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Moriscos(môrĭs`kōz) [Span.,=Moorish], Moors converted to Christianity after the Christian reconquest (11th–15th cent.) of Spain. The Moors who had become subjects of Christian kings as the reconquest progressed to the 15th cent. were called Mudéjares. They remained Muslim, and their religion and customs were generally respected. After the fall of Granada (1492), Cardinal Jiménez converted many Moors by peaceful means. However, the rigorous treatment of those who refused conversion or apostatized from the new faith led to an uprising (1500–1502) in Granada. This was soon suppressed. Faced with choosing between conversion or banishment, the majority accepted conversion, but many continued secretly to practice Islam. The Moriscos at times provided the Ottoman Turks with information facilitating Turkish raids on the Spanish coast. Persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition and subjected to restrictive legislation (1526, 1527), the Moriscos rose in a bloody rebellion (1568–71), which Philip II put down with the help of John of Austria. The Moriscos prospered in spite of persecutions and furthered Spanish agriculture, trade, and industries. However, in 1609 Philip III, influenced by Lerma, decreed their expulsion for both religious and political reasons.
See H. C. Lea, The Moriscos of Spain (1901, repr. 1969).
the members of the Muslim population who remained in Spain after the fall of the emirate of Granada in 1492.
Forcibly converted to Christianity, the majority of Moriscos continued to profess Islam in secret. They were harshly persecuted by the Inquisition and were forbidden to use Arabic or to give their children Arabic names; Arabic books were burned. Tens of thousands of Moriscos perished on the pyres of the Inquisition.
The Morisco rebellion of 1568–70 was ruthlessly crushed, and a considerable number of Moriscos were exiled to the barren interior of Spain. In 1609–10 the Moriscos were expelled from Spain. The majority resettled in North Africa; in Morocco they formed the oligarchic republic of Bou Regreg, which existed from 1627 to 1641, while many others settled along the Algerian coast and in northern Tunisia.
The expulsion of the Moriscos had grave economic consequences for Spain’s southern provinces. At the same time it contributed to the rise of horticulture, irrigated cultivation, and craft industries in Tunisia.