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The Golden Age of Spain

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What was the short term significance of Granada?
The conquest of Granada was the first hostile step to secure the ‘pre-eminent monarchy’ . Although the short term significance of the campaign brought many potential benefits such as economic wealth this is rather an understatement as the sources suggest that much wealth gained was given back as a means of religiously securing Granada in favor of the church. Likewise political and foreign policy can be seen to be exaggerated with unification of the people been limited for self interest seen in the source of the the Marquis de Cadiz, as well as Columbus’s wild achievements been exaggerated for his personal gain to continue his adventures across sea. Although the army seems to have dominated the battlefield this is out of touch with the back up the crown received from other Moors and the sources such as the Muslim contemporary that would want to present the Crown as ruthless barbarians in presenting their efficiency as unmatchable to gain sympathy for Muslims. Despite these short term areas allowing space for questioning in reliability and factual contradictions the religious short term significance seems rather valid given that's the sources suggest a constant religious motive particularly in Ferdinand’s speech where he denies any financial desires but rather to spread Christianity. Moreover this can be represented by the betterment of the relationship of the church and the crown. Therefore religion should be seen as the most significant factor in the short term in regards to the conquest of Granada.

Firstly, it may be argued that the conquest of Granada acquired a degree of economic significance through minorities like the Jewish, charity and the church. Through the church, Pope Sixtus IV granted a special tax known as the Cruzada and in 1485 Pope Innocent VIII granted it for the duration of the war. In addition, indulgences were offered as a means of raising finance. Minorities such as the Jewish contributed 58 million maravedis due to extensive taxes. The Santa Hermandad were set up by Isabella in areas with more than 50 inhabitants and collectively raised with enthusiasm 22 million maravedis in the 1480s and 32 million by the end of the campaign. Hernando de Zafra secretario to the Reyes Catòlicos informed Boabdil ruler of Granada ‘your territory is sold behold the price of it’. This implies that the main objective of the campaign was gaining wealth from Granada. However, in context, this can be seen to be rather misleading as Zafra was trying to persuade Boabdil to take up the incentive to leave Granada with his people and return to Islamic regions, as Isabella stated she wanted to 'place the service of… God before our own’ . Therefore he was avoiding the major conflict in interest of religion that had began the campaign. In which case he is actually highlighting the completion of the Reconquista in Spain by emphasizing Moorish defeat. This implies that religious motives were predominant in Granada as the Pope reacted to the banishing of Muslims from Spain as he held them ‘in eternal gratitude’.

In spite of this the short term economic significance of the conquest of Granada may be considered through characteristics of the war. The siege of Baza 1487 demonstrated the limitation of shortages in supplies. Despite the eventual victory after six months, it was only sustained through occasional threats of deprivation from position in the conflict to force contribution out of soldiers who wanted to contribute God’s work and loans from organizations like the Mesta who gave 27 million maravedis. This suggestion is backed up in a letter from Ferdinand and Isabella to the pope 'our Zeal for the holy Catholic faith have.. Set aside... the continual hardships and dangers in which this cause commits us'. This suggests that not only were economic gains insignificant in the conquest but not the cause of it either as it infers spreading Catholicism was of greater importance than the 'peril' they experienced. Although the source may be taken lightly as Ferdinand may have been underplaying the economic benefits that he was gaining through the church and nobility in presenting the drive for Spanish imperialism through the Reconquista. It should also be said that these benefits were hardly worth it as the taxes were only induced for the duration of the war and the loans were often converted into juros which paid the creditor 10% each year, meaning they would have to pay back more after the war. Clifford J. Rogers infers ‘the war was essentially carried out by a series of sieges’. This suggests there was little thought in preserving economic worth but rather demonstrating the potential of the newly created siege towers with the destruction of landscapes that may have proved valuable for agriculture. Instead another letter from Ferdinand reinforces the insignificance of economic factors summarized in the previous letter 'we have not been moved to the war by any desire to enlarge our realms, nor by greed for greater revenues’. This may be valid as the Monarchs strong Catholic persona was expressed throughout the war with the carrying of the large silver cross throughout the conquest and the chains of Christian captives that were hung up in churches ‘to be reverred by successive generations as the trophies of Christian Warfare’. Additionally no effort was made by the Monarchs to take the small parts of land that may have been useful after the conquest as The Great Captain Gonzalo de Córdoba acquired land from Loja after his notorious victory at Ìllora. As a result the conquest of Granada had little economic significance as the the actions of the Monarchs suggest that religious motives were of main concern in crusading against the infidel.

The Granada conquest had a short term political significance in terms of it resulting in the unification of the Iberian Peninsula and receiving acknowledgment worldwide for their devotion to Christianity. The campaign brought the nobility and church into compliance with the crown internally whilst also annulling the divisions that both kingdoms had presented as
‘each was to retain its own form of government, keep its own language…. And its own laws and customs’. Peter Martyr d’Anghiera stated the Granada conflict reconciled the crown and nobility- ‘who would have thought that the Galician, the proud Asturian and… The Pyrenees… Subject to one common discipline’. This may be invalid as although the nobles seemingly joined under one ‘common discipline’ it was merely because Granada offered nobles a chance to extend their influence in Spain; as contemporary Andres Bernaldez reported on the Marquis of Cadiz as joining the war- ‘to increase the patrimony of his ancestors by the acquisition of castles’. This seems valid when also considering Pendrill’s acknowledgment of Garcia Fernandez de Vergara, a Castilian administrator distributed the land of Malaga to nobles who participated. Therefore the political significance may be questioned through evidence of the divisions before the war remaining the same, as the nobles were only contributing for their own interests.

In contrast, the conquest of Granada was politically significant in the short term when considering foreign policy. Granada provided a revival of spiritual enthusiasm towards the Reconquista by fighting the infidel. Within the war symbols of Moorish tradition were degraded such as the Monarchs claiming the Ahhambra palace. This enthusiasm continued after the conquest in 1505 in which Cardinal Cisneros captured the city of Oran. Although this imperialist idea of a faith fueled Spain is backed up as following the conquest, the Monarchs funded Columbus and his first voyage to the Indies. Whereas Columbus stated 'where our holy faith may become so much increased... that in a short time large profit may be derived'. Therefore this would seem to suggest that the desire for oversea imperialism following victory against the Muslims at Granada was highly significant in pursuing religion and wealth.

Never the less this can be seen to be rather biased and exaggerated as 'exploration and settlement on the American mainland was slow moving’. This can be seen as additions to the empire were limited with Killsby stating only Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and Cuba were added by 1511. This contrasts to Columbus’s statement 'your highness has become the masters of another world’ as it was not until the conquest of Central America by Hernando Cortés in 1521 before noticeable progress had been made. Although Columbus may have exaggerated his work as he was dependent on funding from the crown for his voyages. Ultimately, the short term political significance of Columbus’s initial exploration after Granada were only useful in laying the foundations for later Monarchs and so remained of ‘limited value at this time’.

Furthermore, the short term significance of the military conspired out of the Granada conquest must be considered. It ins recognized that the war brought about various military advancements, such as the siege of Malaga that Irving states, introduced the first a,balance or vehicle designated for injured soldiers. Whats more is the developments of weapons. By the end of the war Ferdinand and Isabella had 200 cannons, whilst ‘the Moors of Granada were using artillery, but were deficient in ordnance’. This can be seen as one Muslim contemporary described enemy artillery as ‘’. This can be seen to be valid as someone who would perhaps be resentful of the Monarchs does not fail to emphasize their achievements. Additionally, Isabella placed large focus on improving weapons to ‘make war on the moors from every direction’ and can be seen as even small guns (Lombards) were in use early on the war (1482). Short term significance of the military can also be considered through the contemporary Peter Martyr D’Anghiera who described the unity of the army as ‘living together in harmony like one family’. Both sources suggest that the war was significant not only in military advancement but also bringing the army together in ‘harmony’ to fight the Moors.

Despite improvements in the military in the short term significance of Granada this may be seen to be exaggerated when considering the civil unrest of Granada. Theoretically, Boabidil was facing Christians as well as Muslims as he replaced al-Zagal for the throne. In addition the acquisition of further land was agreed diplomatically after the failure of the attack in Cerdagne and Rousillion. Here Charles VII of France used both provinces as a bargaining chip to manipulate his efforts in Italy whilst also securing an alliance with Spain in the Treaty of Barcelona. On the other hand, the Muslim contemporary’s source may be seen to be invalid as he may have exaggerated the effects of artillery to portray the mistreatment of Muslims as the Monarchs inflicting upon the defense less Moors. In response the validity of the source in terms of short term significance of the military in the conquest of Granada seems biased in provenance.

Alternatively, it may be stated that religion produced some short term significance when considering the religious uniformity and persecution of moors. Although Taleava first archbishop of Granada pursued convencia which had been criticized by Isabella as returning to old traditions- ‘adopt their works of charity’. He was soon to be replaced by the more radical Jiménez de Cisneros who promoted forced baptisms to get rid of the ‘Morisco problem’. This can be valid when considering Killsby’s description of the internal policies created to isolate the Moors through mass burnings to destroy Arabic books. This became commonplace and religious rites such as slaughter were forbidden. This suggests Talavera’s opinion of Muslims were completely unsupported in Spain and is backed up by his subsequent replacing by Cisneros. Therefore the conquest of Granada was very significant in the short-term as it influenced the unification of Catholics across Spain away from the original convencia and is reinforced by the naming of the Monarchs ‘los reyes catolicos’ in 1494.

In conclusion religion is the most short term significant factor of the conquest of Granada as it revived the imperialism in Spain through uniting the kingdoms under one religion, extend control over the church and began a policy of religious persecution. Most of the sources particularly Cisneros’s labeling of the Muslims, seem to present a degree of religious motives behind the conquest. This can be backed up when looking at the provenance of Collumbus’s claims and Andreas Bernaldez that portray politics, economy and and military as exaggerated or misrepresented. Seemingly concluding that despite the foundations of a great Spain been set through Granada, religion was the most significant in the short term as Zafra actually presents payment to persuade Boabidil to leave Granada suggesting that the Reconquista and cleansing of Spanish territory from Muslims was the main factor.

Total word count= 2159


L.P Harvey Islamic Spain, 1250 to 1500. Chicago 1992.

Killsby, J, Spain: Rise and Decline, 1474-1643, Holder & Stoughton 1987.

W. Irving, The Complete Works In One Volume. Hernando de Zafra secretario expressing demands of the crown.

Fernández-Armesto. F, 1492: The Year Our World Began.Ferdinand and Isabella expressing desires for war.

Rogers. C.J,The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology, Volume 3

Karen, H Spain 1469-1714: A Society Of Conflict, Oxen, Routledge, 1983. Letter from the crown expressing little economic wealth.

Pendril, C, Spain: Rise and Decline, 1474-1700, Essex, Heinemann, 2002.

Hunt. J, Spain, 1474-1598, Routledge, 2000. Columbus stating the economic benefits of The New World.

Collumbus view of the The New World, taken from The Golden Age of Spain 1469-1598 source documents, 2014.

Parting ton. J. R, A History of Greek Fire and Gunpowder

Coleman. D, Creating Christian Granada: Society and Religious Culture in an Old-World Frontier City, 1492-1600.

Elliot. J. H, Imperial Spain 1469-1716, Penguin.…...

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Point of View in the Golden Age

...This book was written in third person. Anam presents her novel in the third person point of view because she wants to give her readers an opportunity to connect with her characters. Also she saw it as a great way for her readers to understand the different ways that the characters think and reason with the other characters. Anam also thought of her writing and gave her self the chance to broaden the perspective on her story by using the third person. Aman writing style includes foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is portrayed in the title of the first section, “Shona with her back to the sun” foreshadows that Rehana’s joy will soon come to an end. Shona is a symbol of Rehanna’s joy and love for her children and build it for their return, however with Shona’s back to the sun illustrates that Rehana’s joy of her children returning is going to change. Anam is also very detailed in the novel as she concentrates on every part of what she intend to portray. This style of writing provides the reader with the opportunity to understand and visualize what Anam is portraying and uses lots of flashback. For example, he was pale and had her small nose and her slightly crooked teeth…” This line allows the reader to picture Sohail based on the description that Anam provides. In addition Anam also uses lots of flashback in her writing. For instance, Rehana is always remembering something in the past. For example, she could still hear Mrs Chowdhury telling her to build the new house at the back......

Words: 510 - Pages: 3