March 31, 2014


Spanish BOABDIL (died 1527).

Last Nasrid sultan of Granada.

His reign (1482-92) was marked by incessant civil strife and the fall of Granada to Ferdinand and Isabella of Aragon and Castile, THE CATHOLIC KINGS.

Instigated by his mother, a jealous wife, Boabdil rebelled against his father, the sultan Abu al-Hasan Ali (called in Spanish sources Muley Hacén, or Alboacen) and with the aid of the Abencerrajes family seized the Alhambra in 1482 and was recognized as sultan.

Ab al-Hasan succeeded in recapturing the capital but was deposed by his brother az-Zaghall.

On Boabdil first military venture (1483) against the Castilians he was captured and to obtain his release signed the Pact of Córdoba promising to deliver to the Castilians that part of his domain that was in the control of az-Zaghall in return for their help in recovering the part that was held by Abu al-Hasan; the death of his father in 1485 enabled Boabdil to reoccupy the Alhambra.

In 1491 az-Zaghall, after stiff resistance, was forced to surrender the territory under his command (eastern Granada and the dictrict of Almería) to the Castilians and emigrated.

Boabdil holding only the town of Granada was now in a hopeless position. After a siege that began in 1491 he too surrended on Jan. 2, 1492 bringing an end to Muslim rule in Spain and the completion of the Christian Reconquista.

Boabdil was granted a small territory in the Alpujarras district of southern Spain.
In 1493 he went into exile in Morocco and entered the service of the Marinid ruler of Fés.
Called el rey chico (the little king) by the Castilians and al-zogoybi (the poor devil) by his own subjects. Boabdil emerges as a tragic figure, victimized by his ambitious mother and his own weak nature.

His life story, interwoven with legend, survives in folktales, such as those collected by Washington Irving in The Alhambra (1832).

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