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Muslims in Spain, 1500 to 1614

On December 18, 1499, the Muslims in Granada revolted against the Christian city government’s attempts to suppress their rights to live and worship as followers of Islam. Although the Granada riot was a local phenomenon that was soon contained, subsequent widespread rebellion provided the Christian government with an excuse—or justification, as its leaders saw things—to embark on the systematic elimination of the Islamic presence from Spain, as well as from the Iberian Peninsula as a whole, over the next hundred years.

Picking up at the end of his earlier classic study, Islamic Spain, 1250 to 1500— which described the courageous efforts of the followers of Islam to preserve their secular, as well as sacred, culture in late medieval Spain—L. P. Harvey chronicles here the struggles of the Moriscos. These forced converts to Christianity lived clandestinely in the sixteenth century as Muslims, communicating in aljamiado— Spanish written in Arabic characters. More broadly, Muslims in Spain, 1500 to 1614, tells the story of an early modern nation struggling to deal with diversity and multiculturalism while torn by the fanaticism of the Counter-Reformation on one side and the threat of Ottoman expansion on the other. Harvey recounts how a century of tolerance degenerated into a vicious cycle of repression and rebellion until the final expulsion in 1614 of all Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula.

Retold in all its complexity and poignancy, this tale of religious intolerance, political maneuvering, and ethnic cleansing resonates with many modern concerns. Eagerly awaited by Islamist and Hispanist scholars since Harvey’s first volume appeared in 1990, Muslims in Spain, 1500 to 1614, will be compulsory reading for student and specialist alike.

“The year’s most rewarding historical work is L. P. Harvey’s Muslims in Spain 1500 to 1614, a sobering account of the various ways in which a venerable Islamic culture fell victim to Christian bigotry. Harvey never urges the topicality of his subject on us, but this aspect inevitably sharpens an already compelling book.”—Jonathan Keats, Times Literary Supplement


"L. P. Harvey is the leading authority on Morisco culture, the parameters of which he had largely defined. In Professor Harvey’s first book, Islamic Spain, 1250 to 1500, he contextualized the culture of the Moriscos by providing a political narrative. That book is now considered a classic. Muslims in Spain, 1500 to 1614 is crafted in such a way as not to allow the reader ever to lose track of the unfolding tragedy, whose final act was the first sustained, government-directed ethnic cleansing of modern times. . . . I believe Muslims in Spain will be even more of a classic than his first book."<Thomas F. Glick, author of Islamic and Christian Spain in the Early Middles Ages>

Thomas F. Glick

"L. P. Harvey’s important new book, Muslims in Spain: 1500 to 1614, soberly recounts the ways in which Muslim culture and religion, which had been part of Spanish life for eight centuries, was forcibly suppressed, until Muslims were completely expelled from Spain, between 1609 and 1614. There was much trauma and bloodshed, much secrecy and much dissimulation."

Edward Rothstein | New York Times

“The year’s most rewarding historical work is L. P. Harvey’s Muslims inSpain1500-1614, a sobering account of the various ways in which a venerable Islamic culture fell victim to Christian bigotry. Harvey never urges the topicality of his subject on us, but this aspect inevitably sharpens an already compelling book.”

Jonathan Keates | Times Literary Supplement

"This is a book we all have been waiting for. . . . This learned and judicious book makes [us familiar] with the final phase of nearly a thousand years of  Islam in Spain—a presence whose power to provoke controversy requires more than ever concerted efforts and historical understanding."

James S. Amelang | Sixteenth Century Journal

"In this learned and sensitive book, L.P. Harvey . . . brings the history of Islamic Spain down to its heartbreaking final chapter. . . . Painful as it is to read, this is a history not to be forgotten."

Robert Louis Wilken | First Things

"Written in clear and precise language, which often addresses the non-specialist, Harvey’s solid book answers many important questions."

Tamar Herzog | International History Review

"The product of decades of scholarship by one of the world’s leading authorities on Morisco culture, this book offers an engaging and insightful treatment of the history and culture of the Moriscos."

Mark D. Myerson | Journal of Religion

"Harvey’s outstanding study will be of interest both to researchers and to the general student for its sensitive recreation of the last phase of Moorish Spain."

James Casey | The Historian

"This is a very well-informed book which offers not only the Christian or the Spanish point of view but also provides insight into the Muslims’ point of view of the process; it will serve well any scholar or lay-person interested in learning about and de-mystifying what happened to the Muslims of Spain."

Yasmine Beale-Rivaya | Comitatus

"Harvey’s deep understanding of the Moriscos and their world offers a great deal--not only to scholars of early modern Spain and the Muslim world but also to a growing audience of anglophone readers interested in the encounter between Islam and Chrtistianity, and the complicated relations between religious and cultural minorities and majorities."

A. Katie Harris | Journal of Modern History

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
1. The Beginnings of Crypto-Islam in the Iberian Peninsula
2. Spain’s Muslims under a New Order
3. The Muslims of Aragon and Valencia up to Their Forcible Conversion
4. Crypto-Muslims in the Lands of the Crowns of Castile and Aragon, 1525-1560
5. The Intellectual Life of Spain’s Clandestine Muslims
6. Crisis and War: Granada, 1567-1571
7. Assimilation or Rejection? The 1570s and 1580s
8. The Last Books Written in Arabic in al-Andalus and the Question of Assimilation
9. Expulsion
10. Aftermath
11. Hornachos: A Special Case
I. Religious Freedom and the Modern Spanish Constitution
II. "Morisco" and "Mudejar" in Glosses by Alonso del Castillo
III. The Sacromonte Texts
IV. Góngora on the Sacromonte
V. Some Specimen Official Texts Relating to the Expulsion of the Moriscos
VI. The Moriscos of the Canaries and the Guanches
VII. The Literature of Self-Justification after the Expulsion: A Specimen
VIII. Popular Reactions to the Expulsion

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