What is the legacy?

The Memory of Al-Andalus

A debate about Spanish national identity stimulated the development of “eastern” studies in Spanish universities around the middle of the 19th century. Their mission was to decide if the “Arab-Al-Andalus” legacy had damaged or enriched Spanish culture. The Spanish “arabist school” accepted that the Muslims who arrived in 711 were “hispanized” due to continuous contact with a numerically larger population and that the result of this was a Spanish Islamic culture which, nevertheless, bore no relation to North African or Asian Islam. Once Catholic Monarchs expelled the Muslims, the essence of that magnificent Spanish-Muslim culture remained in arts and language, but nothing else. For this academic school these were the only continuing links between Spain and its Islamic past.