Back to Index

SPAIN: The clash of Christianity and Islam

John Heelan writes: "Some argue that "Moors" stems from "Mauri", the name the Romans gave to Mauritania's native inhabitants, seminomadic pastoralists of Berber stock. Mauritania itself was region of ancient North Africa corresponding to present northern Morocco and western and central Algeria north of the Atlas Mountains.

Eduardo Manzano argues that first wave (eighth century) of invaders were Berber of the Butr tribes from Tripolitania- Arabic TARABULUS, historical region of North Africa that now forms the northwestern part of Libya. The later invaders, the Almoravides, from the Almoravid empire which came into being through the success of a militant Islamic movement that was initiated among the Sanhajah Confederation of tribes in Mauritania by one of its chiefs in about 1035; and the Almohad empire started in 1133, with 'Abd al-Mu'min establishing his authority in all the High and Middle Atlas mountains. From about 1139 he invaded northern Morocco and then western Algeria. After becoming master of this region in 1145, he advanced into the main centres of Almoravid authority in Morocco, conquering Fez in 1146 and Marrakech in 1147. Muslim Spain passed under Almohad rule between 1148 and 1172."

My comment: The Berber problem is acute today in Algeria and Morocco. How it will work out we do not know. Do the Berbers consider themselves Arabs? One theory is that they crossed from Spain over into Mauritania and are therefore really "Aryans". This pleased people like Ortega y Gasset, who looked to Europe. What did Moorish-lover Fernando de los Ržos think? All this shows that forgotten history is very much with us today. We hear nothing about this in all the discussions concerning al-Quaeda. Until recently few Americans knew where Afghanistan was. They know now.

Ronald Hilton - 1/5/02