Los Arma, Andalusí in Timbuktu. Марокканские конкистадоры из Гранады.

Aug 09, 2020 18:21

They arrived in Timbuktu as invaders of the Moroccan empire in the sixteenth century, but their origins were on the other side of the Mediterranean, in al-Andalus. Even today it is possible to find their footprints, and although they reached the curve of the Niger with little peace, they inhabited it for more than two hundred years.

But who were those men? The answer is one of the great curiosities of our history, as well as a great unknown.

The Arma are the descendants of the Andalusians who came to the banks of the Niger from the hand of Yuder Pacha. Be that as it may, Diego de Guevara, his original name, was from Almeria, born in Cuevas de Vera (today Cuevas de Almanzora) around 1560, in a Moorish family fled from Granada. When he was 13 years old he was taken as booty along with a hundred people by a troop of Berber pirates arrived in 23 ships. They had disembarked at Mesa Roldan under the command of the fallen Said ad-Dugali, who ordered the looting and took Tetuan to the teenager Diego.

As is to be expected, there was no rescue, and the future Yuder Pachá grew as a eunuch serving in the palace of Sultan Abd al-Malik, speaking Arabic and converted to Islam. With 18 years he participated in a remarkable way in the battle of Alcazarquivir or the Three Kings, where Abd al-Malik died.

The new sultan, Ahmed al-Mansur, recognized the courage of the young Andalusian and named him a Moor from Marrakech, and later put him at the head of the powerful army with which he intended to fulfill his dream of creating a great Moroccan empire in sub-Saharan Africa.

The attraction of Al Mansur through the lands of the Niger was inspired by the stories of gold and glory that surrounded Timbuktu since the time of Kankou Musa, which the cartographer Abraham Cresques immortalized in 1375 in his magnificent Catalan Atlas as a black king with a large nugget of gold in the hand. It had been two centuries since his pilgrimage to Mecca, but his empire had grown to merge with the Songhay, to which the city really owed prestige in the arts and sciences.
Yuder Pacha went to Timbuktu in 1590, ready to cross 3,000 kilometers of desert and to gamble life and troops in the crossing: 1,500 horsemen and 2,500 infantrymen (many of them armed with arquebuses), eight thousand camels, a thousand pack horses, a thousand waiters, six hundred workers and eight English cannons.

The sultan said without any fear that the caravans of merchants could pass through, so could the armies. Despite the losses, there were many, by 1591 Pasha had managed to control strategic water holes, the salt mines of Taghaza and dominate the enemy in the mythical battle of Todibi, very close to Gao, the imperial capital.

The Songhay were well prepared and waited for the Moroccans with a large army of 30,000 infantry and 18,000 horsemen. In addition, the songhai ruler Askia Ishaq II sent a thousand cattle with the idea of ​​distracting the enemy, but they lost sight of the great advantage with which the army of Yuder Pacha arrived: the gunpowder and the firearms, that when exploding, they provoked, in addition to the dead, the stampede of men and animals.
"To the weapon!", They say that they shouted in the heat of the battle, although we do not know if the phrase is part of the myth. What is certain is that the invaders who spoke Spanish came to be called that.

After the battle, Pacha and his men sacked Gao and they went towards Djenné and Timbuktu, which was also a disappointment for the Almeria, as he expected luxuries in the Askia palace and gold mines on foot of the road.
Nothing is further from reality. However, he settled between Timbuktu and Gao until 1599, when he returned to Morocco loaded with goods and gifts for Al Mansur, who nevertheless had replaced him with other pashas shortly after arriving in Mali. He died in 1605 victim of the conflicts for the power of the sultan's heirs, according to some versions.
Many of those who accompanied Yuder Pacha did not undertake the return trip and integrated with the local population, celebrating weddings of officers with princesses and soldiers with plebeians.

Thus the unusual dynasty of Los Arma was created, the "Andalusian dynasty" on the banks of the Niger, with Castilian customs and language, blazons on the facades of their houses and with a power recognized until the mid-eighteenth century. Yuder was succeeded by other Andalusians, such as Mahmud ben Zarqun, of Guadix, who ruled with an iron hand (and great cruelty) the curve of the Niger; Mansor Abderramán Diago, known as El Cordobés, pacified the area a little, but they say that he died poisoned by a Yuder's concubine. He was succeeded by Ammar al-Fata, also a caveman, who lost half the army (500 Andalusian renegades) in the desert and suffered a great defeat before the soldiers of Mali who surrounded Djenné. He was deposed by Al Mansur for leaving the government in the hands of his lieutenants, to surrender to the pleasures of the palace in the arms of Toledo Nana Hamma.
The wise Cordovan Suleyman arrived to take his place, and this was followed by a Moorish Sevillian, Mahmud Longo, separated by the greedy and concupiscent treasurer Ali de Tlemcen. The last Andalusian governor of Timbuktu was the arbitrary Yahya of Granada, pachá in 1648, who ransacked Gao and Bamba for no reason and died in jail in 1655. Years later, another Pasha of Hispanic origin passed without penalty or glory, Abd al-Rahman Ben Said al Andalusí and, finally, in 1707 the last Andalusian governor of Timbuktu arrived: El-Mobarek Ben Muhammad, a Grenadian, deposed by his troops for his inability to stop the advance of the Tuareg tribes, whose victory at the Battle of Taya in 1737 put an end to the power of the Arma on the banks of the Niger.
The pre-eminence of this ethnic group continued, despite the fact that the government of Timbuktu was left in the hands of the Moroccans, until 1833, when the Peuls defeated the Moroccans and the kingdom of Macina was created. For that time, in which the French considered themselves the first Europeans to know it, little or nothing remained of the erudite and mysterious desert city where the Spaniards had left their mark, and not only since the arrival of Yuder Pachá. The wise men and merchants had left, the caravans no longer included it in their routes and the sultans did not see it profitable to maintain a colony without gold mines. But indeed, the Arma had not been the first Andalusians in Timbuktu.
Long before the warriors and gunpowder, Ali Ben Ziyad al Quti, a Toledo judge and bibliophile who had been exiled from his city in 1468 for the persecution of the Catholic Monarchs against the Moors, had arrived in the city. What came after his arrival is well known to the readers of this bulletin: Al Quti is the patriarch of the Kati lineage, the family that, for more than five hundred years and until today, has protected and increased the funds of the Wonderful Library of Timbuktu.



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