Islamic Spain, 1250 to 1500

University of Chicago Press
Free sample

This is a richly detailed account of Muslim life throughout the kingdoms of Spain, from the fall of Seville, which signaled the beginning of the retreat of Islam, to the Christian reconquest.

"Harvey not only examines the politics of the Nasrids, but also the Islamic communities in the Christian kingdoms of the peninsula. This innovative approach breaks new ground, enables the reader to appreciate the situation of all Spanish Muslims and is fully vindicated. . . . An absorbing and thoroughly informed narrative."—Richard Hitchcock, Times Higher Education Supplement

"L. P. Harvey has produced a beautifully written account of an enthralling subject."—Peter Linehan, The Observer
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About the author

L. P. Harvey was, until his retirement, head of the Department of Spanish and Spanish American Studies, King's College, University of London.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
May 19, 2014
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Pages
386
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ISBN
9780226227740
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / Medieval
History / Europe / Spain & Portugal
History / General
Religion / Islam / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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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

The period of Muslim occupation in Spain represents the only significant contact Islam and Europe was ever to have on European soil. In this important as well as fascinating study, Watt traces Islam's influence upon Spain and European civilization--from the collapse of the Visigoths in the eighth century to the fall of Granada in the fifteenth, and considers Spain's importance as a part of the Islamic empire. Particular attention is given to the golden period of economic and political stability achieved under the Umayyads.

Without losing themselves in detail and without sacrificing complexity, the authors discuss the political, social, and economic continuity in Islamic Spain, or al-Andalus, in light of its cultural and intellectual effects upon the rest of Europe. Medieval Christianity, Watt points out, found models of scholarship in the Islamic philosophers and adapted the idea of holy war to its own purposes while the final reunification of Spain under the aegis of the Reconquista played a significant role in bringing Europe out of the Middle Ages. A survey essential to anyone seeking a more complete knowledge of European or Islamic history, the volume also includes sections on literature and philology by Pierre Cachia.

This series of "Islamic surveys" is designed to give the educated reader something more than can be found in the usual popular books. Each work undertakes to survey a special part of the field, and to show the present stage of scholarship here. Where there is a clear picture this will be given; but where there are gaps, obscurities and differences of opinion, these will also be indicated. Full and annotated bibliographies will afford guidance to those who want to pursue their studies further. There will also be some account of the nature and extent of the source material. The series is addressed in the first place to the educated reader, with little or no previous knowledge of the subject; its character is such that it should be of value also to university students and others whose interest is of a more professional kind.

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