The Second Alpujarras Campaign

By 1566 conditions in and around the city of Granada had be­come so oppressive that a fresh Alpujarras campaign broke out in the mountains southeast of that ancient city and capital. In 1567 the promulgation of a revised Pragmatica for Granada brought things to a head; the region was again devastated, this time by don Juan de Austria, Philip II’s half‑brother.

Muhammad ibn Umayyah (or Humeya T Fernando de Valor in Spanish), as a descendant of the illustrious house of Umayyah from previous centuries of glory, was proclaimed king of Granada and Cordoba. He made a brief appearance on the stage of history before he was captured and hanged in 1569, at the start of the revolt.

In 1566 Diego de Deza, a "malignant spirit" as he has been called, from the "Holy" Office of the Inquisition, revised the arrogant Pragmatica of 1529 forty years later. This revision was the underlying cause of the great uprising of 1569, the so‑called second "Alpujarras War" be­cause Deza emphasized the worst features of this edict with its vulgar invasion of family privacy so sacred to Muslims, by public authorities and busy‑body neighbours.

The next year, in 1570, the expulsion of all "Moriscos" or crypto‑Muslims from Granada was decreed. Pedro de Deza hunted them down brutally; families were split up and dispersed into other parts of Spain, where they were not received too hospitably. "Give him a bishopric and get him out of Granada!", Philip II was advised by persons who witnessed the results of this inhuman and un­-Christian policy.

These fanatic churchmen and royal princes ruined Spain at the very moment of her glory in the Indies, and thus wasted the silver and gold they looted in their overseas colonies on these religious campaigns in Spain and Flanders, without counting their wars against Turkey and England, which likewise had a religious aspect.

Another ecclesiastical assistant of Philip II, Diego de Espinosa, worked with the king on mat­ters of the Counter‑Reformation and the suppression of the Alpujarras revolt. Protestants were also jailed and executed under the same laws, especially in the city of Valladolid.

The "Moriscos" or "baptized" Muslims were expelled, while those who remained as "Christians" had to leave their doors and windows open on Fridays and Islamic feast days, just in case they still prayed to God alone in the Islamic manner. 'They were also forbidden to hold Islamic‑style weddings, funerals and similar festivities, as well as their zambras or parties that the incoming gypsies have since taken over for the benefit of tourists. Their baths were banned and torn down, so that no one could wash themselves in the old manner in them.

The town of Hornachos, southeast of Merida in Extremadura, refused to allow images in their mosque, which had been converted into a church with sub­sequent saints' worship introduced there. That town consisted mostly of muleteers, like our "Young Man" from Arevalo; the men were flog­ged and sentenced to the galleys for their sincerity of belief. Thus` Spanish commerce on the highways was disrupted by their disappearance. In the final expulsion in 1610, the Hornacheros who lived in western Spain (Extremadura), chose Morocco as their destination.

After 1582 the "Moriscos" were not allowed to live by the sea, for fear that they might communicate with alien ships along the coast: Thefts and murders became common as Muslims were deprived of their property and means of livelihood. This led to enforced ignorance, not only of Muslims, but also of many Catholics, especially as to their dogma and history.

Prejudice and propaganda reigned instead which crippled the spirit of Spanish society. It is amazing that the Spanish‑, people themselves have remained so light-hearted and friendly, ignor­ing their priests and church even till this century in the Civil War of the 1930s (and the Mexican Revolution two decades before, that followed Benito Juarez' Reforma of 1857).

The Spanish Civil War half a century ago, saw non‑Catholics summarily labelled "Communists" and subject to arrest, jail and possible execution in the same arbitrary fashion, as happened with the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, who was shot one night in 1936 in his beloved city of Granada.

The battle of Lepanto against the Turks off western Greece in 1571 when Cervantes lost the use of his left hand, is rarely contrasted in Spanish histories with the defeat of the Invincible Armada in 1588, seventeen years later. This battle is ignored in Spain but flaunted in England, because it led to national confidence and glory in the latter country. The Spanish version of this defeat generally says that the fleet was dispersed by a storm, not by Sir Francis Drake and his English sailors.