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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Marco Oliverio

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Histories of the Islamic Countries Using Diverse and Sundry Sources:
Volume 4: Granada from 1400 to the Early Industrial Period

**********

Author’s Preface

I and my colleagues writing this series of Histories of the Islamic States are committed to bringing a vast array of sources to the study of the times. We are using the usual royal archives and documents from the period, but we are also anxious to use diaries, private letters, songs, poetry and and other source that sheds some light on the period and the people of the period.

The period, as you no doubt know can be associated with a few over-arching characteristics or themes. Among these are:

  • Unlike earlier periods in history when a single or several countries seemed to be blessed by Dame Fortune (the Egyptians under the major dynasties, the Persians, Alexander the Great, and the Romans in particular, etc.), during this period there seemed to be no Lucky Countries (as I think of them). Instead, each country prospered or failed based on the native capabilities of its rulers and people.

  • From sheer number of wars, revolutions, revolts and the like, what I think of as the Aggressiveness Inclination (AI) of the age was high. Certainly countries (meaning the leaders of those countries in all the varieties that existed) seemed to spring to war with hardly a moment’s thought - sometimes against a neighbor but sometimes against their own people.

  • Consequently, the difficulty of life in this period was definitely Hard. Of course, the wealthy prospered as the wealthy tend to do in all places and times but even they were affected by the various peasant and “loyalist” uprisings that occurred, as we will see through the course of this History.

  • Aside from these particular issues, the normal conditions of life seem to apply.

As a final note, these Histories are covered by the following legal conventions: EU3Complete (covering all European countries and their dependencies), MAC v1.02 (or the Multi-Authority Copyright) and MMP v1.5 (Manhattan Millennium Protocol which covers copyright issues under all other legal entities) - please feel free to contact the University’s legal Department for more information on the details of those if you wish to use any portion of these Histories in schools or other public venues.
 
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Introduction
**********

A short prehistory to set the stage, so to speak, is necessary to understand the positions of strength and weakness that we will see characterize the Emirate of Granada at the opening of the 15th century.

In 711 the first serious invasion of Iberia happened under the leadership of General Tariq ibn-Ziyad, and Umayyad general. Within seven years, most of the Iberian peninsula had capitulated to the invading Arab forces. While public opinion (sadly shared by some of my uninformed colleagues) view Charles Martel’s victory at the Battle of Poitiers in 732 as the check on what seemed to be an invincible and unstoppable Arab/Muslim advance, this of course wasn't the case. As all good scholars know, in the years after 732 the Arabs managed to seize Avignon, Arles and most of the County of Provence. It wasn’t until approximately 760 that the Franks, under Pepin the Short, were able to push the Arabs back across the Pyrenees into Iberia.

By this time, the great upheavals associated with the transition of the ruling power in the Arab heartland from the Umayyad to the Abbasid dynasties had run its course. The arrival of the lone survivor of the Abbasid massacre of the male Umayyads, Abd-ar-Rahman I in al-Andalus inaugurated the first Golden Age of al-Andalus. At it’s height, the Sultanate controlled most of the Iberian Peninsula, with the far northern reaches inhabited by a series of weak Christian principalities and duchies.


In this period the cities of al-Andalus were known throughout the civilized world as being the largest, most beautiful and cultured cities in Europe. They vied with Constantinople, Alexandria, Baghdad and Damascus as eats of learning, sophistication and culture. In fact, some scholars assert that Cordoba surpassed even Constantinople in terms of population in this period. The Emir of Cordoba even declared himself the true Caliph, setting himself up in direct competition with the Abbasid rulers in Baghdad and the Shi’ite caliph in Tunis for the hearts, minds and obedience of Muslims everywhere.

By the turn of the millennium however, al-Andalus began what can only be described as a long decline. The Emirate split into many small “taifa” states. This provided an opening for the Christian statelets strung along the northern spine of Iberia; they seized this opening with vigor and gradually expanded southward by taking advantage of the discord among the various Muslim taifa states.


The southward push of the Christian states (initially Leon, Pamplona and Barcelona, but later including Portugal, Castille and Aragon) was interrupted several times by Arab invasions from Morocco. The first of these was the Almoravid Dynasty which successfully pushed the Christians back after their spectacular victory at the Battle of az-Zallaqah. Their North African and Iberian kingdom protected the Muslim population and ruling classes of Iberia through the 11th century. While this dynasty establish (or re-established) a sense of control, they did not follow the path of the Emirate of Cordoba in terms of learning, culture and sophistication. And while the halted, and even pushed back the limits of Christian control, they were not able to push the Christian statelets back to their historic positions along the northern coast. This failure set up much that would follow in the succeeding centuries.

As Iberia entered the 12th century, the Almoravids were replaced in both Morocco and al-Andalus by the Almohad dynasty.


Although this dynasty asserted control over al-Andalus and even defeated the Christian kingdoms at the Battle of Alarcos, within a decade they suffered a significant defeat at the hands of the combined Christian kingdoms at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. The net effect of this loss was to drive the Almohads out of al-Andalus. A series of taifa states set themselves up in the pattern seen at the fall of the Emirate of Cordoba. In Granada the military commander Muhammad ibn-Nasr (Muhammad I) set himself up as the Emir of Granada, giving birth to the Nasrid dynasty.

The Christian nations rapidly absorbed many of these states and pushed those that remained ever farther south. By 1236, Cordoba was in the hands of the Christians and Granada was the only Muslim state left in al-Andalus - the inheritor, so to speak, of the glories of Al-Andalus and Cordoba.

The only thing that saved Granada and the Nasrid dynasty at this time was the willingness and ability of the Nasrid emirs to make peace, become vassals of, and play the various Christian kingdoms off one another. Although the Kingdom of Castille nibbled away at the territory of Granada for the next century and a half, the Nasrids were able to survive as a ruling dynasty, with 11 Emirs sitting on the throne in the al-Hambra on the hill above Granada. In 1392 Muhammad VII rose to the throne. This is where our story begins.
 
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Marco Oliverio

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The Safeguarding of the Emirate

Domestic Affairs

Before we start looking examining the external activities of Granada under the leadership of Muhammad VII, we should take a quick look at the domestic situation in the Emirate.

Ibn-Rushd, a scholar at the court of the Mamluk sultan visited the Emirate in the final days of the 14th century. He writes:

“Granada, blessed by the smiling face of Allah the Merciful and Compassionate, sits like the garden of Paradise at the base of the snow-topped mountains. The palace of the Emir, called the al-Hamra, sits on the brow of the hill with water flowing around and through its many palaces, pools and fountains. The city spreads out on the plain before it, with parklands, gardens and orchards making it, too, a veritable paradise."

The city was also the largest city in Iberia in terms of population - Christian or Muslim.


In fact, from this and many other records we know that although hemmed in on all sides by Castille and the other Christian nations of Iberia, the Emirate was the most advanced nation in Iberia at the time in terms of technologies of all kinds - warfare, naval, governmental and trade. It was a time of wealth, culture, open-mindedness and multi-culturalism.

Another visitor to the court, ibn-Tariq, noted this in a diary of his travels:
“The Emir, Muhammad, Blessed be his Name, saw himself as another Abd-ar-Rahman. He set about to raise an army for Allah. He gloried in service to Allah and brought the people back to Him. He soothed the hearts the people, kept the devil at bay across the border, brought wealth and prestige back to the land. In an effort to undo the damage to culture and knowledge inflicted on the people by the Almohads, a backward, close-minded and warlike dynasty, the Emir welcomed back the Jews to Granada. While the common man didn't easily accept this change, the Emir was strong in his resolve to restore the former glories of al-Andalus and so persevered in his intent."




Royal records from this time also show that Muhammad assumed the leadership of the army of Granada. In a period when leaders of armies often met with violent ends whether against foreign enemies or domestic rebels, this shows the bravery and seriousness of purpose of Muhammad in this period.


Muhammad also reaffirmed the alliance with Castille that his father established. Ibn-Tariq continues,
"In this [the alliance with Castille], I feel that the Emir is dealing with the devil. But it is a devil that sits across the border and threatens the existence of the kingdom and so must be dealt with. May Allah preserve His people and the dar al-Islam in al-Andalus!”

Although the situation of the Emirate seemed precarious, the record shows that the nations of Europe, Christian and Muslim, recognized and rewarded the efforts of Muhammad to revitalize the kingdom.


Religious Affairs

In religious matters, Muhammad VII showed similar wisdom. He wanted the support of Islam in his efforts to support the state, but he didn’t want to have this religious help turn into religious control of the state. It’s very possible (but unsupported by any known document, so merely speculation) that he had the act of Abd-ar-Rahman III in mind - meaning, the declaration of Abd-ar Rahman III when he assumed the title of Caliph. Muhammad very likely was laying a foundation for something similar; we can suppose that the reclamation of the Caliphate title was already inspiring the imagination of Muhammad.

In support of this balance, he elected to support the Maliki branch of Islam.




This branch looked to the citizens of Medina as the ultimate interpreters of Islam. One doesn't have to look long at a map to see the distance between Granada and Medina. But looking at the map, it is easy to see and admire the cleverness of Muhammad in choosing a branch that had a low probability of any interference with the daily religious life of Granada by any religious authority. Medina was just too far away.

Foreign Relations

According to the archival sources we have, throughout the year 1400 Muhammad worked diligently to establish a secure base in terms of relations with all the countries surrounding Granada. He knew that without external stability, internal stability and wealth were not possible. To that end he secured several significant triumphs.




Morocco and Algiers provided international guarantees for the safety of Granada. While Muhammad looked with some skepticism on the guarantees of the North African sultanates (he was not interested in seeing a repeat of the Almoravid or Almohad control of al-Andalus!), he nonetheless welcomed the political and military support of these two nations with their powerful armies and fleets.

More interestingly, and for Muhammad hopeful, was the improvement in relations with France. There is debate among scholars as to the source of these improved relations, but surely it had something to do with French-Aragonese relations.


Regardless of the cause, Muhammad gratefully welcomed the warming of relations with the Franks as a gift from Allah.

At the same time, Castille seems to have been sending mixed signals. While relations remained strong, Castillian forces were built up along the long border with the Emirate.




A final entry from the diary of ibn-Tariq in the year 1400 records this:
“The Christian devils parade their horses and men-at-arms along the border, particularly in the province they call Andalusia! All the dar al-Islam know they flaunt their power over the cities and gardens that Islam built all over al-Andalusia. While their king speaks fine words and promises, his marshals and generals provoke and annoy us with their menacing glances and haughty demeanor. The Emir, may Allah bless him, calmly resists these provocations and counsels patience and trust in Allah the Powerful and Merciful.”

Thus the first year of the new millennium ended for the people and ruler of Granada.
 
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germanpeon

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I think... I think I love you.

This is the best looking AAR I've seen in months, if not years. Excellent choices in the mod, the country, and the format. They're all fantastic!

I can't wait to see what you can do with Granada in its extremely unforgiving position! :cool:

Best of luck.
 

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Another great looking Magna Mundi AAR, this must be a widespread conspiracy to keep me from doing useful things! ;)

I am VERY interested how this turns out. It will probably be hard at the beginning to prevent Castille from steam-rolling you, but later you should be able to take advantage of the inevitable collapse of Spain (which happens in like 90% of MM games :p ). If you trade a lot and modernize, you shouldn't have a problem with keeping up technologically.

BTW, your opening post is hilariously witty :D
 

Tommy4ever

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This is looking very good. I always love the history book AARs.

Good luck surviving Castille :)
 

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Infidels dogs, not devils ;) But they're people of the Book, aren't they? Their conversion to the teachings of the last of the prophets will surely please Allah, The Merciful, greatly :D
 

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Good AAR so far, I will be following this one. Spain is my favourite European country in terms of history - I find all the Taifas and independent states cool. It's sad that as your game opens most have been annexed by Castille, but hopefully Granada will prove to be more successful than any of them.

Good luck! :)
 

Qorten

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Great start! Always nice to see the old Al-Andalus restored to it's full power. Support from North Africa alone won't be enoguh though I'm afraid!
 

unmerged(126169)

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Oh lovey, an AAR as Granada.. A Muslim Spain has always been a goal of mine.. unfortunately I always seem to get swallowed in about 10 years haha

good luck to you in this endeavor
 

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Thanks for all the lovely comments - this is my first attempt in a LONG time to write an AAR. I'm a little scared! :wacko:

Anyway, here's an update! I'm basically playing and then posting - so I really don't know what's going to happen!

My first attempt failed miserably when two provinces defected to Castille after massive rebel uprisings when I took my first step towards being more innovative (who knew the Granadan peasants were so opposed to being innovative!) and the Castille conquered me!

The second ended in disaster almost as fast!

So here's hoping the third try will be the charm.

Thanks for following!
 

LordOfBlood

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Very Good AAr, nice writing, good selection of screenshots, and an interesting and challenging country to play:)

Please go on, and give us more updates:)
 

Marco Oliverio

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I just accidentally closed the window I had my update in. How stupid is that?!?!

I'll reconstruct and post it soon!
:eek:
 

Marco Oliverio

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The First Islamic Crusade

In the early part of this century, a small but revealing cache of records from this period of Granadan history was found in a semi-collapsed cellar in the al-Baicin section of Granada. One of the walls of a house had collapsed (the archeologists on the site suspected some kind of bombardment); in the later cleaning up and rebuilding of the house the cellar wasn't excavated and so it remained sealed until discovered.

Among the finds were a few unburnt and unspoiled pages of a diary by a local merchant named al-Rusafi. He writes of an event that clearly thrilled and concerned the people of Granada.

“Shortly after the mid-day call to prayer, the sounds of a tumult reached those of us sitting and doing business in the al-Caiceria. The sounds came from up the hill - at first we were worried that some sort of disturbance was happening in front of the al-Hamra or the al-Cazaba. We sent one of the tea boys running up the hill to discover what was happening.....

A few minutes later he was back, panting and pointing behind him, his eyes agog. A few minutes after that, the most amazing sight appeared to us! The Emir appeared on a dashing white charger and behind him were rows and rows of men on war horses and men-at-arms, spears glistening in the sun. It was something I had never seen before! Pride filled my heart and tears filled my eyes. Rarely have a seen such a sight. We followed along...[ed. note: the record is burned here and the rest of this passage is lost...]

...sitting with Huseyn and al-Zaqqaq drinking tea after we returned from the city gate, we wondered where the Emir was heading with these thousands of men. We were excited and scared! Huseyn reminded us that for as long as any of us could remember battles with the Christian countries had not turned out well. That scared us even more! We cursed Huseyn for reminding us of these disasters - he just rolled his eyes and told us we should be realists, not romantic dreamers. Surely the Emir is a realist! In any event, we couldn't imagine where he was headed - perhaps through Castile (our ally) to Aragon or Portugal? We speculated all day and then....(ed. note: document again damaged here.]

...night, sitting with my wife (so clever and fast-thinking, a little darling!) she reminded me of the ship building that had been happening down on the coast. By this time, of course the entire city was full or rumors and wild guesses. Some reports had come back that the Emir had in fact headed to the coast. We were all on edge, but the comments of my wife calmed me somewhat and I went to sleep dreaming of the possible places Muhammad, Allah preserve him, might be headed."​

A few weeks later, messengers arrived in Granada and other cities to announce that Muhammad had declared war against the Ducky of Sardinia. These messengers reported that the Emir, Allah preserve him, led the Granada army onto the island from the northern sea, and had surprised the Duke and his forces out in the open and completely destroyed them. Muhammad had proved himself to be a fierce warrior. The messenger has seen the army camped before the city walls waiting for the surrender of the Duke. The Emir had also sent messengers to Castile to ask them to honor the alliance with them.


The population was thrilled and celebrations erupted throughout the country.

However, the citizens of Granada were immediately cast into uncertainty as the rumors spread of the departure of the Castilian ambassador and his entire household; soon there was confirmation that the Castilian alliance had been ended by the Enrique, King of Castile. Evidence shows that at this period border patrols were heightened and the cities of the Emirate strengthened their walls and brought in supplies of food and water.

The wait for victory ended up being longer than surely anyone thought. Granada has to wait another 19 months before the message of victory arrived, but when it did it brought a message of complete victory. The Duke surrendered and left the island with this household, the island was added to the Emirate, and the wealth of the Christian churches was taken to replenish the treasury of the Emir.


It must have been electrifying for the people of Granada, but not only for them. The Islamic world sat up and took note of the small Emirate on the edge of the Islamic world.

The Christian nations re-evaluated their opinion of this kingdom perched precariously on the bottom edge of Iberia.

And the Castilian propagandists began talking of the Catastrophe of the Islamic Crusade against Sardinia. They reaffirmed their alliance with the Pope and made new alliances with Portugal and Aragon.
 
Last edited:

unmerged(114802)

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Nice AAR! I'll be following this one. I don't thikn it's been tried before.

Also, I met this cabby the other day in NYC (I live in NYC) and he was explaining to me how the Spanish population of the US was being opressed by the Jewish conspirators in America because Spain and the Spanish were originally muslim because they were - brace yourself - invited to occupy Iberia by the visigoths and iberian peoples. They never invaded. Ever. :confused:
 

germanpeon

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]Also, I met this cabby the other day in NYC (I live in NYC) and he was explaining to me how the Spanish population of the US was being opressed by the Jewish conspirators in America because Spain and the Spanish were originally muslim because they were - brace yourself - invited to occupy Iberia by the visigoths and iberian peoples. They never invaded. Ever. :confused:
Yes! I love America. So many characters.

Good update. I'm getting rather worried about the Iberians, however. They seem to be forming an alliance against you! What to do?