Muhammad XII Surrenders Granada To Spanish Forces

Today on January 2, 1492, Muhammad XII finally capitulates to Spanish forces after the long Siege of Granada, marking the official end of the Reconquista.

The Siege of Granada occurred in the inhospitable mountainous regions of the Iberian Peninsula. A series of natural barriers and fortified towns protected the capital of Granada, making it very difficult to attack. Muhammad XII ruled over the vast Emirate of Granada, the last Muslim stronghold in Europe. To the Castilians, he was known as Boabdil. While Spain had yet to become a unified country, two of its leading kingdoms recently joined in marriage. Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile married, becoming one of Europe’s most influential couples. Together they passionately fought to conquer and Christianize all of Spain. The Conquest of Granada was part of the greater Reconquista, a series of wars led by Spain and Portugal to drive the Muslims out of the region.

A civil war recently broke out between several competing Muslim factions, which left Granada weak and vulnerable to invasion. Ferdinand and Isabella seized the opportunity and began recruiting soldiers from across Europe. They purchased the most sophisticated artillery and cannons available at the time. Boabdil desperately begged for reinforcements from the Kingdoms of Egypt and Fez (Morocco), but was ultimately left on his own. In April 1491, Spanish forces finally reached the city and began an eight-month siege. The internal situation for the Muslim defenders became dire and bribery among city officials was rampant.

A provisional surrender was negotiated with the Treaty of Granada on November 25, 1491. Over a month later, Boabdil and his soldiers officially capitulated to the Spanish monarchs. The articles of the treaty were quite favorable to the Muslims with many choosing to migrate back to North Africa with free passage. Boabdil was granted an estate near the sea and eventually returned to Fez with his most loyal courtiers. Isabella and Ferdinand's victory was celebrated across Christendom as the Reconquista was now complete.

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