In the year 1492, the Muslim Moors who held parts of Spain for nearly 800 years were driven out after losing the Battle of Granada to the armies of the Catholic Monarchs. It was the end of an era for the Moors who had come across the Strait of Gibraltar and brought with them not only their culture and religion, but also their knowledge. Under Moorish rule, advancements were made in science and mathematics, as well as geography and philosophy. The impact the Moors had on Spain can still be seen today. From the architecture to the language, and even the agriculture, the Moors shaped a significant part of Spain’s history.
If you have watched Game of Thrones recently, you may have seen the scenes that were shot in the Water Gardens of Dorne, known in our world as the Alcázar of Seville. The beautiful palace built by the Moorish kings, with its high arches, elaborate geometric designs, and hidden courtyards, is one of the greatest and most beautiful examples of Islamic architecture. The same architectural style can also be seen in the palace of Alhambra, also known as Qalat Al-Hamra, as well as Mezquita de Córdoba (the Great Mosque of Córdoba), which for a while was a shared place of worship for Christians and Muslims alike.
From the architecture to the language, and even the agriculture, the Moors shaped a significant part of Spain’s history.
During the period of shared culture, the Moors’ Arabic language became intertwined with Spanish in such a way that its impact can still be heard today. “Ojalá” (hopefully) in Spanish is derived from “Inshallah” in Arabic. The similarity can also be heard in words like arroz, azúcar, and almohada. The influence of Arabic on Spanish is not limited to everyday words. It can be heard in pronunciation of the letter “h” in certain regions of Spain and the names of major landmarks, such as Costa del Azahar.
The Muslims Moors were able to pass on knowledge they acquired from China, India, and other regions of the world they had come across through trade. New technology was introduced, such as the Arabic numeral system, paper from China, the astrolabe, and their irrigation system, which aided in growing crops in Spain that had been unable to grow before. Their farming methods and irrigation system, which were established due to living in the deserts of North Africa, were able to help Spain’s agriculture flourish. The Moors were also able to introduce new crops such as citrus and sugarcane into the region. Since then, Spain has become one of the largest producers of citrus fruit.