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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

XII: The Spanish and Portuguese reconquest, 1095-1492,   pp. 396-456 PDF (13.3 MB)

Page 452

accorded such generous terms that various smaller towns of the Serrania of
Ronda, and Marbella down on the coast, did likewise. By this campaign the
Castilians acquired their first significant portion of Granadan territory,
although the severe mauling of count Diego Fernández of Cabra at Moclin
this same summer showed that the Moors still had plenty of fight. In 1486
king Ferdinand set out again, this time with an artillery train estimated
at two thousand wagons, to besiege Loja once more. Boabdil, contrary to his
pact, had made a short-lived peace with az-Zaghall, his rival in the claim
to the late abti-l-Hasan's throne, and was present in the city to take charge
of its defense. When Loja fell, he again became a Castilian prisoner but
was quickly released as a valuable instrument for promoting Granada's dynastic
strife and self-destruction. 
 The campaign of the next year, 1487, turned out to be the longest, most
costly, and in the end most productive of the war. Ferdinand's army struck
first at Vélez-Málaga, and notwithstanding az-Zaghall's sacrifice
in leaving Granada city to fall into Boabdil's hands while he himself patriotically
sought to succor the besieged town, Vélez Málaga was lost.
The Castilians now pushed on to Malaga, the Nasrid kingdom's second city,
which the capture of Vélez-Málaga had cut off from any easy
connection with the capital. The long, bloody Malagan siege, lasting 103
days between May 7 and August 18, 1487, is the grimmest episode of the whole
war, chiefly because the Malagueños, who would have capitulated early,
were compelled to leave their city's defense in the hands of a fanatical
garrison of Spanish Christian renegades and North African Ghumarah led by
one Ahmad "el-Zegri" (ath-Thaghri, the borderer). This redoubtable com mander,
controlling Malaga's alcazaba or citadel and the nearby stronghold of Gibralfaro,
brutally suppressed all efforts of the starv ing townsmen to negotiate with
the enemy, so that week after week attacks and counterattacks, escalades,
bombardments and minings continued with great loss of life on both sides.
Az-Zaghall's effort to relieve the battered city failed, as did (narrowly)
an attempted assassination of king Ferdinand. Finally, on terms of unconditional
surrender, Malaga fell, to be given the harshest treatment of any captured
city—complete enslavement of its surviving inhabitants—as a stern
warning to others. During the course of this siege Boabdil had again installed
himself in Granada, so that az-Zaghall, unable to relieve Malaga, had to
take refuge in Almeria, while his unworthy nephew in the Alhambra made a
new pact with the Catholic Kings, promising to surrender Granada city and
its fortresses as soon as circumstances permitted. 

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