Front of the Alhambra in Granada


Front of the Alhambra in Granada


Among the concessions made by Ferdinand of Aragon as part of his marriage to Isabella of Castile, which began the unification process of Spain, was a clause obligating the united kingdoms to wage war on the Muslim Moors in the south, who were identified as enemies of the Church (Cowans 9). On the surface, this was a religious crusade led by two hardened Catholic monarchs. Beyond this aspect, however, the war against the Moors and the subsequent expulsion of Muslims and Jews served political purposes as well. The success of the Spanish monarchy inspired, at least publicly, Pope Alexander VI to cede to Spain the right to appoint bishops and retain church revenue, which provided the government with an economic boost (Wiesner-Hanks 112). After the Reconquista and conversions of some of the Moors, the Spanish Inquisition became an even more prominent part of Spanish society as it was now tasked with investigating accusations of heresy involving Muslim converts, called Moriscos (Wiesner-Hanks 111).

While the Reconquista and later efforts to expel Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula left Spain as an almost entirely Catholic nation, prominent Moorish architecture, such as mosques and palaces, remained (in many cases, they were given Catholic or monarchical functions). The last Islamic stronghold to fall to the united kingdoms of Castile and Aragon was the Alhambra of Granada (pictured above), which surrendered after month siege on January 2, 1492. The Alhambra, which is a combination of an elaborate palace and a fortress, is renowned for the impressive artistry of its interior as well as its extensive gardens.


Friedrich Salathé

King Ferdinand, “Marriage Concessions (1469)” in Early Modern Spain: A Documentary History, ed. Jon Cowans. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003.
Wiesner-Hanks, Merry E. Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.


Between 1839-1841


Elliot Cahn


Free Re-use

Original Format


Physical Dimensions

145 mm x 200 mm


Friedrich Salathé, “Front of the Alhambra in Granada,” HIST 139 - Early Modern Europe, accessed February 29, 2024,

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