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All About Moorish People

Moorish men playing Mancala a Math Game
Moorish men playing Mancala a Math Game

Moor and Moorish People

The word Moor derives from the Latin term Maurus, first used by the Romans to denote an inhabitant of the Roman province of Mauretania, comprising the western portion of present-day Algeria and the northeastern portion of present-day Morocco. Europeans depicted Moors as being black, or tawny in skin color. Moor is also a Moroccan or, formerly, a member of the Muslim population of what is now Spain and Portugal of mixed Arab descent.

Today, the term Moor is used to designate the predominant Arab-Amazigh ethnic group in Mauritania and the small Arab-Amazigh minority in Mali. The term Moors also refers primarily to the Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta during the Middle Ages.

Apart from the notable name associations and context, Moor and Moorish designate a specific ethnic group according to certain people. They inhabit Mauritania and parts of Algeria, Western Sahara, Tunisia, Morocco, Niger, and Mali. In Niger and Mali as well as other Africans who had been absorbed into al-Andalus to be used as soldiers and slaves. Black soldiers, specifically identified as Moors, were actively recruited by Rome, and served in Britain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Romania. The Berber and Sub-Saharan African soldiers were known as tangerines because they were imported through Tangier.

All About Moor and Moorish People

Famous Moorish Sayings

One does not become a horseman till one has fallen.

Debt destroys religion.

After many adversities, joy.

The slave toils, but the Lord completes.

A lie is not worth the lying, nor is truth worth repeating.

He lengthened absence, and returned unwelcomed.

Misfortune is misfortune's heir.

My heart burns, but my lips will not give utterance.

Sleep on anger, and thou wilt not rise repentant.

Wound of speech is worse than wound of sword.

A guess of the informed is better than the assurance of the ignorant.

Who stands long enough at the door is sure to enter at last.

Who digs a pit for his brother will fall into it.

Wine is a key to all evil.

A little from a friend is much.

Whom a snake has bitten runs from a rope.

According to thy shawl stretch thy leg.

A climb with a friend is a descent.

25 Famous Moors

1. Tariq ibn Ziyad, Moorish general who defeated the Visigoths and conquered Hispania in 711 AD.

2. Abd ar-Rahman I, founder of the Umayyad Emirate of Córdoba in 756 AD along with its succeeding Caliphate of Córdoba, the dynasty ruled Islamic Iberia for three centuries.

3. Ibn al-Qūiyya, Andalusian historian and grammarian.

4. Yahya al-Laithi, Andalusian scholar who introduced the Maliki school of jurisprudence in Al-Andalus.

5. Abbas ibn Firnas, 810–887 AD, Berber inventor and aviator who invented an early parachute and made the first attempt at controlled flight with a hang glider.

6. Maslama al-Majriti, died 1007 AD , Andalusian writer believed to have been the author of the Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity and the Picatrix.

7. Ibn Idhari, a Moorish historian who was the author of Al-Bayan al-Mughrib an important medieval text on the history of the Maghreb and Iberia.

8. Al-Zahrawi or Abulcasis, Andalusian physician and surgeon who established the discipline of surgery as a profession with his Al-Tasrif in 1000 AD .

9. Said Al-Andalusi, 1029–1070 AD, Andalusian Qadi, historian, philosopher, mathematician and astronomer.

10. Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm al-Zarqālī (Arzachel), 1029–1087 AD, Andalusian astronomer and engineer who developed the equatorium and universal (latitude-independent) astrolabe and compiled a Zij later used as a basis for the Tables of Toledo.

11. Artephius, circa 1126AD , Andalusian scientist known as the author of numerous works of Alchemical texts, now extant only in Latin.

12. Ibn Bajjah (Avempace), died 1138 AD , Andalusian physicist and polymath whose theory of motion, including the concept of a reaction force, influenced the development of classical mechanics.

13. Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar), 1091–1161 AD, Andalusian physician and polymath who discovered the existence of parasites and pioneered experimental surgery.

14. Muhammad al-Idrisi, circa 1100–1166 AD, Moorish geographer and polymath who drew the Tabula Rogeriana, the most accurate world map in pre-modern times.

15. Ibn Tufail, circa 1105–1185 AD, Arabic writer and polymath who wrote Hayy ibn Yaqdhan, the first philosophical novel.

16. Averroes (Ibn Rushd), 1126–1198 AD, classical Islamic philosopher and polymath who wrote The Incoherence of the Incoherence and the most extensive Aristotelian commentaries, and established the school of Averroism.

17. Ibn al-Baitar, died 1248 AD, Andalusian botanist and pharmacist who compiled the most extensive pharmacopoeia and botanical compilation in pre-modern times.

18. Musa I of Mali c. 1280 – c. 1337 AD was a devout Muslim, and his pilgrimage to Mecca made him well known across northern Africa and the Middle East.

19. Ibn Khaldun, a pioneer of the social sciences and forerunner of sociology, historiography and economics, who wrote the Muqaddimah in 1377 AD.

20. Abu Bakr II, abdicated his throne in order to explore the limits of the ocean.

21. Abū al-Hasan ibn Alī al-Qalasādī, 1412–1486 AD, Moorish mathematician who took the first steps toward the introduction of algebraic symbolism.

22. Leo Africanus, 1494–1554 AD, Andalusian geographer, author and diplomat, who was captured by Spanish pirates and sold as a slave, but later baptized and freed.

23. Estevanico, also referred to as Stephen the Moor, was an explorer in the service of Spain of what is now the southwest of the United States.

24. Ibn Battuta, an Islamic scholar and Moorish explorer who is generally considered one of the greatest travelers of all time.

25. Yusuf ibn Tashfin also, Tashafin, Teshufin or Yusuf was leader of the Berber Moroccan Almoravid empire. He co founded the city of Marrakesh and led the Muslim forces in the Battle of Zallaqa Sagrajas.

Archeology and research on the Moors uncovers the fact they flourished in Al-Andalus for more than 700 years – from 711 AD until 1492 AD. The Moorish advances in scientific progress in Astronomy, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Geography and Philosophy flourished and helped propel Europe out of the Dark Ages and into the Renaissance.

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