The Battle of Alcazar: An Account of the Defeat of Don Sebastian of Portugal at El-Ksar El-Kebir

By E. W. Bovill | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
The Fear of the Moor

O N A WINTER'S DAY early in 1492 the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, accompanied by the Court, walked in procession to St Paul's Cathedral where they gave thanks to God for the noble act of "Ferdinand and Isabella, sovereigns of Spain, who to their immortal honour have recovered the great and rich kingdom of Granada from the Moors".

But Isabella was not satisfied. She resolved that she and her husband should carry the war against Islam into Africa and free the Peninsula for ever from the menace of invasion from the south. During the eleven anxious years of the recent campaign, with the final issue long in doubt, the great fear of the Christians had been intervention from Africa, fear lest the Moslems of the Maghreb should come to the aid of the Moors in Granada. Owing to the wars in Italy and the apathy of her husband, Isabella was unable to make much progress with her resolve. But up to her dying day the conquest of Africa remained close to her heart. "I beg my daughter and her husband", read her will, "that they will devote themselves unremittingly to the conquest of Africa and to the war for the Faith against the Moors."

Isabella's chief abettor in her African plans had been Francisco Ximenes, archbishop of Toledo. He allowed neither the Queen's death nor Ferdinand's apathy to deflect him from the course on which he and she had set their hearts. Playing upon the King's concern at the growing menace of African corsair raids on the shores of Spain, he wrung from Ferdinand his grudging consent to an assault on the Barbary coast. But the Moors proved stronger than had been expected. After varied fortunes over a period of years the Spaniards suffered such a disastrous reverse in an attack on Jerba that they lost for a while all taste for African adventures.

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The Battle of Alcazar: An Account of the Defeat of Don Sebastian of Portugal at El-Ksar El-Kebir
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vi
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Chapter I - The Fear of the Moor 1
  • Chapter 2 - Don Sebastian 7
  • Chapter 3 - Mulai Mohammed 19
  • Chapter 4 - The Kingdom of Fez 25
  • Chapter 5 - Mulai Abd El-Malek 36
  • Chapter 6 - Queen Elizabeth's Secret 43
  • Chapter 7 - The Meetinq at Guadalupe 53
  • Chapter 8 - Ways and Means 62
  • Chapter 9 - Lisbon 74
  • Chapter 10 - Africa Invaded 89
  • Chapter 11 - The Road to El-Ksar 100
  • Chapter 12 - On the Plain of El-Ksar 114
  • Chapter 13 - The Battle 127
  • Chapter 14 - Philip I of Portugal 141
  • Chapter 15 - Mulai Ahmed El-Mansur 158
  • Chapter 16 - The Moors Re-Arm 169
  • Chapter 17 - El-Mansur and Elizabeth 175
  • Note on the Contemporary Accounts of The Battle of Alcazar 187
  • Bibliography 189
  • Index 192
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