The African Spaniards (by Jide Uwechia)
The Moors are a group of North African population which conquered and ruled Spain and parts of Portugal for more than 700 beginning in 711 AD and ending in 1492 AD. It appears from research that even before this period going back into antiquity, this North African tribe has been synonymous with Iberia. The word Ibero-Maurisian culture used by archaeologists and historians to describe a group of pre-historic people that populated Iberia would underline this linkage.
Not many people know that the Moors are Black Africans of Libyan, Moroccan, Nigerien, Nigerian and Senegalese origins. This is due to the deliberate misinformation produced by the Euro-American power establishment, which delights in obfuscating Africa’s contribution to the history of mankind, preferring instead to appropriate to itself the glorious attainment of Africans throughout history. By the strategic control of vocabulary, semantics, nomenclature and grammatical acrobatics the academic establishment of Euro-America perpetrates its mendacity.
The greatest sort of disempowerment is the loss of cultural and historical perspective by a people. A lack of knowledge of one’s history implies an absence of knowledge about ones place in the universe. The erasure (or obfuscation) of African history and culture is the greatest tool employed by this Euro-American power structure to control Africans at home and in the diaspora.
In this series on the Moors, we are taken on an excursion through history back to the Moorish kingdom of Spain, to ascertain who those Africans were, what they did and their subsequent significance in European history, even world history.
The term Moor has been put to diverse use, but its roots are still traceable. The word Moor originates from the Roman word Marues, which is a derivate of the Greek adjective Mauros (i.e. black or dark). In the year 46BC the Roman army entered NorthWest Africa where they encountered black Africans whom they called “Maures”. During the European Renaissance explorers, writers and scholars began to apply the term Moor to Africans in general.
Consequently, the names of African countries such as Mauritania and Morocco mean nothing other than the land of Black people the same meaning denoted in the names Khem (ancient Egypt), Cush (ancient Sudan), Sudan, Ethiopia and Nigeria.
The term Berber which was used for one group of the Moors may have been derived from a Latin corruption of one of the ethnic names of the indigenous nations of North West Africa although some have argued that it implies barbarians. The Moorish people referred to as Berbers describe themselves as the Amazigh. It roughly translates into free or noble people.
The Berber language is called Tamazight of which there are many dialects including Tarifit or Riffi (northern Morocco), Kabyle (Algeria) and Tashelhiyt (central Morocco), Tamasheq(Niger). Tamazight has been a written language, on and off, for almost 3000 years. It was first written in the Tifinagh alphabet, still used by the Tuaregs of Libya, Niger, Nigeria, Mali and Senegal. The oldest dated inscription is from about 200 BC.
Lately, the Aryan model revisionists have tended to imply since late 19th century that the Berber/Moorish people are a white-semitic grouping in Africa. They are various described as “Afro-Semitics”, “Afro-Caucasiods”, “Caucasians”, “Semites”, “Arabs” etc. The underlieing thread here is the imprecision in definition, which leaves the general impression that whatever they were, the Berbers are not Black Africans.
According to one typical example found in the Webster’s New World Dictionary the term Berber refers to, “any of a Moslem people living in North Africa.” This extremely vague and misleading definition appears to suggest that the Bedouin Arab type (i.e. the Caucasoid Semitic types) that currently occupies much of the coastal area of north Africa are stereotypical Berbers/Moors. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Berbers/Moors are fundamentally a Black nation of Africa which occupies as its traditional home the ranges of the central Sahara desert.
The Black African Berbers/Moors
Even as Aryanist revisionists seek to obfuscate the Black African identity of the Moors, the abundance of incontrovertible evidence of the venerable Black Moorish identity in Europe makes this a daunting task.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Consequently, the many colored paintings of Black Moorish noblemen with their white servants dotting private galleries in Europe, some dated as early as 1283AD save us very many words. These pictures all indicate that the Black African Berber/Moor was a well known and respected ethnicity in Nordic Europe before even the medieval period proves and beyond. (See Blacks in Antiquity by Frank Snowden, Golden Age of the Moor ed. by Ivan Van Sertima, Black Brittanica by Edward Scobie and National Geographic Magazine). See also.
The original Berbers/Moors were Black Africans who spread from East Africa to Libya and Northwest Africa in the Pre-historic Ages. These people were the founders of various cultures which relics litter caves in the Sahara Desert. They have continuously occupied the central Sahara for more than 40,000 years. Their language Tamazight and its various dialects are recognized as a branch of the Afro-asiatic phylum of African languages. (Yosef A. ben-Jochannan, Africa: Mother of Western Civilization)
Over the course of time, due to the prosperity of the coastal North Africa, many different nations migrated there, acculturated and assimilated with the indigenous Berber/Moor population creating somewhat diverse population. Nonetheless, the bulk of the population consisted of the indigenous Black Moorish groups of the central Sahara more accurately represented by the Tuareg people of Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal.
In his book The Destruction of Black Civilization, Chancellor Williams declared that â€œLibya was once so nearly all-black that to be called a Libyan meant that one was Black. (See Chancellor Williams, The Destruction of Black Civilization p. 112).
Herodotus (the Greek historian), writing about Libya in his Histories, (Book Four) stated as follows: One thing I can add about this country: so far as one knows, it is inhabited by four races, and four only, of which two are indigenous and two are not. The indigenous peoples are the Libyans and Ethiopians, the former occupying the northerly and the latter the more southerly parts; the immigrants are the Phoenicians and the Greeks.
Later on in book seven, Herodotus stated again: The eastern Ethiopians “ for there were two sorts of Ethiopians in the army who served with the Indians. They were just like the southern Ethiopians, except for their language and hair: their hair is straight while that of the Ethiopians in Libya is the crispest and curliest in the world.
The Garamanti Empire was a Black Berber empire that flourished in Fezzan, Southern Libya. It was a contemporary of the Roman Empire and was a great challenge to the Rome since it never came under the Roman but rather remained independent until the 7th centure C.E when it declined most probably as a result of environmental changes. Scholars reckon that the Garamanti Empire lasted for about 1,000 years, from about 400 BCE to 600 CE, in today’s central Libya (Fezzan), although Fezzan has been continuously occupied by early culture societies as early as the 8th millennium B.C.E.
The Fezzan region touches the Libyan coastal zone in the north, the Libyan Desert in the east, the Tibesti massif of Chad to the south, and the Hoggar massif along with the Grand Erg Oriental of Algeria to the west. This range is the traditional range of the nomadic Black Berbers who still live in the territory even today.
Numidia was another great Black Berber nation in Northern Algeria during the time of the Romans. The kingdom existed between the 3rd to the 1st century B.C and it consisted mostly Black Africans. One of the most famous Berber/Moors of the Roman times was Masinissa the king of Numidia (238-148 BCE) who assisted the Romans against the Carthegians during the Punic wars. The coin depictions and statutes of king Masinissa confirm without doubt, that this great Berber leader, the king of the Moors was phenotypically a Black African man with wooly hair (similar to the West African type). Syphax, king of the Masaeisylians in Numidia, a contemporary and great rival of king Masanissa, was also depicted in his coinage as a phenotypically Black African.
Silius Italicus a Roman writer around the beginning of the Christian era describes the Maures as Nigra a Latin work for dark complexion. Other Roman documents referenced other Berbers groups such as the “black Gaetuli and black-skinned Asphodelodes.”
Procopius a 6th Century Byzantine historian, says the Moors (Maurusioi) were a people composed of dark-skinned tribes who had gained domination over all of North Africa after the decline of the Vandals who had gained control of the region briefly following the fall of Rome.
The founder of the African dynasty of Roman Emperors (the Severan Dynasty) Septimus Severus was a Black Berber lawyer from the then Roman colonized territory of Mauretania. His statues and coin images depict him as a phenotypical Blackman of the sub-saharan (if ever such a term were valid) type.
Anthropologists and historians generally agree pointed out that Black African nationalities such as the Tibbu and Tuwarek (Tuaregs), are the aboriginal Berber tribes of the central Sahara. They include the Lamta Berbers, and the Haratin of Morocco and Mauritania.
Black African Overlords of Iberia (Spain and Portugal)
The Berber clans that were most instrumental in the Moorish conquest of Spain (and parts of Portugal) of 711AD were the Nafza, Masmuda, Luwata, Hawwara, Zanata, Sanhadja and Zugwaha. They consisted primarily of Black Africans nations. A Muslim scholar describes the women of the Berber clan of the Sanhadja confederation in the following terms: “Their color is black, though some pale ones can be found among them.”
The Almurabitun (aka the Almoravids) another Moorish grouping which occupied Spain in 1086 AD was primarily a Black African Berber population which is not surprising as they originated in southern Morocco, Nigeria and Northern Senegal in western Africa.
It is the more interesting when one considers the European Romance of El Cid, which describes some other Berber women. It relates an account about a “Black Moorish woman” named Nugaymath Turquia who is said to have led a contingent of 300 Black Moorish “Amazons.” They were members of the Almoravid Dynasties which occupied Spain in 1086AD.
Furthermore one must mention that one of Shakespeare’s most famous characters was Othello the Black Moorish nobleman of Venice. One need only study the pictures of Othello and Desdemona rendered by European artists to appreciate what Moor meant to the western European imagination at that time. See”Othello and Desdemona in Venice” by Theodore Chassariau (1819 – 1856).
In the 13th century, the Spanish monarch Alfonso X described the Moors as follows:
All the Moorish soldiers were dressed in silk and black wool that had been forcibly acquired their faces were like pitch and the most handsome of them was like a cooking pan.
The Chanson of Roland (Song of Roland) an ode written after the Moors invaded France in 718 A.D., at verses 145 and 146 described the invaders as blacker than ink with large noses and ears and with nothing white except the teeth. See Moriaen. Arthurian Romance No. 4, PP. 29, 39, 41, 103. 1907. Trans. by J. L. Watson.
The Chanson of Roland states that the Moorish army was 50,000 strong and led by Marganice, Emperor of Ethiopia and Carthage. Their most valiant figure is described as Abisme (probably a derivative of, Abyssinian), who (verse 126) is described as black as melted pitch. In this epic, the Moors are called Sarrazins, in English, Saracens.
The four Moorish kings killed in battle by Pedro VIII, king of Aragon, on November 18, 1096, who were depicted in the official coat of arms of Aragon, are shown as Black Africans kings. See Biblioteca de escritores aragoneses. Blancas. Comentarios de las cosas de Aragon. Seccion histor. 3, p. 110. 1878.
The Nigerians and Senegalese Moors
Moorish troops from Nigeria and Senegal played an important part in the Moorish conquest of Spain especially under Abderrahman I. (757-787), who founded the independent kingdom of Cordova. A later Moorish leader who conquered and took over the Caliphate did so with the aid of â€œa great number of Black Africans soldiers from whom he formed a redoubtable regiment of cavalry in 1016â€ . See Troupes noires. Revue de Paris, pp. 61-80 July 1909.
The eleventh century saw the onset of decadence and confusion in the ruling Moorish dynasty of Spain. It had become corrupt and weak and was riven with strife and intrigue. That dynasty was conquered by the Almurabitun “Almoravids”, another Moorish dynasty whose original home capital was in Senegal,in western Africa, thousands of miles from Spain.
In 1086, Yusuf ben Tachfln, who is described by Moorish historian Ali ibn Abd Allah as dark and wooly-haired, a Nigerian or Senegalese Moorish General, brought in an army composed largely of aboriginal West Africans. Another famous Moor, Yakub el-Mansur, recorded as the son of a Black woman, invaded Iberia in 1194 and made himself master of almost the whole of it. See 11. Ency. Brit. Vol. 21. See also Ibn El-Athair. pp.457-60, 462, 525; Scott, S. P. Hist. of the Moorish Empire, p. 622. 1904.
The Royal Guards of the Moorish kings were specially chosen for their strenght and size. They were tall, jet-black and of immense strength, recruited from the [Moorish tribes] of Atlas, Tumbuctoo, and Nigeria.” See Scott. S. P. History of the Moorish Empire, p. 668. 1904.
Mulatto Moors (Pale-skin Moors)
The Moors had dealt extensively in slave trading and had taken millions of Nordic (pale-skin Europeans) as slaves, wives and concubines for several centuries. According to Robert Davis, professor of History at the Ohio State University, more than a million people mostly women of European origins were traded and sold among the Moors. The consequent miscegenation produced generations of mulatto Moors. These are the same ones passed off by the European controlled mass media establishment, as the real Berbers. However, in reality the mulatto Moors represent a small group among the Moors.
The Hassaniya Arabs who dominate the Western Sahara and Mauretania today have also been called Moors. Yet, one must not forget that the Arabs only became part of the North Africa after 640 C.E. It is good that one should always guard against such kinds of misnomer as they becloud logical analysis. Granted that many pale-skin of the Beni Hassan tribe Arabs had collaborated with and had become part of the Moorish culture, the dark-skinned African Moors always represented the majority of the Moorish tribes.
In any event, African Tamazight language and African nationality were the determinants of who was berber and who was not, since race and ethnic division did not exist among the Berbers. (J.A. Rogers Nature Knows No Color Lines).
Many Nordic European men also joined the Moors both as slaves, servants, soldiers and sometimes as collaborators. Those pale-skin types later acculturated and became accepted into the Moorish nation. The descendants of this group, who have miscegenated with the Arab Hassaniya group, and the mulatto children of Spanish Moors mostly live in the coastal areas of North Africa in modern times. They are the poster children of the European establishment whenever the Moorish issue is raised. Because in so asserting, Europe seeks to deny that Black Africans ever were the overlords of pale-skin Europeans in recent times.
Some authors have suggested that the Moors like the Tuaregs of Central Sahara had been driven south by the pressure of subsequent inflow of Arab migration following the introduction of Islam to North West Africa. Tuareg Berbers of Niger, Nigeria and Senegal have traditions relating of their ancient territories along the coast of Northern Africa and subsequent southerly migrations. See Karl G. Prasse, The Tuaregs: The Blue People; Museum Tusculanum Press, 1995.
The Tuareg are the original people of North Africa with obvious physical and cultural affinities to the ancient Blacks (negritos) of the Saharan Desert. They are descended from the Garamantes who once controlled the caravan trade routes across the Sahara. The Tuareg are nominal Muslims, they speak a Berber language called Tamashegh, and read and write the tifinagh script related to ancient Libyan ones.
No one knows the exact number of the Tuaregs as they are divided up in different countries. It is approximated at more than 1,500 000 people. The Tuareg groups are divided between Niger Nigeria, Mali, Algeria and Libya. The largest group lives in Niger and Nigeria, and includes the Kel Azawagh (or Eastern Iwellemmedan), the Kel Ayr and the Kel Geres.
The Tuareg who live in Mali include the Kel Adghagh (or Adrar), the Kel Ensar (formerly Kel Tadamakat), and the Western Iwellemmedan. The Kel Ahaggar and the Kel Ajjer live in southern Algeria, and some Kel Ajjer live in Libya near the Algerian frontier. Other groups are the Udalan Tuareg who dwell in northern Burkina Faso.
Like typical Berbers, the Tuareg have never formed a homogeneous whole. Instead, they are grouped into politically autonomous federations which are divided into northern and southern groups. The Tuareg identify themselves by their group names. A supreme chief (or amenokal) who has legal authority but little power today rules each federation. See Karl G. Prasse, The Tuaregs: The Blue People; Museum Tusculanum Press, 1995.
Tuareg origin myths suggest that the Tuareg descended from Lemtuna, the ancestress of the Berbers who lived around Ghadames in Tripolitania (Nicolaisen 1963: p. 405). Another myth relates the Tuareg to the legendary Queen Tin Hinan who came to Abalessa in the Ahaggar region from Tafilelt in Morocco. According to Prasse, these legends suggest the Tuareg of southern Algeria came from Libya and Morocco, and the Kel Ayr and Kel Geres (Nigerian Berber/Moors) have Libyan origins. Tuareg from Mali claim to have come from Morocco or Mauritania. See Karl G. Prasse, The Tuaregs: The Blue People; Museum Tusculanum Press, 1995.
Tuareg economy has always been based on livestock breeding, agriculture and trade. The taxing of caravans crossing the Sahara, slavery, and raiding on neighboring groups were historical vocations no longer practiced. Salt remains an important commodity and, along with dates, is bartered with millet and cloth bought in southern areas.
This very Tuaregs of modern time and other allied tribes of Black African muslims had ruled the Iberian peninsula for more than 700 years commencing from 711 A.D. They stamped Southern Europe, even the entire Europe with an indelible signature. They bequeathed to this Europe a priceless intellectual and cultural legacy which propelled Europe into a position of global pre-eminence. Other installments will continue the examination of this issue of Moorish colonization of Southern Europe.
June 24, 2006