Friday, 22 April 2016

When The Muslims Invaded Europe

In 711 the Moors invaded the Iberian Peninsula from North Africa and called the territory Al-Andalus, which at its peak included most of modern-day Spain, Portugal, and Septimania. The Moors occupied Mazara on Sicily in 827 and they eventually consolidated the rest of the island and some of southern Italy. Differences in culture led to a centuries-long conflict.

As Muslims following the teachings of the Koran the Moors thought it was fine for them to take non Muslims as sex slaves. Most people don't even realise that in Spain when the Moors where there white slavery was the norm. The Moors bought and sold white slaves as workers and sex slaves, treating them as nothing but cattle. Red haired females were especially prised as concubines.

Wars and conflict continued for a long time as the original inhabitants tried their best to regain control of their lands.

Early in 1330, James Douglas, Lord of Douglas (an ancestor of mine) accompanied by seven other knights, including twenty six squires and gentlemen, took Robert Bruce's heart with him into battle against the Moors in Spain. He was killed there.

According to John Barbour's description of Douglas' last battle, when the enemy broke, Sir James and his companions followed hard behind. Having outstripped most of his men in the pursuit, Douglas suddenly found himself far out in front with only a few of his followers around him. As he rode back to rejoin the main body, he saw Sir William St. Clair of Rosslyn surrounded by a body of Moors who, seizing their opportunity, had quickly rallied and counter attacked. With the few knights who were with him, Douglas turned aside to attempt a rescue but, outnumbered twenty to one, the group was overrun. Douglas then took from his neck the silver casket which contained the heart of Bruce and threw it before him among the enemy, saying, "Now pass thou onward as thou wert wont, and Douglas will follow thee or die."

Douglas Clan Arms
The heart on the Douglas clan arms and my own coat arms symbolises their bravery and it is something that is a constant reminder of those times and what it was like for those forced into slavery under Muslim rule.

Sir Symon Locard, who carried the key to the casket in which the heart was carried, rescued the casket and heart and returned it to Scotland after James Douglas had been killed. A heart with a fetterlock was from then on included in the chief's arms and also the deed is commemorated in the clan motto.

Locard/Lockhart Clan Arms
The fall of Granada in 1492 marked the end of Muslim rule in Iberia, although a Muslim minority persisted until their expulsion in 1609.

Yet how soon so many forget this invasion. For those of us who do remember we can see exactly what is happening in Europe now, but so many can't see what is going to happen and refuse to listen, they call you a racist bigot if you say anything. Maybe they would be happy being slaves or converting to Islam. But like my brave ancestors before me, I never will.