New Book: Blood and Faith (Matthew Carr)


In 1609, the entire Muslim population of Spain was given three days to leave Spanish territory or else be killed. In a brutal and traumatic exodus, entire families were forced to abandon the homes and villages where they had lived for generations. In just five years, Muslim Spain had effectively ceased to exist: an estimated 300,000 Muslims had been removed from Spanish territory making it what was then the largest act of ethnic cleansing in European history. Blood and Faith is a riveting chronicle of this virtually unknown episode, set against the vivid historical backdrop of Muslim Spain. It offers a remarkable window onto a little-known period in modern Europe-a rich and complex tale of competing faiths and beliefs, of cultural oppression and resistance against overwhelming odds.

Morisca in Street Dress by German artist Christoph Weiditz in 1529. Photograph: Public Domain

More about the book

Carr, the author of A History of Terrorism, charts this steady breakdown, though without demonising either Christian or Muslim. He suggests that the growth of mutual mistrust and the spiral of increasing violence were the igniting spark of the final expulsion. Yet it is impossible to read this book without sensing its resonance in our own time.

La Expulsión en el Puerto de Denia, painted by Vicente Mostre in 1613. Photograph: Public Domain

In his epilogue, A Warning From History?, Carr’s message is stark. The current language of outrage in Europe — indulging prophecies of imminent demographic doom brought on by fertile Muslims — is heading toward the idea of an “agreeable holocaust”, which is what a 17th-century Dominican friar called Spain’s final solution to its insoluble problem. We should know better. – Andrew Wheatcroft, New York Times

ISBN 9781849048019
Format Paperback
Publication date 2 Feb 2017

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see at more 2 “Spain’s Moriscos: a 400 year old Muslim tragedy is a story for today”

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