Considering the question of Mudejar loyalty in more general terms, it seems reasonable to posit that many of Valencia's Muslims harbored sentiments of allegiance to the wider Islamic world. Such sentiments made them potential insurgents against the government of the Christian state in which they resided. The course of action followed by the Mudejars was guided by their assessment of the realities of the distribution of power among Christian and Islamic polities in the West, by the habits of thought and action resulting from more than two centuries of coexistence with Christians, and by Iberian and Maghriban traditions of self-interested political alliance which often cut across religious boundaries.
The history of Mudejar rebellion in the kingdom of Valencia is a useful indicator of how the Mudejars evaluated their own position. The rebellions progressively decreased in both incidence and ferocity over the centuries. In the thirteenth century they were numerous and threatened the new kingdom's survival; in the fourteenth century they were few and ineffective; and in the fifteenth century there were no incidents, save for the minor disturbances caused by the messianic preaching of a Muslim claiming to be sent by God. There are three explanations for this trend. First, Christian settlement gradually but decisively shifted the population ratio, so that if in the thirteenth century Christians had been awash in a sea of Muslims, by Fernando's reign Muslims constituted only 30 percent of Valencia's population. The sheer numerical weight of the Christians and the increasing solidification of the structures of Christian authority brought home to the Mudejars the futility of rebellion. Second, as Christian power made itself more apparent within the kingdom, the debility of the states of western Islam offered to the Mudejars little prospect of succor in the event of their rising. By Fernando's reign the tables had turned to such an extent that, far from expecting aid from the Nasrid sultan, the Mudejars had to take up collections on his behalf. Third, it seems that the longer the Mudejars endured their state of subjection to Christian lordship, the more tolerable that burden became. The bitterness, resentment, and fear felt by the conquered for the conqueror gradually gave way to acceptance and familiarity. As Valencia's society evolved, with Muslim-Christian interaction at its core, the original relationship of colonialist Christian conqueror to vanquished Muslim subject was transformed into the more tolerable, albeit highly imperfect, one of social majority to minority. The conditions that had made the Muslim bristle in the thirteenth century were accepted with greater equanimity in the fifteenth century.
Under these conditions the Mudejars weighed their options. It is significant that the question of Mudejar rebellion was raised only with
reference to the Ottoman Turks. Ottoman victories in the East raised a faint glimmer of hope that Granada might be saved and Islamic rule reestablished in Valencia. Thus they offered the Turks their support in the unlikely event of an invasion of Spain. Long shot that this was, the Mudejar-Ottoman conspiracy probably never went beyond an exchange of encouraging words between Mudejar envoys and the corsair Kemal Reis.
An understanding of political and military reality determined the Mudejar reaction to the crusade against Granada. Because the Nasrids were besieged throughout the war, it was clear that a Mudejar revolt would not meet with any reciprocal Nasrid action. That they begged the Turks to relieve Granada is indicative of the Mudejars' realization that alone they could do very little to turn the tide of military events. Financial aid, as an expression of their identification with Iberia's last Muslim suzerain, was the only alternative. In the end, the fall of Granada was accepted with resignation.
The assistance given to Granadan almugavers and Maghriban corsairs by the few Mudejar extremists—a label applicable to those who were bold enough to translate into action their discontent with Christian authority—was an accustomed feature of frontier life. The quasi-institutional framework for the redemption of captives existing on both sides of the Mediterranean was prepared to deal with the eventuality of the raid. The reluctance of the king to police his Muslim subjects and his willingness to settle still more Muslims in Valencia after 1489 attest to the fact that the extremists' activities were but an irritant insufficiently widespread to elicit a change in traditional Mudejar policy. For the majority of Mudejars, aware of the extremists in their midst, the necessities of survival and the benefits accruing from assiduous labor outweighed the meager gains to be had from spying for pirates. Indeed, abstinence from such rebelliousness ensured that the king would continue his protection of their freedom to trade and pursue family business, which redounded to their material benefit. In political terms, frontier raiding was not about to alter the structures of power long in place. Few Mudejars were willing to jeopardize their physical and economic security for the limited rewards of insurgence.
This is not to suggest that the Mudejars were insensitive to the plight of their fellows. On the contrary, they displayed considerable commitment and sense of responsibility for their Muslim brethren, but they did so in areas where they could be most effective. Rather than making war, they aided prisoners of war; and rather than vainly rebelling against their Christian lords, they acted on behalf of the victims of oppression. Mudejars helped Muslim prisoners break out of seigneurial jails; they spirited away from brothels Muslim women forced into a life of
Most impressive was Mudejar assistance to Muslim slaves and captives. The aljamas often aided and harbored runaway slaves. A number of documents mentioning the whereabouts of runaways sound a similar note: the runaways traveling through and hiding in the morerías of the kingdom. This suggests that some sort of network was organized between the morerías for the purpose of abetting escaped slaves. Although details are lacking as to the degree of communication between the aljamas and the manner in which they marshaled their human and material resources on behalf of the runaways, the records do shed some light. For example, Muslims of the morería of Valencia participated in the jailbreak of a Muslim slave. Another aljama received a female runaway and married her off to one of its members. Muslims of Denia provided fugitives with a seaworthy boat and provisions for making the journey to North Africa. Owing to such covert activities, the royal authorities recognized by 1493 that they had a real runaway problem on their hands. Nine years later they threatened a general investigation of all the morerías in the kingdom. The Mudejars disingenuously countered with the argument that although individual Mudejars might have aided runaways, this did not necessarily implicate entire Mudejar communities.
In a more licit fashion Mudejar aljamas also ransomed or purchased Muslim captives, sometimes directly off the auction block. The aljamas became especially active in this regard in 1488 and 1489, when 385 Muslim prisoners from recently conquered Málaga were brought to Valencia for sale. For example, in one large sale the aljama of Valencia purchased nineteen Malagan captives, all at least sixty years of age. Apparently, the Mudejars wished to prevent these elders from suffering the indignity and hardship of slavery. Many of these ransomed captives stayed in Valencia permanently and were able to reimburse the aljamas with the alms they begged from individual Mudejars. Alms-giving, a religious duty for all Muslims, thus acquired a special significance. As one Mudejar explained it: "among Moors of the present kingdom such is the practice ... that when they encounter a captive who is begging for the love of God they give [alms] to him." Through aiding enslaved Muslims, both foreign and Valencian, the Mudejars met the claims made on them by membership in an international Islamic community without rashly inciting the wrath of a Christian king whose power they could not hope to challenge.
Despite all that has been said about the possibilities of Mudejar disloyalty, it should not be assumed that all or even most of Fernando's Muslim subjects understood contemporary events in terms of Muslim-
Christian confrontation, or that each one contemplated what might be done for the cause of Islam. Beneath all the rhetoric of crusade lay the weighty determinant of self-interest. In explaining the defection of Valencia's Mudejars to Castile during the midfourteenth-century wars, John Boswell emphasizes the history of "self-interested and shifting patterns of loyalty among both the Christian and Muslim populations of the area ... abandoning one Muslim lord for another in the twelfth century or a Muslim for a Christian in the thirteenth." Similar circumstances obtained in the fifteenth century. Fernando, therefore, could astutely play off one Granadan faction against the other. Maghriban cities readily accepted Fernando as their suzerain in return for protection against Muslim enemies. It is hardly surprising that Fernando's wars against Islamic states did not provoke massive Mudejar defection when a fragmented and divisive Maghrib or a declining Granada were the alternatives to Valencia. Even within Valencia the Muslims expended as much energy in internecine quarreling and family feuding as they did in cooperative defiance of Christian authority.
Some sense of the Mediterranean kaleidoscope of interests and loyalties, material, political, and religious, may be gleaned from a consideration of the careers of a few Granadan and Valencian Muslims. Caçim of Granada came to the kingdom of Valencia after the conquest and settled in Paterna. After some years he decided to emigrate to Oran, and once there he joined a company of corsairs. He returned to Valencia intent on capturing Christians, but unfortunately was himself taken prisoner. Çayde, a potter from Málaga, was captured along with his family en route to the Maghrib. He confessed that "by the will of God they wished to travel to the land of the Moors in order to die as Moors." Not all emigrés found that life in the Maghrib was to their liking (not to mention the ransomed Maghriban captives who chose to remain in Valencia). One Muslim from Baza who went to Africa "to seek adventure" returned to Valencia in order to become a Christian. Another from Málaga endeavored to return to Granada "after not liking the said land [North Africa]." Among the Valencian Muslims returning home after the panicked flight to the Maghrib in 1502 was Azmet Aniza of Alcudiola. He longed for Valencia, "because in that land [Africa] he did not have what [was necessary] to live." Stated bluntly, some Muslims, so long as they could practice Islam, preferred eating in Valencia to starvation in an Islamic land. Pragmatism, survival instinct, striking the best deal possible with one's lord, and the Valencian Muslim's deep attachment to the land of the Sharq al-Andalus —these factors weighed more heavily in the balance than ideology for many of Fernando's Muslim subjects, both old and new.