and long business.” [8] As this was part of the reality, resorting to another instrument such as expulsion to put an end to a crisis can hardly be considered the worst option.
In much recent days, as the reader might remember, there occurred a massacre of Kurds in Iraq and an ethnic conflict in East Timor [9] took the life of 100,000 people.
Excluding or secluding people from a different ethnic background, language or religion has been sought as means to preserve the mainstream culture, but from all items conforming a culture, religion is the one that more stubbornly makes a point in keeping each group apart, by banning intermarriage or by other means.
Living between two cultures has never been an easy exercise, nor was it for either Christians or Moslems residing in Spain before its unification. As for the later, their faith was the source of discomfort awakening in them a conscience of conflict. The Mediterranean background that they shared with other inhabitants of Spain proved insufficient to turn them fully into Spaniards; religion stood in between, requiring loyalty to traditions unacceptable to the Spanish majority.

Expulsion of the Moriscos from Vinaros by Pere Oromig – 1613. All rights reserved to the rightful owner.

Moriscos, too, were considered different Moslems by their own brothers across the Mediterranean due to habits taken from their Christian neighbours. They drank wine occasionally [10], some skipped circumcision [11]and avoided polygamy often.
Was Morisco life then an endless chain of grey events?
Not at all. As successors of the early Hispanoarabs, Moriscos a ripe culture. Dance and chanting, playing the guitar and meeting at night parties called zambras were part of their lives; they were known for their colourful garments and jewels; also enjoyed a fine cuisine with a dash of Eastern and Persian flavour, [12] and some of their everyday dishes are still very much in use in Argentina [13], also in Mexico, Chile and Colombia.
Before their downfall, they had conformed a large community to members of different social and economic status living both in rural areas and urban centres. Among them there were physicians, chemists and professionals on other fields as well as poets, that is, an intellectual élite. [14] There are no definite numbers telling how many Moriscos lived in Spain or how many exactly were sent to exile after 1609, but the best documented estimation rounds their number in 300,000[15]. The total population of Spain was then between 8 and 9 million. [16]

Moriscos revisited

Political implications delayed sound conclusions on their meaning within the history of Spain. Later on, the Morisco case has none the less undergone the study deserved for being a large, original and vanishing community. Scholars themselves did not escape reaching biased conclusions, but in the 70´s this changed and was the turn for a new generation of researchers to dig in their ways, aware of the Morisco relevance in Spanish stage. This task was well rewarded due to the abundant archival material of different provenance. Not only Inquisition acts are available, but also legal documents, aljamiado works and even accounts of commercial operations; all this came under the magnifying glass of sociologists, historians and philologists.
Since 1970, a group of philologists under the leadership of Álvaro Galmés de Fuentes and others, shaped what is known today as Moriscology, a discipline that ascended fast to become a widely researched field. Conferences and congresses are held every year at different universities throughout Spain, and to a lesser extent, in other European and North African countries. Moriscos also deserved attention outside of Spain. In Tunisia, the Temimi Foundation is devoted to Morisco and Ottoman studies, and in America, research has been undertaken directed at evaluating their legacy in architecture, history and literature both in Europe [17] and in the New World [18].
We have collected evidence of Morisco traditions in Argentina [19] probably transmitted by descendants of already Christianized members of the exiled community. In fact, no other but an Islamic background stands behind the protracted rejection to consume pork in rural areas of Argentina [20], a fact that Álvaro Galmés de Fuentes summarized in a personal conversation by saying, “wherever Spain stamped its feet, you´ll find Morisco traces.” Among several other findings, the piece of most unmistakable origin is perhaps a roughly cut Fatima´s hand made of lead. [21]


                                                       Expulsion de los-moriscos blanquenos el-13 de diciembre de 1613 (Luis Molina).

                                                                                       All rights reserved to the rightful owner.

The romantic view
Moriscos blessed by Juan de Ribera. All rights reserved to the rightful owner.
Lately, a multiculturalist perspective introduced political correctness in social sciences. Aiming at avoiding Euro centricity, the movement ended up discouraging, if not banning, to assess cultures. This stand was preceded by another inaccurate outlook on social studies, that of Romanticism, a perspective prone to overprice uniqueness and exotism, even if some of their scholars removed from ingenuity did an outstanding intellectual job [22]. Yet, both perspectives fail to understand that traditions are not always good nor functional, and that they can be seen not only as a form of cultural expression or a sign of identity but also –and often –as a limitation stopping minorities from integrating to other groups, quite independently from the benefits offered by the host society.
This fact deserves attention, not just to avoid victimizing but to praise beyond proportion any given group or period in history without weighing all the aspects involved in their fate.
Part of the golden legend of Spain is that of adorning her with the title of Country of the Three Religions. But wasn´t that the same Spain that sent Jews to exile at the turn of the XV century, and later on the Moriscos in the 1609?
We are closer to reality if we understand that Spain then was less of an island of tolerance than a balanced political and economic construction, with well-informed members on each side capable of weighting the benefits derived of in and off peace treatises, with Moslem and Christian princes collecting tax from each religious minority [23] in order to allow their members to worship, trade and live under separate laws. These religious agreements based on taxation became not only a way to supply the State coffers with fresh money, but also a source of political stability for both Moslem and Christian Spanish kingdoms during the Middle Ages.


Due to this long-lasting exercise in social exchange, Spaniards – of Moslem and Christian stock- became used to cultural models that allowed them to enjoy a high standard of living unknown to other European countries in those days.
Since the problem was not properly ethnic, a cultural mixture occurred, as reflected by architecture, by music, and in language and literature, in the moashahats. These poems were written in Arabic or Hebrew with closing rimed verses in Spanish Romance [24], a device also employed by the popular poet Ibn Quzman´s for his harchas, and by many others before him from the IX century [25] onwards.
This rich legacy was passed down through the centuries not only to Morisco descendants but to the Spanish people in general, and they, together with the Moriscos who slipped quietly into America, gave the Spanish- American way of life a touch of its own.
In Argentina, the gaucho [26] known for his horsemanship and male-only culture owes some of these characteristics to Morisco ancestry.

Facts and words

One of the reasons why poets mixed Arabic and Romance rests in the fact that for some time after the Moslem conquest of Spain by Tariq in 711, the illustrated population as well as public and private documents were often bilingual. But this situation started to change as the Christian party regained control of their territories. By the time Ibn Quzman recited his harchas in the 1200´s, the Almoravid invasion from North Africa had provoked “a deep sense of frustration” [27] among the Moslem community. The age of cultural exchange met with censorship, and writers turned to Spanish more often than previously.
Mosques, once temples of worship but also centres to discuss public matters [28] became places of indoctrination against the Christian Spanish kingdoms. Religious differences increasingly drew believers apart.
Finally, after Grenada was conquered, Moslem Spaniards were required to abandon Islam or leave the country. From this time on, Moslems who had been baptized willingly or otherwise started being regarded as Moriscos (meaning in the way of Moors).
The days of mudéjares had ended. Mudéjares were Moslem allowed to live among Christians without renouncing their faith. That such a possibility was disliked by Moslems of Dar al Islam, is suggested by the word stem. Mudéjar comes from an Arabic root meaning to tame, thus tamed or domesticated [29]. Difficult times.
Becoming Christian was a hard requirement for the Moslem believer, a consequence of which was opening new issues of confrontation between them and the Christian authorities. Moslems resorted to taqiyya in an effort to keep their faith below a Christian surface, but this was regarded as cheating by the authorities who felt that mere external signs were not enough.
Also, the suspicion that Moriscos were not behaving as Spaniards became a fact when disclosing their relation with the Ottoman Empire hostile to Spain, or by seeking help from Moslem rulers abroad. [30] All this posed among Spaniards a sense of insecurity within their own country.

Conversions and corsairs
Conversion in the XVII century entailed in many cases not only a matter of conscience. The religious dispute was also seen in terms of opportunities for either side, and so it was for renegades of both religions who adopted the enemy´s faith when an economic reward was at stake. [31] In the name of spiritual or material causes, the Mediterranean Sea was opened to all sorts of people looking for adventure, vengeance and/or profit. [32] The Spanish State hardened its policy against “the infidel”, resorting to methods once soft and later on hard (teaching Moriscos the Catholic doctrine in Arabic, later presenting them before the Inquisition´s religious tribunals and sending them to jail or the stake).
As Ibn Hawqal had pointed out, submitting enemies was a sad and hard business.
Since 1525, an edict by Charles V requested Moslems to renounce Islam. After this, they were granted several permissions to stay before conversion was fulfilled, also extending the period allowed to become Christians. The failure of such policies makes the authorities sure that Moriscos would never integrate the Spanish society.
At this point, at the end of the XVI century, the long-standing question of whether to send them into exile was relocated several times; King Phillip III finally signed the edict of exile on December of 1609. The resolution became effective from 1610 onwards, and lasted until as late as 1640, depending on the region of Spain where Moriscos resided.
Was exile the only way out left for the XVII century Spanish Moriscos?
When asking this question, we know it lacks historical weight. History deals with facts, not with would be´s. The issue at stake is why some people are forced to exile. Even today.
In the old days, as today, there seem to be ends that do not meet easily. If useful lessons are to be drawn from the Morisco case, attention should focus on conflict, on split loyalty, on old and short-sighted policies. On political and religious immaturity. And on issues asking for a blind obedience while disregarding life.
It would not be too far from truth considering that Moriscos lived a demanding life, culturally speaking.
As to their vanishing from the face of Earth, they have shared the fate of many nations, cultures and languages. It seems useless to speculate if they deserved a destiny different from that of Zoroastrians, Sumerian, Parthian, Mayan, Charrúas or Abipones, all of which had their own aims and reasons to survive but lacked at some time or other the proper answer to do it.
Life is change. So, change is needed to adjust to new life conditions, which are, in an ultimate analysis, a way to guarantee survival.
[1] The Hijra from Mecca is an example of social crisis leading to exile.
[2] Reglá, Joan, La expulsión de los moriscos y sus consecuencias para la economía valenciana, Hispania, XXIII, N° 9, 1963, p.200-218.
[3] Epalza, Mikel de. Los moriscos antes y después de la expulsión, MAPFRE, Madrid, 2ª. Edición, 1994, p. 273-292
[4] Soria Mesa, E.: La asimilación de la elite morisca e la Granada cristiana. El ejemplo de la familia Hermes, Anales de Economía, IX, Madrid, 1949, p. 69.
[5] Braudel, F.: La Méditerranée et le monde méditerranéen à l´ époque de Philippe II, Colin, Paris, 1949, p. 593.
[6] Límites de los intercambios culturales, Actas I Jornadas de Cultura Islámica, Editorial Al-Fadila, Madrid, 1989, p. 89-94.
[7] Moslem community leaders of Spain and North Africa.
[8] Apud Mikel de Epalza, op.cit. p 43. Quotation from al Hawqal´s Kitāb súrat al-ard, Beirut, 1979, p.106.
[9] Around 100,000 East Timorese were killed out of a population of 800,000 between 1975 and 1999. Source: Case study: East Timor, Visited 2/23/06.
[10] Pèrés, Henri: El espelendor de Al-Andalus, Hiparión, Madrid, 1983, p.368-373.
[11] Vincent, Bernard: Les morisques et la circoncision, in religión, Identité et Sources Documentaires sur les Morisques Andalous, Institut Supérieur de Documentation N° 4, Tunis, 1984, p. 189-200.
[12] Bolens, Lucie: La cocina andaluza. Un arte de vivir. Siglos XI-XIII, Clío, Madrid, 1995.
[13] Sagarzazu, La conquista furtiva. Argentina y los hispanoárabes, Ovejero Martín Editores, Rosario, 2001, p. 267-297.
[14] Galmés de Fuentes, Á.: Los moriscos (desde su misma orilla), Instituto Egipcio de Estudios Islámicos de Madrid, 1993, p 38-51.
[15] Lepeyre, H.: Geografía de España morisca, Alianza, Madrid, 1978, p. 252.
[16] Epalza, op. cit., p. 63.
[17] The Universidad of Oviedo (Spain) has a renowned School of Aljamiado Studies created by Álvaro Galmés de Fuentes, with an Arabic-Romanic library. A group of scholars has been researching on Moriscos since the 70´s at the University of Alicante under the guidance of Mikel de Epalza. Well known too are the research and publications produced at the School of Arabic Studies, in Madrid´s CSIC (High Centre for Scientific Research), to name but a few institutions researching on this field today.
[18] The University of Puerto Rico counts since over a decade with a number of young Moriscologists working under the direction of Luce López-Baralt.
[19] Sagarzazu, María Elvira: La Argentina Encubierta .Informe de la otra identidad, Ovejero Martín Editores, Rosario (Argentina), 2000, 320 pages.
[20] Sagarzazu, El cerdo en la dieta criolla argentina. Antecedentes islámicos, Actas XI Congreso de Moriscología, Fundación Temimi, Tunisia, 2005.
[21] Sagarzazu, La Conquista Furtiva, op.cit. p. 11( photo)
[22] As Sir Richard Burton and his Orientalist colleagues of London in the XIX century.
[23] Farda was the tax paid by Moslems under Christian rule, while Christians under Moslem rule paid a tribute calleddimma.
[24] Galmés de Fuentes, Álvaro: Romania Arabica I (Estudios de literatura comparada árabe y romance), Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid, 1999. Pgs. 81-104.
[25] There is no written testimony of moashahas before the IX century but sound evidence of their existence before that time. Apud Emilio García Gómez: El mejor Ben Quzmán en 40 zéjeles, Alianza Tres, Barcelona 1981. Pgs. 34-47.
[26] From the Valencian Arabic; it was the name given to men in charge of transporting cattle from place to place, an occupation much held by Moriscos. Gauchos in Argentina regard pork as a bad meat, and do not raise pigs.
[27] Ibidem, p. 33.
[28] Hourani, Albert: Historia de los árabes, Vergara, Buenos Aires, 1992. Pg.47.
[29] Harvey, L. Patrick: Los límites de los intercambios culturales, Actas I Jornadas de Cultura Islámica, Toledo, 1987. Pg. 13.
[30] Hess,Andrew. C.: The Forgotten Frontier, Chicago, 1978, p. 137-1 38.
[31] Bennassar, Bartholome y Lucy: Los cristianos de Alá. La fascinante aventura de los renegados, Nerea, Madrid, 1989.
[32] Bennassar, ut supra, p. 289.

About the author

Adel Bishtawi

Adel S (Said) Bishtawi was born in Nazareth, Palestine, 1945. He read English Literature at Damascus University, attended short courses of familiarisation of languages including Latin, German and Russian, and attended a course in Linguistics at the Central London Polytechnic.

Adel published more than 20 books in both English and Arabic. the last of which is Only When Desire Screams co-authored by Selvi Sado. A journalist since the late 1960s, he became Front Page Editor of Al Arab Newspaper (London), the first pan Arab Newspaper launched in Europe. In 1978, he joined Jihad Al Khazin in launching Asharq Al Awsat Newspaper (London) as Business and Supplements Editor. In 1980, he was appointed Central Managing Editor of the Emirates News Agency in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In 1988, he joined Jamil Mrowa (who later re-launched the Daily Star in Beirut in 1996) in London for the re-launch of Al Hayat Newspaper and continued under the editorship of Jihad Al Khazin until he left in April 2001 to dedicate what is left of his time to literary and historical writing. as well as investigating origins by means of historical and etymological linguistics.

Adel produced and co-produced a number of TV documentaries. He produced, directed and wrote “Muslims along the Silk Road”, a five part-60-minutes-each documentary tracing Muslim culture and heritage and the legacy of Muslim pioneers and merchants along the Silk Road starting from China.

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