Spain and north Africa (XVIth century).


Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
After Grenada War, Cardinal Cisnero was elevated to Archbishop of Toledo and primate of Spain. Since those moments, he had been accumulating information about North Africa with a view to the next step, which would open the way to the Holy Land, whose conquest Manuel I of Portugal dreamed of, which he saw himself as the leader of a enterprise in which Portugal, Spain and England would take part.
The death of that great queen who was Elisabeth I of Castile did not hinder the plans of Cardinal Cisneros, encouraged by Fray Mauro Hispano, a spy of one of the most cunning kings in history, Ferdinand II of Aragon, who returned to Spain from Cairo, he had managed to reach a secret agreement between the king of Aragon and regent of Castile with the Mamluk Sultan against the Turks.

Catholic Monarchs sent two embassy to Cairo.. the first one was headed by Don Pedro Mártir de Anglería (He was from Milano, his name was Pietro Martire d'Anghiera but in 1483 he went into Catholic Monarchs´service where he continued to his death in 1526). He wrote as record the details of his embassy in his Legatio Babilonica in 1504 and Opus Epistolatum.

The second embassy was headed by a Ferdinad´s spy.. the Castilian Fray Mauro Hispano (from Cuenca in Castila). Fray Mauro arrived till Mesopotamia (Today "Irak") and he was able to do an alliance between Mamluk Sultan in Cairo with the King of Castile and Aragon. Later, King Manuel joined the Alliance too...

Other advirser encouraged to Cardinal Cisnero, it was the venetian Don Jeronimo Vianello who led Cisneros with the dream of a Christian Africa. For Vianello, the conquest of Mazalquivir (Mers-el-Kebir) was prioritary because together Oran, both in the kingdom of Tlemcen.. they were the Keys of Africa
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Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
I don't know much about this, but I don't understand. I didn't think Spain took much of North Africa in the 16th century or otherwise. Spain built a huge overseas empire in America and the Philippines. However, Europe did not have the big technological advantage over North Africa that it had in other areas. It wouldn't have been easy. Also, Spain was busy with all sorts of wars elsewhere.
The extended dream of Los Reyes Catolicos was probably valid as outlined in martin's posts. But the very discovery of America coupled with the massive over-commitment of Spain in the next 30-40 years and severe lack of money and manpower, meant it was all dreams really.

Treaties are not unusual at all between muslim and Catholic states, it helps with stability and temporarily at least disables a powerful enemy. Trade must go on.
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