Federation : MSTA

The Empire of the Moors by John G. Jackson (Edited by the Research Department)

The Moors were people who lived in Morocco. That’s the reason they called it that. The word Moor meant Black. It meant Black people. It ancient times all Africans were called Ethiopians or Kushites. And in the Middle Ages the Africans were called Moors. The word Moor literally means Black, so the Moorish people were the Black people. In medieval times the name Moor was not restricted to the inhabitants of Morocco, but it was customary to refer to all Africans as Moors. The highly ambiguous word Negro had not yet been invented. This word Negro came up when the slave-trade came in. In other words, you have a lot of little fish floating around in the ocean. They’re little fish and they have various names. But if you put them in cans they all become sardines. So when they put the Black man in slavery he became a Negro. We know from the contemporary records which have come down to us from the era of medieval Moorish supremacy that the Moors did not consider themselves as white men (i.e. Caucasians).

The Moors in North Africa were converted to Islam during the seventh century. An army of 12,000 Africans was recruited and placed under the leadership of the Moorish general, Tarik. Tarif was an officer in Tarik’s army. He led the first expedition to Spain to find out what the Moors had to face. The army landed at a place later named Tarifa in honor of Tarif. He set up a custom house there. He found out that they had no serious opposition to face in Spain. Tarif and his small detachment plundered Algericas and other towns and returned to Africa with their boats loaded with spoils.

There was a kingdom of the Visigoths – the western Goths. There was a Greek governor in a place called Ceuta on the African coast. The story is that Count Julian (the Greek governor) sent his daughter on a vacation to visit King Roderick and he raped his daughter. Julian persuaded the Moors to invade Spain because he said it was unprotected. All they had to do was walk in and take it.

General Tarik and his army landed on an isthmus between an encarpment, then called Mons Calpe, and the continent of Europe. After that, Mons Calpe was renamed Gebel Tarik – The Hill of Tarik – or, as we now call it, Gilbraltar. Tarik’s African army captured a number of Spanish towns near Gilbraltar, among them, Heraclea. Then he advanced northward into Andalusia. The Visigothic King Roderick learned of the invasion and raised an immense army for the defense of Spain. The two opposing armies met in battle near Xerxes not far from the Gaudalete River.

After overrunning most of the Iberian Peninsula, the Moors pushed on through France, where they were repulsed with heavy losses at Poitiers by the Franks under Charles Martel (aka “The Hammer) - the grandfather of Charlemagne. After this significant setback, they retired into Spain and there laid the foundations of a new civilization. The country was immeasurably enriched by their labors. They, for instance, introduced the silk industry into Spain. In the field of agriculture they were highly skilled, and introduced rice, sugar cane, dates, ginger, cotton, lemons, and strawberries into the country.

The Spanish city of Cordova, in the 10th century, was very much like a modern city. Its streets were well paved and there were raised sidewalks for pedestrians. At night, one could walk for 10 miles by the light of lamps, flanked by an uninterrupted extent of buildings. This was hundreds of years before there was a paved street in Paris, France, or a streetlamp in London, England. The population of Cordova was over a million. There were 200,000 homes, 800 public schools, and many colleges and universities. Cordova possessed 10,000 palaces of the wealthy, besides many royal palaces, surrounded by beautiful gardens. There were even 5,000 mills in Cordova at a time when there was not even one in the rest of Europe. There were also 900 public baths, besides a large number of private ones, at a time when the rest of Europe considered bathing as extremely sinful, and to be avoided as much as possible. Cordova was also graced b a system of over 4,000 public markets. The Great Mosque of Cordova, another grand structure, had a scarlet and gold roof, with 1,000 columns of porphyry and marble. It was lit by more than 200 silver chandeliers, containing more than 1,000 silver lamps burning perfumed oil.

The marvelous cities Toledo, Seville, and Granada were rivals of Cordova in respect to grandeur and magnificence. According to De Fontenelle: The Moors of Granada, a small black people, burned by the sun, full of wit and fire, always in love, writing verse, fond of music, arranging festivals, dances, and tournaments every day.

Education was universal in Moorish Spain, being given to the most humble, while in Christian Europe 99% of the people were illiterate, and even kings could neither read nor write. You had Moorish women who were doctors and lawyers and professors. Jewish scholars studied under the Moors, and then went to England and set up a scientific school at what later came to be Oxford University. The Moors furnished the knowledge and the Jews collected it. The Jews were intermediaries. The Moors and Christians were fighting each other and the Jews formed a bridge between them.

The Omayyad dynasty survived in Spain until 1031, but it was obviously in a state of decline by the year 1000. Abd-er-Rahman III, one of the greatest of the Moorish monarchs, reigned for 50 years (911-961), and both stabilized and expanded the territories of his dominions. The Moors were a very tolerant people. The Moorish rulers lived in sumptuous palaces, while the monarchs of Germany, France, and England dwelt in big barns, with no windows and no chimneys, and with only a hole in the roof for the exit of smoke.

In the year 1048, the Emir Yahia of Morocco visted Mecca. Here he met a religious reformer, Ibn Yasin, whom he persuaded to return home with him to teach his doctrines to the Moors. Ibn Yasin with a few followers set his headquarters on an island in the Senegal River in West Africa. The new movement proved to be popular, and the leader named his disciples Morabites (Champions of the Faith), which in time was changed to Amoravides. A crusade was urged by Ibn Yasin, the purpose of which was to maintain the truth, to repress injustice, and to abolish all taxes not based on law. The leadership of the Almoravides, which started in Upper Senegal, was assumed by the Emir Yahia.

After consolidating his position in southwestern Morocco, Yahia died in 1056, and was succeeded by his brother, Abu Bekr, who led his armies to further victories. Abu Bekr retired to southern Morocco and turned over the northern part of the country to his cousin, Yusuf Tachefin, who soon became the master of northwest Africa.

In the year 1062 Yusuf laid the foundation of the town of Morocco with his own hands…By the year 1082 he had long been the supreme ruler of that portion of the world…When therefore he consented to cross over to Spain, and in the course of time drove back the Christians and established once more a supreme Sultan upon the throne of Andalusia, his conquest and the dynasty which he founded must be regarded as an African conquest and an African dynasty.

When Yusuf crossed over to Europe, he was in command of an army of 15,000 men, armed mainly with swords and poniards; but his shock troops were a 6,000-strong detachment of Senegalese cavalrymen mounted on white Arabian horses, said to be fleet as the wind. Once in Spain, Yusuf was met by the chief rulers of Spain: the kings of Almeria, Badajoz, Granada, and Seville. The Moorish army, only 10,000 men in all, joined the African forces of Yusuf and marched northward to join battle with King Alphonso VI, who headed a Christian army of 70,000. The opposing armies battled each other at Zalakah in October, 1086, and at first the Christian hosts seemed to be winning. Al Mutammed, leading the Moslems, had three horses killed under him and, though wounded, kept his men in line until Yusuf came up with reinforcements and attacked the Christians from the rear.

In the early part of the 12th Century another religious reformer, calling himself the Mahdi, appeared in Morocco. He named his followers Almohades (Unitarians). After the conquest of Morocco in 1147, when the last Almoravide king was dethroned and executed, the Almohades seized the reins of government, and then invaded Europe. By 1150 they had defeated the Christian armies of Spain and placed an Amohade sovereign on the throne of Moorish Spain; and, thus, for the second time a purley African dynasty ruled over the most civilized portion of the Iberian Peninsula.

Under a great line of Almohade kings, the splendor of Moorish Spain was not only maintained but enhanced; for they erected the Castile of Gibraltar in 1160 and began the building of the great Mosque of Seville in 1183. The Geralda of Seville was originally an astronomical observatory constructed in 1196 under the supervision of the mathematician Geber. The Almoravides had established a Spanish court in Seville. The Almohades set up an African court in the City of Morocco; and Ibn Said in the 13th Century describes Morocco as the “Baghdad of the West,” and says that under the early Almohade rulers the city enjoyed its greatest prosperity.

In the early part of the 13th Century, the Moorish power in Spain began to decline. Unfortunately, the Moslems, due to religious and political differences, began to split into factions and wage war among themselves. At the same time the Christians of Europe, having absorbed the science and culture of the Moors, which enabled them to bring to an end the long night of the Dark Ages, began to form a united front in order to drive the Moors back into Africa. The dominions of the Almohades were slowly but surely captured by the Christian armies, and after almost a century of brilliant achievement the Almohade dynasty was ended when their last reigning sovereign was deprived of his throne in the year 1230. Moslem Spain declared independence under the rule of Ibn Hud, the founder the Huddite (Hittite?) dynasty. The Christain forces, in the meantime, conquered one great city after another, taking Valencia in 1238, Cordova in 1239, and Seville in 1260.

By 1492, the Moors had lost all Spain except the kingdom of Granada. The Christians, although not free from internal disputes, were finally united by the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, which joined in peace the formerly hostile royal houses of Aragon and Castile. The united Christian forces surrounded the city of Granada and blockaded it for eight months. The Moorish king, Abu Abdallah (aka Babdil), finally surrendered. The Moors lingered in Spain for a little more than a century. By 1610, through expulsion and migration, a million, among them many Jews (African Moorish Hebrews), had returned to northern Africa and Western Europe. The expulsion of the Moors from Andalusia was a serious setback to modern civilization.

The true greatness of the Moorish culture is not generally known even to the educated classes of the western world. Of the conquest and expulsion of the Moors, Lane-Poole wrote: In 1492 the last bulwark of the Moors gave way before the crusade of Ferdinand and Isabella, and with Granada fell all Spain’s greatness. For a brief while, indeed, the reflection of the Moorish splendor cast a borrowed light upon the history of the land which it had once warmed with its sunny radiance. The great epoch of Isabella, Charles V, and Philip II, of Columbus, Cortez, and Pizarro, shed a last halo about the dying moments of a mighty State. Then followed the abomination of desolation, the rule of the Inquisition, and the blackness of darkness in which Spain has been plunged ever since.

Following the final expulsion in 1610 was the “documented” beginning of the English slave trade with the Jamestown settlement in 1619. By 1611, “king” James authorized his version of the Bible. It is interesting that the book that has been used to “save” and enslave millions was completed a year after the Moors expulsion from Spain. The Almoravids were also known as Morabites and Moabites. All Moors were known as Moabites in the Middle Ages. Their adventures and character influenced pseudo Islamic organizations like the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine or “Shriners.”