The Morisco Rebellion, 1568-1571

A.) Prehistory

According to the Treaty of Granada of 1492, the Muslim population of the Emirate was promised religious toleration. The treaty was broken only a few years later, and the Muslims were given the choice to either convert to Christianity or to emigrate. The majority of those who converted did so only pro forma. They kept their Arabic-style fashion and continued to speak in Arabic. As early as 1508, edicts had forbidden traditional Moorish fashion.
The Spanish authorities suspected the Moriscos of sympathizing with the Ottoman Empire and waiting for the right opportunity to revolt. Thus, the Morisco reforms were decided upon to tackle the issue head on; published in Jan. 1567, the reforms reiterated the ban on traditional Arab-style clothing and added a ban on the Arab language. Measures to curb the trade of Moorish silk (the industry was largelt in Morisco hands) preceded these steps (1561).

B.) The Rebellion

The Morisco rebellion, also referred to as the Alpujarras Rebellion erupted in 1568 and extended over the districts of Cadiz and Malaga. In 1570 Don Juan d'Austria restored Spanish control; the rebellion was suppressed in 1571.
King Philip II. was not wrong in his suspicion that the Ottoman Empire was planning on a Morisco Revolt. The suppression of the revolt coincided with Ottoman actions, the seizure of Cyprus and the Naval Battle of Lepanto (where Don Juan d'Austria was the winning admiral).

C.) The Legacy

While Spain maintained control of the Morisco provinces and increased pressure was exerted on this minority, Spain, despite her success in the Battle of Lepanto hardly could regard herself the winner in the contest with the Ottoman Empire. Cyprus was permanently lost (to the Republic of Venice); in 1574, Tunis and Goletta (Spanish outposts) were permitted to fall into the hands of the enemy.

The Revolt of the Moriscos, 1568-1571, from History Learning Site
Philip II. and Foreign Policy, from History Learning Site, scroll down for England Paragraph
Tendilla, pertenecio a los Mendoza, from Mendoza, Poderosos Senores
Rebellion of the Moriscos of Granada crushed, from Martin Hume, Spain under Philip II., posted by MATEO

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 7th 2003, last revised on September 18th 2005

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