Have you ever heard of the term Moor? Who or what was a Moor? Moors were African in origin and descendants of Berbers or Black African Arabs from Northern Africa which some say can date back to 12,000 years BC. One moor in particular I’ve been keenly interested in was General Tariq Ibn Ziyad or Jabal Tariq as he was later called.
In the year 711 A.D. General Ziyad invaded an already broken Iberian Peninsula (the now lands of Portugal & Spain). During these years Spain was going through a type of civil war and was mired (as many European countries were) in the “Dark Ages”. Just for point of reference the Dark Ages were a period of time in Europe of economic deterioration and disruption after the fall of the Roman Empire. Only taking roughly a year to conquer the entire peninsula, the Moors ruled with care. They were not oppressive and allowed the mostly Christian Spaniards to practice their religions if they wished. They also allowed them to own their lands much as had been done prior to Moor rule. What the Moors did do is provide this region of the World with higher learning, Arts & Science, Agriculture, Public Bath houses, gardens and palaces. In fact, Spain proudly became the center “mecca” for learning during these 800 years or rule. It has been argued that the Renaissance Period had its true origins in this region and many Artists, thinkers and scholars would train here only to take their knowledge back home for their own advancement.
If this be true then one must come to the understanding that divinity such as Leonardo Di Vinci, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, & Botticelli all learned and cultivated their art forms from Moors. Is it no wonder why none of our learned books in our schools ever mention the name “Moor”? Why is it that a culture could dominate for almost 1000 years die without much of a trace in our day to day teachings? How is it we are taught so much about the advancements of the Roman Empire yet absolutely nothing of the Moorish Empire? Yet even today if you were to travel to Spain or Portugal you would see clear cut evidence of a people that were lost yet not forgotten. Finally, let us not forget our dear brother Ibn Ziyad heroics in this tale. He fought with such efficiency that the Britain territory Gibraltar is known as Jabal Tariq (meaning Mountain of Tariq) 'til this day! Out of such darkness came such brilliant light from a dark skinned people….long live the “MOOR”