In 1492, the defeat of the Moors of Granada was complete. After ten long years of wars —-Catholicism against Mohammedans —Spain recaptured Granada, which had been under successful Moorish African rule for 700 years.
What lead up to ten years of war between Christianity and Islam, began like all other conflicts. It was a battle over religious ideology, dominance, land and resources. An African state, in Europe, could no longer be tolerated as Catholicism as an institution became rich, influential and powerful.
In 1478, the Catholic Spanish monarchy, the Castile King and Queen —who would later fund Christopher Columbus’s 1492 expedition to the New World, landing first, in what is now, The Bahamas —demanded tribute from the North African Moroccan Moorish King, Muly Abben Hassan.
Spanish rulers had long been extorting tribute from the Moorish rulers of Granada; but now also, wanted money from North African territories.
Some African Kings were refusing to pay tribute to the Spanish or the Portuguese monarchs.
King Muly Abben Hassan, in 1478, sent the Castile’s of Spain a strong message instead of overflowing chests of gold which they had been they hoping for.
Abben Hassan defiantly told the Spanish King and Queen that he would pay no tribute. He would send no money, no jewels, no gold.
King Muly ominously told the Spanish that his country now minted nothing but blades for their swords and sharp heads for their spears. In other words, Abben Hassan was saying that the only thing he was prepared to send to Europe was war and death.
In 1478, the Catholic Sovereigns of Castile sent an ambassador to demand tribute from the Moorish King, Muly Abben Hassan. When the Message was delivered the following haughty, and independent answer was given: “Tell your sovereigns,” said the Moorish Monarch, “That the kings of Granada who used to pay tribute to the Castilian crowns, are dead. Our mint, at present coins nothing but blades of scimitars, and heads of lances.”
A Brief History of the Moors of Granada 711 – 1492
In A.D. 711, a group of North African Muslims led by the Berber general, Tariq ibn-Ziyad, captured the Iberian Peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal). The area was called al-Andalus. Over the centuries, al-Andalus became wealthy both economically and culturally.
Mohammedan Moors settled Granada for some 700 years, before their final defeat by Christian Spain. Their final withdrawal from Europe came in 1492.
The Moors excelled in architecture, art, and science. However, over time, the strength of the Muslim state waned, as Christian states gained increasing economic and military strength in Western Europe.
Animosity grew towards the Moor Muslim state. For centuries, Christian groups challenged Muslim territorial dominance in al-Andalus by slowly expanded their territory and creating alliances against the Moors.
A battle culminated in 1492, when Catholic monarchs Ferdinand II and Isabella I won the Granada War and completed Spain’s conquest of the Iberian Peninsula.
Eventually, the mighty North African Moors were expelled from Spain.
A century after 1492, a stubborn defiance by Moroccan Kings, strong sons of North Africa, took Spain and Portugal by surprise
The Battle of Alcácer Quibir or Battle of Three Kings was fought in northern Morocco, near the town of Ksar-el-Kebir and Larache, on 4 August 1578. It was a victory for Morocco and a defeat for the Portuguese which started a succession crisis when their young King Sebastian I was killed.
King Sebastian I of Portugal had formed an alliance with a dethroned sultan king Mohammed Al Motawakkil. The two fought against
Although King Mulay Abdelmalek of Morocco was victorious, three kings died in the battle.
Out of the Battle of Three King’s in 1578, King Sebastian I became the stuff of Portuguese legend for hundreds of years after. Sebastianism, a religious cult grew out of a created myth of a supposed resurrection of King Sebastian some day.
What is little known, is of the bravery and heroism of the Moroccan King Mulay Abdelmalek as told by Africans for hundreds of years afterward.
Bravery of King Mulay Abdelmalek in Battle of Three Kings 4th August 1578
In 1743, almost two hundred years after the 1578 Battle of Three Kings, North Africans of Morocco still talked about the bravery of King Mulay Abdelmalek.
English writers in 1743 spelt Mulay Abdelmalek as Muly Molock.
In 1578, it was noted that King Sebastian of Portugal had unjustly invaded the Moroccan kingdom of King Mulay Abdelmalek. At that time, Mulay Abdelmalek was very sick. He was suffering from some kind of wasting disease.
By August 1578, Abdelmalek was almost bedridden. He was carried to the battle by his soldiers, all the while giving orders and commanding his officers. Abdelmalek was dying, spending his last days leading his people to victory
Knowing that death was close, as the battle raged, King Mulay Abdelmalek commanded his generals to keep his death a secret, should he expire before the battle was won.
“The Moors, thus spirited by their prince, return to the charge; they push the enemy, they recover their honour. When the Royal Moor, who retained his spirits, in spite of nature, to perform this last heroic act, now fainted in the arms of his officers, he was conveyed to his litter; and the moment after, even just before he expired, he put his finger to his mouth, to remember them that they should conceal his death as he recommended. This man died a hero and a King, in the very act of virtue.”