Conquest of Granada, 1481-1492

A.) Diplomatic History of the War

The Spanish Reconquista, after the fall of Jerez de la Frontera in 1264, had come to a halt. For over 200 years, the Emirate of Granada held on, as the only Muslim state on the Iberian peninsula, ruled by the Nasrid Dynasty.
In 1469, Isabel of Castile (born 1451) and Ferdinand of Aragon (born 1452) were married to each other; in 1474 Isabel was crowned Queen of Castile, in 1479 Ferdinand crowned King of Aragon. Now the couple, together, ruled what was to become Spain.
Young Granadese Emir Boabdil (born 1460) in 1482 invaded Castile and was taken prisoner; he was released (1483) under the condition that the Emirate of Granada would pay tribute to Ferdinand and Isabella. Returning, Boabdil hat to confront his father, Mulay Abu Hassan, and his uncle, Abdullah az-Zagal, over the throne; only in 1486 could he resume rule.

B.) The War

In 1484-1486, the western parts, including Ronda of the kingdom fell to Castilian-Aragonese forces. The vital ports of Malaga and Almeria fell in 1487 respectively 1489, and the Kingdom of Granada was reduced to a small stretch of land connecting the city to the coast.
In 1491 Ferdinand and Isabel ultimatively demanded of Emir Boabdil to surrender the city of Granada. Upon his refusal, the Reconquista was resumed; Boabdil surrendered in 1492. In the Treaty of Granada, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel promised to protect the Muslim and Jewish population of the Emirate.

C.) The Legacy

The promises made in the Treaty of Granada were soon broken, the Spanish Inquisition given a free hand; among the consequences were a mass exodus of Muslims and Jews, to Morocco, Algiers, the Ottoman Empire, as well as a pretended conversions to christianity.
The common enterprise of the conquest of Granada may have, amongst others, contributed to the creation of a common Spanish identity among Castilians and Aragonese.

The Nasrid Kings of Granada, from The History of Moorish Spain, genealogical table; dito, from Regnal Chronologies : Islamic Spain, scroll down for Granada
The Conquest of Granada Webpage
La Conquista de Granada 1492, from Espana Historia, in Spanish
Biography of Boabdil, from Arte Historia, in Spanish; from EB 1911, in English
DOCUMENTS Treaty of Granada 1492, posted by Cyberistan
La Conquista de Granada en 1492, document, posted by Andalucia, Documentos y Narraciones, in Spanish
The Expulsion of Jews from Spain, 1492, from Jewish History Sourcebook
REFERENCE Hugh Kennedy, Muslim Spain and Portugal, A Political History of al-Andalus, Harlow : Pearson 1996, 342 pp.; KMLA Lib.Sign. 946.02 K35m

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 3rd 2003, last revised on November 16th 2004

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