Fernando II and the Mudejars: The Maintenance of Tradition
In the said year of 1481, the king Don Fernando and the queen Doña Isabel went with all their court to Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia to be received as kings and lords of the land, and to take possession of those kingdoms and county of Barcelona ... where they made for them very solemn receptions, and gave them very grand presents and gifts, both the councils of the cities and the knights and merchants, and the Jews and the Moors their vassals.
—Andrés Bernáldez, Memorias del reinado de los Reyes Católicos
Anyone familiar with the history of Spain's religious minorities would recognize in Bernáldez's description of the Catholic Monarchs receiving homage from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim vassals a scene that the rulers of Aragon had been acting out for centuries. At the same time, the reader might suspect that the chronicler either was not privy to royal plans or was indulging in a bit of ironic foreshadowing, founding these suspicions on the knowledge that in little more than a decade Spain's plural society was to be abruptly and irrevocably transformed by the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, and then, a few years later, by the conversion or expulsion of the Muslims of Granada and Castile (1500–1502). Historians have interpreted these events, and the Monarchs' establishment of the Spanish Inquisition (1478–1483), as part and parcel of a preconceived plan to institute religious uniformity within the Spanish
kingdoms. It is thought that the Catholic faith, with the Inquisition as its institutional arm, was utilized as a tool of the state to impose some semblance of unity on the otherwise diverse Crowns of Aragon and Castile.
There was, however, one important exception to the sequence of conversion, Inquisition, and expulsion, namely, the large Muslim population dwelling in the lands of the Crown of Aragon, which maintained its dissident status throughout the reign of Fernando 11 (1479–1516). This suggests that Bernáldez's account was a matter-of-fact and accurate assessment of the Monarchs' real intentions toward the religious minorities in 1481. In other words, Fernando and Isabel, particularly the former in his own realms, did not have any plan to transform Spain's religiously plural society into a totalitarian Catholic state; rather, their minority policy was the sum of a series of responses to particular sets of circumstances and events as they unfolded. While it is true that the form these responses took was limited by certain fixed religious and political notions held by the Monarchs, there is a substantial difference between this admission and the postulate that they had a grand design for the transformation of Spanish society.
Still, there must be found a consistent thread unifying the discordant elements of the Monarchs' minority policy—establishing an Inquisition, expelling the Jews, converting or expelling the Muslims of Granada and Castile, and sanctioning the Muslims' continued presence in Aragon. This thread lies in the Monarchs' attempts to deal with the controversial problem of the neoconverts from Judaism (Conversos) and Islam (Moriscos). It was precisely this converso problem that added a new and destabilizing element to the already tense coexistence of Christian, Muslim, and Jew. The resolution of the problem demanded of Fernando and Isabel novel and extraordinary measures that ran counter to the general tone of their reign, characterized by recent scholarship as being marked much less by innovation, and change than by the continuation of medieval traditions and the enforcement and extension of the legislation of their predecessors. The Monarchs' minority policy was a curious blending of the traditional with the innovative—and destructive.
Until the eve of the expulsion the Monarchs continued the customary protection of the Jews and their communal autonomy. By themselves, the Jews did not present the Monarchs with a particular dilemma; it was the Jews' relations with the Conversos, or New Christians—ostensible Catholics, many of whom continued to practice Judaism—which caused them concern. So long as Jews were clearly distinguishable from Christians in terms of religious identity, Judaism was not perceived as a threat. However, when the boundaries between Jews and Christians became blurred, when black and white merged to form a large gray area, as had
been the case since the forced baptism of approximately one-third of Sephardic Jewry in 1391, then Judaism acquired the character of a cancer threatening Christian society not from without, but from within. Therefore, the anti-Jewish measures taken by the Monarchs had as their primary goal the separation of Jews from Old and New Christians. In 1478 they reinaugurated the process of establishing a national Inquisition, an idea already conceived by Enrique IV of Castile, for the purpose of eradicating from Christian society those New Christians adhering to their ancestral faith. Fernando and Isabel enforced the legislation of the Castilian Cortes of 1480, calling for a stricter physical separation of Jews and Christians. In 1483 the Jews were expelled from Andalusia, where the problem of judaizing Conversos was most acute. The failure of these measures to terminate Converso judaizing, along with the contrived case of the Holy Child of La Guardia, in which the Inquisition supposedly proved that Conversos and Jews together had crucified a Christian child in the manner of Christ and engaged in necromancy to induce the downfall of Christianity, finally moved the Monarchs to pronounce the edict of expulsion in 1492. As Maurice Kriegel has concluded, one must take at face value the reason for the expulsion offered by the Monarchs: to prevent Judaism from further contaminating the faith of the New Christians.
The essential difference between the Monarchs' Mudejar policy and their Jewish policy lay in the fact that until 1501 the complicating factor of a large number of Moriscos, Muslim converts to Christianity, did not exist. Because there was still no confusion between Muslim and Christian identities, and because Christianity was not menaced by an Islamic contamination, there was no pressing need to after the traditional Mudejar policy. Fernando, as we shall see, encouraged Mudejarism in the lands of the Crown of Aragon throughout his reign. In contrast, the Mudejars of Castile were forced to convert or emigrate in 1502. While this difference may be explained in part by Isabel's greater intolerance, it was due primarily to the fact that in December, 1499, Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros set in motion a train of events that resulted in the creation of a large body of Muslim converts in Granada. Although the Monarchs, especially Isabel, were responsible for sending Cisneros to Granada, they were not at all pleased with his hasty and violent methods of proselytizing. Nevertheless, as accepted theological opinion stipulated, the effects of baptism could not be erased. In essence, the Monarchs were now faced with the same dilemma the Jews and Conversos had presented: a large number of neoconverts dangerously straddling the chasm between Christian and non-Christian worlds. Instead of allowing for the coexistence of Muslims and Moriscos, an unacceptable alternative as the Converso problem had demonstrated, the Monarchs
decided that all Muslims in Granada and Castile must become Christian or emigrate. Aragon's Mudejars were forbidden entry into Castile, lest they bring with them Islamic influences. It was hoped that in time the Moriscos would become sincere Christians. Similarly, after the Germanías of Valencia forcibly baptized a number of Mudejars (1521–1522), Carlos I followed the example set by his grandparents. By 1526 Aragon, too, had only a Morisco population. As long as Christians, Muslims, and Jews remained in clearly definable socioreligious strata, religious pluralism continued to be a workable social formula in Spain. When, with the creation of substantial Converso and Morisco populations, the three strata seemed to merge into one, thereby bringing into question the very definition of Christian identity, all doubt and all possibility of religious alternative had to be removed for Spanish Christianity's own sake. The means of removal were Inquisition and expulsion.
Therefore, the Monarchs' treatment of the Jews and Conversos is of particular relevance to any consideration of royal Mudejar policy. That the treatment of the Muslims at the hands of Fernando and Isabel and their Hapsburg successors followed a pattern of forced baptism, Inquisition, and expulsion—closely paralleling the Jews' earlier experience—was not adventitious. The Monarchs' Mudejar policy was based not only on the legacy of Mudejarism bequeathed to them by their predecessors but also on the conclusions they themselves had reached after wrestling with the problem of the Jews and Conversos.
Tradition and Authority
As successor to the Crown of Aragon Fernando II inherited a longstanding tradition of Mudejarism, the royal sanctioning and protection of subject Muslim populations within Christian realms. The Mudejar pattern had been established in a series of surrender treaties reached between the Aragonese kings and the conquered Muslims of Aragon-Catalonia in the twelfth century (Zaragoza in 1118, Tudela in 1119, Tortosa and Lérida in 1148, Teruel in 1170, and so on), and, in the 1230s, was applied on a considerably larger scale in the new kingdom of Valencia by Jaime I. The treaties guaranteed to the Muslims their religious, judicial, and communal autonomy. In other words, the Mudejars could practice Islam, maintain their mosques with their adjoining properties (waqf endowments), rule on litigations between Muslims in Islamic courts according to Islamic law, and select their own officials for the governance and administration of their communities, or aljamas. The Muslims' sustenance was ensured by the terms allowing them to retain their homes, lands, and movable goods. By and large, the Crown con-
sistently adhered to the capitulations, each king shrewdly balancing religious scruples with fiscal necessity. Mudejarism survived, not out of deference to an ideal of tolerance, but because the Muslims were valuable to the Crown as a source of taxation and as the agricultural and industrial substrata of local economies. This was especially the case in the kingdom of Valencia, where the Muslims always represented a substantial portion of the population, the majority, in fact, until the late fourteenth century.
By the late fifteenth century the lands of the Crown of Aragon had experienced significant demographic change, so that in Aragon, Catalonia, and even Valencia the Christians formed a clear majority. Owing to recurrent plague, the wars between Aragon and Castile, Christian settlement, and Mudejar emigration, the Muslim proportion of the population had steadily diminished. During Fernando's reign the Muslims of Valencia constituted roughly 30 percent of the population, while in Aragon proper and Catalonia they formed only 20 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Nevertheless, in Valencia, and to a lesser extent in Aragon, the Mudejars continued to play a vital economic role, and were viewed by both the king and the nobility as an important source of revenue. The royal-seigneurial competition to attract Muslim vassals to their respective lands, to be discussed at length in this chapter, bears out this assertion.
The large majority of Mudejars resided on seigneurial lands. There, local lords collected taxes and feudal dues from their Muslim vassals and exercised varying degrees of judicial authority over them. The Crown retained direct lordship over only a small number of urban aljamas. In Catalonia the royal aljamas were Tortosa and Lérida, and in Aragon they were Zaragoza, Huesca, Teruel, Daroca, Calatayud, Borja, Belchite, Albarracín, and Tarazona. In the kingdom of Valencia royal aljamas were located in Valencia, Játiva, Alcira, Murviedro, Castellón de la Plana, Villarreal, Alcoy, Jérica, Monforte, Onda, Liria, and Castellón de Játiva. Despite this distinction between royal and seigneurial Muslims—an important one, since it determined to whom the Mudejars paid their taxes—the Crown still possessed ultimate jurisdiction over all the Muslims in its realms. It was the Crown, in both Aragon and Castile, that decided the fate of its Muslims and Jews, variously converting them, expelling them, or defending their dissident status. As his predecessors had done, Fernando referred to the Mudejars as "our coffers," "our patrimony," or "servants of our chamber." Under Fernando, royal supremacy in Mudejar affairs was more than a theoretical claim; it was a royal prerogative invoked and exercised.
With respect to his own Crown of Aragon, Fernando was an absentee ruler, spending less than three years in Aragon proper, just over three
years in Catalonia, and only six months in the kingdom of Valencia. However, this did not prevent him from attending to the business of his kingdoms through a team of Catalan and Aragonese secretaries; in fact, he successfully strengthened royal authority at the expense of local powers. Fernando overcame strong local opposition in all of his kingdoms to institute a Crown-controlled Inquisition. He effectively imposed royal control over the principal cities of his realms, Zaragoza in Aragon, and Barcelona in Catalonia. In the city of Valencia the king exerted influence over the municipal government by appointing local magistrates, and he was able to exact substantial loans for royal enterprises, although with ruinous effect on the city's economy, as Ernest Belenguer Cebrià has shown. Still, ruling from a distance posed difficulties, causing delays in the royal response to local problems and necessitating a perhaps excessive reliance on the alacrity and diligence of local officials.
In the kingdom of Valencia royal authority over the Mudejars was delegated to a handful of officials. The lieutenant general (llochtinent general ), or viceroy, acted as the king's alter-ego and was invested with full royal power. While it may be assumed that the viceroys usually acted in the best interests of the Crown, at times their measures displayed an imprudence stemming from unfamiliarity with the local situation.
Most important in Mudejar affairs was the bailiff general. Because he was the superintendent of the royal patrimony, of which the Mudejars formed a part, he exercised supreme authority over the kingdom's Muslims. All Muslims wishing to bear arms, beg for alms, travel within the kingdom or to Islamic lands, emigrate, borrow money, or practice prostitution were required to possess a license from the bailiff general. Any Muslims caught without such a license were summarily prosecuted. The bailiff general saw to it that Muslims paid their taxes and debts, or, conversely, pardoned them for debts and crimes. He supervised the sale of all Muslim slaves and captives, as well as their manumission. His court had criminal and often civil jurisdiction over all Muslims residing in royal morerías (Muslim quarters) and on the lands of the Church. In sum, the bailiff general was the executor of royal Mudejar policy, and, for the most part, his actions may be considered an accurate reflection of royal wishes. The holders of the bailiwick during Fernando's reign, Honorat Mercader (until 1485) and Diego de Torres (from 1485), seem to have fulfilled their duties conscientiously. Fernando sometimes relied on their expertise in Mudejar affairs when he formulated policy.
Each royal city and town had a local bailiff to whom the bailiff general's powers were delegated. At the level of daily life, royal Mudejars dealt most frequently with this official. The bailiff functioned as the Muslims' judge and protector against the abuses of municipal govern-
ments, although at times Muslims suffered from the bailiff's own unscrupulous behavior. Thus, it was of utmost importance that the Mudejars were able to turn to the bailiff general as a court of final appeal.
The governor played a more limited role in Mudejar affairs. He was competent to hear cases involving seigneurial Muslims, although the lords themselves often administered justice to their vassals. A frequent problem during Fernando's reign was the governor's attempts to overstep the boundaries of his jurisdiction over Mudejars, which brought him into conflict with the bailiff general. Although the governor at times acted as the royal deputy regarding Mudejars, and his court had jurisdiction in specific Mudejar litigations, the general supervision of all the kingdom's Muslims was always the bailiff general's special prerogative.
While Fernando's absenteeism compelled him to entrust considerable power to these officials, it does not follow that he restricted his concerns to only the broad contours of Mudejar policy. The king managed to find time to attend to the particular grievances of his Muslim subjects as they arose, and this was the case regarding seigneurial as well as royal vassals. Fernando's ability to intervene in seigneurial affairs is indicative of the strength of royal authority and of its ultimate jurisdiction in matters involving the religious minorities.
Individual seigneurial Muslims and entire aljamas, when wronged by the nobility, would turn to the king for succor. Muslims who moved from Chova to Eslida complained that the lord of Chova had violated the governor's orders by seizing the fruits from their lands and other possessions they still had in Chova. Fernando commanded the governor to see to it that the Muslims' property was restored. The lord of Malejám, in Aragon, received a royal order that he release the goods of his Muslim vassals, who claimed that their lord had occupied their properties under the pretense of Malejám's entry into the Hermandad (Brotherhood) of Borja. The Christian councils and the aljamas of Alcocer, Alberique, and Alasquer brought to the king's attention the fact that their lord had altered the customary apportionment of irrigation water to their lands.
Fernando's efforts to control the feuding of rival nobles tended to benefit their Muslim vassals, who were often the victims of the nobles' reciprocal depredations. When the Rocamoras murdered two Muslim vassals of the Rocasfulls, Fernando tried to prevent further escalation of the conflict by prohibiting the Rocasfulls from taking revenge on the assailants. Instead, the governor of Orihuela was to apprehend and punish them. In the dispute between the lords of Carlet and Alcudia and their respective Muslim and Christian vassals, from which "wounds, deaths, scandals, and evils" had already resulted, two royal officials
were sent to Carlet to punish the malefactors. It is difficult to determine whether royal vigilance successfully curbed seigneurial feuding, or if it was always the case of the king demanding reparations for the broken bodies and destroyed property of the victims. Even if the latter were true, royal action still might work in favor of victimized Mudejars, as when Fernando commanded the governor of Aragon to see to the release of two Muslim prisoners whom the men of Argavieso had captured when they looted Novales.
In general, Fernando's Mudejar policy can be described as a continuation of that of his predecessors. He envisaged no significant departures from the established precedent, and he readily confirmed the privileges granted to the various aljamas by previous kings. At the request of the aljama of Játiva, Fernando required his officials to observe the provisions of Alfonso V and Juan II, placing the morería under royal protection. He confirmed the privileges and immunities his father had conceded to the aljama of Valencia as an aid to its recovery after the debacle of 1455, and likewise ratified Juan II's creation of a morería in Alcoy, and Juan's upholding of the rights of Daroca's Muslims to rent their butcher shop to a Christian and to graze their animals in surrounding pastures.
In his governance of individual communities Fernando was guided by established usage, and he discouraged any innovations that local governments might wish to make. When the Christian council of Terrer planned to modify their arrangement with the local Muslims on the use and guarding of village common land without consulting the aljama, the king enjoined, "you should neither do nor innovate anything with respect to the abovesaid in derogation of their [the Muslims'] privileges, uses, and ancient customs observed between you and them; rather, you should maintain them."
Fernando even found himself having to revoke his own enactments when he realized that they contravened those of his predecessors. He usually left the final ruling on such matters to the expertise of royal officials and lawyers versed in the local law. In the first year of his reign Fernando had provided that the mustaçaff of Játiva could inspect the weights and measures in the market of the local morería , a duty that normally pertained to its own mustaçaff (or çalmedina ). When the aljama pointed out that this violated earlier privileges, and that a final decision on the question had been pending since 1428, the king ordered a return to the status quo prevailing before his provision. He unwittingly raised other difficulties when he permitted the lord and Christians of Mislata to build their own oven, for Alfonso V had conceded to the Muslims of Mislata and their lord (the Muslims and the Christians had different lords) the exclusive privilege of possessing the town's oven.
Two years later, a compromise was reached through the offices of the governor and Valencian lawyers, allowing the Christians their oven, but forbidding Muslim access to it.
A young king, particularly an absentee one, would have found the mastery of such intricacies of local custom one of the more difficult, and tiresome, aspects of royal administration. Although Fernando sometimes stumbled through a process of trial and error, his intention to tread on the path laid out by his forbears emerges clearly enough.
Augmenting the "Royal Treasure"
Fernando's exertion of monarchical power, his attention to detail, his accessibility to his aggrieved subjects of all faiths, and his deference to tradition all tell us more about Fernando as a leader and his style of rulership than about the specifics of his Mudejar policy. Given the importance of the issue of the religious minorities, for both Fernando's contemporaries and modern historians, it would be of significance to state simply that with respect to the Mudejars Fernando fully intended to maintain the status quo. This, however, was not quite the case, for from the outset the Catholic Monarch embarked on a program to augment substantially the populations of the royal morerías in the kingdom of Valencia. Implicit in the pursuit of such a program was Fernando's assumption that his Muslim subjects were a more or less permanent fixture on the Valencian and, by extension, Arago-Catalan scene.
Yet one must not attribute to Fernando any special enlightenment, nor should one presume that he had a moral stake in religious pluralism per se. Concretely, it boiled down to a matter of hard-nosed fiscal politics. By increasing the number of royal Muslim vassals Fernando was widening his own tax base. The Crown's financial needs were considerable, owing to Aragon's Italian entanglements and Castile's wars in Granada and Africa. Fernando's endeavor to augment his Mudejar treasure corresponds well with his exaction of numerous loans from the city of Valencia.
The royal program had three facets: (1) drawing Muslims away from seigneurial lands to royal morerías ; (2) creating new morerías or instilling life into declining ones; and (3) settling Muslims from the conquered sultanate of Granada on Crown lands. All of these had precedents in the Mudejar policies of previous kings. Because of the lack of detailed studies of this question for other reigns, it is difficult to say whether Fernando was any more avid or successful in his quest for taxable Mudejars.
Fernando was able to pursue the first course of action, inducing
seigneurial Muslims to occupy royal morerías , because Mudejars could legally change their vassalage, moving from baron to king, from king to baron, or from one baron to another. However, on some seigneuries five or ten years of personal residence were required before the bonds of vassalage could be dissolved. In any case, the Mudejar was always someone's vassal. Unlike the Christian citizen and the urban corporation of the universitas , the Mudejar and his corporate aljama had no independent political status. The precondition to the Mudejar's dissolving the bonds of fealty to his lord was the settling of all accounts with the lord; that is, the Mudejar had to pay all feudal dues and whatever other debts he owed. Once this was done, the Mudejar could swear homage to his new lord, or king, promising to abide by the terms of the feudal relationship as stipulated by the lord. These terms were primarily of a fiscal nature. By the late fifteenth century Mudejar vassalage in Valencia was largely devoid of obligations of military service.
Normally, the Muslim informed the bailiff general or the local bailiff of his desire to become a royal vassal. The bailiff would then see to it that the process of changing vassalage was expedited as smoothly as possible, mainly by instructing seigneurial officials to settle accounts justly with the departing vassal. For example, when Abdolaziz Abedua, a vassal in Tabernes de Valldigna, decided to move to the royal morería of Valencia, he informed the aljama officials there of his wish, and they then "presented" Abdolaziz to the bailiff general. The bailiff, treating the Muslim's change of vassalage almost as a fait accompli, wrote to the seigneurial officials of Valldigna "that [Abdolaziz] has been registered as vassal in the said morería [of Valencia] and is ready and prepared to settle accounts with you ... And after he has settled accounts and has paid what he owes ... he wishes to come and stay and live in this morería just as the other vassals of the said lord king." The bailiff was careful to remind these officials that Abdolaziz was now under royal safeguard and that he should be permitted not just to sell his property in Tabernes and liquidate his debts from the proceeds but also to collect any debts owed to him. For the bailiff the crucial point was that Abdolaziz, as a royal vassal, would be paying taxes to the Crown; hence, any failure to cooperate by Valldigna's officials would be tantamount to an assault on the royal patrimony. The bailiff concluded his letter with a warning: "if you should thus refuse to act, taking into account that the said Moor is being made a vassal of the said lord king, it will be necessary for us, for the preservation of the taxes of the said lord king ... to provide on the matter as we determine ought to be done."
Historians have assumed that the conditions of life in royal morerías were intrinsically better than those obtaining on seigneurial lands. Yet it is not at all clear that this was the case, for, were it so, one would have
expected the streets of royal morerías to have been inundated with new vassals. While a tendency for Mudejar movement from seigneurial to royal lands is discernible, it nowhere approached the proportions of a deluge. In terms of the Muslims' ability to make public manifestations of Islamic worship and to buttress their Islamic cultural integrity effectively, many probably preferred seigneurial morerías to royal towns. In the royal towns, even if the tax burden were lighter, Christian officialdom and clergymen tended to be touchier about ritual displays of Islam, and the Muslims' communal life suffered more from Christian interference or mere presence. The quality of Mudejar life on seigneurial lands varied from lordship to lordship, so that general comparisons between royal and seigneurial morerías are tenuous.
Because there were not large numbers of Mudejars clamoring for entry into royal towns, the Crown had to offer inducements to make vassalage to the king more appealing. In order to repopulate Alcira, Juan II had offered a royal safeguard against prosecution for crimes and debts to all Muslims, Christians, and Jews who would come to reside there. Fernando followed his father's example, and, in order to fill the vacant Jewish quarter of Borja after the expulsion, freed new Muslim occupants from the tax of the morabatí for one year. He granted to any Muslim who became a royal vassal in Játiva a ten-year exemption from the payment of the besant , or annual hearth tax paid by all Muslims. However, if the Muslim moved from Játiva before the expiration of the ten years, he then had to pay the besants for the years he had dwelled there. Whereas in Aragon Fernando could legally threaten with penalty of death his Muslim vassals who were swearing homage to barons, in Valencia his means of coercing Muslims to remain in royal morerías were limited to pecuniary penalties applicable during only the initial few years of their residence. Therefore, the king had to ensure that the circumstances of life in his morerías continued to be favorable. Herein lay the importance of the royal confirmation and protection of the privileges the Crown had previously conceded to royal aljamas. At the very least, Fernando had to prevent any encroachment on these privileges, for any marked deterioration in the Mudejars' situation could have as a consequence their abandonment of the royal morerías . Indeed, flight en masse was the Muslims' usual response to impossible tax burdens or to consistent harassment by local officials, and, of course, barons were more than willing to receive them on their lands.
A letter from the bailiff general to Fernando (1 March 1483) advising the king what measures he ought to take in the administration of his aljamas gives some sense of how delicately the king had to handle his Mudejar vassals. The aliama of Játiva had shown to the bailiff an order of Fernando (3 December 1482) establishing one royal mill that all local
Muslims would have to use. The king was hoping to earn 100 pounds annually from the rent of this utility. The bailiff delicately suggested that the king perhaps ought to reconsider, for when the construction of the royal mill recently commenced, so did the depopulation of the morería . The problem was that Fernando's measure contravened a privilege granted by Pedro III in 1283, which allowed the Muslims of Játiva to use whichever mill they pleased. Fernando's new mill would only serve to destroy and not to augment the royal patrimony. Besides, it would also be detrimental to the Minorite monastery that exercised lordship over the majority of Játiva's mills. In this same letter the bailiff reminded the king that the population of the morería of Alcira had increased from 25 to more than 100 households. Unfortunately, the municipal officials of Alcira were detracting from this achievement by forcing the Muslims to contribute to the peyta , in violation of the aljama's privileges. The bailiff recommended that Fernando put a stop to this activity, again in the interest of the royal patrimony. The bailiff added one final word of advice: "Because the counts, barons, and others who have vassals favor their vassals ... much more ought to be favored the Moorish vassals of your Royal lordship." In this competition between Crown and nobility for Muslim vassals the bailiff general recognized the necessity for prompt attention to Muslim grievances.
However eager the Crown might have been to acquire new Mudejar vassals, it still would not, and indeed, owing to seigneurial opposition, could not countenance the vassalage of Muslims still indebted to their former lords. Thus, when it was discovered that Azmet Ballester, a royal vassal in Alcira, owed his former lord, Pere Bosch, 30 pounds, the bailiff general ruled that Azmet and his wife Johar should be relinquished to Bosch if they could not pay. Muslims in the position of Azmet were considered to have committed the crime of "flight," for which the Furs demanded punishment.
Because the system allowed Muslims to state their intention of becoming royal vassals before actually settling accounts, some, burdened by heavy debts to their lords, took advantage of that system and simply abandoned seigneurial lands, with the hope that by enlisting the support of royal officials unaware of their financial status they could evade their noble creditors. Ali Gombau, a vassal of and tax farmer for Don Joan de Vallterra in Areñol, escaped from Areñol without having squared accounts with Vallterra and became a royal vassal in Castellón de la Plana, successfully evading prosecution for almost one year. Such abuses elicited loud complaints from the nobility in the Valencian Corts of 1488, resulting in legislation prohibiting the abandonment of seigneurial lands by Muslim debtors. Nevertheless, the problem recurred. In 1492 the lords of Sellent, Cuart, and Turís protested that their Muslim
vassals had departed insolvent, and that the local bailiffs had the temerity to demand that they come to town to settle accounts with their own fugitive vassals.
At times Mudejars proved to be quite cunning, and criminally so, in their exploitation of the right to change vassalage. Juçef Çabot hoped literally to get away with murder by leaving Valldigna and becoming a royal vassal in Játiva. He returned to the valley, stabbed to death a Muslim enemy there, and then, as a royal vassal, sought the protection of the bailiff general. With less sanguinary thoughts, Muslims of the barony of Torres Torres became royal vassals in Murviedro but continued to reside on the barony. Not only was the baron unable to collect feudal dues from them, but also, when the Muslims committed crimes or created disturbances on the barony, they were protected by the jurates (councillors) of Murviedro and took refuge in the court of the governor. Worse still, other vassals of the baron, realizing that while in this state of legal limbo they could disobey the baron with impunity, were swearing fealty to the king in Murviedro.
It may be that local Crown officials and townsmen, motivated by economic interest and hostility toward the nobility, connived at bringing seigneurial Muslims to their lands and towns. Fernando had to rail at and threaten with deprivation of office unscrupulous royal officials who "with the favor and authority of [their] offices" were transferring Muslims from royal morerías to their own lands. He declared that royal Mudejars could not be received into other lordships until they had spent at least four years on royal lands. This final stipulation suggests that the officials were directing their persuasive efforts at new royal vassals. Ultimately, seigneurial lands, the source of the new vassals, received the most damage.
Still, a much greater problem was seigneurial resistance to the Mudejars' legal change of vassalage. The departure of vassals was, of course, detrimental to the lord's finances, and this was especially the case in fifteenth-century Valencia, where a scarcity of labor, due to the toll taken by recurrent plagues, rendered each vassal a still more valuable asset. Two additional considerations explain why the lords felt these losses so keenly. First, those Muslims who could afford to take up residence in royal morerías , that is, those who possessed the wherewithal to pay all their dues and debts, were men of means, at least in comparison to those Muslims rendered immobile by insolvency. The lords, therefore, were being deprived of some of their most reliable and, one might presume, enterprising rent-payers. Second, when a Muslim transferred his fealty and residence from a barony to a royal town he did not thereby relinquish rights to the lands he rented in the barony. In Valencia there
was a crucial distinction between the status of tenant and that of vassal. This meant that the new royal vassal, living and working in town, could continue to cultivate and reap the fruits from the lands he still rented on the estate of his former lord. He was obliged to pay to his former lord only the rent required of a tenant. He was now freed from the feudal dues incumbent on a vassal; these he now paid to the Crown. Consequently, the erstwhile lord was faced with the long-term occupation of his lands by absentee tenants who paid rent but not the more lucrative seigneurial dues. He was thus unable to exploit his lands to their maximum potential.
Taking into account these factors, it is not difficult to comprehend why the lords were so intent on preventing their vassals from altering their status. Seigneurial opposition on this score was not a problem peculiar to Fernando's reign; lords had been placing obstacles in the way of Mudejar transference to royal morerías throughout the fifteenth century. Fernando's efforts to remove such obstacles scarcely differed from those of Alfonso V and Juan II. Regarding the protection of new Muslim vassals in Castellón de la Plana and Alcoy, he simply reissued their commands. Although it seems that the Crown was usually able to overcome seigneurial resistance, the lords, through a variety of tactics, often made the Mudejars' change of vassalage a long and litigious process. The officials of the lord of Valldigna, the Cardinal of Valencia, tried to nip the entire matter in the bud by proclaiming that any Muslim who was a vassal in the valley and then became a vassal of another lord, including the king, had to revert to his original status within eight days or lose all of his property in the valley. The bailiff promptly disabused these officials of the idea that they could enforce such a decree.
Because the settling of accounts was the precondition to the Muslim's final release from vassalage to his lord, the first tack taken by the latter was to avoid the vassal trying to discharge his debts. Don Franger Ladro, seigneur of Turís, gave to Yuçeff Jacob b. Çahat the lame excuse that he did not have his account book with him. The Crown countered by notifying Don Franger that the 40s Yuçeff owed were being deposited with the bailiff general's office and that he could collect it only after he released Yuçeff's goats, wheat, and beehives to a Crown official. At times evasion hardened and took crueler forms. When Abdalla Lopo went to Cuart to settle accounts with the Countess d'Aversa, he was imprisoned and physically abused.
The lords' second line of resistance, once all accounts had been squared, was to hinder the new royal vassals from tilling and harvesting the lands they were still renting in the lordships. Some argued, perhaps justifiably so, that, according to the privileges attached to their lordship,
tenants had to reside there personally. It would follow that the Muslim resident in a royal morería thereby forfeited all rights to his lands. Other lords dispensed with the legal niceties. The officials of Mislata tried to force a Muslim widow to pay feudal dues on the house and property she possessed there, knowing full well that she was a royal vassal in Valencia. Çahat Atzuar returned to Mascarell to cultivate his lands, only to discover that other vassals had since occupied them. Açen b. Maymo Jaffiol had worse luck. Instead of being allowed to attend to his properties, he was imprisoned and had 60 pounds extorted from him by the lord of the Vall d'Artana. In all three cases the bailiff general invoked the rights of the Muslims as royal vassals and demanded that the lords in question permit them to dispose of their properties as they wished.
The effects of such seigneurial aggression ramified beyond the lives of individual lords and Muslims and aggravated the tensions between the citizenry of royal towns and the neighboring nobility. Some towns welcomed the arrival of new Mudejar inhabitants, hoping that their enterprise would benefit the local economy. The citizens resented and resisted the unscrupulous measures taken by the lords against their former vassals. In effect, the general royal-seigneurial competition for Muslim vassals manifested itself at the local level in a tug-of-war between the nobility and the urban folk. The issue of Mudejar vassalage, only one of several that would lead to the antiseigneurial violence of the Germanías (1519–1522), by itself had the potential to cause considerable disorder. When the lord of Bechí imprisoned the wives and confiscated the goods of Muslims residing in Castellón de la Plana in an attempt to convince the anxious husbands to return to Bechí, the jurates of Castellón beseeched the bailiff general to intervene, and added that if he did not, the people of Castellón would themselves march on Bechí. They further pointed out that Murviedro and other royal towns, as well as Castellón, were already accustomed to taking into their own hands the correction of barons and knights.
Fernando was fully aware of the blackmail of his Muslim vassals by lords struggling to maintain the financial equilibrium of their estates, and he seems to have understood its wider implications in the trajectory of the conflict between town and landed nobility. It probably was not a mere coincidence that during precisely the same month when the above tensions arose between Castellón and the lord of Bechí, Fernando commanded all officials, royal and seigneurial as well, to observe the provisions of Alfonso V and Juan II meant to curb the barons' misdeeds in the area. He also issued a directive to all royal bailiffs in the kingdom regarding the appropriate response to the problem of seigneurial resistance:
we understand that by some barons and others in the kingdom of Valencia who have Sarracen vassals there is attempted this oppression and iniquity, namely, that after someone who was previously their vassal departs from the said barons and knights and comes to live and, at the same time, becomes a vassal in the said morería of Játiva or another royal [morería ], they [the barons] seizing them or their lands, do not allow such vassals, presently ours, to return to their lands and possessions nor to cultivate their lands and to procure and receive the fruit.
Fernando continued, emphasizing that such actions could "result in the prejudice and damage of our morerías and of the royal curia," and he concluded by ordering the bailiffs to see to it that the seigneurs, on pain (penalty) of 1,000 gold florins, allow their erstwhile vassals to attend to the lands that they were still renting from them. Later, the king made a point of expressing to the representatives of the military estate his displeasure at their treatment of Muslims wishing to become royal vassals.
The pattern of landholding prevalent in Valencia, where the farmer rented small parcels in a number of localities, both royal and seigneurial, was a source of uncertainty as to whom any particular tenant was bound as a vassal. Also, because vassals, by virtue of their dispersed landholdings, might have economic interests in other communities, their respective lords frequently conflicted while pursuing their vassals', and therefore their own, interests. Fernando asserted monarchical power on behalf of Muslims of Játiva when he learned that seigneurial vassals, both Muslim and Christian, were indebted to them. The bailiff was instructed to demand payment from the lords of the debtors in question, and, that failing, to confiscate enough of the debtors' property to satisfy the creditors. Another document demonstrates that Fernando was less concerned with the welfare of his Muslim vassals per se than with filling his own purse. In response to the lords who were collecting feudal dues from royal Mudejars renting lands on their estates, the king, rather than simply putting a stop to this activity, decided to exact royal taxes from seigneurial Muslims farming Crown lands. The seemingly twisted logic Fernando employed in explanation of his decision—"so that our Sarracen vassals do not enjoy less prerogatives or rights than vassals of whatever persons, nay rather let them be treated equally"—is actually quite transparent. The king and the seigneurs remained on an equal footing, while the vassals of both were fleeced.
Throughout the fifteenth century the kingdom of Valencia as a whole, the city of Valencia being a notable exception, suffered from chronic underpopulation. In the latter half of the century the population steadily diminished, a consequence of recurring epidemics of plague.
As suggested above, this factor enhanced the rivalry between Crown and nobility for the labor of Mudejar vassals. One Crown response to underpopulation, which added to this royal-seigneurial rivalry, was the attempt to reconstruct and repopulate towns particularly devastated by pestilence. The Mudejars, renowned for their skill and energy as farmers and artisans, were integral to some of these reconstruction plans. In 1468 Juan II endeavored to resuscitate the town of Alcoy, the population of which had been halved from 600 to less than 300 households. At the request of its Christian council, Juan provided for the construction of a morería with 100 houses and a mosque. The council hoped that Mudejars would occupy and rebuild the homes in disrepair, and buy land in the area, thereby increasing property values. The king was, as always, attracted by the prospect of an increment in his revenue.
Fernando's establishment of a Muslim aljama in Castellón de Játiva was motivated by much the same interests, although this time it was not done at the request of the town's Christian populace, who, nevertheless, in no way objected to the royal project. In the document detailing the creation of the aljama the king's fiscal concerns emerge quite clearly: "Just as other men strive to promote whatever is useful for them and to drive away misfortunes, so it is fitting that kings and princes occasionally seek ways of preserving and augmenting their patrimony and employ a method by which the increase of benefits is directed more easily to it." He pointed out that since "mortalities and other adversities" had reduced Castellón's population from four hundred to only ninety households, a new aljama would be just the thing to revitalize the town while replenishing the "revenues and profits for our patrimony." Fernando was careful to attend to the necessities of the nascent Muslim community: the setting aside for it of a special part of town called "Lo Pedro," the constitution of its corporate aljama, the annual election of an amin[*] and adelantats , the establishment of a special Muslim butcher shop, and, of course, the taxes the inhabitants would have to pay to the Crown. In sum, the new aljama was to enjoy the same privileges and immunities as the aljama of Játiva. The king also appointed a bailiff for the morería , Pere Caldes, who, like other bailiffs, would administer civil and criminal justice in cases involving the morería 's residents (although not in civil suits between Muslims) and see to the collection of taxes.
Fernando shrewdly stipulated that all new Muslim residents must pay a fee of 50s for right of entry or vassalage, and that they could not transfer to Castellón from other royal morerías without royal license. The newcomers, then, would not be destitute, and the populations of the other royal morerías would be maintained. The losers in this scheme would be the nobles of the region of Játiva.
As we might expect by now, the new aljama had its growing pains.
First, it was revealed that Christians owning homes in the part of town designated for the morería were taking advantage of the royal project and asking exorbitant prices for them. Concerned that potential Muslim buyers might be scared off, Fernando instructed royal and local officials to determine suitable sale prices. The seigneurs in the area proved to be as troublesome as ever. Muslim residents of Castellón were prevented from picking the leaves from their mulberry trees in Alcocer; instead, the leaves, essential for the raising of silkworms, were taken by Muslim vassals of the lordship. The knight Perot de Castellvi accused Ali Mançor of having abandoned his lordship, Benimuslem, for Castellón without settling accounts. After the bailiff general ruled on the suit in Ali's favor, Castellvi turned Ali's family problems to his own advantage. Apparently Ali's wife had been reluctant to move from Benimuslem and had demanded that her husband hand over her bridewealth. Ignoring the bailiff, who had jurisdiction in a case involving a royal vassal, Castellvi turned to the governor, who then had 100 head of Ali's sheep confiscated on behalf of Castellvi and Ali's wife.
Establishing a new aljama was a risky business. There was the distinct possibility that it would sink into the existing welter of competing interests and jurisdictions. The following case, in which Castellón's bailiff, Pere Caldes, found himself in jail, is suggestive of this danger. Problems began when Mahomat Bonafort appeared before Caldes requesting to be made a vassal in Castellón. Caldes could permit this only after he, acting on Mahomat's behalf, and the lieutenant governor "beyond the Júcar River" had agreed on a settlement regarding Mahomat's wounding of another seigneurial Muslim. Despite the settlement, the lieutenant governor still attempted to have Mahomat seized, but Caldes, who was protecting Mahomat in his own house, would not allow it, pointing out that Mahomat, now a royal vassal, fell under only the bailif's jurisdiction. Unfortunately, Luis Ferrer, the lieutenant governor of the entire kingdom, got wind of the affair. It so happened that the Muslim whom Mahomat had wounded was the vassal of one of Ferrer's relations. Ferrer complained to the bailiff general about Caldes, but to no avail. Later, when Caldes went to Játiva to pay the remainder of the settlement, the lieutenant governor threw him in jail and then proceeded to Castellón. There he and his men broke into Mahomat's house and made an inventory of the property they intended to confiscate on behalf of one of Mahomat's creditors. Worse still, when the other Muslim residents of Castellón witnessed these events they became very uneasy and began wondering about their own security, while other Muslims intending to move there changed their minds. Eventually the matter was set right, and the new aljama managed, if not to prosper, at least to survive.
Whatever success Juan II and his son might have had in forming the new aljamas of Alcoy and Castellón de Játiva, it is doubtful if the income derived from these aljamas offset the losses sustained by the Crown in 1455 when the morería of the capital was sacked and largely depopulated. Valencia's Muslims had been notable for their prosperity and commercial activity. In the first half of the fifteenth century of the 170 Mudejar merchants conducting business with the sultanate of Granada, 118 were from the capital. In contrast, during the years 1479–1491, of the 32 Mudejars engaged in commerce with Granada and North Africa, only seven were residents of Valencia's struggling morería , and three of these were agents of the powerful Bellvis family. Juan II had attempted to rebuild and repopulate the morería by enjoining the aljama's creditors to reduce the amounts the aljama owed, and by permitting the aljama to pay to the Crown a simple annual lump sum of 25 pounds instead of the usual royal taxes. Fernando followed suit and confirmed the privileges conceded by his father. Their efforts were not futile, for there is evidence that the morería attracted new vassals during Juan's reign, and under Fernando between thirty and forty Mudejars took up residence there. However, the aljama never regained its former prosperity, since artisans had replaced the long-distance merchants.
Because there simply were not enough bodies to populate both baronies and royal towns sufficiently, the Crown's policy of promoting the growth of its own aljamas could, after all, have only limited success, and since the new royal vassals were acquired from seigneurial lands, that policy could not be pursued too aggressively lest the nobility be dangerously alienated. Of course, the fluctuations of population were out of the king's control and depended on biological and epidemiological factors. However, the conquest of the sultanate of Granada presented Fernando with a situation in which he could direct the fate and, more importantly, the settlement of a large conquered Muslim population. As a means of preventing the complete ruination of Granada's economy, Fernando and Isabel reproduced the Mudejar pattern throughout the conquered sultanate. The large majority of Granada's Muslims remained in their homes as the vassals of the Crown of Castile and Castilian lords. Yet Fernando managed to secure some Granadans as vassals of his own Crown of Aragon.
More than three years before the conquest of the sultanate was completed Fernando began permitting the entry of Granadan Muslims into the Christian kingdoms as royal vassals. Some of these early immigrants, from Almería and Baza, seem to have been Fernando's agents. The Almerians, at least, expressed their fear of the sultan and of the city's other Muslims, probably on account of their own treachery. At the request of the faqih[*] of Valencia's aljama, who hoped to expedite the
escape of his relations from Almería before its fall, Fernando conceded a safe-conduct to the faqih 's[*] sister-in-law and niece, "and all their family and company ... to come to live in our city of Valencia and become our vassals."
The majority of the immigrants came from Vera and Almería, the part of the sultanate closest to Valencia. It was with these cities, especially Almería, that the Mudejars had maintained the most extensive commercial and family ties. Fernando even went so far as to allow Muslims from Vera, who had first emigrated to Oran, to return and become royal vassals in Valencia. Other immigrants originated from Málaga, Baza, and Granada itself.
The Granadans settled in a variety of localities. Some made their new homes in royal morerías , such as Játiva, Alcira, Valencia, and Calatayud in Aragon. Others became seigneurial vassals and joined the aljamas of Manises, Novelda, Elche, Bétera, Valldigna, Cocentaina, and others. The majority of the latter were captives from Málaga who had first been sold in the kingdom as slaves and subsequently were ransomed by the seigneurial aljamas.
On occasion Fernando settled the Granadan Muslims in specific locations. He rewarded his bailiff "beyond the Jijona River" with a number of Muslim households to populate lands the latter possessed near Orihuela. These Muslims were not slaves, for they made a feudal contract with their new lord, promising to remain on his lands as vassals for a period of five years. Still, in general, the king was content with the fact that the Muslims had come voluntarily to live in his kingdoms and was not too particular as to where they settled. In one instance, Queen Isabel bade the bailiff general to place Muslims from Vera on the lands of the Cardinal of Valencia: "work with them [the Muslims] in a manner that they accept their residence in the said baronies and in no other area." One month later Fernando countermanded his wife's order, instructing the bailiff not to force the Muslims to live on the Cardinal's lands, but to allow them to settle where they wished, preferably "in our royal cities and lands rather than in any [other] lands." In another case, the councillors of Montalbán had requested that the king send Muslims to settle in their town, but Fernando wrote them that his hands were, in effect, tied, "inasmuch as in their submission to our obedience we promised them and gave them freedom to go where they wish and, thus, for the sake of justice, they cannot be forced to live in some place against their will."
Of course, there were strings attached, namely, that wherever a Granadan Muslim chose to settle he would have to pay the accustomed taxes, just like the other Mudejars of Valencia. When some Almerians maintained that the king had granted them exemptions from these
taxes, Fernando replied, "we are surprised that they would claim such a thing, because we never would grant them anything that was contrary to the taxes of that kingdom." The royal "milch cows" might graze where they liked, but they still had to produce milk.
It is extremely difficult to assess how many Granadan Muslims were incorporated into Valencia's Mudejar population. It is unlikely that their numbers were very great. Those Granadans unable to endure Christian rule would have emigrated to the Maghrib, and those who remained in Granada did so because of their attachment to their still recognizably Islamic homeland. Valencia, long transmogrified by a Christian impress, offered them little attraction. Only after Cisneros set in motion a sequence of rebellions and more or less forced conversions (1499–1502) would Valencia have appeared a haven, but by then it was too late, for the kingdom of Granada had been effectively cordoned off from the territories of the Crown of Aragon. The Granadan Muslims who made their way to Valencia did so either because they had kinfolk there, as was the case with a number of Almerians, or because they came in through the back door as slaves who, once ransomed, stayed on, or as refugees who were disenchanted with life in the Maghrib and could not return home. Whatever their numbers, the salient point is that Fernando was willing to accept them as vassals. With one eye on his purse and the other on the example of his forbears, the king concluded that the perpetuation of Mudejarism had its benefits.
With both Crown and nobility, including ecclesiastical prelates, striving to maintain the population and productivity of their lands, Mudejar emigration to North Africa was correspondingly restricted and usually completely prohibited. When Mudejars were permitted to emigrate, they had to pay a passage duty of 13s 4d. Jewish emigrants paid far less, only 3s 4d, which reflects the greater economic importance of the Muslims in Valencia.
Emilia Salvador has traced the increasing stringency of the emigration policy from the time of the thirteenth-century conquest until the midsixteenth century. The ten-year suspension on the issuance of emigration licenses enacted by Pedro IV at the request of the Corts (1370) became a perpetual prohibition under Martin I (1403). No doubt demographic change and a diminishing labor supply were considerations guiding the imposition of these restrictions. In the Corts of 1488 Martin's prohibition was reiterated.
Despite such prohibitions, monarchs sometimes, in individual cases, conceded licenses for emigration or permitted the bailiff general to do so. This was a means of getting ready cash from the passage duties the Muslims had to pay. Juan II (1477) allowed the bailiff general to issue licenses, as did Fernando at the outset of his reign. In 1486 this was
still described as one of the bailiff general's duties. Other officials who licensed Mudejars to emigrate were reprimanded for having encroached on the bailiff's special prerogative. It seems that even after the Corts of 1488 the bailiff continued to grant emigration licenses, for which reason the military estate expressed considerable dismay. Valencian Muslims who could not cross to the Maghrib from the port of Valencia might have been able to do so through Tortosa in Catalonia. Before 1498 there is no record of how many Mudejars emigrated to the Maghrib, and after 1498 none of the emigrés were Valencians. In any case, by 1492 Fernando had definitely deprived the bailiff general of the prerogative of licensing Mudejar emigration. Consequently, the bailiff's lieutenant had to be compensated for the revenues he had been receiving for his labors in the emigration procedures. In 1493 the king expressly forbade the emigration of a rich Muslim of Játiva. There is little other indication in the documentation that Valencia's Mudejars desired to emigrate. This became the case only during the troubled years after 1500. Even if emigration had been desired, it was only infrequently permitted. It would have made little sense for the king to have exerted such effort to attract Mudejar vassals only to allow them to slip through his fingers.
The criterion by which the success of Fernando's program to augment the population of royal aljamas may be evaluated is the degree to which the aljamas grew. The besant lists of certain royal aljamas (the besant was the hearth tax paid annually by each Muslim household) allow for an assessment of the aljamas' population size on a yearly basis. It should be pointed out, however, that the besant lists have only a relative value. Not all Mudejars paid the besant ; some were excused for reason of poverty, and others, as in Játiva, were exempted for a number of years as an inducement to their becoming royal vassals. Of course, the Crown was mainly interested in those Muslims who could pay their taxes. Population increase need not have been due to immigration; it might have been merely the result of other demographic factors, in the case of the besant , the departure of adult children from their parents' home to their own dwelling in the same morería . Likewise, population decrease was not necessarily caused by the flight of Mudejars to seigneurial lands, but by the normal rate of mortality or by an abnormally high rate due to plague.
Taking these factors into consideration, the besant lists suggest that Fernando's program had moderate success (see table 1). The morerías of Alcira, Castellón de la Plana, Murviedro, and Monforte all show an increase in population, but without any extraordinary surges forward. From other sources, we know that at least six seigneurial Muslims joined the aljama of Liria, with the same number taking up residence in
Villarreal, and at least thirty Muslims doing so in Valencia's morería . Valencia, as a commercial center with a growing and dynamic population, held obvious attraction for the ambitious Mudejar. Although some Mudejars moved to Valencia from considerable distances, the usual pattern was for the Mudejar to move to a royal morería near his former place of residence. This allowed him to attend more easily to landholdings and other business interests concentrated within a specific region. The one important exception to the success of Fernando's program was
the aljama of Játiva, the largest in the kingdom. It seems to have experienced a steady decline in population, to which the oppressive administration of the local bailiff likely contributed (see below). Plague also seems to have played a role. Given the kingdom's overall decline in population, the resistance of lords to their vassals' change of status, and the varied circumstances militating against a Mudejar's mobility (insolvency, preference of seigneurial. lands for the comparative isolation they afforded Muslim communities, and so on), it was no small achievement that Fernando had any success at all in augmenting the population of his aljamas.
Protecting the "Royal Treasure"
Historians have emphasized the solicitude of Aragon's kings, and of their bailiff generals, for protecting their Muslim subjects. While the efficacy of royal protection is itself debatable, still more troubling is the avoidance of the question of why Mudejars so often felt compelled to turn to the king for aid against their oppressors. Many of the difficulties Mudejars experienced derived from their membership in a turbulent and conflictive Valencian society, and, lacking comparative data for other social groups, it would be risky to posit that Muslims necessarily suffered more than Christians or Jews. Nevertheless, it is equally true that much of the hardship Mudejars endured inhered in their peculiar status as Muslims in a Christian society.
Modern observers would deplore the fact that the Mudejar was not, in either juridical, political, or social terms, on an equal footing with his Christian counterpart. The Mudejar, however, did not expect parity in treatment any more than did the Christian and Jewish dhimmi s[*] in Islamic societies; nor did he strive to effect social change or to achieve social advancement, for not even substantial wealth could alter his inferior status vis-à-vis Christian society. The price the Mudejar paid, and was willing to pay, for his adherence to Islam was social inferiority and a lack of political status or power. Although Mudejar inequality was not an issue in fifteenth-century Valencia, the terms on which that inequality was based were, for the Mudejar, the source of numerous problems.
Muslim survival in Valencia had been founded on a series of surrender treaties reached between the conquered Muslims and King Jaime I of Aragon. Every right the Mudejar enjoyed—the ability to practice Islam, own property, and so on—was set forth in a specific royal privilege or concession. There was no higher law guaranteeing the permanence of Mudejar existence or their enjoyment of particular rights; all depended on the royal will, at times quite capricious, and privileges
could be as easily withdrawn as confirmed. The only source of protection for the Mudejars against the aggressions of nobles, clergy, local officialdom, or the Christian mob was the king. The king confirmed privileges and provided protection not because he was morally bound to do so—indeed, purely religious considerations advised against this course of action—but because the Mudejars' assiduous toil was beneficial for the kingdom's economy. Crown, nobility, clergy, and urban oligarchies all suffered the Muslims' presence out of economic interest, and all expected to profit from it. Although Mudejar vassals were sought after and the competition for them sometimes ameliorated the conditions of their vassalage, they were nevertheless perceived by their lords primarily as exploitable labor. If the Mudejars did not produce, there was nothing else, and least of all their religious affiliation, to justify their presence. If revenue could not be squeezed out of the Mudejar legally, then the interested parties were quick to resort to methods of extortion. Because the Mudejar professed an inferior religion, the Christian offender experienced little compunction for his crimes. Royal protection of the Mudejar rarely entailed the punishment of the culprit. Usually only restitution of the victim's property was demanded, which underlines the economic aspect of the problem, for restoring to the Mudejar what he had lost ultimately redounded to the benefit of the Mudejar's lord, either king or nobleman. The Mudejar, as individual or corporate aljama, was not really the main concern.
Valued as a dependable source of labor and conspicuous by virtue of their faith, the Mudejars tended to suffer acutely from the kingdom's socioeconomic dislocations. Thus, when labor was scarce, the Mudejars were more sought after by nobles and royal towns, but being the object of their rivalry also meant that they were frequently the victims of injury by the antagonistic parties. Either guarded as a precious resource despite the fact they were Muslims, or subject to the brutalities and extortions of a Christian majority because they were infidels, the Mudejars' position was a precarious one.
We have seen, regarding the issue of Mudejar vassalage, that the disputes between towns and neighboring lordships could become quite heated. Municipal governments and noblemen might clash for any number of reasons, and in each case the interests of the local inhabitants, both Christian and Muslim, were implicated. Rights to land and water usage were vital questions. Alcira's modifications of the irrigation system that served it and the adjacent baronies in favor of the landowners of its own huerta prompted complaints from the councils and aljamas of Alberique, Alcocer, and Alasquer. The effort of Don Manuel Lançol, lord of Gilet, to appropriate lands located within the boundaries of Murviedro was the cause of considerable hostility between the Chris-
tians of Murviedro and Don Manuel's Muslim vassals, taking the form of a breakdown in trade between Gilet and Murviedro and much "murmuring" on both sides. The competence of municipal officials to collect taxes from seigneurial vassals in the surrounding countryside was also a point for debate. Orihuela's collection of the sisa del carn (sales tax on meat) from the vassals of Albatera raised objections from their lord.
Hypothetically, Muslims should not have been affected any more than Christians by these disputes between town and nobility, for the matters of controversy—rights to land and water and to taxation—had little to do with the Mudejars' status as Muslims or as vassals of a particular lord. However, because Mudejars were so highly valued as vassals, the disputants seem to have reasoned that the most effective way of inflicting damage on one's opponent, and thereby lending weight to one's own argument, was to proceed immediately against the persons or property of the opponent's Muslims (a royal town's Muslims would have been royal vassals). This reasoning was given greater force by the Christians' disdain for the Mudejar as an infidel, by the inability of a minority to resist the majority's perpetration of outrage, and by the Christians' confidence that for a crime against a Muslim punishment, if ever doled out, was unlikely to be severe. Thus, when the officials of Gandía arbitrarily raised the amount of the sisa they collected from the lordships located within the town's general limits, their first act was the confiscation of Azmet Vaquel's two mules as security for the payment of the sisa . During their ongoing controversy with the lord of Gilet, the jurates of Murviedro violently threatened to exact the peyta from his Muslim vassals. The officials of the barony of Corbera attempted to settle whatever scores they had with Alcira by making off with goats from the aljama's flock, and by waylaying and robbing a Muslim transporting his olives from Alcira to a nearby mill. The lex talionis as practiced by municipal and baronial officialdom was not "an eye for an eye," but a Muslim for a Muslim. When the bailiff of Alcira was questioned as to why he had seized two Muslim vassals of Valldigna, he responded with the justification that the officials of Valldigna had previously detained Açech Quilis of Alcira. Indeed, the Cardinal of Valencia, Valldigna's lord, made his presence felt in Alcira and Játiva by his maltreatment of the king's Muslim vassals, clamping Offri Negral in irons for not paying a tax on wheat, holding others in his custody for alleged crimes, and summarily hanging two Muslims who had committed theft in Játiva.
Barons and burghers both, jockeying for power and asserting their claims to land and resources, viewed their rivals' Muslims as the ideal target for their initiatives and reprisals. Essential to both as a source of
labor and revenue, dispensable to both as Muslims, the Mudejars found themselves fought over, robbed, and physically abused, a state of affairs that the king, by displaying similar attitudes and by demanding the mere restitution of Muslim persons and property, could not prevent but only referee.
The Muslims of urban morerías , even when safe from the depredations of local barons, still had to contend with the misdeeds of municipal governments. It may seem strange that the same town councils that had frequently struggled with the nobility in an effort to attract and protect new Muslim vassals should have violated the rights of those vassals. One must consider the fact that the towns desired Muslim inhabitants as a means of accelerating the growth of their local economies. Yet, because it was the Crown that collected most taxes, rents, and judicial fines from the royal aljamas, the towns profited only indirectly from the Mudejars' presence, that is, only to the extent that Mudejar enterprise increased local productivity. The towns had a political status independent of the Crown and were not always content to see the king reap all the immediate benefits of Mudejar settlement. Consequently, municipal authorities sometimes resorted to their own dubious means of squeezing revenue out of the Mudejars, revenue that would be deposited in their own treasuries. Furthermore, because the towns were themselves subject to royal taxation, the jurates might have concluded that extorting money from the Mudejars, the king's special wards, was one way of retrieving from him a portion of the taxes Christian citizens had paid.
Alcira was the locus of the most controversy between municipal government and royal aljama. The central problem was the jurates' illegal collection of taxes from the aljama. In blatant disregard of the bailiff general's command they proceeded "rigorously" to tax the aljama (1482), and later (1492), their arbitrary exaction of new sises and peytes was impelling Alcira's Muslims to abandon the morería for seigneurial lands. When taxation bore little fruit, the jurates tried to force the Muslims to labor in the town's public works (1493), and in 1499 they were still making mischief, entering the morería and confiscating the property of Muslims for unspecified reasons. The occurrence of these incidents over a seventeen-year period suggests that the aljama of Alcira was subject to consistent harassment by an apparently undeterred town council.
The experiences of other urban aljamas were variations on the same theme. The aljama of Játiva took the wise precaution of seeing to it that Fernando confirm the provision of Juan II (1479) forbidding the justice and jurates to enter the morería and make executions on Muslim property for whatever reason. This seems to have kept Játiva's ju-
rates at a distance, although, as we shall see, the aljama had far greater difficulties with the local bailiff.
Apart from the question of taxation, two other points of controversy soured relations between the aljamas and the municipal authorities. One was the administration of justice, the problem here being the attempts of municipal justices to rule on cases involving Muslims so that any monetary fines would be paid into their courts. For this reason impediments were placed in the way of the trying of cases between Muslims in the qadi 's[*] court in Valencia. Játiva's public prosecutor had the same idea when he wrongly brought Muslims and Jews before the governor's court, instead of the bailiff's court. Controversy also revolved around the Muslim butcher shops, which were royal monopolies. Valencia's aljama complained that the Christian guild of butchers was imposing restrictions on how much meat the Muslim butcher could slaughter, perhaps hoping to force the Muslims to buy meat from them. The jurates of Castellón de la Plana feigned religious scruples when they forbade Christians to buy meat from the Muslim butcher shop, where they could not collect the sales tax (sisa ). The jurates then went so far as to exact the sales tax illicitly from the Muslims as well.
Albarracín (Aragon) was the scene of some interesting financial maneuverings involving the king, town council, and aljama. Fernando had conceded to the aljama the privilege of having its own store for the sale of bread, salted fish, oil, and other staples to all Muslims residing in or visiting the morería . The proceeds from the sales were to go to the aljama, which was in financial straits and had scarcely enough funds to pay taxes. The council, more concerned about the town's economy than with the royal patrimony, refused to allow the Muslims to open their store, obviously preferring that they do business with local Christian merchants.
It is difficult to say how far the town councils would have gone in their fleecing of local aljamas if they had not been held in check by the king and his bailiffs. Probably they would have realized, as the Crown had long ago, that the depletion of an aljamas' financial resources was, in the end, detrimental to their own interests. Certainly the depopulation of the morería would have meant an economic setback for the town. However, since the Muslims were not under their supervision and they did not necessarily identify the aljama's interests with their own, the councils were content to welcome the Muslims to their towns and then to exact from them what little else they could.
At the local level, the bailiff was the overseer of royal interests and, therefore, of Mudejar affairs. As the Muslims' judge and protector his office was of crucial importance, particularly in light of the transgres-
sions of town councils. Although most local bailiffs seem to have fulfilled the duties of their office with the king's and the aljama's interests in mind, Joan Dezpuig, the bailiff of Játiva, which housed the kingdom's largest aljama, was a glaringly important exception. On one hand, Dezpuig and his surrogates seem to have guarded the aljama from the trespasses of others. The necessity of the bailiff's protection was demonstrated when the governor's officials, who had come to the morería to inventory and take pledges from the goods of Mudejar debtors, molested Muslim women and stole their belongings. Fernando responded with the command that no one could enter the morería without the bailiff in attendance. This problem or similar ones involving Játiva's jurates did not arise again, so that it may be presumed that someone was doing his job. On the other hand, it seems that Dezpuig protected the aljama from others only so that he himself might interfere in its affairs and treat it as part of his own personal patrimony. Thus it follows that while the aljama of Játiva had the fewest problems with the municipal authorities, it suffered far more than other aljamas from the unscrupulousness of its own bailiff.
We first encounter Dezpuig just after his return to Játiva from an extended absence (1483). During his absence Luis de Fevollet, the lieutenant bailiff, had seen to the aljama's business and had ruled on a variety of matters. Dezpuig's first act was to annul Fevollet's provisions arbitrarily, perhaps because he perceived them to be inimical to his own interests. This act not only violated Fevollet's prerogatives but also seemed sure to burden the aljama with more costly litigation. Although Dezpuig was reprimanded by the king for this, he still was not finished with Fevollet. Because the aljama was paying Fevollet a salary for his services, Dezpuig's next move was to confiscate securities (penyores ) from the treasurer of the aljama so that the payment could not be made. He also incarcerated the aljama's çalmedina for an unknown reason, perhaps because the çalmedina had attempted to stop him.
Two other cases, in which the aljama of Játiva was not involved, provide a bit more information on Dezpuig and how he operated. As bailiff of Játiva, a knight, and lord of Alcantera, Dezpuig was a powerful man in the region, and a well-connected one. In the first case, Çaat Melich, accused of the murder of Ali Dabbau of Ayelo, was incarcerated in the bailiff's jail. When the victim's family dropped the charges against Çaat, Dezpuig refused to release him because of his own kinship tie with the victim's lord. Çaat continued to languish in jail dying of hunger, which indicates the kind of justice Dezpuig was intending to administer. Dezpuig was also involved in several litigations with the lord of Cárcer. The latter maintained that he was unable to receive a fair
hearing in the governor's court, because the governor's surrogate was Dezpuig's nephew and the governor himself was only concerned that his son, married to Dezpuig's daughter, become Dezpuig's heir. The bailiff of Játiva, then, appears an ambitious man willing to rise above the law and to utilize his considerable power and family connections to attain his ends.
Dezpuig employed like tactics in his dealings with the aljama. The antagonism between the bailiff and the aljama came to the fore in a litigation that lasted for at least fourteen years (1486–1500). The point of dispute was 13 pounds 11s, which, Dezpuig argued, the aljama had to pay to him annually, beyond his regular salary, for services rendered. The 13 pounds 11s was a translation into cash of a gift of linen to Dezpuig's wife, one sheep given to the bailiff himself, 110s for the lieutenant bailiff, and another 100s for Dezpuig's labors in farming out the sisa collected from the aljama. The aljama had made these gifts to the bailiffs in the past, but in 1486 refused to do so, apparently on the good advice of the lieutenant bailiff, Fevollet. Dezpuig responded by abrogating the privilege of the aljama to elect its four adelantats (jurates) and appointed adelantats favorable to his own interests, "less suitable and sufficient, and little zealous for the benefit and increase of the said aljama ... so that you [Dezpuig] can extort from the said aljama the money not owed to you, as is said." Fernando foiled the bailiff's plan, but the suit continued. Dezpuig argued that the bailiff of Játiva's right to the 13 pounds 11s had been established by the provisions of Alfonso V and Juan II, and that, after all, he ought to be recompensed for the labors he exerted on the aljama's behalf. The aljama countered that there existed no such royal provisions and that their gift of the 13 pounds 11s to Dezpuig had not been obligatory; rather, it had been given voluntarily and gratuitously. As for Dezpuig's services, the aljama pointed out that Dezpuig was living in Valencia, was never in Játiva, and had done absolutely nothing for the aljama. Therefore, the aljama had decided that the bailiff no longer deserved the gifts. By 1500, after one of the bailiff general's assessors had decided in the aljama's favor, and then another assessor in Dezpuig's favor, the outcome of the case was still uncertain. What is more certain is that Dezpuig treated the aljama as if it were bound to him personally, obliged to pay him regardless of whether he fulfilled his duties. Throughout the fourteen years of litigation the aljama complained of being subjected to the bailiff's harassment and molestations. That the population of Játiva's aljama experienced a marked decline may well have been in part due to the oppressive administration of Joan Dezpuig.
Dezpuig was not the only one in a position of power over Mudejars to have abused his authority. For example, the archbishop of Zaragoza
interfered in the elections of that city's aljama, and attempted to have the ecclesiastical tithes collected from the seigneurial Muslims of Aragon, an unprecedented act. There were certainly others crueler than Dezpuig. In one instance, after charges had been dropped and a settlement reached between feuding Mudejar families, Luis Bou, the lieutenant governor, nevertheless proceeded to the home of two previously accused brothers, and there seized not the brothers, but their eighty-year-old crippled father, who clearly was incapable of any crime. Bou hung up the old man by his feet and threatened to stone him. The victim's anxious friends and family agreed to pay 3000s to Bou for the old man's release. Bou was not punished; he only had to return the money thus exacted, that is, if the settlement he had reached with the elder's family was not "well made."
Given the fact that men such as Dezpuig were permitted to retain their offices, and given the patent unwillingness of the king to castigate crimes against Muslims seriously, one must question those historians who have applauded the protection afforded the Mudejars by the Crown, although protection is clearly what they needed. The restoration of a Muslim's stolen property, if robbery were the only outrage to which he had been subjected, was an insufficient means of either deterring potential malefactors or repairing the damage done to the victim's human dignity. Still, the king at least recognized that leniency toward the Christian offenders had to be balanced by an attendance to Mudejar needs and grievances if he did not wish to be left with vacant morerías . Also, there were conscientious officials, such as Luis de Fevollet, Pere Caldes, and the bailiff generals, whose efforts on the Muslims' behalf perhaps offset the excesses and brutalities of others.
Islam: The Royal Outlook
We have seen that, contrary to the expectations evoked by the establishment of the Inquisition, the expulsion of the Jews, and the fate of the Muslims of Granada and Castile, Fernando was determined not only to maintain the Mudejar communities of his kingdoms but also to increase the Crown's share in the financial benefits accruing from Mudejar vassalage. Hence, one might conclude that in Fernando's mind fiscal considerations carried greater weight than religious ones, and that in the chemistry of the Catholic Monarchs' union the cool cynicism of Fernando managed to control but not extinguish the flames of Isabel's religious zeal. These conclusions are, to a certain extent, tenable. Certainly Isabel's religiosity was more extreme, and she was more willing to use
the Catholic faith, in its mutations of Inquisition and crusade, as a blunt tool with which to hammer the Iberian peninsula, if not the entire Mediterranean, into a crude shape of religious uniformity. It is also safe to say that Fernando was the subtler one of the couple, adroitly balancing the seemingly disjunctive demands of Church, royal treasury, and Mediterranean empire. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to assert that the king did not find the concerns of the Church and Christian society equally compelling. The main difference between Fernando and Isabel was not that the king was less interested in the promotion of the faith and the proselytizing of non-Christians, but that he was not willing to employ quite the same means as the queen in achieving those ends. Fernando had the perspicacity to realize that the majority of Mudejars were not about to abandon Islam voluntarily and embrace Christianity, and, as we shall see below, he had no desire to force the issue. At the same time, it was clear to him that an expulsion of the Mudejars would seriously debilitate the kingdoms of Valencia and Aragon. Fernando, then, accepted these two basic premises, that the Mudejars must continue laboring in their fields and shops, and that they would also continue praying in their mosques. Royal Mudejar policy consisted of pursuing the optimal fiscal benefits under these conditions.
Given that Fernando seems to have felt compelled to accept the Mudejar's adherence to Islam, which is evinced by the simple fact that the Mudejars' religious status remained unchanged until the subsequent reign, it is still essential to understand more precisely Fernando's outlook on the Islamic presence in his kingdoms, on the relations between Muslims and Christians, and on the possibilities of assimilating that Muslim body into Christian society through baptism. Such an understanding is necessary not simply because the history of the Jews and Castilian Mudejars raises the question but also for the reason that whatever economic importance the Mudejars had, it would have made little difference had Fernando indeed been intent on the eradication of Spanish Islam. The early history of the Inquisition speaks eloquently enough on this point. Very much aware of the economic havoc the Inquisition would and did wreak by decimating the Converso community, the Catholic Monarch still unhesitatingly forced the Holy Office on all of his kingdoms to stamp out the judaizing heresy. Although material concerns significantly influenced Fernando's handling of the minorities, the factor of religion was ultimately decisive.
The most fundamental of all the privileges accorded to the Mudejars was the freedom to practice Islam, and this freedom Fernando never disputed. However, religious sentiments were such that the Mudejars' practice of Islam raised other delicate issues, namely, whether Islamic
worship should be allowed to manifest itself publicly, and, if so, what kind of limitations were to be imposed so as to render it less offensive to Christians.
Since the time of the conquest the Crown had recognized the importance of mosques for the Muslims' religious and communal life, and thus allowed the Mudejars to retain them, along with their cemeteries and pious endowments. From the Christians' perspective, the mosque was the physical symbol of Islam, just as the church was representative of their own religion. Fifteenth-century Valencian Christians begrudged the Mudejars their mosques and could take some comfort in the fact that, as a result of demographic change, mosques were greatly outnumbered by churches. While Mudejars might maintain and renovate the mosques they already had, the construction of new ones was quite a different matter. Some Christians perceived this as an insult to their own faith and an unwanted increase of the Islamic presence.
Fernando himself was sensitive to this issue. When he established the new morería in Castellón de Játiva it seems that he purposely did not provide for the building of a new mosque there. Not every Mudejar community had its own mosque, and the king probably supposed that Castellón's Muslims would pray in the mosque of nearby Játiva. Yet, by 1493 Castellón's Mudejars had built or set aside a particular house for a mosque. The matter concerned Fernando, and he ordered an official investigation to determine if the mosque had been built recently—it probably had been, considering that the morería itself dated only from 1480—how long it had been standing, and whether there had been a mosque there in the past. Perhaps he was willing to give the Mudejars the benefit of the doubt if some preconquest antecedent to the mosque could be found, but his queries suggest that he was not comfortable with the idea of the Christians of Castellón being subjected to the public display of Islam by an aljama of his own creation.
Similar sentiments prompted the king to relocate the mosque of Zaragoza from a site near a plaza "where the Christians socialize and ... receive from it [the mosque] much offense" to "another area more convenient, closer to the morería , or inside of it." Fernando was not questioning the right of Mudejars to worship as Muslims; he was, in his mind, protecting Christians from excessive exposure to Islam's ritual manifestations.
In another case Fernando's opinions emerge less clearly. The scene of conflict was the Vall de Ayora, where the lord of the town of Ayora, the Marqués de Zanete, was constructing a new morería and mosque in an effort to attract to the town Muslims from the surrounding communities of the valley. Don Gerubin de Centelles, the lord of the valley, strenuously objected, arguing that since the conquest the town had been
populated by only Christians. Now, with this new mosque, the town, which had only heard the invocation of the name of Jesus Christ, would resound with the Muslims' call to prayer and the name of Muhammad. Centelles, obviously trying to strike a nerve here, demanded that the king put a stop to the Marqués's initiatives, which were so detrimental to the faith. Fernando reacted by ordering the Marqués to cease construction pending a hearing of both parties. This measured reaction may be attributed to the rumor that the Marqués had procured a papal bull allowing him to construct a new mosque. Also, there was much more at stake than a new mosque; there was the additional question of conflicting seigneurial jurisdictions and the Marqués's prerogatives.
As the preceding case suggests, what Christians found objectionable was not so much the existence of the mosque itself as the call to prayer five times daily from its minaret. Christians referred to the Muslims' call to prayer as the çala, employing this term for both the call (adhan[*] )—"Ashhadu anna Muhammad rasul[*] Allah[*] " ("I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God")—and the prayer itself (salat[*] ), although clearly it was the former that vexed them. It is interesting that Centelles remonstrated against the name of Muhammad being invoked in Ayora, for the public chanting of the adhan[*] had long been forbidden, although perhaps to little effect in seigneurial areas, if Centelles's word can be relied upon. Taking their cue from Pope Clement V at the Council of Vienne (1311), the Aragonese kings—Jaime II (1318), reinforced by Martin I (1403) and Alfonso V (1417) after the leniency of Pedro IV—had enacted a series of prohibitions, so that by Fernando's reign Muslims could be notified of the hour of prayer only by the sounding of a horn, and even that was prohibited in the city of Valencia. Since what the Church deplored was the public chanting of the name of Muhammad, Fernando did not think it necessary to add to his predecessors' restrictions. After all, if the Mudejars were to be allowed to practice Islam, they needed to be apprised of the proper time for prayer.
However, some of the more intolerant elements in Valencian society had other ideas. In 1477 placards had been posted in the capital calling for the tearing down of the minarets of all mosques. The Inquisitors, whom the king had thrust upon Valencia, came to represent the forces of religious extremism. In 1506 they threatened with excommunication and monetary fine (500 gold florins) all seigneurial officials in the region of the kingdom south of the Jijona River who permitted the Muslims to make the call to prayer, even "indirectly" with a horn. The Inquisitors, it seems, were not satisfied with extracting the judaizing cancer from within the Christian body; they desired to "Christianize" the entire kingdom, which entailed the suppression of Islam. On this score they differed with Valencian clergymen, or at least with those who had Mus-
lim vassals and seemed content with the existing arrangement. It is revealing that all three estates—military, royal, and ecclesiastical—complained to Fernando that the Inquisitors had violated the Furs, of which they had little knowledge. They noted that even canon law did not object to the Muslims' use of a horn. It is unlikely that Fernando would have supported the Inquisitors' initiative. The events of the crisis of 1500–1503 (see chap. 2) advised against further upsetting the Mudejars, who might have resorted to mass flight, utterly ruining barons, prelates, and towns.
Along with the restriction of the ritual expression of Islam, the Crown also deemed it necessary to censure any demonstrations of disrespect toward the Catholic faith by Muslims. Alfonso V had demanded that Mudejars be punished for blaspheming in the name of Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary, and during Fernando's reign legal procedure was taken against a number of Muslims, such as Ali Castellano of Alcira, who had to pay a fine of 50s "because he swore by the unclean parts of our Lord God." Muslims were also expected to make overt displays of their respect for Christianity by kneeling or turning aside when the Host was carried through the streets, and by ceasing work on Sundays and feast days, although they were permitted to labor in their fields on many of them. Fernando took great exception to the insolence of Mudejar blacksmiths and shoemakers in Tarazona who labored in public on Sundays and other feast days. When the priest elevated the Host during the Mass, the Muslims did "not cease hammering, striking iron, cutting and sewing," and even when Christian processions bearing the Host passed by the Muslims did "worse in the same manner without any respect or reverence, which is a bad example and by it service is done neither to our Lord God nor to us [the king]." Exasperated because he had already commanded that Muslim shops be removed from Christian areas of Tarazona, the king threatened to deprive the city's bailiff and jurates of their offices if they did not remedy the situation.
Fernando favored a strict spatial separation of Islamic and Christian cults, so that his Christian subjects would not have to bear the affront of seeing mosques and hearing the Arabic chant of the mu'adhdhin, or of witnessing the Muslims' impudent disregard of their Lord. In other words, Islam was to keep a very low profile. No doubt the Church applauded Fernando's policy, or the enforcement of his predecessors'. Yet it is less clear that he acted in these matters in response to widespread popular demand or that the generality of his Christian subjects were as sensitive as he to these alleged insults to their faith; in Ayora and Tarazona, at least, it appears that they were not. In fact, Fernando found the occasional manifestations of laxness and tolerance by his subjects to be shocking.
Much to the king's chagrin, the church of the Virgen María de la Rapita, located within the limits of his own city of Tortosa, was the site of a display of understanding rarely seen along the Christian-Muslim interface. With the cognizance of the authorities, presumably both ecclesiastical and civil, Muslims from Valencia, Aragon, and Catalonia were congregating in the church on Islamic holy days for prayer and ceremony. As far as Fernando was concerned, this was far worse than the building of a mosque in a Christian town or the labor of Muslims on Sunday; this was the violation of a church's sanctity by what were to him the ungodly and unclean rites of Islam. His reaction to the news, shock followed by intense anger, shines through the formulaic rhetoric of the document:
Not without great astonishment and (?) we have learned of the tolerance which until now has been given in allowing the Moors of the said kingdoms to enter the church of the Virgen María de la Rapita, which is established and built within the limits of that city of Tortosa, to ululate and to venerate the festivals and things required of them by their Mahometan sect and diabolic custom, which is done and consented to in the greatest disservice of our Redeemer Jesus Christ and of his most glorious mother, our Lady.
Fernando fumed, perturbed "that in the temple ordained for veneration and honor of the Divine cult there is permitted to be done another thing that is manifestly repugnant to the order of the Holy Church and Christian religion." The king was determined to act decisively "as pertains to the service of our Lord Jesus Christ and of his pure mother, our Lady, and to the exaltation of the Catholic faith and the oppression of the disorders of the pestiferous and infernal Mahometan sect." The severity of the threatened punishment corresponded with Fernando's opinion of the gravity of the offense. Officials who permitted Muslims to enter the church were to be fined 1,000 gold florins, while the Muslims themselves who violated the royal prohibition were to be given capital punishment or made slaves of the king. Also, whoever had the keys to and custodianship of the church was to lose his life if he allowed Muslims to pray or leave votive candles there. The king further enjoined that the church undergo a symbolic cleansing. In the part of the church where the Muslims made their devotions—perhaps the part they used as a mihrab[*] (a niche indicating the direction of Mecca)—the window was to be covered and on the window were to be painted images of Christ and the Virgin, "so that by them [the paintings] all impurity may be purged and abolished."
Because Fernando viewed the faith of Islam with such obvious aversion, particularly when it threatened to intrude on the religious con-
sciousness of the Catholic faithful, close social relations between adherents of that faith and Christians caused the king dismay. His opinion that the rites of Islam were somehow unclean implies that he feared Christians would be morally contaminated by extensive social interaction with Muslims. Fernando's sentiments were rooted not in a scorn for the Muslims as a distinct race, for there was little or no difference in the physiognomies of Spanish Muslims and Christians, but in a disdain for the religion that defined the Mudejars' ethnicity. There were, nevertheless, practical limitations to the institution of a rigid policy of social segregation. The Crown's encouragement of Mudejar economic activity—which meant their participation in most sectors of the economy and not just as servile agricultural laborers—militated against such a policy, for daily contact between Muslim and Christian in the workplace and market fostered a certain level of rapprochement that made social relations both possible and inevitable. If the king desired that the royal aljamas grow and prosper, he could not expect the Mudejars to remain in asphyxiating and impoverishing isolation. Religious concerns thus clashed with the Crown's fiscal interests. The contradictions or ambivalence perceptible in certain of Fernando's decisions are a reflection of this dichotomy.
The conditions stipulated by Fernando in his creation of an aljama in Castellón de Játiva are indicative of the state of affairs he deemed most preferable. He unequivocally commanded that the Muslims must inhabit a distinct morería and not mix in with the town's Christian residents. Ideally, this was what many Christians and Muslims would have desired, but sometimes necessity advised otherwise. To help make ends meet, Mudejars of the struggling and underpopulated morería of Valencia sold to Christians houses located within the morería . The issue here was not whether Christians could purchase houses located within a morería —this Fernando did not question—but whether they had to pay the taxes incumbent on the morería 's Muslim residents. Even when Fernando was intent on enforcing segregation, established local practice and relative indifference sometimes confounded him. While staying in Tarazona, he had decided that Jews and Muslims must be prohibited from having their homes and shops in Christian neighborhoods, "in order to avoid scandals and damages which could arise from it." Although the Jews and Muslims had dutifully returned to their respective quarters, Fernando was incensed when he learned that after his departure they had returned to live among the Christians "even more profanely than they were accustomed." Six years later word reached him that Mudejar craftsmen still had their shops outside of the morería , and that they worked in them on Sunday. It is significant that it was not an outcry from the Christian populace of Tarazona which had reached
Fernando's ears, but the complaint of only one citizen, Ferrando de Matalebreras.
Because Muslims and Jews ritually slaughtered their animals as prescribed by their dietary laws, the Christians' purchase of meat from their butcher shops assumed religious implications. Fernando and his bailiff general seem to have ignored these implications on account of fiscal concerns, or at least that was the case initially. Thus, when the jurates of Castellón de la Plana forbade the Muslim butcher shop to sell meat to Christians, primarily because they themselves did not collect the sales tax on the animals slaughtered by the Muslim butcher, the bailiff general demanded that they revoke the prohibition since it was prejudicial to the Crown, from whom the Muslim butcher shop was rented. The Inquisitors, however, did not take royal revenues into consideration when, in 1488, they preached in the see of Valencia that Christians should not dare to eat meat slaughtered by Muslims and Jews, under penalty of excommunication. Predictably, this elicited a protest from the lords of Mudejar vassals, and they enlisted the influence of the bishop of Segorbe in Rome to get a papal bull exempting their lands from the Inquisitorial decree. There is no evidence that Fernando was privy to this Inquisitorial offensive, although his subsequent action in Alcira indicates that he at least approved of and so acted in accordance with its substance. By 1492 Fernando decided that Alcira's Muslim butcher shop did not need to be provided with as many sheep as before "inasmuch as now it is prohibited [that] the said Christians buy meat from the said [Muslim] butcher shop." Owing to the resistance of the nobility, it seems that the zeal of the Inquisitors was felt less on seigneurial lands than in royal towns.
If Christians and Muslims were going to mingle, and realistically this could hardly be prevented, then it was important that Muslims at least be easily identifiable. At the behest of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), Spanish monarchs had included in their legal codes legislation demanding that Muslims wear distinctive clothing, although this legislation was only intermittently enforced. Fernando attempted to correct the previous laxness, bidding the bailiff general of Aragon to see to it that the Mudejars wore their special apparel. In the kingdom of Valencia Juan II had called for the enforcement of Jaime I's ordinances demanding that all Muslims dress in distinctive blue garb; however, in return for a 60-pound payment he had exempted the Muslims from having a special tonsure. Fernando followed suit and in 1482 issued a royal proclamation that Muslims and Jews must wear their special clothing in the city of Valencia. Yet, four years later Fernando was expressing dismay that his father's orders were being disobeyed and that Muslims were dressing "like Christians, and many of them in silk doublets and
fine clothing." The king's interests in the enforcement of this legislation were partly political—so that incognito Muslim enemies could not kidnap Christians (see chap. 2)—and partly social. Regarding the latter, Fernando was anxious to prevent "inconveniences and scandals" of a sexual nature, especially relations between Muslim men and Christian women. His fears were not unfounded, for the documentation attests to the not infrequent violation of this sexual taboo. When the jurates of Zaragoza were outraged because Muslims visiting the fonduk (hostel) of the morería brought Muslim women there with them—actually their daughters—Fernando bade the jurates to let the Muslims be, "so that those Moors will abstain from having anything to do with Christian women." In any case, it seems that despite the king's expressed concern to prevent such illicit relations, the Mudejars still were not forced to wear the special clothing. This is indicated by the absence of any record of the penalization of a Muslim for violation of the dress code and by the near impossibility of regulating Mudejar dress outside of the few royal morerías .
Fernando's anxiety about immoderate intimacy between Christians and Muslims may be considered within the context of the Catholic Monarchs' efforts to reform Spanish Christian society. Their program of reform for the Spanish Church, especially the religious orders, is well known. They were also preoccupied with the moral laxity of their subjects. In Valencia Fernando took measures to regulate prostitution and to prohibit gambling, profanity, sorcery, and usury. Still, this general interest in Christian morality does not minimize the fact that the comradeship of Muslims and Christians was perceived as a moral evil in itself or as the root of others. It is understandable how Fernando could have jumped to such conclusions, since Muslims and Christians were often found together partaking in Valencia's riotous tavern life. For instance, there was the disreputable Hostal del Palomar in Albaida, which Fernando wanted razed, because "there are committed many evils and damages, since many men of evil life and practices congregate there, and since it is found that Moors sleep with Christian women." In another tavern Muslims were fined for gambling with Christians.
Despite its decline in population and wealth, the morería of Valencia still maintained its reputation as a center of lowlife. Orders were issued prohibiting gambling there and restricting the activities of Muslim prostitutes to the morería 's bordello. Muslim residents of the morería who received as guests in their homes intoxicated Muslim vagabonds or Christian men and women, thereby encouraging "scandals, fights, and disorders," were to be fined 10s. The Crown attempted to prevent such disturbances from spreading beyond the confines of the morería by forbidding Muslims to drink their wine in any place other than the royal
tavern. Also, Muslims and Jews visiting the city of Valencia were required to lodge at the royal fonduk in the morería and not at Christian inns. The same applied to other royal morerías that had their own fonduks. These restrictions had a double motive. On one hand, confining Mudejars to the royal tavern and fonduk curtailed the "many and great inconveniences, scandals, and other perils which arise from the cohabitation of Sarracens, Jews, and other infidels with the Christians." On the other hand, the restrictions ensured a steady flow of income from these royal monopolies. The repeated proclamation of them attests to the frequency with which they were violated.
Fernando's measures to limit the public display of the Mudejars' religion and to promote the social segregation of Muslim and Christian all had their precedents in the legislation of previous monarchs, and it would be difficult to argue that the Catholic Monarch was more hostile than his predecessors toward Islam. In some areas where the king expressed concern, such as the Mudejars' distinctive clothing or their confinement to morerías and royal taverns for residence and recreation, the concern was not translated into consistent enforcement of proscriptive legislation. In others, such as the relocation of Zaragoza's mosque or the forbidding of Alcira's Muslims to sell meat to Christians, royal action was more decisive and in line with the views held by the aggressively anti-Islamic Inquisition. In any case, it is patent that Fernando, whether merely remonstrating or acting conclusively, desired to impede the mixing of Christians and Muslims, but without challenging the religious status of the latter.
Yet, considering the above instances of close and amicable relations between Muslims and Christians in Valencia, Aragon, and Catalonia, it seems that Fernando, in his desultory attempts to segregate Mudejars, was fighting a losing battle. Indeed, one might pose a disjunction between royal (and ecclesiastical) attitudes and those of a substantial portion of the Christian populace. Fernando's segregationist stance was inspired by a concern for the moral and spiritual well-being of his Christian subjects. His subjects, however, were probably not nearly as preoccupied with the state of their souls as he would have liked. Their concerns often were far more mundane. If their neighbors happened to be Muslims, it was perhaps easier to befriend them than to shun them. Christians in the capital knew Muslims of the local morería well enough to testify as character witnesses in their behalf. Making a living might mean cooperation with the Muslim tilling the adjacent plot of land, or selling goods to a large Muslim clientele, or even a business partnership with a Muslim. A Muslim of Alcira's acknowledgment of his debt to a Christian, written in Arabic and translated by the qadi[*] general, indicates the direction in which some business relationships might tend: "I Ageg,
son of Çahat Ageg, confess to you [my] singular and good friend, en Jacme Barbera, how I owe you twelve pounds." Alasdrach of Buñol and Ali Alcayet of Chiva preferred to lodge at the "Hostal de Angel" when they were in Valencia, because they were acquainted with the hosteler, Joan Jeroni. Deeper friendships between Muslims and Christians might flourish. Açen Muça's defense counsel tried to disqualify the testimony of the tailor Miguel Serra in favor of the plaintiffs, the family of the murdered Ubaydal (or Abdalla) Çentido, because Serra "was a very great friend, like a brother, of the said Ubaydal Çentido and is a very great friend of the sister of the said Ubaydal." Another friend of Ubaydal was the farmer Domingo Roda. While visiting his sister and attending to his lands in Mirambell, Domingo dined at the house of Ubaydal's sister with Ubaydal and another Muslim, Alfiquinet. After dinner, the three of them went for a stroll and talked, mainly about a Christian woman who had run off with some Muslims. (The defense impugned Domingo's testimony as well. That Domingo might have perjured himself for the sake of Ubaydal's family is impressive in itself.)
When leisurely pursuing pleasure Muslims and Christians let questions of faith recede into the background. Taverns brought Christians and Muslims together just as surely as churches and mosques separated them. Even the capital's colorful Corpus Christi Day processions, in spite of their being a clear expression of the Catholic faith, attracted Muslims from all over the kingdom. And the Christians found nothing unusual in this; nor did they expect the Muslim onlookers to kneel and show obeisance. In fact, Muslims and Christians set out for and watched the processions together.
That some Christians had no qualms about mingling so freely with Muslims was not the result of their having somehow come to terms with the religion of Islam, for on the theological plane there could be no Mudejar-Christian rapprochement. These Christians probably did not see themselves as somehow compromising their own religious beliefs. For them such interaction with Muslims was simply a way of life, a life in which secular pursuits often obscured spiritual concerns. In Valencia the pursuit of peace, the pursuit of wealth, and the pursuit of pleasure all frequently involved dealing with Muslims. Given the size of the Mudejar population, it could hardly have been otherwise. In his efforts to reform Christian society, Fernando was essentially asking his subjects to lead more spiritual lives. Success here might have rendered his segregative measures more enforceable. The failure to segregate the Mudejars was partly the consequence of the unwillingness and the inability of most Christians to live completely in accordance with the dictates of the Church.
The Question of Conversion
Nevertheless, Fernando was not alone in desiring a fuller separation of the Mudejars from the Christian population. There certainly were elements in Christian society who viewed the Muslims with resentment and fanatical hatred. They were willing to go much further than the king to solve the Mudejar problem. They advocated either the expulsion or the baptism of the Mudejars. Both methods would have the same result: a wholly Christian society. Economic and political considerations combined with the weight of tradition advised against the former course of action. The history of the Conversos strongly argued against the latter. Since 1391, when widespread anti-Jewish pogroms saw approximately one-third of Spain's Jews forcibly baptized, Spanish society had been plagued with the problem of Conversos. The Conversos either refused to assimilate and continued practicing Judaism, or, when they sincerely sought assimilation, Old Christian society rejected them on the grounds of their Jewish origins. From the 1440s until the reign of the Monarchs the issue of the Conversos was hotly debated, particularly in Castile, where acute social and religious discontent gave rise to numerous anti-Converso riots. It was the gravest of problems, to which the Monarchs responded with the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition, hoping to separate true Christians, both Old and New, from the crypto-Jews. When this proved impossible, to a large extent because of the persistent contact between the Converso and Jewish communities, the Jews were expelled from the peninsula. This was not, however, part of a larger plan to impose religious uniformity on Castile and Aragon; rather, it was a measure meant to solve a widespread socioreligious problem, of which the Mudejars were not a part. Even though these initiatives against the Conversos and Jews might have suggested to some that the conversion or expulsion of the Mudejars was the next step, Fernando himself did not entertain such designs. The Converso problem had shaken Castilian urban society to its very foundations and had raised serious questions about the premises on which Christian identity was based. It is highly unlikely that Fernando had the intention of creating a new class of Moriscos, thereby reenacting the Converso-Jew-Old Christian scenario. Whatever distaste Fernando had for Islam, his eyes were open wide enough to see that the Mudejar clung to his faith as stubbornly as the Jew.
Fortunately, the existence of a few documents in which Fernando speaks clearly on the question of Mudejar conversion enables us to move to more solid ground. One incident, in 1498, involved a young Muslim of Zaragoza (moratiço ) who had expressed to the archbishop his desire to convert to Christianity. Rather than urging the immediate
baptism of the Muslim, Fernando hesitated, requesting further information. He inquired whether the Muslim was of the age of discretion, that is, whether he was old enough to make a reasoned and sound decision in so important a matter as the abandonment of Islam for Christianity. He also wanted to know whether the Muslim had the consent of his parents or guardians to convert. Fernando did not wish to see an adolescent accept baptism on a whim, only to revert to Islam years later upon the realization that he had foolishly erred. The king reasoned that without parental consent the young proselyte would constantly be under familial pressure to abandon Christianity. Furthermore, Fernando was concerned that if the baptism were administered too hastily to an adolescent against the wishes of his family, the Mudejar community would perceive it as a form of forced conversion and, consequently, would be all the more opposed to Christianity. As the king summed up: "because if the said moratiço were baptized not having years of discretion against the will of the abovesaid [parents] it would be an exemplary case for all the others [Mudejars]. We would not allow such a thing to be done without considering it well." It is probable that Fernando had the Conversos in mind when he pondered this decision. It was notorious—certainly by 1498, when the Inquisition had already brought to light so much information on Converso practices—that adult Conversos often resumed a wholehearted observance of Judaism after having been raised as Catholics, and that the Conversos' crypto-Judaism was rooted in a closely knit family and communal life.
Fernando's other enunciations on the proselytizing of Mudejars stem from his efforts to shield them from the attacks of overly zealous Christians. In one case, a preacher of the crusade was inciting the Christians of Zaragoza against the local Muslims with his inflammatory sermons. Fernando admonished him to preach without mentioning the Mudejars, pointing out that by defaming the Mudejars and provoking the Christians against them he would not make much progress toward their conversion. The king added significantly:
if you know some things that ought to be done with respect to the said Moors concerning their satisfactory and tranquil coming to the zeal of the holy Catholic faith, those things you should tell secretly to our governor so that he may provide in the matter, or you should intimate them to us by your letters.
That Fernando was interested in the conversion of the Mudejars there is little doubt; the crucial point is that he demanded peaceful methods in the attainment of that end. This is corroborated by the stance taken by Fernando in the years 1500–1503, when, after the rebellion and con-
version of Muslims in Granada, rumors were spread in Valencia, Aragon, and Catalonia to the effect that the king planned to convert all Mudejars, by force if necessary. Fernando firmly repudiated such plans and proclaimed that: "our holy Catholic faith in the conversion of the infidels admits neither violence nor force but [only] full freedom and devotion." The survival of the Crown of Aragon's Muslim communities intact throughout Fernando's reign is testimony to the king's sincere opposition to forced conversion.
As has been indicated, Fernando was pleased to accept the voluntary conversion of Mudejars. When the Marquesa de Moya, one of the queen's ladies-in-waiting, sponsored her Muslim slave Casamito, who had expressed his intention of converting and marrying a Christian woman, by apprenticing him to a Christian dyer of Valencia, the king approved of the idea. When, after four years of apprenticeship, Casamito had a change of heart and ran off with Muslim companions, Fernando ordered Casamito seized and turned over to the Marquesa.
Whereas the king gingerly handled the case of the young Muslim of Zaragoza in order to avoid upsetting his parents and community, he had no doubt that Muslim children bereft of family and legal guardians were valid objects of proselytizing. After learning that Valencian Mudejars had bought a number of captive Malagan children ranging from three to ten years of age, Fernando commanded the bailiff general to take the children from their new masters, "so that they do not remain in their infidelity and may be turned to the Christian faith." Similarly, it was decided that black slaves from Guinea, who were perceived as having no religious status, should not be sold to Jews and Muslims, so that they, too, might be instructed in the Catholic faith. The same approach is evident in the royal decree of 12 February 1502, ordering the expulsion from Castile of all male Muslims older than fourteen and of all females older than twelve. Children, without the contrary influences of their families, could be raised as true Christians.
Once a Muslim accepted baptism, the king took care to see to it that the convert was well treated and that he or she did not feel in any way burdened by the new faith. In a litigation between Caterina, the daughter of a convert, and the Gaçenis, a Mudejar family of Tortosa, over the inheritance left to Caterina by her Muslim grandmother, the local bailiff had ruled in favor of Caterina. When the Gaçenis tried to appeal the decision, Fernando rejected their appeal on the grounds of its tardiness, but added that Caterina ought to remain in possession of the inheritance "lest she feel injury from the reception of baptism."
Fernando was truly enthusiastic for the voluntary conversion of all his Mudejar subjects. The willing acceptance of baptism by the entire aljama of Teruel (Aragon) in 1502 filled the king with joy and high hopes.
After relating how all the Castilian Mudejars "converted to our holy Catholic faith out of free will," Fernando continued:
it seems to us that they have done the same in the city of Teruel, that marvelously, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, there all the Moors of that aljama have converted ... may it please God that all the others that remain in our kingdoms do the same ... from this we would receive much consolation.
Although Fernando did not employ coercion with the Crown's other Muslim communities in the pursuit of wish fulfillment, the alleged freedom with which the Mudejars of Castile and Teruel converted demands scrutiny. The conditions for emigration offered to Castilian Muslims by the Monarchs—the abandonment of their children and Egypt as practically their only destination—makes one wonder whether they had any other choice but to accept baptism. The precise circumstances which led to the conversion of Teruel's aljama are unknown, but, given Teruel's proximity to Castile and the great anxiety that the rebellions and conversions in Granada and Castile must have caused them, it may be surmised that Teruel's Muslims accepted baptism under considerable psychological duress. Still, in an age when Muslims and Jews who opted for the baptismal chrism instead of the blade of a sword were judged by theologians to have acted out of free will, Fernando's definition of freedom was perhaps more reasonable than many.
It is worthwhile to consider briefly the conversion of the Muslims of Granada and Castile, in order to raise a few points regarding the contrasting views of Fernando and Isabel on the methods of conversion. Although Fernando and Isabel ruled jointly, the final responsibility for policy in Castile and Granada fell on Isabel's shoulders. The same can be asserted for Fernando with respect to Aragon. While the Monarchs differed on the use of coercion in conversion, they seem to have agreed on the measures to be implemented in treating the problem of neoconverts, either Jewish or Muslim.
The surrender treaties reached between the Monarchs and the conquered Granadans were quite similar to the Mudejar treaties of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Even the efforts of Hernando de Talavera, the first archbishop of Granada, to proselytize the Muslims of Granada had their precedents in the activities of the Mendicant Orders in Valencia in the wake of that kingdom's conquest. That until 1499 the Monarchs had no intention of breaking the treaties is indicated by their permission to Portugal's expelled Mudejars to settle in Granada and Castile in 1497. However, by autumn 1499, it seems that the Monarchs, particularly Isabel, had grown impatient with Talavera's
policy of gradual conversion. Desirous of some results, a pretext was found for sending Cardinal Cisneros to Granada, namely, that Cisneros, acting with the powers of an Inquisitor, was to return to the fold of the Church the elches , Christians who had converted to Islam. This in itself was a breach of the capitulations, but Cisneros went further, not only pressuring the elches to convert but also proceeding against their children. Consequently, the Muslims of the Albaicín quarter of Granada exploded into rebellion.
Fernando expressed disapproval of Cisneros's methods, noting that one might have expected as much from a man "who never saw Moors, or knew them." Isabel's silence suggests that she had few objections, and her approval seems to have overruled her husband's misgivings. In any case, the methods of Isabel and Cisneros were employed, so that the Muslims of Granada had to submit to baptism in order to be pardoned for their rebellion. While revolts were breaking out in the Alpujarras, once the Muslims there had heard of the treatment of their brethren in Granada, the Monarchs still did not envision the conversion of the entire kingdom. Letters were sent assuring the Mudejars of Ronda and Málaga that they would not be forced to become Christians. Yet, all the while, Cisneros was writing in terms of baptizing all Muslims. It is clear that the Monarchs' great error, if Isabel even considered it as such, was to send Cisneros to Granada, for he set in motion a train of events that was extremely difficult to stop. As successive rebellions were quelled in the Alpujarras and elsewhere in the kingdom (1500-1501), and baptism continued to be offered as a condition of pardon, along with the incentive of a partial remission of taxes, it became increasingly clear to the Monarchs that the bulk of the Muslim population was becoming Christian.
In effect, a Morisco problem was in the making. López and Acién suggest that the Monarchs' final decision to "Christianize" the entire kingdom was financially motivated and came after the papal concession to the Monarchs of two-thirds of the tithes to be paid to the Church by all New Christians (bull of 22 March 1500). Although this was probably influential in the timing of the Monarchs' decision, the most telling factor was the fear of Morisco-Muslim contact and all the danger that implied for the Catholic faith. The Monarchs expressed this concern in their instructions for Cisneros and the governor, the Count of Tendilla, just after the rebellion in the Albaicín:
it seems to us that those who convert should not be around the Moors for the necessity that they have of being instructed in the things of our faith ... they [Cisneros and Tendilla] should write to us if it appears that it ought to be provided that they [the converts] not live among the Moors.
Prevention of the contamination of the recent converts by Islam prompted the royal proclamation of 20 July 1501, forbidding all Muslims to enter the, by now, Christian kingdom of Granada, "under pain of death and of loss of all their property." Fernando and Isabel made clear their desire "that the said conversion remain for always in the said newly converted, so that they might be good Christians." Only the threat of extreme penalties could ensure that the neophytes would "not have any cause to err in the things of our holy faith by communicating with the said Moors, who could come from other parts to this said kingdom."
By September 1501 the Monarchs had decided that the Mudejars of Castile must also accept baptism or abandon the peninsula. They ordered the corregidor of Córdoba not to pressure the Mudejars to convert, but to inform them that if they remained Muslims, they would have to leave the kingdom. Finally, on 12 February 1502 the order was issued that all Muslims must depart from Castile. In the order an explicit connection is made between the earlier Converso-Jew dilemma and the potential for a similar Morisco-Muslim problem:
Considering ... that since the major cause of the subversion of many Christians that has been seen in these our kingdoms was their participation and communication with the Jews, that since there is much danger in the communication of the said Moors of our kingdom with the newly converted and they [the Moors] will be a cause that the said newly converted may be drawn and induced to leave our faith and to return to their original errors ... as already by experience has been seen in some in this kingdom and outside of it, if the principal cause is removed, that is, to expel the said Moors from these our kingdoms and lordships, and because it is better to prevent with the remedy than to wait to punish the errors after they are made and committed ... it is right that they be expelled.
In the final analysis, the protection of the faith of the neoconverts was the determining factor in the Monarchs' steps to "Christianize" Granada completely and to present the Castilian Mudejars with the choice of baptism or expulsion. Once a large number of Muslims in Granada had been converted, the threat to the health of the entire Christian body was too great if the New Christians were allowed any contact with the contagion of Islam. That much the Monarchs had learned from the Jews and the Conversos.
That the Mudejars of Valencia did not meet the same fate as their coreligionists in Castile was due to a number of factors, the most obvious of which was the absence of a large group of Muslim converts to Christianity in Fernando's dominions. The absence of a Morisco problem in Valencia had much to do with the king's opposition to forced
conversion and his stand against those who were proposing baptism of the Mudejars from 1500 to 1503. Fernando's forthright position in his own realms contrasts markedly with his wavering disapproval in Isabel's Castile. Moreover, in Valencia the conversion of the Mudejars could have been carried out only in the face of fierce opposition from the nobility. Throughout the years 1500–1503 the military estate warned Fernando of the dire consequences a forced conversion would have: the ruination of the economy and a bloody Mudejar insurrection. At the Cortes of Zaragoza (1502) and at the Corts of Barcelona (1503) and Monzón (1510) Fernando had to promise that he would not convert the Mudejars of the Crown of Aragon. The Mudejars of Castile lacked any substantial support. Numbering only 17,000 to 20,000 persons and located largely in urban morerías , Castile's Muslims had no great lords willing to plead their case before the queen. On the contrary, the Castilian municipal governments eagerly enforced the Monarchs' orders (1480) for the placement of Mudejars in separate morerías , and they had to be instructed to prevent Christian violence against the Mudejars during the rebellions of the Alpujarras.
There is almost no comparison between the situations in Valencia and Granada. In Valencia Muslims and Christians had been coexisting for well over two centuries, and, although there were problems, society remained cohesive. Valencia's Christians and Muslims had long ago experienced the initial shock of having to inhabit the same kingdom. As for Granada, one is hard pressed to speak of a single society; rather, it was more a case of two societies that had glowered at each other across the Granadan frontier being forced together by virtue of Granada's conquest. The Castilians, moved by crusading zeal and characterized by a religious extremism fed by the anti-Jewish and anti-Converso hysteria of the previous century, had little regard for the privileges granted to the subject Muslims in the surrender treaties. When they were thrust into close quarters with the Muslims, the latter were frequently dispossessed of their lands and otherwise abused. The Muslims' resentment of the conquerors was thus enhanced. Perhaps it was only the small number of settlers (40,000 by 1498, in comparison with 250,000 to 300,000 Muslims) that forestalled the explosive Muslim rebellion that Cisneros and the Monarchs managed to provoke.
Those historians who see in the marriage of Fernando and Isabel the creation of a unified Spain, or who see the Monarchs as having aimed at directing the destiny of one Spanish state, may well assert that the New Christians of Castile and Granada still could have been influenced by the Muslims of the Crown of Aragon and, therefore, may ask why the Monarchs did not convert the latter in order to prevent this eventuality. The answer lies in the fact that Fernando alone ruled in Aragon, and
that Aragon and Castile still had sufficiently distinct societies and governments to allow for the cordoning off of Aragon from Castile, so that Fernando's Mudejars could not enter Isabel's realms. The same interpretive framework can be employed to explain the extension of the Spanish Inquisition from Castile into Aragon. Fernando established the Inquisition in his realms because, like Castile, they, too, were plagued by the heresy of judaizing Conversos; he did not do so because he and Isabel were utilizing the Inquisition as a tool to control their Spanish state. It was reason of faith, not reason of state, that crossed state boundaries and brought the Inquisition to Aragon.
Fernando's Mudejar policy was a subtle one, comprising a number of variables that he dexterously balanced, one against the other. Mudejarism was fostered in order to increase the population of and the taxes paid by royal aljamas, while the protection afforded Mudejars by the Crown was of an ambivalent sort, compensating Muslims for the injuries perpetrated on them without providing an effective deterrent through punishment of the offenders.
Mudejar economic activity was encouraged, while their social interaction with Christians was discouraged. The Mudejars' practice of Islam was sanctioned and their forced conversion forbidden, but, at the same time, Islam was abhorred, baptism was welcomed, and the concept of free will in conversion at times bordered on the dubious. Fernando, in whom were combined the craftiness of the Machiavellian politician and the religious fervor of the crusader, could carry on in this manner because he considered all of the variables. Others were more single-minded, and, with respect to the religious minorities, this was the case of the Inquisitors.
The Spanish Inquisition, established to extirpate heresy from the Christian body, found it difficult to restrict itself to that task alone. The Inquisitors quickly concerned themselves with those forces threatening Christian society not only from within but also from without. Because the heresy the Inquisitors were combating was a judaizing one, the Jews themselves, the source of heresy, became the Inquisition's target. Not surprisingly, the Inquisition played a fundamental role in the expulsion of the Jews. Although before 1500 there was practically no population of converts from Islam, and therefore no threat of an "Islamizing" heresy infecting the Christian body, the Inquisitors nevertheless set their sights on the Mudejars. In the process of putting the Christian house in order the Inquisitors decided that the only way to do so effectively was to remove all nefarious influences, which meant ridding Spain of both Jews and Muslims.
Early in its history in Valencia the Inquisition displayed a tendency to
exceed the bounds of its proper jurisdiction. In 1482 Juan Cristóbal de Gualbes, the Inquisitor General of Aragon, clashed with the lieutenant bailiff general of the kingdom, Berenguer Mercader. The conflict was centered on a Jewess of Murviedro, Dolçina, whom Mercader had freed from the Inquisition's jail and refused to relinquish to the Inquisitors. Mercader maintained that although the Inquisition could interrogate Jews, it could not punish them, either by imprisoning them or, as it had done in the past, by torturing them. To do so was to encroach upon royal prerogatives, which it was the duty of the bailiff general to protect. Gualbes's argument is revealing, for it indicates the Inquisition's intention to proceed against Jews and Muslims as well as heretics. The Inquisitor cited a provision of King Martin—obviously in reference to the papal Inquisition—"in which he expressly commanded ... all his officials that they not hinder the Inquisitors in their inquisition to be made against the Jews and Moors."
Seen in this light, the Inquisition's attacks against the sale to Christians of meat slaughtered by Jews or Muslims (1488) and against the Muslims' call to prayer (1506) appear more sinister. It seems that the Inquisitors had some sort of plan in mind, first to restrict contact between Muslims and Christians, especially in matters with religious connotations, and then to suppress all manifestations of Islam. On Mallorca in 1491 the Inquisitors, among a number of other excesses, proceeded against approximately twenty unbaptized Muslim slaves for chanting the salat[*] , and by 1508 the Inquisitors in the kingdom of Aragon were going so far as to coerce Muslims to receive baptism. Officials and noblemen in Valencia, Mallorca, and Aragon complained that the Inquisitors were violating local laws and argued that they had no business meddling in these matters.
The Mudejars themselves were not slow to understand the Inquisition's intentions, and so began to fear that institution more than any other. In 1502, after news of the conversion of Castile's Mudejars reached them, Valencia's Muslims were gripped by a fear that they were next in line and that the Inquisition planned to proceed against them, as Muslims. This fear was based on the Inquisition's seizure of two Muslims, who, the Inquisitors maintained, were incarcerated for having dissuaded and threatened other Muslims receiving baptism. Significantly, these Muslims were being baptized in the palace of the Inquisition. It mattered little to the Inquisitors that neither criminal procedure against Muslims nor proselytizing Muslims fell within the realm of their duties. In their campaign against the religious minorities the Inquisitors used every opportunity to further their goal of an entirely Christian society.
It is worth repeating that the Crown of Aragon's Mudejars were neither converted nor expelled during Fernando's reign. Nevertheless,
it was Fernando who loosed the Inquisition on Valencian society. The king's view on all the Inquisition's activities is difficult to pinpoint. On the question of the Muslim and Jewish butcher shops he seems to have agreed with the Inquisitors; regarding other matters he was silent. However, on one issue—the use of force in religious conversion—Fernando did speak his mind loudly and clearly. Consistent with his stance in Valencia during the years 1500–1503, in 1508 he sharply rebuked the Inquisitors of Aragon for attempting to force Mudejars to convert, reminding them that only voluntary conversion through conviction is pleasing to God. Although Fernando and Isabel were able to control the Inquisition, it was not long before it took on a life of its own, an effective and insidious apparatus, feeding and feeding off of Spain's religious passions. However durable the Muslim-Christian modus vivendi in Valencia was, there were certainly a number of Christians who concurred with the Inquisition in its drive toward religious uniformity. The Inquisition's presence only served to augment the ever-present hostility toward the Muslim. This is not to suggest that the anti-Muslim violence of the Germanías was in any way Inquisitorially inspired; the cause of that violence was far more complex. It is only to raise the question of how long Valencia's Muslim-Christian convivencia could have withstood the assaults of the Inquisition, an institution that allowed no room for ideological alternatives and made the question of religious identity an obsession. The tradition of Mudejarism that Fernando so vigorously upheld was probably partly undermined by an institution of his own creation.