What happened in the War of Granada?

boabdil.jpg">The War of Granada (1482-1492) was a series of military campaigns between the Catholic monarchs and the Nasrid dynasty with each side fighting to take control of the Emirate of Granada. These campaigns were not continual and would generally begin in the spring and die out with the arrival of the cold winter weather. The war began when Sultan Muley Hacén refused to pay the annual tax to the Catholic Monarchs in 1481 and seized the fortified town of Zahara, sparking hostilities and a civil war. Boabdil rebelled against his father and took control of Granada with the support of the Abencerrajes, a powerful Granada family. Muley Hacén then recaptured Granada but was successfully deposed by his brother, El Zagal. At this time, Muley Hacén still controlled the Alhambra.

On one of his military expeditions, Boabdil was captured by Christian troops. He was released in 1483 in exchange for the liberation of 400 Christian prisoners, the handing over of 12 thousand pieces of gold and the recognition of Fernando’s authority over Granada. Muley Hacén allied himself with his brother against Boabdil, who was forced to seek asylum with the Catholic Monarchs. Following his father’s death in 1485, Boabdil gained control of the Alhambra with the help of those living in the Albaicín. He was, however, unable to maintain control of the dynasty and Alhama, Ronda, Loja, Malaga, Baza and Almeria were taken by the Catholic monarchs. With the capture of al-Zagal in 1490, it looked like the war would soon be over but Boabdil was unhappy with the terms of his alliance with the Catholic monarchs: while he controlled Granada and the Alpujarras, he felt that the lands he had been promised were effectively being controlled by Castile. Boabdil desperately appealed for foreign aid but none came and the eight-month siege of Granada – the last stronghold of the Nasrid dynasty – began in April 1491. On 25th November 1491 Boabdil surrendered and signed the Treaty of Granada.

A brief history of the Nasrid Dynasty

The Nasrid dynasty (1232-1492) was established by Muhammad I Ibn Nasr who belonged to the the Arab family ruling Jaen. Extending its borders southwards, the dynasty stretched from Tarifa on the west coast to beyond Almeria on the east. However, it was sandwiched between Christian kingdoms in the north and African sultanates in the south and so its history was marked by alternate agreements with one side over the other in exchange for territorial concessions or heavy taxes. In 1236, Muhammad I joined forces with the Catholic monarch Fernando III to conquer Cordoba in exchange for the city of Granada, which was to rule over Almeria and Malaga. The marriage of the Catholic Monarchs Isabel and Fernando heralded the end of the Nasrid dynasty. The reign of the penultimate king Muley Hacén was marked by constant uprisings and major civil discontent. To complicate matters still further, there was infighting between his wife (Aixa) and his Christian favourite (Zoraya) as to which of their respective sons should be the future heir.