Granada: History

A City in the Southern province of Andalucia

Granada History

The History of Granada reads like a who’s who of the history books. Starting life as an Iberian settlement around 1500 BC, the Romans eventually seized control. The area didn’t feature highly in the Empire’s plans, and when the Roman Empire began to the crumble in the 5th Century, the Visigoths moved in. Visigoth rule was short-lived and in 711 Tariq, a Moorish Caliphate, invaded Granada with the final Arab conquest taking place in 713. In 1010 internal conflicts between different clans of noble Arabs heavily damaged the town and next in line for rule was the Dynasty of the Ziries. Declaring independence of Morocco, the Ziries formed a kingdom in Granada and ruled for 2 centuries. It wasn’t until the arrival of the Nazari dynasty in 1238 that Granada began to resemble the city it is today. This period saw the building of the old Islamic quarter (the Albayzin) and the Alhambra. In 1492, Granada was conquered by Ferdinand and Isabelle as the last Muslim kingdom in Spain. Initially, Christians and Muslims lived peacefully together but this changed in 1499 when the bishop Cisneros demanded all Muslims should be baptized. This led to the Muslim population receiving heavy taxes and being forced to speak only Spanish. In 1568, the town’s Moors rebelled against the suppression but they were defeated and the rebellions were expelled. Over next 3 centuries, Granada grew under Spanish rule with the help of gold from the new continent. In 1810 the French entered the picture when Napoleon arrived in Spanish territory. The French invasion was brief and what followed was a period of political and economic instability in the history of Granada. The 20th Century brought more political instability with the onset of the Spanish civil war. The 20th century also saw Granada become a popular centre for the arts and a seat of learning. Today, Granada is best known for higher education and tourism.