THE LAST OF ISLAMIC SPAIN
The founder of the Nasrid dynasty was Muhammad Ibn-Yusuf ibn Nasr, also known as Ibn-al-Ahmar. Though it was originally at Jean that he set himself up as a ruler (about 1231), the progress of the Reconquista under Ferdinand III of Castile, and in particular the loss of Jean itself in 1245, forced him to retire southwards and make Granada he had occupied in 1235, the seat of his government. When it became clear to him that he could not indefinitely keep the forces of Castile at bay with his slender military resources he decided to become a vassal of Ferdinand, as several other local Muslim rulers were doing. In this capacity he gave support to his liege-lord in the campaigns which led to the capture of Seville and the lower valley of the Guadalquivir, and in other subsequent campaign against Muslims. The state which was thus created extended from Tarifa in the west to some twenty or thirty miles beyond Almeria in the east. In the north the frontier was probably nearer to Jean than to Granada. When Muhammad I of Grand became the vassal of Castile, he was not the only Muslim ruler in this position. The others, however, gradually disappeared and were replaced by Christian governors, the to go being the emir of Murcia in 1264. Muhammad I appears to have been a good vassal to Ferdinand and his son, and thereby to have merited generous treatment; and by the time of his death in 1273 the acceptance of an independent Granada may have been a fixed point in the policy of Castile. Castile, too, with many Muslim subjects, may have felt that it was useful to have a Muslim state near to which the more discontented could flee for refugee. Moreover the nearness of Africa made it possible for the Nasrid to appeal for help from time to time to new rulers of Morocco, the Marinid dynasty. The state of Granada was very consciously Islamic. A welcome was given to refugees from the rest of Spain. Arabic was the only language used. Though there were Jewish in the state, there were no Mozarabic Christians; but is not clear whether this was because of some definite enactment, or because the attitude of ordinary Muslims made life too unpleasant for them. This emphasis on Islam and on the defence of Islam is understandable after the concern for the holy war shown by the Almoravids and the Amohads after the growing self-consciousness of Christian Reconquista during the period of success from 1212 to 1248. the period of greatest brilliance was from 1344 to 1396 during which time the finest parts of the Alhambra was built. The end of Nasrid realm came about as much through its own internal weakness as through the growing strength of the Christians. Honourable terms were granted, and the surrender became effective in the first days of 1492.
Casalino Pierluigi, 23.12.2011.
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