Sunday, January 02, 2011

The Reconquista ends

Isabella I of Spain, A detail of the painting Our Lady of the Fly, attributed to Gerard DavidToday is the 519th anniversary of the surrender of King Boabdil (real name Abu 'abd-Allah Muhammad XII), who surrendered the last Moorish Kingdom in Europe, Granada, to the Spanish forces of Isabel The First, The Warrior Queen of Castile and León, and Ferdinand The Fifth, King of Aragon.

The Moors forever left behind them the beautiful fortress of La Alhambra (where the story of Rapunzel allegedly took place) and the legend of the "last sigh of the Moor."

Legend has it that as the Moorish royal party left the city and headed towards exile, they reached a point which overlooked the city of Granada, and Muhammad XII, in looking at the city and the green valley around it, burst into tears. When his mother saw this, she said to him: "Thou dost weep like a woman for what thou could not defend as a man."

The conquest of Granada ended the 700 year Reconquista of the Iberian peninsula, eventually created the Kingdom of Spain, and most importantly, according to Cuban culinary legend, it also accounted for the creation of the Cuban dish known as Moros y Cristianos ("Moors and Christians") or white rice and black beans, which was created years later in homage to this final victory.