Surrender of Granada


In 1491, Muhammad XII was summoned by Their Most Catholic Majesties King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to surrender the city of Granada, which was besieged by the Castilians. Eventually, on 2 January 1492, Granada was surrendered. In most sumptuous attire the royal procession moved from Santa Fe to a place a little more than a mile from Granada, where Ferdinand took up his position by the banks of the Genil. A private letter was written by an eyewitness to the Bishop of León only six days after the event recorded the scene:

The Moorish sultan with about eighty or a hundred on horseback very well dressed went forth to kiss the hand of their Highnesses. According to the final capitulation agreement, both Isabel and Ferdinand will decline the offer and the key to Granada will pass into Spanish hands without Muhammad XII having to kiss the hands of Los Reyes, as the Spanish royal couple became known. The indomitable mother of Muhammad XII insisted on sparing her son this final humiliation.

Christopher Columbus seems to have been present; he refers to the surrender:

After your Highnesses ended the war of the Moors who reigned in Europe, and finished the war of the great city of Granada, where this present year 1492 on the 2nd January I saw the royal banners of Your Highnesses planted by force of arms on the towers of the Alhambra.

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