Today’s installment concludes Spain Conquers Grenada,
our selection from Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada by Washington Irving published in 1829. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages.
If you have journeyed through all of the installments of this series, just one more to go and you will have completed a selection from the great works of eight thousand words. Congratulations!
Previously in Spain Conquers Grenada.
Place: Grenada, Spain
King Ferdinand restrained his exultation with an air of serene magnanimity. “Doubt not our promises,” replied he, “nor that thou shalt regain from our friendship the prosperity of which the fortune of war has deprived thee.”
On receiving the keys, King Ferdinand handed them to the Queen; she in her turn presented them to her son Prince Juan, who delivered them to the Count de Tendilla, that brave and loyal cavalier being appointed alcaid of the city and captain-general of the kingdom of Granada.
Having surrendered the last symbol of power, the unfortunate Boabdil continued on toward the Alpujarras, that he might not behold the entrance of the Christians into his capital. His devoted band of cavaliers followed him in gloomy silence; but heavy sighs burst from their bosoms as shouts of joy and strains of triumphant music were borne on the breeze from the victorious army.
Having rejoined his family, Boabdil set forward with a heavy heart for his allotted residence in the valley of Purchena. At two leagues’ distance, the cavalcade, winding into the skirts of the Alpujarras, ascended an eminence commanding the last view of Granada. As they arrived at this spot the Moors paused involuntarily to take a farewell gaze at their beloved city, which a few steps more would shut from their sight forever. The Moorish cavaliers gazed with a silent agony of tenderness and grief upon that delicious abode, the scene of their loves and pleasures. While they yet looked, a light cloud of smoke burst forth from the citadel, and presently a peal of artillery, faintly heard, told that the city was taken possession of, and the throne of the Moslem kings was lost forever.
The unhappy Boabdil was not to be consoled; his tears continued to flow. “Allah Akbar!” exclaimed he; “when did misfortunes ever equal mine?” From this circumstance the hill, which is not far from the Padul, took the name of Feg Allah Akbar; but the point of view commanding the last prospect of Granada is known among Spaniards by the name of El ultimo suspiro del Moro(“The last sigh of the Moor”).
The sovereigns did not enter the city on this day of its surrender, but waited until it should be fully occupied by their troops and public tranquility insured. In a little while every battlement glistened with Christian helms and lances, the standard of the faith and of the realm floated from every tower, and the thundering salvoes of the ordnance told that the subjugation of the city was complete. The grandees and cavaliers now knelt and kissed the hands of the King and Queen and the prince Juan, and congratulated them on the acquisition of so great a kingdom, after which the royal procession returned in state to Santa FÃ©.
It was on January 6th, the day of kings and festival of the Epiphany, that the sovereigns made their triumphal entry. The King and Queen looked on this occasion as more than mortal; the venerable ecclesiastics, to whose advice and zeal this glorious conquest ought in a great measure to be attributed, moved along with hearts swelling with holy exultation, but with chastened and downcast looks of edifying humility; while the hardy warriors, in tossing plumes and shining steel, seemed elevated with a stern joy at finding themselves in possession of this object of so many toils and perils. As the streets resounded with the tramp of steed and swelling peals of music, the Moors buried themselves in the deepest recesses of their dwellings. There they bewailed in secret the fallen glory of their race, but suppressed their groans, lest they should be heard by their enemies and increase their triumph.
The royal procession advanced to the principal mosque, which had been consecrated as a cathedral. Here the sovereigns offered up prayers and thanksgivings, and the choir of the royal chapel chanted a triumphant anthem, in which they were joined by all the courtiers and cavaliers. Nothing could exceed the thankfulness to God of the pious King Ferdinand for having enabled him to eradicate from Spain the empire and name of that accursed heathen race, and for the elevation of the cross in that city wherein the impious doctrines of Mahomet had so long been cherished. In the fervor of his spirit he supplicated from heaven a continuance of its grace, and that this glorious triumph might be perpetuated. The prayer of the pious monarch was responded by the people, and even his enemies were for once convinced of his sincerity.
It had been a last request of the unfortunate Boabdil, and one which showed how deeply he felt the transition of his fate, that no person might be permitted to enter or depart by the gate of the Alhambra, through which he had sallied forth to surrender his capital. His request was granted; the portal was closed up, and remains so to the present day — a mute memorial of that event.
The Spanish sovereigns fixed their throne in the presence chamber of the palace, so long the seat of Moorish royalty. Hither the principal inhabitants of Granada repaired, to pay them homage and kiss their hands in token of vassalage; and their example was followed by deputies from all the towns and fortresses of the Alpujarras which had not hitherto submitted.
Thus terminated the war of Granada, after ten years of incessant fighting; equaling the far-famed siege of Troy in duration, and ending, like that, in the capture of the city. Thus ended also the dominion of the Moors in Spain, having endured seven hundred seventy-eight years, from the memorable defeat of Roderick, the last of the Goths, on the banks of the Guadalete. This great triumph of our holy Catholic faith took place in the beginning of January, 1492, being three thousand six hundred fifty-five years from the population of Spain by the patriarch Tubal; three thousand seven hundred ninety-seven from the general deluge; five thousand four hundred fifty-three from the creation of the world, according to Hebrew calculation; and in the month Rabic, in the eight hundred ninety-seventh year of the Hegira, or flight of Mahomet.
This ends our series of passages on Spain Conquers Grenada by Washington Irving from his book Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada published in 1829. This blog features short and lengthy pieces on all aspects of our shared past. Here are selections from the great historians who may be forgotten (and whose work have fallen into public domain) as well as links to the most up-to-date developments in the field of history and of course, original material from yours truly, Jack Le Moine. – A little bit of everything historical is here.
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