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THE SPAIN OF THE THREE CULTURES

IES Emilio Jimeno presents...

What are the three cultures?

We refer as the 3 cultures to Christian, Jews and Muslims, that coexisted during the Middle Ages in the same territories in Spain.

Arrival of Jews to the Peninsula.

The origins of the presence of jews in the Iberian Peninsula are far away in time. Probably, from the end of the 1st Century after Christ.During the early Middle Ages, with Jews, there were periods of hostility and period of pacific coexistence, as they were mainly surrounded by Christian, that considered them nearly enemies.For this reason Visigoths developed rules against them, making them to stay in their own districts and making mixed marriages not legal.They were mainly dedicated to jobs related to trade and artesany.

Arrival of the Muslims

Muslims arrived to the Iberian Peninsula in year 711.As it was the beginning of the Islam, and they considered both Jews and Christian "known religions", their religion was considered to be similar.It was not compulsory to convert their religion to stay in Muslim territories, they just have to pay a tax. Christian living in Muslim territories were called "Mozárabes". People converted to Islam were called "Muladíes". The poorest people converted to not to have to pay the tax.Marriages between Christians and Muslims were frequent.

Mixture of Christian and Muslim culture

The Christian and Muslim cultures mixed themselves during the coexistence.In Spanish language there are many words of arab origin: alcalde (mayor), algodón (cotton), almohada (pillow), ....But also the presence of Muslims made arrive some of their advances in agriculture (irrigation techniques), navigation (compass or astrolabe), science (alchemy, medicine, mathematics...), paper, arabic numeration system

And what about Jews?

Jews were also influenced by the arrival of the Muslim people, adopting their language and their scientific tradition.They were very important in the transmision of knowledge, as they acted as translatorThey were the more cultured people in the Iberian peninsulaThey were not equaly distributed by all the territories, and were dedicated to jobs not related with agriculture. Many medicine people were jews.

The conquest of Calatayud

In 1120, Alfonso I the Fighter conquered Calatayud, and recovered this town from the Muslims, and incorporated to the Christian lands.But what happened with the Muslims inhabitants of the conquered territories?Some of them decided to leave the town and travel to other territories governed by MuslimsOther decided to stay in Christian territories. They were called "Mudejares"

Increasing of the Christian population

After the conquest of Calatayud, it was necessary to increase the presence of the Christian population.To increase the population, the King gave the town a series of privileges favouring people to come here.So, in Christian territories, Christian population remained a majority, but the population continued been mixed.

Mudejar people

Mudejar people were people of humble condition and they worked in agriculture, or as masons or carpenters.They were more abundant in the Crown of Aragon, around Tajo river or in Murcia.They left a deep footprint in art. They were responsible of the spread of the Mudejar art, something very typical from Aragon.

Arriving to the end of the coexistence

But during the Middle Ages not all was fantastic. From time to time, tensions emerged, creating different conflicts.But during the XIV Century, the creation of the Inquisition, and the end of the Reconquest, meant the Catholic King and Queen forcing to convert or to be expelled from the country.So, in 1492, Jews were finally expelled from the territories, exactly after the last Muslim territories having been conquered.

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