THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA
(From 1483 A.D. to 1492 A.D.)
The Siege and Capture of Malaga.—Chivalry of Ferdinand.—Desperation of the
Moors.—Terms of Capitulation.—Doom of the Captives.—Siege of
Baza.—Influence of the Queen.—Brilliant Pageant.—The Affiance of the
Infanta Isabella.—The Tournament.—Siege of Granada.—Chivalric
Encounters.—Santa Fé.—The Fall of Granada.—The Extinction of the Moorish
Empire in Spain.
 FERDINAND and Isabella now commenced vigorously the enterprise of conquering Granada, and of thus
expelling the Moors from their last foothold in Spain. The city of Malaga, on the coast
of the Mediterranean, was perhaps the strongest of the Moorish fortified towns. It was a
beautiful morning in April, 1487, when Ferdinand, at the head of a formidable host of
forty thousand infantry and twelve thousand cavalry, marched from the fair city of
Cordova upon this renowned campaign. The most chivalric nobles of his realm, on
gayly-caparisoned chargers, had gathered from all quarters of the kingdom to join the
enterprise. In that warm and sunny clime April has all the charms of June in higher
latitudes. 'The fields were full of verdure and bloom, and the groves resounded with
bird-songs. The inhabitants of Cordova were assembled to witness the departure of the
troops, and greeted them, as they defiled through the streets, with acclamations.
The march, through a wild and hilly country, was slow, as the roads were bad, and the
rivers were swollen with excessive rains. On the 17th of April the Spanish army
 sat down before one of the outposts of Malaga, called Velez-Malaga. The Moors were aware
of the importance of this position, and had stationed a very strong force for its defense.
Clouds of soldiers were seen mustering along the heights by day, and their innumerable
camp-fires illumined the horizon by night. The Moors were as brave as the Christians, and
as ably led by their heroic chieftains. The battle on both sides was fiercely urged with
ambuscades and nocturnal sallies, and every other artifice of the most desperate warfare.
One day Ferdinand was dining in his tent, where he commanded a wide view of the field of
conflict, when he saw a party of Christians, who had been sent to fortify an eminence near
the enemy's works, retreating in disorder, hotly pursued by a squadron of moors. The
impetuous king leaped upon his horse, and, though divested of all defensive armor except
his cuirass, rallied his men, and, placing himself at their head, charged gallantly into
the midst of the enemy. Having thrown his lance, he endeavored to draw his sword from its
Scabbard, which hung from the saddle-bow. By some accidental indentation the sword was
held fast, so that he could riot extricate it.
Just then several Moors fell fiercely upon him. He would inevitably have been slain but
for the prompt action of two brave cavaliers who, with their attendants, rushed to his
rescue, and, after a severe skirmish drove off the assailants. The nobles remonstrated
with the king against such wanton exposure of his person, saying that he could serve them
far more effectually with his head than with his hand. Ferdinand replied, in words which
endeared him to the whole army, "I can not stop to calculate chances when my subjects are
periling their lives for my sake."
 Velez-Malaga, after a siege of ten days, fell into the hands of Ferdinand. Then the
Spanish army pressed triumphantly forward to the assault of Malaga itself. This city was
second only to Granada, the capital of the Moorish kingdom. Enjoying one of the finest
harbors upon the Mediterranean, it was the seat of opulence and refinement. In
architectural splendor it was unsurpassed, its splendid mansions being surrounded with
gardens blooming with flowers and sparkling with fountains. A series of fortifications of
massive strength surrounded the city. The suburbs presented a delightful expanse of
gardens fragrant with groves of pomegranate, olive, and orange, while vast vineyards, rich
in time of vintage with blushing grapes, everywhere met the eye. The city was well
provisioned, and abundantly supplied with artillery and ammunition. A renowned Moorish
warrior, Hamet Zeli, was entrusted with the defense of the city, and the place was
garrisoned by picked men, veterans in the hardships and the horrors of war.
Ferdinand first attempted to induce a capitulation by making very liberal offers to the
Moorish commander and his garrison. The heroic reply was returned, "I am stationed here
to defend the place to the last extremity. The Christian king can not offer a bribe large
enough to induce me to betray my trust."
By gradual approaches, Ferdinand encompassed the city by land and by sea. In these
encounters Christian and Moor frequently fought with desperation which could not have been
surpassed by human valor or mortal sinews. Often they threw away their lances,
precipitated themselves upon each other, and grappling, rolled in the death-struggle over
the ground and down the ravines. Neither party either asked for mercy or granted it.
 Early in May the Christian host had gained all the important points, so that the
beleaguered city was encompassed with bristling lines extending over the hills and the
valleys from the sea below to the sea above. At the same time a Spanish fleet blockaded
the port, so as effectually to cut off all communication by water.
We will not attempt to describe the slow operations of the siege, the breaches, the
assaults, the repulses, the invasion of the plague, the hopes, and the many fears. At
last Ferdinand, to cheer his soldiers, who were beginning to despond, sent for Isabella to
join him. The young and beautiful queen, with a brilliant train of ladies and cavaliers,
repaired to the camp of Ferdinand. An imposing escort was sent out to meet her, and she
was conducted with great magnificence of parade and with every demonstration of joy to
the quarters prepared for her. The presence of the queen not only inspired the soldiers
with new hopes, but induced gallant young men from all quarters to throng the camp. It was
the age of chivalry, and thousands were eager to fight beneath the eye and to win the
smile of a queenly woman.
The assault was now renewed with heavier ordnance, and more fiercely than ever. The Moors,
conscious that the fall of Malaga would probably prove to them a fatal blow, fought with
all the desperation which pride or religious zeal could inspire. The determination of the
combatants may be inferred from the following incident:
A party of Moors attempted to hew their way through the Christian lines into the city. A
few succeeded. Many were cut to pieces. One was made prisoner. He begged to be conducted
to the tent of Ferdinand and Isabella, as he could communicate important information. He
 To the royal tent. It was early in the afternoon, and Ferdinand was taking a nap. The
queen deferred the audience until her husband should awake, and directed the captive to be
conducted to an adjoining tent.
It so happened that this tent was occupied by Isabella's intimate friend, Dona Beatrice de
Bobadilla, the heroic lady of whom we have above spoken who threatened to poniard the
infamous grand-master of Calatrava if he should venture to appear demanding Isabella for
his bride. Beatrice was conversing with a Portuguese nobleman. The Moor did not understand
the Castilian language. Deceived by the rich attire, the regal figures, and the courtly
bearing of these personages, he mistook them for Ferdinand and Isabella.
Watching his opportunity, while pretending to refresh himself with a glass of water, he
drew a concealed dagger from beneath this mantle, and, darting upon the nobleman, gave him
a severe wound in the head. Then, springing like a panther upon Beatrice, he endeavored to
bury the dagger to its hilt in her side. Fortunately the point was turned by the heavy
embroidery of her robes, and she was save from death. Attendants, alarmed by the shrieks
of Beatrice, rushed upon the wrench, and he was instantly cut down. His mangled remains an
hour after were hurled by a ponderous catapult, through the air and over the walls into
the city. The Moors took barbaric revenge by immediately slaying a Spanish gentleman,
binding the bloody corpse astride a mule, and driving the animal, thus laden, out of the
gates into the Christian camp.
Famine at length commenced it hideous reign in the crowded streets of Malaga. An incessant
cannonade had consumed most of the ammunition of the besieged. From
 all parts of the peninsula Spanish volunteers swarmed to swell the ranks of the besieging
army, till their numbers amounted, according to different estimates, from sixty to ninety
thousand men. Religious discipline was rigorously enacted. Neither oaths nor gambling were
allowed, and all women of immoral character were banished from the lines. The exercises of
religion, in accordance with the rites of the Roman Catholic Church, were performed with
the most imposing splendor.
Ferdinand, yielding to the solicitations of the queen to spare as much as possible the
lives of his soldiers, had endeavored to starve the garrison into submission, avoiding the
slaughter which would inevitably attend an assault. But as the months rolled on, and there
were no signs of capitulation, preparations were made to storm the works. Immense towers
were built on wheels, to be rolled up to the ramparts. Galleries were dug to sap the
walls. But the Moors were as vigilant as the Christians were enterprising. Along the
ramparts, underneath the ground, and upon the sea the battle raged without intermission.
The Moors, by the desperation of their defense, won the admiration of their enemies.
"Who," exclaims one of the Christian annalists of the times, "does not marvel at the bold
heart of these infidels in battle, their prompt obedience to their chiefs, their dexterity
in the wiles of war, their patience under privation, and undaunted perseverance in their
Gradually the Christians gained ground until they succeeded in blowing up a tower, and
thus obtaining a pass into the city. Three months of the siege had passed away. The
citizens of Malaga, suffering from famine and pestilence, were in despair. For some time
they had been
liv-  ing upon nothing but the flesh of horses, dogs, and cats. Many were dying in the streets.
Everywhere there was presented the most appalling aspect of starvation, misery, and death.
The inhabitants demanded capitulation. In view of their sufferings, Hamet Zeli humanely
gave the citizens permission to make the best terms they could with their conqueror. A
deputation was accordingly sent to the Christian camp; but Ferdinand would listen to no
terms but unconditional surrender.
After a tumultuous debate, in which counsels were inspired by despair, the deputation
returned to Ferdinand with the declaration that they were willing to resign to him the
city, the fortifications, and all the property, if he would spare their lives and give
them their freedom.
"If these terms are refused," said they, "we will take the six hundred Christian captives
who are in our hands, and hang them like dogs over the battlements. We will then inclose
our old men, women, and children in the fortress, set fire to the town, and sell our
lives as dearly as possible in the attempt to cut our way through our enemies. Thus, if
you gain a victory, it shall be such a one as will make the name of Malaga ring throughout
the world to ages yet unborn."
Unintimidated by these threats, Ferdinand firmly replied, "If a single hair of a
Christian's head is harmed, I will put to the sword every man, woman, and child in the
The whole population anxiously thronged the gates to hear the reply of the embassy on its
return. Gloom and despair sat upon every countenance. Some in their frenzy were in favor
of resorting to the most violent measures. But in the end moderate councils prevailed, and
de-  cided to cast themselves upon the mercy of Ferdinand. The city was unconditionally
surrendered. The Spanish troops, in all the triumphant pageantry of war, entered the city,
and the banners of Christian Spain were proudly unfurled from all its towers.
It was the eighteenth day of August, 1487. Ferdinand and Isabella, with great military and
ecclesiastical pomp, repaired to the cathedral, where the Te Deum was for the first time
performed within its walls, and the whole Spanish army prostrated itself in ceremonial
adoration before the Lord of hosts. The Christian captives were liberated from the Moorish
dungeons. Dreadful was the spectacle they presented. All eyes were bathed in tears, as
this band of sufferers, haggard, emaciate, heavily manacled with chains, were brought from
the dark cells, where many of them had lingered for ten or fifteen years, and were led
into the presence of the sovereigns who had redeemed them. They were addressed by
Ferdinand and Isabella in kindest words of sympathy, and were dismissed with rich
The heroic chieftain, Zegri, who had so gallantly defended the place, was brought, loaded
with fetters, to the tent of his conquerors. Upon being asked why he had so obstinately
persisted in his rebellion, he replied, "Because I was commissioned to defend the place to
the last extremity. And if I had been properly supported, I would have died sooner than
And now came the doom pronounced by the Christian upon the Moor. The whole population of
the city, men, women, and children, were assembled in the great square. The surrounding
ramparts, overlooking the scene, were garrisoned by the Spanish soldiers. First, the whole
 population of the city was consigned to perpetual slavery. Then one-third of these slaves was
selected to be sent to Africa in exchange for an equal number of Christian captives
detained there. Another portion was sold to the highest bidders, to obtain indemnity for
the expenses of the war. The remainder were distributed to friends of the court. The Holy
Father at Rome received a gift of one hundred carefully selected Moorish soldiers, whom he
incorporated into his guard, and whom he succeeded by argument, menaces, or bribes, more
probably by all united, to convert into "good Christians."
The Moorish girls were renowned for their personal loveliness. Fifty of the most beautiful
damsels were sent by Isabella as a present to the Queen of Naples, and thirty were sent to
the Queen of Portugal. Thus the whole population of Malaga was disposed of. All the
property of the victims, whether consisting of lands, jewels, or plate, were seized by the
Crown. It is estimated that the population within the walls of Malaga at the time of the
capture amounted to not less than twenty thousand. Humanity recoils in view of the utter
ruin which thus overwhelmed them. And yet their doom, dreadful as it appears, was deemed
mild, in the estimate of that barbaric age. It is said that Isabella was urged by her
spiritual guides to put every man, woman, and child to the sword, as a warning to others.
When we reflect that not four hundred years have elapsed since such scenes were enacted by
the very best court then in Europe, it must be admitted that the world has made progress.
Malaga, thus depopulated, was immediately filled again with the subjects of Isabella. The
tide of Christian population flowed rapidly into the city, as houses and lands
 were freely given to those who would take possession of them. The Spanish soldiers, elate
with the success of their brilliant campaign, returned to Cordova, there to enjoy a
winter's repose, and to prepare to resume their conquests in the spring.
In the autumn the royal couple made a visit to Ferdinand's kingdom of Aragon. Early in
the summer of the next year Ferdinand took the command of a small army of twenty thousand,
and directed his march from the east upon the city of Granada, the capital of the Moorish
kingdom of the same name. The campaign was a failure. The Christians were driven back,
and the exasperated Moors pursued them into their own territories, plundering and
destroying in all directions. Undismayed by this reverse, Ferdinand and Isabella prepared
to prosecute the war, in the following year, on a grander scale. An army of eighty
thousand infantry and fifteen thousand cavalry was collected. The cavalry was composed of
the highest nobility of the realm, knights who, magnificently mounted and attended by
stately retinues, composed a military arm which has never had its superior.
The advance of this host was first upon Baza from the east. As the Christian troops
surmounted the summit of the ridge of hills which border the west of the beautiful valley
in which the city reposes, they were charmed with the vision of loveliness which was
spread out before them. The city, brilliant in the gorgeous display of Moorish
architecture, was encompassed with groves, gardens, and villas, which were rendered doubly
attractive at the time by the bloom and verdure of opening summer. The fortifications of
the city were of great strength. Twenty thousand disciplined men garrisoned them. The town
 for fifteen months, and the troops were ordered to bold it to the last extremity.
The Moors bravely sallied from their walls to meet the Christians upon the fields in front
of the city, in the midst of gardens, pleasure-houses, precipitous ravines, and dense
masses of foliage. The battle raged for twelve hours, the troops being often lost in
groves and valleys, from the view of their commanders, and frequently engaging in a
hand-to-hand combat. Gradually the Moors were driven back behind their intrenchments, and
the Christians encamped upon the field. The conflict had however been so severe and
sanguinary that, in the morning, Ferdinand found it necessary to withdraw his troops to
their former position, and to convene a council of war. The council advised, in view of
the difficulties which had been developed, to abandon the siege of Baza until some of the
surrounding places had been captured. Ferdinand, fully conscious of the commanding mental
endowments of the Queen, sent dispatches to her at Jaen, soliciting her opinion. The reply
she returned was so encouraging in its tone and so cogent in argument, that it reanimated
New vigor was immediately infused into the whole Christian army. Four thousand troops,
carefully protected from assault, were employed in cutting down the groves; trenches were
dug, ramparts reared, and the city on one side was thus completely invested. Still the
work went on. In less than two months, by herculean labor, an unbroken line of
circumvallation was constructed around the whole city. In the mean time there were daily
skirmishes and chivalric personal encounters between the equally brave and high-spirited
knights on either side.
The summer passed away, and the cool breezes of
 autumn came, foreboding the chill gales and driving rains of winter. Ferdinand ordered a
thousand huts to be built for his soldiers. Suddenly a city sprang up of apparently
substantial dwellings, with its streets and squares laid out in regular order. The
inhabitants of Baza gazed with amazement upon the vision which seemed, as if by magic, to
unfold itself before them. Engaged in these works, and in almost an incessant battle, five
months had glided swiftly away.
And now the black and menacing clouds of winter began to gather upon the brows of the
mountains. Providence seemed to bring its battalions to the aid of the Moors. A tempest
of terrible severity swept the plains, tearing into shreds the canvas tents which remained
standing, and sweeping away many of the more substantial edifices reared for the soldiers.
The rain fell in floods, and, rushing down the rocky sides of the mountains, inundated
the camp of the besiegers. The roads were so gullied as to be rendered almost impassable,
and for a time the line of communication between Jaen and the army of Ferdinand was
completely cut off.
The energetic queen was ever at hand in hours of disaster. She immediately dispatched six
thousand pioneers to repair the roads by constructing causeways, rebuilding bridges, and
filling up the gullies. Two roads were soon in good condition, along which Isabella
forwarded ample supplies to her husband. She also raised large loans to meet the expenses
of the war, and even pawned the crown jewels and her own personal ornaments.
But no signs of despondency appeared among the besieged. They had an ample supply of
provisions, and their courage was unwavering. The Moorish women
man-  ifested as much zeal in defense of their cause as even Isabella had exhibited in behalf
of the Christian banners. At length the Spanish troops began to despond, and Isabella was
sent for to revive their waning courage by her presence. On the 7th of November, the
queen, accompanied by her daughter Isabella, several ladies of honor, a choir of beautiful
maidens, and a brilliant escort, entered the camp of Ferdinand.
The inhabitants of Baza crowded their walls and towers, to gaze upon the glittering
pageant as it wound its way through the defiles of the mountains and emerged upon the
plain, with gold embroidered banners and strains of martial music. The Spanish cavaliers
sallied forth in a body from their camp, to receive their beloved queen and to greet her
with an enthusiastic reception. The presence of this extraordinary woman, in whose
character there was combined, with feminine grace, so much of manly self-reliance and
energy, not only reanimated the drooping spirits of the besiegers, but convinced the
besieged that the Spanish army would never withdraw until the place was surrendered.
Though there was no want of food for the beleaguered Moors, their ammunition was nearly
expended, and the garrison was greatly reduced by sickness, wounds, and death.
Soon after the arrival of the queen, the Moorish garrison, much to the joy, and not a
little to the surprise of Ferdinand, proposed to capitulate. So eager was the king to get
possession of the place without a continuation of the struggle, that he acceded to terms
of capitulation which allowed the garrison to march out with the honors of war, and the
citizens to retire with their personal property wherever they pleased. On the 4th of
Ferdi-  nand and Isabella took possession of Baza, celebrating their great victory with all the
most imposing pageants of civil, religious, and military display.
The fall of Baza secured the surrender of many other of the most important strongholds of
the Moors in the eastern part of the kingdom of Granada. Thus the campaign was so
eminently successful, as not only to elate all Christian Spain, but also to send a thrill
of joy throughout Christendom. In the spring of the year 1490 the queen's eldest child,
Isabella, was affianced to Alonso, heir to the crown of Portugal. Isabella was a tender
mother, and so fondly loved this gentle and affectionate child that the thought of
separation from her was exceedingly painful.
The ceremony of affiance took place at Seville, in the midst of rejoicings which were
magnified by the triumphant campaign from which Ferdinand and Isabella had but just
returned. The fetes which were got up in honor of the occasion attracted to Seville a very
brilliant assembly of high-born ladies and renowned cavaliers from all parts of the
peninsula. A smooth and beautiful plain upon the banks of the Guadalquiver was selected as
the arena for the chivalric display. Galleries of ascending seats were reared, draped with
satin and cloth of gold, and sheltered from the sun by silken awnings richly embroidered
with the armorial bearings of the old Castilian families.
The spectacle was as brilliant as the art and opulence of the fifteenth century could
create. Isabella, with the beautiful young bride, occupied the central position. They were
attended by seventy of the noblest ladies of the realm in splendid and costly attire,
while a hundred pages, fresh and blooming, in picturesque costume, augmented the fairy
like character of the scene. The tournament was thronged
 by the proudest cavaliers of Castile and Aragon, old and young, magnificently mounted, and
with long trains of followers. Ferdinand himself, who was alike renowned for bravery,
horsemanship, and military prowess, broke several lances on the occasion.
In the evening the somewhat perilous feats of mimic warfare gave place to the more
effeminate pleasures of music and dancing. After long familiarity with the stern hardships
of war, all seemed to enjoy the return to scenes of festivity. The young, beautiful, and
loving bride was escorted by a splendid retinue to Portugal. Her dowry was so great as to
attract the special and admiring remark of the chroniclers of those times. Her husband,
the prince Alonso, was young, chivalric, affectionate, and the heir of an important crown.
But man is born to mourn. The palace as well as the cottage is exposed to the inevitable
"Sorrow is for the sons of men,
And weeping for earth's daughters."
But a few months passed away ere Alonso was thrown from his horse, fatally wounded, and
soon died. Isabella was left, a heart-broken widow, with every joy of earth blighted.
Granada, the capital of the Moorish kingdom, was still in the hands of the Moors; and,
upon the withdrawal of the armies of Ferdinand, many other strong places, which had for a
time bowed to his supremacy, assumed the attitude of revolt. Ferdinand again raised an
army, variously estimated at from fifty to eighty thousand horse and foot, and on the 26th
of April, 1491, encamped within six miles of the battlements of Granada. Scenes of war's
pomp and pageantry, as well as of its misery, ensued, which have
 tasked the pens of the historian and of the poet, and to which the artist has in vain
endeavored to do justice on canvas.
Abdallah, the king of the Spanish Moors, was in personal command at Granada. The city was
admirably situated for defense, and was supported by the strongest fortresses which the
military art of the time could rear. Crowded by immigration from the surrounding country,
the city presented a population of two hundred thousand souls. Twenty thousand of the
proudest and the bravest of the Moslem cavaliers, who had passed through the perils of
innumerable battles, aided in garrisoning the works. A wild, rugged mountain barrier,
whose summits were white with ice and snow, protected the city upon the south. On the
north, .an undulating plain, blooming with flowers, rich in gardens, groves, and
vineyards, spread out, over a distance of thirty leagues, towards the setting sun. The
towers and walls of the city, facing this plain, were of such massive solidity as seemed
to bid defiance to any assault.
Upon this arena the most attractive exhibitions of human nature—heroism, chivalric
courtesy, and magnanimity—were blended with the most revolting scenes of
destruction and carnage, investing the fall of Granada with deathless renown. At times a
company of Moors, incased in steel, mounted upon the proudest Arabian chargers, would ride
forth from the gates, while bugle-blasts echoed over the hills and plains, and challenge
an equal number of Christian knights to mortal combat. Promptly the defiance was ever
met. The housetops, battlements, and towers of Granada would be crowded with interested
spectators, gazing upon the exciting spectacle. Both armies would lean upon their
weapons, awaiting, without any
 interference, the issue of the strife, until the one party or the other was destroyed.
Again a single knight, glittering in armor, and mounted upon a steed proudly caparisoned,
would ride forth from the ranks of the Christians, and challenge any Moorish cavalier to
meet him in single combat.
The level ground in front of the walls of Granada was the arena where these warriors,
inspired by the highest principles of humor, met to display their prowess in the presence
of both armies. The ladies of the two hostile courts each cheered their respective
champion with smiles, as they awaited, with throbbing hearts, the event of the conflict,
which was always the death of the one or the other. The victor retired, amidst shouts of
applause from his friends, with the horse and the accoutrements of his slain antagonist,
as the trophies of his victory.
Isabella witnessed all these scenes from the Spanish camp. She was accompanied by her
children, and ever attended by a train of courtly ladies, selected for their birth and
beauty, and embellished with the most picturesque and richest costume of the day. The
memory of these brilliant yet deadly tourneys still inspires the songs of the Castilians.
"The Spanish ballads glow with picturesque details of these knightly tourneys, forming the
most romantic minstrelsy, which, celebrating the prowess of Moslem as well as Christian
warriors, sheds a dying glory round the last hours of Granada."'
Isabella took an active part in all the military operations, developing martial genius
which commanded the respect of her ablest chieftains. She often appeared upon the field
mounted on a splendid steed and incased in full
 armor, inspiring, wherever she appeared, the enthusiasm of the troops. Upon one occasion
an accident occurred which came near proving fatal to the life of the queen. It was a
sultry night in July. The blazing sun of Southern Spain had so thoroughly dried all
combustible matter as to convert the camp into a tinder-box which a spark would throw into
Isabella occupied a pavilion very richly draped with flowing hangings. A gust of wind blew
some fringe into the flame of a lamp, and the whole pavilion was almost instantly in a
blaze. It was midnight. All were asleep except the sentinels. The trumpet immediately
sounded to arms. It was supposed that the Moors had made a sortie. Instantly, with clang
of weapons and loud outcries, both hosts rushed to their appointed positions marshaled for
battle. The flames, fanned by the wind, spread from tent to tent with fearful rapidity,
and the peril for a time was great that the whole camp would vanish in a general
conflagration. The queen and her children were rescued with the greatest difficulty. At
length the fire was extinguished. But nearly all the tents of the nobility, which
surrounded the pavilion of the queen, were destroyed, and with them a vast amount of
property in jewels, plate, and other costly decorations.
To guard against the recurrence of such a calamity, the king ordered a city to be built of
substantial houses upon the spot occupied by his army. Only enough soldiers were reserved
from the work to act as a guard. Every other man was employed in the peaceful labor of
creating, not destroying. In three months a large and stately city arose, with its
substantial houses, stables, gardens, its broad avenues, its thronged thoroughfares. The
soldiers wished to
 call it Isabella. But the queen, modestly declining the honor, named it Santa Fe, in
devout recognition of her faith in Divine Providence. The city still stands, a monument
of the martial energies of those times, "the only city," writes a Spanish annalist, "which
has never been contaminated by the Moslem heresy."
As this city, in its enduring strength, rose rapidly upon the plain, the hearts of the
Moorish chieftains were smitten with dismay. It was demonstration to them that the war was
to be permanent until the Crescent in Spain should everywhere give place to the Cross. The
inhabitants of Granada, beginning to feel the pressure of famine, were in despair, in view
of the miseries of starvation, pestilence, and death which must inevitably ensue. The
Moorish king, convinced that the place could not be much longer maintained, sent a
messenger by night, and with the utmost secrecy, to negotiate for the surrender. The
martial Moors, ever hoping for re-enforcements from Africa which Abdallah knew could not
reach them, were unwilling to entertain a thought of capitulation. The conferences were
consequently conducted with the greatest caution, sometimes in a retired cottage about
three miles from the city, and again in a chamber within the walls of Granada. The terms
were at length concluded.
The city, its artillery, and fortifications were all to be surrendered to the Christians,
and the whole region was to become subject to the Spanish sway. The Moorish inhabitants
of the territory of Granada, though under the control of a Spanish governor, were to
retain their mosques and the free exercises of their religion; they were also to be
unmolested in their ancient usages, and were to be permitted to retain their language and
style of dress. Their
 property was to be respected, and they were to enjoy the liberty of migrating whenever and
wherever they pleased. A small mountainous territory in the midst of the Alpuxarras
Mountains was assigned to the unfortunate King Abdallah, where he was to reign as
governor, doing homage to the Christian crown.
When the Moors were informed of the terms of the capitulation, which ended forever the
Moorish dominion in Spain, the exasperation was so great as to give rise to an
insurrection in the city which menaced the life of Abdallah. The surrender was
consequently hurried, and took place on the 2d of January, 1492. This last great act in
one of the sublimest of historical dramas—the invasion of Spain by the
Moors—was performed with the most imposing martial and religious rites. The
Alhambra was first taken possession of by veteran Christian troops, including the
body-guard of the king.
Ferdinand, surrounded by a very brilliant cortege glittering in polished armor, took his
station near an Arabian mosque, now called the Hermitage of St. Sebastian. At a short
distance in the rear the queen, Isabella., took her position, accompanied by a no less
splendid retinue, her high-born warriors proudly displaying the armorial bearings of their
families. The immense column of the Christian army commenced its march up the Hill of
Martyrs into the city. Abdallah, accompanied by fifty cavaliers, passed them, descending
the hill to make the surrender of himself to Ferdinand. The heart-broken Moor threw
himself from his horse, and would have seized the hand of Ferdinand, kissing it in token
of homage, but the Christian king magnanimously spared him the humiliation, and threw his
arms around the deposed monarch in a respectful and affection
 ate embrace. Abdallah then presented the keys of the Alhambra to the conqueror, saying,
"They are thine, O king, since Allah so decrees it. Use thy success with clemency and
He then, not waiting for the words of consolation which the king was about to utter, rode
on to offer the same acts of submission and homage to Queen Isabella. In the mean time the
Castilian army, winding slowly up the hill and around the walls, entered the city by the
gate of Los Molinos. The large silver cross which Ferdinand had ever borne with him in
his crusade against the Moors was now elevated upon the Alhambra, while the banners of the
conqueror were proudly unfurled from its towers.
It was the signal for the whole army to fall upon its knees in recognition of that
Providence which had granted them so signal a victory. The solemn strains of the Te Deum,
performed by the choir of the royal chapel, then swelled majestically over the prostrate
host. The Spanish grandees now gathered around Isabella, and kneeling, kissed her hand in
recognition of her sovereignty as queen of Granada.
THE LAST SIGH OF THE MOOR.
The Moorish king did not tarry to witness these painful scenes. With his small retinue he
rapidly continued his route towards the mountains of Alpuxarras in the east. Here, upon
one of the rocky eminences, he stopped his horse, and looked sadly back upon the beautiful
realms over which his ancestors had reigned for a period of seven hundred and forty-one
years. The emotions which the scene was calculated to inspire so overcame him that, after
an ineffectual struggle to repress his feelings, he burst into tears. His mother, in cruel
reproach, exclaimed, "You do well to weep as a woman for what you could not defend
 like a man."
"Alas!" rejoined the king, "when were woes ever equal to mine!"
The bluff from which the king cast his last, lingering, tearful look upon the fair realms
of Granada is still pointed out to the tourist. It is called by the appropriate name of
El Ultimo Sospiro del Moro—"The Last Sigh of the Moor." The heart of Abdailah was
broken. For a few months he pined away in his narrow and barren domain until, unable to
endure such a reverse any longer, almost in sight of the theatre of his ancient glory and
power, he the next year sold out his petty sovereignty to Ferdinand and Isabella for a
small sum of money, and retiring across the sea, soon fell in battle in the service of an
The fall of Granada, terminating the Moorish dominion in Spain, was hailed with rejoicing
throughout all Christendom. The Pope and his cardinals celebrated the event with all the
appliances of religious pomp in the Cathedral of St. Peter. Corrupt as was the
Christianity of those days, it probably contained within itself elements of progress not
to be found in the religion of the Moors. The following sentiments are from the pen of one
of the most illustrious historians of the events of those days: "With all our sympathy
for the conquerors, it is impossible, without a deep feeling of regret, to contemplate the
decay and final extinction of a race who had made such high advances in civilization as
the Spanish Arabs, to see them driven from the stately palaces reared by their own hands,
wandering as exiles over the lands, which still blossomed with the fruits of their
industry, and wasting away under persecution until their very name as a nation was
blotted from the map of history."
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