Did the Crusades accelerate the downfall of Al-Andalus?


Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
Thanks for the post; though some of those points have been made before; I just can't help but suspect there is more to it; as in, I suspect Grenada feared even overbearing assistance from Morrocco (though Morocco was nevertheless a useful potential ally should Grenada wish to revolt), and that there was more to it's vassalisation than simply being outmatched by Castille.

ALthough you deny (or at least downplay) the existence of a "reconquista", I cannot help but wonder if the Papacy, or someone else might want to put the finishing touch on Grenada by declaring a crusade. Relative to Castille; Grenada was far more powerful in the middle ages than it was during the Renaissance; so I doubt the issue was purely one of martial effectiveness; but perhaps strategic (as in, Grenada must of though itself being a rock and a hard place, that is Castille or even Morrocco.)

Many crusades (albeit less famous ones than the main ones) have been declared before; so a crusade specifically devoted against Grenada would not be something that would necessarily be put past the papacy (they've declared crusades in Eastern Europe for perhaps less....)
King Ferdinand manipulated the Pope. The Pope needed his military aid in Italy and Ferdinand was also permitted to appoint his own bishops/archbishops and set up hie own Inquisition. He was so powerful militarily and politcally that he called the shots. Besides crusading times were really long gone by now, so not needed or relevant. It seems Ferdinand and Isobel were on their personal crusade to roll back Islam through Spain and then North Africa, right back where it came from, so to speak. Interrupted by the discovery of America, the extra manpower demands suddenly appearing all over and ultimately the death of Isobel. Myself and Mr Macchiavelli are fairly convinces Ferdinand was just a devious political animal, rather than a great religious crusader!

In the actual War of Granada Ferdinand did hire all the best artillery manufacturers and 'users' from Italy, but not to my knowledge under any 'crusade' guise - just paid

Morocco didn't yet exist as such, post Almohad and pre-Sultan. I recently read a book on links between thebtwo and the politica within Granada and interacting between the Merinids and parts of Granada and internally in the Merinids themselves in these era was horrific. Some people exiled from North Africa ran garrisons (eg Ronda) on behalf of Granada. Immensely complex. But by the time of the War of Granada the Merinids had expired and morocco was back into it's kingdoms like Fez, Tremecen etc. Which I think is where Boabdil ended up (Fez).

It was North Africa and the sea that gave Granada it's strong economy, prior to the War of Granada. Hence the loss of Alhama de Granada right at the start of the war cut off the direct route from Granada to Malaga and was a big blow.

I think it's quite important not to confuse the Nazari Kingdom of Granada with anything that went before. It was initially run by the jews on behalf of the 711 invaders, then it's all a bit vague in Emirate times, except that it was successful. The Caliphate ruled it with an iron grip and then introduced the Ziri berbers from Ifriquiya as mercenaries. They then took over the city/area and Malaga when the Caliphate collapsed. They were deposed by the Almoravids (last king was Abd Allah). Eventually the Almoravids melted away and the severe Almohads took over - there was some very severe fighting in Granada between the invading Almohads and the army of El Rey Lobo (Ibn Mardanis), king of Valencia and Murcia - over both the Alhambra hill and the main fortress at the time, on the Albaicin.

(El Rey Lobo comes across as some kindly old good guy who held back the Almohads using mainly Castillian mercenaries and with a thriving economy stretching as far as Genoa. In fact Huici Miranda suggests that he was so powerful because he actually a kind of ruthless monster, especially as he got older. He fired the heads of Almohad prisoners into the Albaicin fortress and later, when his daughter's husband defected to the Almohads, he had her two small sons taken out into the Albufera, near Valencia, and drowned.)

The ultimate collap[se of the Almohad Empire led to the Nazaris taking over as rulers of Granada - after about 1300 this was a constant boiling pot of instability and political intrigue, interspersed with odd fights with Castilla and a permanent 'border' zone, populated by the likes of dual-language speaking Almogaveres etc. Most notable actions were I guess (prior to the War of Granada), Moclin (disaster of the Knights of Santiago), Antequera and the Battle of the Higuerela (1431). Though the frontier was a failry fluid area