The Moors

The Moors were people of western North Africa. They were most active in the present day regions of eastern Morocco and western and central Algeria. They descended from a mixed race of Berbers, a native tribe of northern Africa, and the Arabs, inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula, stretching from the Red sea to the Gulf of Persia.

The Moors came to prominence in the 8th century A.D. when they captured and reigned in the Iberian Peninsula, the modern-day Portugal and Spain. They were ousted from their last stronghold in Spain, Granada in 1492, at the outset of the Spanish inquisition. Spain was coming of age in warfare and merchant trade and soon hoisted their national flags on the soil of Nicaragua in Central America. In 1537 they named a city they established on Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America, Granada, in honor of their victory over the Moors at Spain.

The moors had reigned in the Iberian Peninsula for over seven centuries, and with their fall in 1492, a whole way of civilization came to an end. The fall of the much cultured and learned Moors gave way to barbaric and boorish Spaniards who soon began the destruction of humanity with their agenda of proselytizing the world to their Christianity, and rooting the seeds of colonialism via the mercantile trade that they started. With the victory at Granada there began a phantasmagoric sequence of genocide, conversion of Jews and Moors to Christianity, and burning of the books in libraries and temples long preserved by the Moors. The books were a treasure trove of classical studies and much stands lost to the world by their destruction.

The Moors with their Arabic influence were a highly cultured group. Their tastes in books, music, cuisine and art & design still are a source of awe and inspiration. The Arabesque patterns with a flourish of flower and geometrical shapes are much in demand for fashion, filigreed jewelries and home décor. The Moorish architecture at its apogee is still preserved in the cities of Morocco; Marrakech and Casablanca are the extant examples. The exotic style of buildings preserved there at are much in vogue not only for the high flyers of America, styling their villas and furnishing their dinner sets in the Moroccan design, but Hollywood too is enchanted by it and continues to shoot biggies such as Casablanca, Star Wars, and the Prince of Persia at Morocco, all bearing the Moorish stamp.

Even Shakespeare had to acknowledge the prominence of the Moors in the European affairs, and fashioned one of his most famous lead character, Othello after them. Othello of course was a Moor, etching forever in the annals of history and literature the class of people we must never forget and revere with the respect a lead character always deserves, yet, the Moors fell in the same books, face on the ground, forever to be remembered only on the pages of history and role played in theatres, just as Othello is.

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3 thoughts on “The Moors

    1. @ramesh: Goethe was a very famous German poet and playwright. His best creation was the famous play Faust, in which the eponymous character is in pursuit of absolute knowledge. Faust was so much after knowledge that he even trades his soul to the devil Mephistopheles, as the latter promises him to give the ultimate knowledge of this world.

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