Thursday, October 22, 2009



Yeah, I know I've been gone a while. But, I have been studying something that I know very little about. So, if I make any mistakes on this post, feel free to set me straight!

In the years of 711 until 1492, the area that is now known as Spain was racked with turmoil that makes the turmoil that happened during the conquest of the New World and America look like a small chapter in a history book. The African Moors took over Spain in 711 and were not completely pushed back out or exterminated until 1492. It was a conflict that involved royalty and serfdom, the religious and heathen, the Catholics, the Muslims, and the Jews.

Moor Photo to the right->

To give you some insight about what happened to the American Indian. You should start at least a little ways back in the roots of the re-discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus. My search through history was to try to find a common thread as to why people fight each other for land, and kill each other with such little regard for humanity. What was the motivation?

In the Eighth Century, Spain, a country on the Iberian peninsula, north of the Mediteranian Sea, was a Roman Catholic country, with a few Jews scattered in. The Moors, who were Muslims, invaded from Africa and conquered the Iberian people as far north as the Basque country. The Moors landed near Gibraltar. The rock of Gibraltar was named after General Tarik ibn Ziyad. The rock was called Djabal Tarik (`Tarik's Mountain'), or Gibraltar. Tarik was the leader of the Moors. Upon his landing in Iberia he gave this rousing speech:

"My brethren, the enemy is before you, the sea is behind; whither would ye fly? Follow your general; I am resolved either to lose my life or to trample on the prostrate king of the Romans."

The Moors, from the North Western Continent of Africa, were black people with curly hair and it is said that many of the people of the Iberian peninsula today are descended from the Moors. The dark skin and curly hair of many of the Portuguese People came from the Moorish influence.

The Green Area to the right is the part of Spain and the Iberian peninsula that the Moors conquered. ->

The initial invading force was only 10,000 Moors. Later, more invaders came, increasing the fighting force to 28,000, but at no time did the invading army exceed 40,000 troops. The ruling class of Iberia was the Goths and the Visigoths. (Goths from the west) The reason that the Muslims were able to so easily defeat the great number of Christian Goths is because nobody much liked the Christians, and people readily joined forces with the Moors to overthrow them. Anyone that would convert to the Muslim religion would be freed, and allowed to remain in Iberia. Then, of course, the Jews looked forward to the defeat of the Christians, so they became the Moors willing ally. That was probably one of the few times in history that the Jews and the Muslims allied. It is thought that the Moors may have been encouraged to invade Spain by the Iberian serfs. The Iberians expected the Moors to take a little booty and go back home, but the wealth and power kept the the Moors in Spain.

What the moors actually did is take some of the wealth that they found, and a fine bevy of Spanish beauties back to Africa, as proof of the great wealth and beautiful women that they had found in Spain. In short order, many of the Moors were scrambling to get to Iberia. It is said that Many of the Moors built log rafts to cross the Straights of Gibraltar, to find their own wealth and women. Not many of the Moors took their women with them. They found and married the Spanish women after arriving. I wonder what the Marriage ceremony was like.

The conquest of Spain by the Moors sounds a lot like the American Gold Rush, doesn't it?

After defeating the Iberians, the Moors chopped up the leaders of the defending Iberian armies and boiled them in cauldrons, the Goth King Roderick was thought to be among those pieces in the cauldrons. They then send the rest of the armies back home to spread the word of what kind of people that the Moors were, and they were not to be challenged.

The battle to get rid of the Moors from Spain started as soon as Spain was conquered. The retaking of Spain was called the “Reconquista”. (reconquest) It took 800 years, but it was complete, and it was thorough. The Pope encouraged the cleansing of the Iberian Peninsula.

”The Reconquista was originally a mere war of conquest. It only later underwent a significant shift in meaning toward a religiously justified war of liberation The papacy and the influential Abbey of Cluny in Burgundy not only justified the anti-Islamic acts of war but actively encouraged Christian knights to seek armed confrontation with Moorish "infidels" instead of with each other.”

There were several focuses in removing the Moors from Spain. First there was The Reconquista, then came the Inquisition. It would seem that it was one and the same to the lay person. But, the Reconquista was to take back the land from the Moors, whereas the inquisition was to reestablish Christianity. The Catholic Church wanted to control the people, control the wealth, and collect tithing for the Pope. The church demanded ten percent of the wealth that was gained by the serfs, they explained it thusly:

Timothy 6:17-19 states:
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

(Give some of your money to the church, your money will help you get to heaven, where you will be richly rewarded for your "tithing".)

It becomes obvious that the more people that were paying tithe, the richer that the church became. The Inquisition was not so much about spreading the word of Christ as much as it was collecting tithe. During the inquisition it was demanded that a person renounce their beliefs, and swear loyalty to the church. In fairness they gave that person three days to think about it, and at the end of the three days the person would be killed if they refused to convert to Christianity. Not only were they killed, but also all records of them having ever existed were expunged. It give a whole new meaning to the term, "If you aren't a Christian, you aren't anybody"... Literally.

Refusing to convert to Christianity was punishable by death. If a person would campaign against the church, or publicly renounce it, the person would be tortured and burned at the stake. I've read before that far more women were killed during the Inquisition than men. I was not able to find any varification of that fact, but I think that it may have been that women held to their religious beliefs stronger than men.

From Wikipedia:

"The Spanish Inquisition can be seen as an answer to the multi-religious nature of Spanish society following the reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors (Muslims). Much of the Iberian Peninsula was dominated by Moors following their invasion of the peninsula in 711 until the thirteenth century. Following the Christian victory at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212), and the fall of Cordoba (1236) and Seville (1248) most of peninsula, including most of the south, came under Christian rule. Only the small region of Granada remained under Muslim rule, which was ended by a final Christian victory of 1492. However, in the medieval period the Reconquista did not result in the expulsion of Muslims from Spain, since they, along with Jews, were tolerated, although treated as inferiors, by the ruling Catholic elite. Big cities, especially Seville, Valladolid, and Barcelona, had large Jewish populations centered in "Judería

It appears that much of Spain was recovered in the three major battles, and all religions lived amongst each other peacefully. That is until the Church was so encouraged by the regaining of Spain from the Moors that they continued the battle to completely make Spain a Christian Country. And, of course, collect their pound of flesh in the form of tithe.

I wonder, if the American Indians had organized a "Reconquista," and were able to regain their land from the greedy interloper, the interloper that moved to California in great hoards, and didn't even bother to bring their women with them, because there were women in California, in the form of native women? Would they have wanted to live in peace? Or would they have started their own inquisition to demand that the interloper adopt the Indian ways or face execution.

In 1492 the Christians had finally defeated the Muslim Moors for the control of Spain. Many events in history have parallel paths. Some paths join together for a new purpose. The Reconquista was started to regain control of Spain, then the Crusade was started and paralleled the Reconquista. After the Recoquista was accomplished, The Muslims were able to live amongst the Christians peacefully, but the church wanted to be rid of the Muslins, so they continued the crusade for many years.

I had intended to use this background in a complete post, but is is beginning to get to be too long. So, as many of you already know, 1492 was a pivotal point in the history of the world. So I'm going to break here and continue the story in my next post.

To be continued:

The Moorish conquest of Spain

Spanish history, the Moor period

The Reconquista


Anonymous said...

We missed you, good post Ernie.

Dave Kirby said...

In an interesting side note. When Cortez conquered the Aztecs his troops brought the practice of burning folks at the stake, which was common during the Inquisition, with them. This horrified the Aztecs. Who in turn were sacrificing thousands by cutting out the beating hearts of captives and offering them to there gods which in turn horrified the Spaniards. Gee aint religion wonderful?

Anonymous said...

Bill Shuler of Fox News cites in his "10 Reasons for Moral Outrage" that more Christians were killed for their faith in the 20th century than in the entire history of Christianity.

I wonder if that is true?


Ernie Branscomb said...

From Spanish history-Moor period.

"A Moor army under Muhammad I attacked the Christian forced in Galicia, León and Navarre from 852 to 861...
He built the incredible Palace of Medina Ashara outside Córdoba and enlarged the Great Mosque with its 800 supporting pillars to its present size which was completed in 1118.. This sumptuous Palace with interior walls created from fountains and 6,000 women in the harem, was described by a contemporary poet as being "a concubine in the arms of a black eunuch".

Yep! Nothin' says power like building a big house and taking 6,000 women, wives, and daughters away from the rabble, does it?

Anonymous said...

No wonder those guys were so mean and onery. Just one women probably drive me nuts.


Anonymous said...



Ernie Branscomb said...

The history of Spain is long and convoluted. The most notable of Spains history in "The Inquisition."

I just found this following article that tells me that The Inquisition must have not only been about religion, but also about race.

"Four hundred years ago today King Philip III signed an order to expel 300,000 Moriscos - or part-Muslims - who had converted from Islam to Christianity.

Over the next five years hundreds of the exiles died as they were forced from their homes in Spain to North Africa at the height of the Spanish Inquisition."

If they were already Christian, why would they chase them off????

Ernie Branscomb said...

Even Osama Bin Laden has an opinion...
"The defeat of the Moors in 1492 and the expulsion of the Moriscos from 17th-century Spain has become a politically sensitive subject, with Osama bin Laden referring to it in repeated calls for the restoration of al-Andalus, the former Muslim kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula."

Ernie Branscomb said...


"Just one woman would probably drive me nuts."

True, but they can be such a delightful insanity!

Ernie Branscomb said...

This Spain is a complicated place.

It turns out that the reason that King Phillip III signed an order to expel the Muslims is because he was just recently defeated by the protestant Dutch, and he feared that the Moriscos might turn against him if The Ottoman Turkish Empire should invade. He was afraid that the Moriscos would become the Turks ready allies, and the Turks were making motions like they were ready to invade.

The psychology of knowing that they wouldn't have any allies in Spain dissuaded the Turks attack. So, maybe "old Phil" knew what he was doing. It smacked of just plain Racism until I found that reason. And, after all, it only killed a few thousand people. At least King Phillip III could sleep better.

suzy blah blah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben said...

The band composer John Philip Sousa brought the sound of Portuguese band music to the American People. We think of this music as our own but the rhythm is African from the Moors. The majority of visible stars in the sky have Arabic names and the Arabs invented the zero. What would we do with out it?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Yes Ben, the Moors did more (Pun) to bring civilization to Spain and Europe than any other influence. That is, if you want to call cooking your enemies in cauldrens "civilized". The serfs that populated Spain were barbarians compared to the more (pun) sophisticated Moors.

I have no ancestors in this fight. I have no Moorish or Spanish in me at all. So, I have no blood line at stake in this post. It seems strange to not have to defend a position.

"The Moorish civilization enlightened Europe and brought it out of the dark ages to usher in the Renaissance period. The roots of European culture can be traced back to the Moors whose civilization was not only artistic, scientific and commercial, but also incredibly tolerant of other races and cultures. Many of the Moors' cultural and intellectual influences are still in evidence today."

Robin Shelley said...

I know for a fact that it took more than just one woman to drive Oregon nuts.

friend said...

tad is in jail on hunger strike

Ernie Branscomb said...

Actually Robin, I've known Oregon his whole life. It really was just one woman that drove him crazy, the rest were just booster shots.

Ernie Branscomb said...


I'm sorry that Tad is on "hunger strike". I hope that he changes his mind and starts eating. It really doesn't make any difference who is right or wrong when it comes to politics. There is an old expression, "You can't fight City Hall." It's pretty much true. The best hope we have is pay attention to who we vote for.

Tad, Go ahead and eat, you can do more good for your cause by keeping yourself healthy.

Robin Shelley said...

Too bad he didn't run into a vaccine!