Moriscos and the Early Modern Mediterranean

hosted by Brittany White

| In 1609, King Phillip III of Spain signed an edict to expel a community known as the Moriscos from the Iberian Peninsula. The Moriscos were Muslims forcibly converted to Christianity during the 16th century, after Christian kingdoms displaced the last remaining Muslim rulers in Iberia. The persecution and erasure of the Moriscos following the Reconquista are well documented in the historiography, where alongside Iberian Jews, they appear as victims of the fall of Islamic al-Andalus. But in this episode of Ottoman History Podcast, we’ll explore what these events looked like through the eyes of the Moriscos themselves and study their roles as political actors in the momentous political shifts of the 16th century. In this conversation with Mayte Green-Mercado about her book Visions of Deliverance, we discuss the circulation of Muslim and crypto-Muslim apocalyptic texts, known as jofores; and how these texts were catalysts for morisco political mobilization against the Spanish crown. We chart the formal and informal networks of communication between Moriscos, the Ottoman Empire, and the broader Mediterranean world. And we reflect on the challenges and benefits of using biased sources like the records of the Inquisition alongside other material.


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In 1609, King Phillip III of Spain signed an edict to expel a community known as the Moriscos from the Iberian Peninsula. The Moriscos were Muslims forcibly converted to Christianity during the 16th century, after Christian kingdoms displaced the last remaining Muslim rulers in Iberia. The persecution and erasure of the Moriscos following the Reconquista are well documented in the historiography, where alongside Iberian Jews, they appear as victims of the fall of Islamic al-Andalus. But in this episode of Ottoman History Podcast, we’ll explore what these events looked like through the eyes of the Moriscos themselves and study their roles as political actors in the momentous political shifts of the 16th century. In this conversation with Mayte Green-Mercado about her book Visions of Deliverance, we discuss the circulation of Muslim and crypto-Muslim apocalyptic texts, known as jofores; and how these texts were catalysts for morisco political mobilization against the Spanish crown. We chart the formal and informal networks of communication between Moriscos, the Ottoman Empire, and the broader Mediterranean world. And we reflect on the challenges and benefits of using biased sources like the records of the Inquisition alongside other material.




Contributor Bios

Mayte Green-Mercado is an Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University—Newark, and the director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies minor in the department of History. At Rutgers she teaches courses on Islamic civilization, medieval and early modern Mediterranean and Iberian history, as well as migration and displacement. She has published articles on early modern apocalypticism, the conversion of Iberian Muslims, as well as race and ethnicity in early modern Spain. Her first book, Visions of Deliverance. Moriscos and the Politics of Prophecy in the Early Modern Mediterranean (Cornell, 2019) examined the political culture of Moriscos—Spanish Muslims forcibly converted to Catholicism beginning in 1501—through their deployment of End Time prophecies. The book won the Wadjih F. al-Hamwi Prize for the Best First Book in Mediterranean Studies from The Mediterranean Seminar. Her current book project, tentatively titled Mediterranean Displacements. Morisco Migrations in the Sixteenth Century traces the history of migrations and displacement of Moriscos around the Mediterranean basin in the pre-expulsion priod, from their forced conversion to Catholicism until their expulsion from the Iberian Peninsula in 1609. She is founder and co-director of the Mediterranean Displacements Project at Rutgers-Newark.
Brittany White is a graduate student in the Department of History at the University of Virginia. Broadly, she is interested in the African Diaspora in former Ottoman territories.

Credits

Episode No. 525
Release Date: 11 April 2022
Recording Location: Newark, NJ / Charlottesville, VA
Sound production by Chris Gratien and Brittany White
Music: Aitua; A.A. Aalto
Bibliography and images courtesy of Mayte Green-Mercado

Further Listening
Seth Kimmel 351
3/13/18
Moriscos and Iberian Thought
Anna Cruz 338
11/27/17
The Lyrical Archive of al-Andalus
Mohamad Ballan, Joshua White, Zoe Griffith, Aslıhan Gürbüzel, Neelam Khoja, Fahad Bishara, Maryam Patton, Jeannie Miller 489
1/16/21
The Making of the Islamic World
Claire Gilbert 162
7/5/14
Between Sultans and Kings
Emrah Safa Gürkan, Joshua White, Daniel Hershenzon 446
1/28/20
The Mediterranean in the Age of Global Piracy
Nükhet Varlık 252
7/29/16
Tracing Plague in the Ottoman Empire

Images


Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Ms. Arabe 774, fol. 289. Aljamiado Prophecy of St. Isidore.


Felipe Bigarny (1520-22). Conversion of Muslims. Relief. Royal Chapel, Cathedral of Granada.


Pere Oromig (1616). Embarkation of Moriscos in Valencia [during the expulsion]. Colección Bancaja


Francisco Heylan (1584-1635). [Moriscos de Granada]. Engraving. In Relación breve de las reliquias que se hallaron en la ciudad de Granada (1706). “Memoria de los Moriscos,” Biblioteca Nacional de España. The image depicts Christian martyrdoms at the hands of Moriscos during the Alpujarras Revolt (1567-70)


Christoph Weiditz, Trachtenbuch [1530/1540], Nürnberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Ms. 22474, ff. 107-108. Moriscos of Granada dancing


Vincenzo Carduccio (ca. 1627). Expulsion of the Moriscos. Prado Museum Collection

Select Bibliography



Barceló, Carmen, and Ana Labarta. Archivos Moriscos. Textos árabes de la minoría islámica valenciana (1401–1608). Valencia: Universitat de València, 2009. 

Benítez Sánchez-Blanco, Rafael. Heróicas decisiones: la monarquía católica y los moriscos valencianos. Valencia: Institució Alfons el Magnànim, 2001.

Carrasco, Rafael. Deportados en el nombre de Dios. Barcelona: Ediciones Destino, 2009.

Domínguez Ortiz, Antonio, and Bernard Vincent. Historia de los moriscos: Vida y tragedia de una minoría. Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1978.

Epalza Ferrer, Míkel. Los Moriscos antes y después de la expulsión. Madrid: Fundación MAPFRE, 1992.

García-Arenal, Mercedes. Messianism and Puritanical Reform: Mahdīs of the Muslim West. Leiden: Brill, 2006.

García-Arenal, Mercedes, and Gerard Wiegers, eds. The Expulsion of the Moriscos from Spain: A Mediterranean Diaspora. Leiden: Brill, 2014.

Gilbert, Claire. In Good Faith: Arabic Translation and Translators in Early Modern Spain. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020. 

Halperín Donghi, Tulio. Un conflicto nacional: Moriscos y cristianos viejos en Valencia. Valencia: Institució Alfons el Magnànim, 1980.

Harvey, L. P. Muslims in Spain, 1500–1614. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Hess, Andrew C. The Forgotten Frontier: A History of the Sixteenth-Century Ibero-African Frontier. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.

Kimmel, Seth. Parables of Coercion. Conversion and Knowledge at the End of Islamic Spain. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2015. 

López Baralt, Luce. La literatura secreta de los últimos musulmanes de España. Madrid: Editorial Trotta, 2009.

Magnier, Grace. Pedro de Valencia and the Catholic Apologists of the Expulsion of the Moriscos. Leiden: Brill, 2010. 

Márquez Villanueva, Francisco. El problema morisco (desde otras laderas). Madrid: Libertarias, 1991. 

Martínez de Castilla, Nuria. Una biblioteca morisca entre dos tapas. Zaragoza: Instituto de Estudios Islámicos y del Oriente Próximom 2010. 

Poutrin, Isabelle. Convertir les musulmans. Espagne, 1491–1609. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2012.

Vincent, Bernard. El río morisco. Valencia: Universitat de València, 2006.

Wiegers, Gerard. Islamic literature in Spanish and Aljamiado: Yça of Segovia (fl. 1450), His Antecedents and Successors. Leiden: Brill, 1994.
 

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