On 1609 Spain ordered the expulsion of the Moriscos, the descendants of Spanish Muslims who were force-converted to Christianity in 1502. Presumably many of them went to the Muslim lands in North Africa. How were they received there? Since it was more than a century after the 1502 conversion, these Moriscos must not have beem the original converts, but rather their descendants who were born and educated as Christians. According to the Wikipedia articles, there expelled Moriscos numbered about 300,000.

How did the destination countries receive such a large number of people? From their point of view, not only the Moriscos are Christian, they are also foreigners from a country they're at war with. Did those countries welcome them? Were they treated differently from the native citizens, like as something like immigrants or refugees today? Did they convert to Islam and if so how easy/forced was the conversion?

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    It should be noted that the articles of Wikipedia state that A) a fairly number of the exiles still considered themselves Muslims even after being forcibly baptized and B) not all of them went to Northern Africa, but many also left for France, so there are many different groups. Anyway, it is an interesting question.
    – SJuan76
    Nov 8, 2015 at 22:32
  • @SJuan76 which specific passage mentioned that a fair number of them still considered themselves Muslim? How can this be the case when presumably everyone was born long after the conversion?
    – user69715
    Nov 9, 2015 at 5:23
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    Well for example they created an independent state en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Sal%C3%A9 inside the state
    – Medi1Saif
    Nov 20, 2015 at 7:51

1 Answer 1


In 1492, the Ottoman Empire's Bayezid II sneered at Spain's Ferdinand of Aragon: "you call him a wise ruler, he who has impoverished his own country and enriched mine," with the expulsion of Jews and Moors. Bayezid sent warships to Spain to pick them up and take them to his lands, forcing his governors to accept them on pain of death. They contributed heavily to the finance and commerce of his lands.

Things had not changed much a century later, in 1609. The Ottoman Empire was "between" wars with the Hapsburgs. During the truces, their best "unofficial" weapon was the pirates of the Barbary Coast (modern Morocco and Algeria) that harassed commerce, particularly Spanish commerce, going through the Strait of Gibraltar.

Many of these pirates were European Christians called "renegades" that converted to Islam for the privilege of living off the Spaniards. Expelled Moriscos (not all of them were) fit right in, if not as pirates themselves, traders and artisans that supported them.

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