Also see Race in Ancient Egypt.
Although generations of Spanish rulers and European historians have tried to expunge this era from the historical record, recent archaeology and scholarship conclusively shows the so-called Moors flourished in Al-Andalus for more than 700 years – from 711 AD until 1492. They were not a unified group, and sometimes mortal enemies of each other. They generally comprised of Umayyad Emirate rule, Caliphate of Córdoba, Almoravids, Almohads, and Marinids.
Their significant contributions in mathematics, astronomy, art, and agriculture helped propel Europe out of the Dark Ages and into the Renaissance. Someone said victory has 1000 fathers while failure is an orphan. Everyone wants to claim the history of what we view as advanced civilizations. But just because we want it, does not make it so. On a deeper note, why do we need to claim anything if today we are content not to build again? It is a good thing to claim something, but it has to be maintained, you cannot just sit back and say that we did something in the past, move forward to the present and plan for the future. If you are from the Ancient Egyptians or children of Moorish empires then go into the world and build civilizations; be mathematicians, be scholars, be archaeologist. 1)sentiment taking from Claiming the past that did not claim you
IGNORANCE IN AGE OF INFO
It is amazing how in the era of information the discussion of Moors can be divided into rigid camps. There is obvious history which just states the facts: The people who ruled Spain for 500 years ending in 1492 were Muslims of mainly North African origin and were named the Almohad, Almoravid. Then there is the history popular among “‘Black” people where this entire civilization was a BLACK African civilization as depicted in the photos. This debate may seem to echo that of Ancient Egypt but there is a serious difference since the history of the so-called Moors is closer to modern times and there is no paucity of evidence–not limited to archaeological digs.2)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAYcQWL27hM Now for the popular garden variety Afrocentics no volume of text will change their minds. To disagree makes you an enemy of their idea of truth regardless of how refined your argument is. That mindset is no different to that of the likes of David Duke and Stormfront who with most Eurocentrics deny the African origins of Ancient Egypt. Appropriating other people’s contribution, in this case Islamic history, is wrong. It becomes vulgar when the very people who do so are largely Islamophobic and dedicated to demonizing the Islamic faith, the very faith that built Andalusia which they now try to claim.
They do not read beyond memes, and orphan quotes, they do not care for truth, scholarship or anything that contradicts what makes them feel good about themselves. They do not even read the work of Afrocentric scholars like Van Sertima or John Jackson. They will reference Stanley Poole but have they read his book? It is ironic that the very thing that has happened to African history (at the hands of Eurocentric racist) is the very same thing they do by twisting and bending history. In addition to this what is sad that most of these people in favor of alarmist race-centrism do not read. They have never left YouTube because this info is not hidden, then how is it others can so easily bring oodles of evidence and all they can say is “”You are wrong you need to do more research”. Can any of them make any sort of references to actually scholarship? Can any of them read Arabic, Latin or Greek sources? And why are all the arguments so binary? With little nuance or dialectic reasoning. 3)also known as the dialectical method, is at base a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned arguments.
Now there is this a person going by the name of Othello man on Wikipedia who tried to extend the definition of Moors to include West African Muslims and Africans in general as being part of Islamic Spain’s dynasties. All of his edits are reverted by White admins (as is common on Wikipedia which is largely a Eurocentric outpost posing using terms like neutral point of view and reliable sources to secure Eurocentrism as solid scholarship). Now Othello man is correct, but also wrong. And this is the state many Africans find themselves in. He is 100% correct that native Africans made up a percentage of the Almoravid Dynasty but where he is failing is in understanding a belief or an opinion–even when correct is not scholarship. The sources do not say this, so you need to do deeper research to prove your case. And this is why Europeans are able to easily run circles around African history and keep us on the outside because we do not understand rigorous scholarship nor do we have the patience to adhere to its methods. It is not enough to say Ivan Van Setima says they was an African component because where did Van Setima get his information from? Did he have a time-machine? Did he conduct a seance and speak with them? So while we can respect his scholarship ultimately we need to read his work and look at his primary sources and the methods he used to get to this conclusion.
But a show called Time Team did visit Spain and in a grave discovered side by side both the skulls of Africans and Arabs. 4)It is important to note that this skull science is not serious scholarship because if you look at the skull of Ethiopians they can easily be mistaken for Arabs, the same is true for Somali people and Tutsi people as well as many groups in the Sahel like the Tuareg. This Skull science in this instance only serves the purpose of illustrating that skulls were found that could only be African.Clearly showing the population of “Moorish” Spain was mixed. We do not know the exact percentage of the mixture nor are we clear of the roles Africans played in the society from this Time Team evidence. We do know everyone was Muslim and equal. Further research does show that at different periods Africans did rule over Islamic Spain according to Dr. Hakim Quick.5)As soon as a reference is ready we will post it
MOORS = BLACK PEOPLE?
I just read an article by a popular Afrocentric online sensational site where it claimed the Moorish civilization was a Black civilization. In the brief text it did not mention the word Muslim once, and considering that is the most defining quality of the so-called Moors in Spain it is suspect that it was eliminated, the same way Whites eliminated the contributions of Muslims to the Renascence. Yet on the same site is an article about the Arab Slave Trade where the word Muslim was lavished in every crevice. They cherrypick selective quotes from Islamophobic Chancellor Williams 6)Chancellor Williams is one of the first Black Orientalist who demonized Muslims as being agents in the destruction of African civilizations, it is ironic how quickly he claims Islamic accomplishment when it suits his race-centric agenda. No wonder his followers avoid mentioning that Andalusia was an Islamic civilization especially when his book cover shows the Arab conquest of Egypt. The same conquest that went on to Spain to created the coveted Andalusian empire to Shakespeare to establish that Moor means Black, as in Black people without any disclaimer that Shakespeare could be referring to any non-White group, black here is relative to being White. In this case the ”non-white’ Islamic other.
Now Moor did mean Black, but here is what you need to know. Black does not mean only African people the people called Black in America and South Africa. Europeans used the term Moor for non-Whites particularly non-White and Muslim; like the term Saracen. Even people on Sri Lanka were called Moors, and I do not think we include them in the so-called Black race. Historically we see the word come up in Greek and Latin sources, 7)οἰκοῦσι δ᾽ ἐνταῦθα Μαυρούσιοι μὲν ὑπὸ τῶν Ἑλλήνων λεγόμενοι, Μαῦροι δ᾽ ὑπὸ τῶν Ῥωμαίων καὶ τῶν ἐπιχωρίων “Here dwell a people called by the Greeks Maurusii, and by the Romans and the natives Mauri” Strabo, Geographica 17.3.2. Lewis and Short, Latin Dictionary, 1879 s.v. “Mauri”8)http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0059%3Aentry%3DMauriand while it may mean black, black does not mean exclusive to modern day African people. In later usage it was like Negro and Nigger it was used disparagingly (quoting John Jackson). 9) Introduction to The Story of the Moors in Spain (1990)10)Menocal, María Rosa (2002). Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain. Little, Brown
We need to then clear up some identity politics before we go on. The native people of Africa are called Africans, not Sub-Saharan Africans or Black Africans–just Africans. 11)African RaceThis generally excludes modern day Arabs and Berber groups, it obviously excludes Europeans in Kenya and South Africa. We need to secure this definition so it does not float around to serve any race-centric cause (may that cause by Afrocentic or Eurocentric). Because the word Moor can mean Africans, does not mean the European reference to Moor meant that Islamic Spain was an African empire. When it is historically shown that Berbers–in this case brown to white skinned non-Africans–were also called Moors. (see photo). They made up the majority of the so-called Moorish civilization, and were more often than not non-Africans. And for those who highlight that the modern Berber populations are mixed, well this mixing did not happen recently. It happened long before Muslims conquered Spain, it pre-dates Islam and goes way back to Ancient times (50,000 years ago). 12)Loosdrecht, Marieke van de; Bouzouggar, Abdeljalil; Humphrey, Louise; Posth, Cosimo; Barton, Nick; Aximu-Petri, Ayinuer; Nickel, Birgit; Nagel, Sarah; Talbi, El Hassan (2018-03-15). “Pleistocene North African genomes link Near Eastern and sub-Saharan African human populations” With 12.5% mitochondrial contributions from Native African populations. 13)http://www.stats.gla.ac.uk/~vincent/papers/980656.web.pdf
It is necessary to understand who these people were so that when we see references to them by the Romans and the Greeks we must realize what Moor meant to them (the people using it in the period) not what it means to us living in the 21st century. We cannot simply transplant our modern understanding of race into antiquity and make it suit our modern politics. The word Moor, for most of history has had a broad application but has never been specific in identifying Native African populations while excluding non-African Berbers. It is therefore impossible to suggest Moor means modern day Black people exclusively at any point in the historical record of the word.
HISTORY IS HIDDEN WHEN YOU HIDE IT
The history of Abd al-Rahman, Yusuf ibn Tashfin14)Norris, H. T. (1982). The Berbers in Arabic Literature. Longman. p. 131. , Abdallah ibn Yasin and Ishaq ibn Ali is not hidden. It is detailed in English, Arabic and many languages. And this new trend of sensation myth-ridden click bait is a travesty against true African scholarship. The people behind this are exploitative (even if they have good intentions). They operate without any responsibility to pursue history. History for them is a tool to make themselves famous by being loud and appealing to our ignorance of self. As opposed to elevating Africans with the wondrous scholarship of our ancestors they choose to push loud myths. And Amos Wilson warned against this.
You do nothing for your race by echoing inaccuracies. You cannot honor the work of Diop, Van Sertima, Asante, Karenga, Obenga, or any of them by not continuing to extend their scholarship and being rigorous about how you do it. All of us make errors it is hoped that the person who reads this work can add it to it, make it better, make it more solid for the next generation. Not one honest scholar wants us to discover their errors, and repeat them.
African history is full of glory we do not need to make up stuff, claim Buddha was black and Ancient Chinese empires were black/African to be great. We already have Ancient Egypt, Axum, Sokoto, Nubia on and on. Why not spend time learning more about these places than grabbing what is not ours? And why do we need to claim anything if today we are content not to build again? If you are from the Ancient Egyptians then go into the world and build civilizations, be mathematicians, be scholars, be archaeologist. Then you are like the Ancient Egyptians. For me it is useless going on about any ancient accomplishment while satisfied to be a failed group right now. The past is our motivator, if it does not motivate you to be add to greatness of the past then it has no use in our present.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||sentiment taking from Claiming the past that did not claim you|
|3.||↑||also known as the dialectical method, is at base a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned arguments.|
|4.||↑||It is important to note that this skull science is not serious scholarship because if you look at the skull of Ethiopians they can easily be mistaken for Arabs, the same is true for Somali people and Tutsi people as well as many groups in the Sahel like the Tuareg. This Skull science in this instance only serves the purpose of illustrating that skulls were found that could only be African.|
|5.||↑||As soon as a reference is ready we will post it|
|6.||↑||Chancellor Williams is one of the first Black Orientalist who demonized Muslims as being agents in the destruction of African civilizations, it is ironic how quickly he claims Islamic accomplishment when it suits his race-centric agenda. No wonder his followers avoid mentioning that Andalusia was an Islamic civilization especially when his book cover shows the Arab conquest of Egypt. The same conquest that went on to Spain to created the coveted Andalusian empire|
|7.||↑||οἰκοῦσι δ᾽ ἐνταῦθα Μαυρούσιοι μὲν ὑπὸ τῶν Ἑλλήνων λεγόμενοι, Μαῦροι δ᾽ ὑπὸ τῶν Ῥωμαίων καὶ τῶν ἐπιχωρίων “Here dwell a people called by the Greeks Maurusii, and by the Romans and the natives Mauri” Strabo, Geographica 17.3.2. Lewis and Short, Latin Dictionary, 1879 s.v. “Mauri”|
|9.||↑||Introduction to The Story of the Moors in Spain (1990|
|10.||↑||Menocal, María Rosa (2002). Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain. Little, Brown|
|12.||↑||Loosdrecht, Marieke van de; Bouzouggar, Abdeljalil; Humphrey, Louise; Posth, Cosimo; Barton, Nick; Aximu-Petri, Ayinuer; Nickel, Birgit; Nagel, Sarah; Talbi, El Hassan (2018-03-15). “Pleistocene North African genomes link Near Eastern and sub-Saharan African human populations”|
|14.||↑||Norris, H. T. (1982). The Berbers in Arabic Literature. Longman. p. 131.|