Zeitschrift Debatten Rechtliche Kategorien und Identität in Lateinamerika

Max Deardorff

¿Quién es morisco? Desde cristiano nuevo a cristiano viejo de moros: Categorías de diferenciación en el Reino de Granada (siglo XVI)

The objective of this article is to analyze the construction of certain juridical categories (cristiano nuevo, mudéjar, morisco, and cristiano viejo de moros) used to refer to individuals from the convert community in Granada (the former Nasrid kingdom) in the sixteenth century. In order to illustrate the evolution of these terms, I analyze not only legislation, but also petitions for privileges by members of the convert community, such as appeals for the right to bear arms and applications for the right to reside in Granada after the War of the Alpujarras (1568-1570). For decades, the historiography has generally taken for granted that all descendants of Muslims living in Granada after 1501 were, in legal terms, moriscos. This assumption was accompanied by another, namely that all members of this group were equally subject to specific subsets of legislation that subjected them to a separate tax regime, limited their access to certain professions, determined where they could and could not live, and affected their obligations to receive catechesis in their parish churches. Nevertheless, a detailed analysis of the Granada case demonstrates that the situation was, in fact, much more nuanced. Until the decade of the 1560s, real legislation took for granted that most descendants of the kingdom’s Muslims were New Christians (cristianos nuevos or nuevos convertidos), giving them limited access to certain professional positions, but in legal terms making them no different than converts from other faith traditions. After the War of the Alpujarras (1568-1570), however, the Crown began to employ the term morisco, a pejorative expression that had slowly come into popular use, but heretofore had remained without legal definition. Despite the prejudice reflected in the Crown’s appropriation of the term, the Crown did not intend it to be applied to all descendants of the kingdom’s Muslims. On the contrary, an analysis of legal decisions made by the Royal Tribunal of the Three Judges—in the period after 1570—illustrates that in repeated instances, royal judges denied that the term morisco was the accurate one to apply to certain such individuals.


Beitrag vom 20. Dezember 2018
© 2018 fhi
ISSN: 1860-5605

  • Zitiervorschlag Max Deardorff, ¿Quién es morisco? Desde cristiano nuevo a cristiano viejo de moros: Categorías de diferenciación en el Reino de Granada (siglo XVI) (20. Dezember 2018), in forum historiae iuris, https://forhistiur.net/2018-12-deardorff/?l=en