nasrid-coatofarms

Last of the Arab Muslim dynasty’s to rule territory within Spain, the Nasrid dynasty first came to power after the defeat of the Almohad Caliphate at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 CE. Claiming descent from the chief of the Banu Khazraj tribe which originated in the southern regions of the Arabian Peninsula, and more importantly one of the prophet Muhammad’s companions, the dynasty would go on to rule for over two hundred and fifty years from their palatial Alhambra complex in the Sierra Nevada mountains paying tribute to the Castile crown and providing military assistance for its conquest of Muslim held territories until 1492 when the twenty-third emir Sultan Muhammad XII was forced to surrender to Castile and its ally Aragon who seized upon the opportunity presented by a civil war breaking out in the Emirate.

In fact until this point the strategic advantage provided by the mountains along their border and continued tribute payments had protected it for over two centuries despite even periodic rebellions instigated by the Nasrids. Unfortunately their growing prosperity thanks to their trade with Genoese bankers and the Mediterranean networks made it a tempting target, and the Emirate’s decision to attack the Castilian frontier’s town of Zahara in 1481 a convenient excuse for the newly allied kingdoms to unite their respective nobility in common cause against a wealthy enemy, the spoils of which would go a long way to ensuring King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I continued loyalty from the merged courts. The Catholic Church even got involved encouraging other Christian countries to provide troops and finances for the war effort. In the aftermath Muhammad XII was offered a lordship in the Alpujarras Mountains, but instead opted to take financial compensation from the crown and leave the Iberian Peninsula. Muslims who remained were also guaranteed their property, laws, customs, and religions under the terms of the surrender, but following two uprisings over the following century such rights were suspended and the Arab population eventually expelled.