The city of Granada has a long and complicated history, as it began as a simple area populated by Iberian citizens. Populated since around 5500 BC, Granada was created with Roman and Visigothic influences built into its original community. The actual city of Granada was founded during Al-Andalus in the Iberian Peninsula. A Sanhaja Berber group known as, “The Zirids,” conquered the area, and in time, became a large contingent in the army of ‘Abd al-Malik al-Muzzaffar. In exchange for their loyalty and service, the Zirids received the Elvira province. Post-collapse of the caliphate found Zawi ben Ziri, the leader of the Zirdis, establishing the “Taifa of Granada.”
Also known as the capital of the Emirate of Granada during Al-Andalus, the city of Granada was a well established and powerful city that kept the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada together. Moving forward in time, the city of Granada was under the control of Emir Muhammad XII, the last Muslim ruler not only in Granada, but in Iberia, as King Ferdinand and Isabella had planned on conquering all of Iberia during the Reconquista. On January 2, 1492, Isabella and Ferdinand captured the city of Granada from Emir Muhammad XII, and established a unified nation under a “Catholic Monarchy.” Not only did this establish Granada as an important factor in the unification of Spain, it established Granada as a massive city that would soon be filled with immigrants and catholics from across the Iberian peninsula. As for the Muslim inhabitants who were beaten during the conquering of the city, they were granted the freedom to continue practicing their religion and customs as long as Catholic law was followed. Not only were Muslims given permission to practice their religion, but people of Jewish decent were permitted to do the same. This was a common practice up until the Alhambra Decree, which stated that all Jewish people must convert to Christianity, or face being expelled from the city and the country.
After the conquering of the city by the Catholic Monarchy, the city of Granada underwent a period of, “Christianisation,” also known as the complete control of the Catholic church over the ideals and laws of Spain. Not only were laws made in the eyes of the Catholic church, both the muslim and jewish people were edxpuled from the country in 1492 and 1609 respectfully. This plan however, did not work well for the city of Granada, as all of the immigrants who were expelled from the city were forced to migrate to other parts of the country. This caused the city’s population to become stagnant, and over time, Granada saw other settlements such as Madrid and Seville overcome Granada’s importance to the kingdom.
Although the early history of the city of Granada is filled with the topic of conquering or being conquered, the city remains a symbol of a hybrid of religions built into one location. Without the “convivencia” of the early Iberians, the city of Granada may not be the same city we love today.
Finlay, Robin. “Entangled Histories of Place and Reconfigurations of Diasporic Home: Al-Andalus History and the Moroccan Diaspora in Granada, Spain.” Shibboleth Authentication Request, https://rgs-ibg-onlinelibrary-wiley-com.proxy.longwood.edu/doi/10.1111/tran.12513.
“Granada.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Nov. 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granada.