The fate of the Moriscos: The last remnants of Islam in Spain after the Reconquista

After the fall of Granada in 1492, Muslims were forcibly ‘converted’ to Catholicism by the Inquisition. The discrimination did not stop there – and nor did their legacy

The last Muslim king in Spain, Muhammad XII, depicted by Francisco Pradilla y Ortiz in ‘The Surrender of Granada in 1492’ (Public domain)

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It’s an unfortunate reality for Spain and the Islamic World that the late dictator Francisco Franco’s adage that “the Arabs came, then they left” is taken as fact.

The statement serves as a lexical axe on the impact of Islam in Spain and its presence in the Iberian peninsula, which spanned over 800 years.

Not only does this actively conceal the lives of Muslims during the epoch of Al Andalus, it does not account for their lives after the conquest of Granada, the last Muslim Emirate, in 1492.

The closing stages of the Reconquista, or the Christian reconquest of Islamic Spain, coincided with the Inquisition, an institution within the Roman Catholic Church that was sanctioned by the Spanish crown and aimed to root out heresies threatening the Christian faith in Iberia.