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Moor

moors, king and castile

MOOR, a native of the N. coast of Africa, which formed the ancient Mauri tania, now represented by the countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripoli. In 709 the Arabs conquered Mauritania, and converted the people to Mohammed anism. The conquerors and the con quered amalgamated together, and in 711 an army of this mixed population, under Arab leaders, crossed at the Straits of Gibraltar, and began the conquest of the Spanish peninsula. This they speed ily effected, with the exception of the mountainous districts of Asturias and Galicia. When almost the whole of the rest of Europe was sunk in ignorance and barbarism, learning and the arts flourished among the Moors in Spain. About the middle of the 11th century, many of the local governors established themselves as independent potentates. The wars that followed so weakened the power of the Moors that the Christians rose against them under Alfonso, "the battler," and took Castile, with its capi tal, Toledo. Their progress was for a

time checked; but subsequently they con tinued to extend their conquests till the power of the Moors was restricted to the kingdom of Granada, and in 1238 the king of that territory became the vassal of Ferdinand III., King of Castile. At length, in 1491, Ferdinand V., King of Castile and Aragon, after a 10 years' war, conquered this also, and put an end to the dominion of the Moors in Spain, after it had lasted nearly 800 years. A portion of the Moors then re turned to Africa; but most of them re mained in Spain, where they became peaceful and industrious subjects, and adopted generally the external forms of Christianity. Philip II., however, in his hot zeal for Catholicism, resolved on their entire destruction, and by his op pressions and cruelties, drove them into insurrection, in Granada (1571), after the suppression of which, over 100,000 of them were banished.