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lunes, 2 de enero de 2012

The Conquest of Granada

The Conquest of Granada

Their key to Granada's door was a young man called Boadil.. He was the son of the sultan Abu l-Hasan Ali, and as it sometimes happens with princes, Boabdil was restless to gain power. So, after a series of incidents between Christians and Muslims that shook Granada's stability, Boabdil named himself ruler of Granada. Of course, his words didn't take too long to catch fire. A civil war ensued in the emirate, weakening it and easing the way for the Christian troops.

Ferdinand and Isabella seized this opportunity and, while their troops were visiting Granada(more specifically, during the battle of Axarquia), abducted Boabdil and held him prisoner. Through means unknown to us as of now, he was turned into a Christian, an ally of his former enemies. They didn't, however, manipulate the royal ambitions out of his brain. That would have been a waste of one of the most powerful means to destroy a king: make his son want the throne more than his father.

Boabdil went back to Granada, decided to fight his father and his uncle for this throne. He was subsequently kicked out of it and returned to Ferdinand and Isabella for protection. Meanwhile, the power balance in Granada kept getting more and more complex. Different leaders kept popping up, the Muslims kept fighting each other and soon, cities such as Ronda, started to fall. Marbella became Spanish as well.

Granada seemed almost under Iberian rule. The conquest of Granada was about to become true.



The Final Confrontation

The end of Granada's turn as an Emirate was, however, extended by Boabdil's nonconformity. He had been promised and given beautiful and extensive lands in exchange for his treason, but he didn't like that they were in Castile and not in Aragon, for some reason. So he decided to do what he did best: rebel against whatever land he was in. He headed back for Granada, where he found that the ruler that had kicked him out had in turn been killed by the Catholic Monarchs. So he ignited the flame of war again. Maybe he was inspiringly driven by patriotism and idealism. But in reality, he was beating a dead horse: by then Granada had been reduced to a city and a mountain. Everything else was Spanish.

Boabdil desperately sought aid from every Muslim country at hand -- Egypt, Fez (current Morocco)... It didn't make any difference. Egypt was waging a war of their own against the Ottoman Turks, which made them friends with Spain; and Fez pretended they never got the message. Boabdil was in the battle... he was fighting against his enemies with the help of his former enemies.

This is symbolically true. But it was also true on a physical level. Since Granada didn't have coastlines anymore, it could not receive any aids or ammunition. Since Muslims and Christians alike were dying (no official records were kept at the time, but since the military was the main industry at the time, we can guess the body count kept adding up), the Catholic Monarchs decided to stop the fighting and just siege Granada in April 1491. They city fell into a painful decay for eight months and, on January 1492, surrendered to Spanish troops. Spain had won what today is known as the Conquest of Granada.

To this day, January 2 is a day of celebration (The Conquest of Granada) in the city. Junior foreigners staying at summer camps in Granadad (they seem to be really popular in the area) are told this story, with more or less detail, and it is part of the city's heritage.




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