The Moors or Little Moors were groups of Spanish or Portuguese Moors who were Spanish Muslims who converted to Catholicism during the Reconquest of Spain. Later, the term became a pejorative that was applied to all those who had converted outwardly but who secretly continued to practice Islam .


What were the Moorish?

The Moors were Muslims baptized into the Catholic faith after the pragmatics of conversion forced the Catholic Monarchs in the Crown of Castile, as it was applied until 1526.



The Moors were all those Muslims who converted to Catholicism on a voluntary basis and those who were converted on a compulsory basis . They were the Muslims of the Kingdom of Castile who practiced their faith in a somewhat open way in the Christian kingdoms . Moriscos is a pejorative adaptation of the adjective ” Moorish ” which means ” little Moor “ or ” half-Moor “ , it was used to call Muslim converts in Granada and Castile.


Characteristics of the Moorish

  • Different groups were divided into squares: kingdom of Granada , Valencia , Aragon and the crown of Castile .
  • They took part in internal conflicts during the reign of the emperor.
  • They were expelled from the territories.
  • They were forced to convert to Catholicism .
  • Its origin was Muslim .
  • They were people full of culture and refinement .
  • They maintained their customs , traditions and social uses .
  • Some were converts who had previously been Spanish-Roman .
  • Many were subjected to inquisition trials for maintaining their Muslim rites.


The Moors were Arabs who had arrived in Spain after the loss of Granada and some of them took refuge in Morocco. Most of them were born in Andalusia , Extremadura and Murcia . Most of them came from Badajoz .


The Muslim reconquest of ancient Christian Spain and Portugal took place over several centuries, with the last Muslim stronghold , Granada, falling in 1492. Muslim converts to Christianity were known as Moors , while Muslims who were they put under the Christian government they conserved the Muslim faith they were called Mudejars . However, many Moors continued to be Crypto-Muslims , just as many Jewish converts had continued to secretly practice Judaism.

The state of the Mudejars and the Moors depended on capitulation pacts and subsequent royal decrees . In Aragon and Valencia , Muslims who accepted Christian rule were able to practice their faith. After the fall of the city of Granada, the Treaty of Granada guaranteed the Muslim population the right to religious freedom , but that promise was short-lived. When Muslims reacted against conversion efforts by the first Archbishop of Granada, Hernando de Talavera , the future Cardinal Cisnerostook stronger action as the end of the century approached:  forced conversions , Islamic texts on fire, and the prosecution of some of Granada’s leaders.

Expulsion of the Moors

It happened in 1609 during the reign of Felipe III and it was he who ordered their expulsion. The first Moors to be expelled were those who lived in the kingdom of Valencia, then Andalusia, Extremadura and finally the two Castiles and included the expulsion from the kingdoms of the Hispanic Monarchy of all the Moors, who were the Christians of Muslim origin forcibly converted to Christianity after the conquest of the Muslim kingdoms by the peninsular Christian kingdoms. Approximately 300,000 people were expelled and the expulsion occurred for a series of reasons, among which we mention:

  • Pressure from public opinion and the prestige of the crown as there was a resentment of the population against those who had old Islamic customs and it was considered that expelling them would improve the image of the king and the government.
  • The fight against Islam that was no longer so worrying nor was there a real danger of invasion.
  • Integration problems on the part of the Moors because they lived far from the population, they maintained their language , their customs , their way of dressing and Islamic law .
  • Demographic pressure , which was one of the main causes, despite the fact that the population was unevenly, the majority were located in the southeast of the peninsula in the Levant, which generated some problems of coexistence. The main problem was in the Crown of Aragon where Moorish growth threatened the balance of power between the communities.
  • Fear of the collaboration of the Moors with the Ottoman Turkish Empire.


The Moors were a people that left a great legacy in terms of infrastructure and Islamic monuments , mainly in Seville. Its gastronomy is maintained in many places to date. They also left as a legacy the Moorish novel , a fictional narrative prose , and the Moorish romance within poetry in which they linked a Christian knight with a heroic and chivalrous way of behaving.

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