Under Ferdinand and Isabella the last Moorish kingdom of Granada fell in 1492, though this left a sizeable minority of Moriscos (converted Moors) within Christian territory – about 33% population in Valencia and 54% in Granada itself
Initially the Moors were left alone, then came forcible conversion and persecution – a succession of edicts and missionary efforts including actions of the Inquisition
Many Moriscos never genuinely converted, and the efforts of the Inquisition were ineffective.
In many areas, e.g. Aragon, Moriscos enjoyed protection from the ruling classes who resented the Inquisition and who opposed persecution of the Moors as a Castilian attack on local fueros
Many Castilians regarded the Moriscos with suspicion, the idea of ‘fifth columnists’ within Christian Spain, when Castile was waging war against the Ottoman Turks and Barbary pirates of N. Africa.
In the 1560s Philip II’s government began to pressurise the Moriscos
Confiscation of 100,000 hectares of Morisco land in 1559, based on lack of proof of land ownership
Increasing taxes on leather and silk
1563 – attempts to disarm the Moriscos by royal edict
Ending of local arrangements ( convivençias ) whereby Moriscos could pay a fine to the Inquisition in return for being left alone
Inquisition under Valdes stepped up measures to suppress Morisco customs and culture
1567 – royal decree stopped peaceful assimilation of Moriscos into Spanish society – suppressed use of Arabic, clothing etc
Why ? The Spanish government was afraid of the possibility of the Moriscos helping an invasion of mainland Spain e.g. during siege of Malta in 1565 information appeared to suggest the Moriscos were a security threat. They were close to home and, when the best troops had already been sent to the Netherlands, Spain might be vulnerable.
1567 – failure of harvest put further pressure on Morisco population
24 th Dec. 1568 – Moriscos of Granada rose in revolt – around 30,000
Revolt became confined to the Alpujarras hills, though Philip feared it could spread to Valencia and Aragon – particularly in 1570 when it was supported by 4000 Turks and Berbers
Marquis of Mondéjar recaptured 180 villages but the revolt continued – he was replaced by Philip’s half-brother Don John of Austria and 20,000 troops (many more had already been sent to the Netherlands in 1567 under Alva)
This was a savage conflict with atrocities on both sides, but the conflict ended finally in March 1571 with the murder of the new Morisco leader Abenaboo. It only remained for some splinter groups to be mopped up by the summer.
1569-71: over 80,000 Moriscos were deported from Granada and dispersed throughout Castile – the rationale behind this was that smaller units might bring about greater integration into Christian society
5500 to Seville; 6000 to Toledo; 12000 to Cordoba; 21000 to Albacete. Many (120,000) did not survive the relocations
The dispersal of the Moriscos did not eliminate their identity, instead it was reinforced as a large number of exiles congregated in southern Castile – often they were now in areas that had not seen racial and religious tensions before, e.g. around Valencia the operation of the Inquisition.
50,000 settlers were dispatched to the newly vacant Granada
When they arrived at their new locations the Moriscos often found serious hostility from their new Castilian neighbours
According to some historians Castile now became a more intolerant and bigoted society – the Moriscos were all expelled in 1609
The relocations cost the Spanish economy dear in lost income, drop in trade and agriculture.
1582 – Philip sent 18 companies of infantry to defend the Valencian coast – direct violation of Aragonese fueros
1589 – Ribagorza – county near to the French border – another military expedition ordered by Philip
1590 – Antonio Perez had fled in 1578 to Zaragoza claiming the right as a Catalan to be tried there – under suspicion for the murder of Escobedo and pursued by the Inquisition – attempt by Philip to have him handed over to the Inquisition – led to death of viceroy Almenara in a riot (May 1591)
Aragon’s nobility was determined that Perez be tried in Aragon, believing that Philip had been responsible for Escobedo’s death, not Perez – Sept 1591 a noble rebellion involved the Justiciar – Juan de Luna
Oct 1591 – 14,000 army marched into Aragon – Philip claimed he respected Aragon’s laws and that they were going to fight France – this won over Aragonese public opinion
Order was restored after 4 days, Zaragoza fell easily and Perez fled to France
C. Pendrill: ‘Compared to the revolt in the Netherlands, the Revolt of Aragon was something of a non-event.’
D. McKinnon- Bell: ‘Such cautious and balanced handling of local liberties and fears contrasted strongly with Philip’s handling of the Netherlands, and shows that the King was capable of learning from his mistakes.’
G. Woodward: ‘Arguably Philip showed his prudence and moderation in this settlement: a minimum of force had been used to restore control, and royal power in Aragon was now much more effective.’
H. Kamen: ‘Royal authority had therefore made some gains, but these were concurred in by the ruling classes, who feared the greater dangers resulting from rebellion, particularly rebellion involving an invasion by the French.’
Assess how far Philip II’s treatment of the Moriscos was consistent with his religious policy within Spain.
You need to be clearly aware of Philip’s religious aims
- inherited dynastic obligation to uphold doctrinal orthodoxy, morality, religious custom and law against the encroachment of heresy and Islam
- reform of the Church
- education of the laity
Define the problem and issue of the Moriscos
- limpieza de sangre
- perceived threat to Spain of 5 th Columnists
- support for Barbary pirates and Ottoman Turks
Other issues could have affected the treatment of the Moriscos