A Bit More History

A particular delight of the Three Cultures Festival is the series of lectures which are given on the history of the village. This year I discovered that it occupies a pivotal place in the transition from muslim to christian Spain.

The Reconquista was essentially complete by 1236 when Córdoba fell to the christian forces of Fernando III. All that now remained of Al-Andalus was the Nasrid kingdom of Granada extending through Almería to the border with Murcia to the east, and to the mountains beyond Málaga to the west. Constituting no real threat to christian Spain, the Nasrids were tolerated for some 250 years until, for largely political reasons the Catholic Monarchs (Fernando V de Aragón and Isabela I de Castilla) launched their military campaign to bring the whole of Spain under their rule. This they achieved when Boabdil surrendered the symbolic keys to the city of Granada at the end of December 1492, the official end-date of muslim Spain.
The muslims in the newly-conquered territory were given the customary choice; leave, convert or die. Many left, many died and many converted living on in the region as moriscos. They formed three broad groups; around Granada itself, into the vega, and across Almería was one, the area between Málaga and Almuñecar, known as La Axarquía, was the second, and the mountains to the west of Málaga the third. Notwithstanding generous promises of acceptance into christian Spain, they were poorly treated for the most part and there were frequent skirmishes and rebellions. In addition, the catholic church was far from convinced of the veracity of their conversions. The moriscos of Ronda and what are now referred to as the white towns were the first to be put to the sword, followed by the moriscos of Granada who rose up in large-scale rebellion in December 1568; they too were soon put down. La Axarquía could not survive for much longer, and indeed resentment in the region was already smouldering. The whole area had the status of a qlima, and was divided into two tahas for purposes of administration (Bentomiz to the west of the Rio Velez, and Frigiliana to the east.). Of the two, Frigiliana was by far the more easily defended, and so moriscos throughout La Axarquía gathered their possessions and set off across the mountains to gather in Frigiliana. The christian armies arrived in April 1569 to find the moriscos occupying the heights above the village and the ridge leading up to the summit of El Fuerte. Christian reinforcements were sought and obtained from the pope in Rome. They came ashore at Burriana and marched directly up to Frigiliana in early June. The assault on Frigiliana began and ended on 11th June 1569, and with it came the distinction of being the site final end of islam in medieval Spain.

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