A Short History Of The Moors

A Short History Of The Moors

Granada – the word in Spanish means pomegranate – a fruit brought to Spain by Moslem tribes from North Africa in the 8th century. They were known as the Moors and they came to Europe from what is now known as Morocco.

For nearly 800 years the Moors ruled in Granada and for nearly as long in a wider territory of that became known as Moorish Spain or Al Andalus. In Granada, where the Moors first came in 711, they built a fortress palace known as the Alhambra. It was never conquered by their enemies but in 1492 the Moors surrendered their citadel, by then the last outpost of Moorish Spain, to the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabel. It would bring to an end an era and mark the beginnings of the Spanish Inquisition.

But the Moors left behind a rich architectural and cultural legacy still apparent throughout the Iberian Peninsula and beyond today.

The Romans

Before the arrival of the Arabs, the Romans had built a small city on the western outskirts of its empire called Volubulis. Previously part of the North African Carthaginian Empire, it became part of the Roman Empire after Juba, the 2nd a local Berber king, married the daughter of Anthony and Cleopatra.

Thought to have been constructed in the 2nd and 3rd centuries during the reign of Emperor Caligula, it was buried by an earthquake in 1755 ,and wasn’t discovered again until just over 100 years ago, in 1915. Volubilis grew from a provincial outpost to a substantial capital on the outskirts of an empire, known as Roman Mauretania covering an area of about 100 hectares. It was important enough to have its own triumphal arch, the Gate of Tangier. It also contained small palaces and substantial houses with exquisite mosaic floors, still here today.

The Arabs Arrive

The Arabs invaded Morocco in 683, inspired to spread their new religion Islam. In 786 Arab leader, Idriss the 1st, who claimed direct descent from the Prophet Mohammad, arrived in V

Moulay Idriss

Moulay Idriss

olubilis and it marked the beginning of the end of the Roman city.

The local Berber tribes converted from Christianity and Idriss the 1st was buried in the hilltop town of Moulay Idriss, just three kilometres away. It’s still regarded as one of Morocco’s most holy sites. Then a small force of Arab and Berber warriors embarked series of raids across the Strait of Gibraltar into Southern Spain

The Omayads

So rapid was the Moors expansion into Spain that soon a capital was established in the city of Cordoba. The driving force behind the new Moskem settlement was Prince And Al Rahman who escaped here with his family after the fall of the Umayyad dynasty in Damascus in 725, and it’s replacement by the Baghdad based Abbasid dynasty,

He made  the Meskita mosque the centrepiece of this new caliphate, which he began building on the site of a church 30 years after his arrival. It combined indigenous designs with those that borrowed features from the Great Mosque of Damascus.

The Idrisids

Fountain at Place Nejjarine, Fez, dating from the Idrisid dynasty.

While And Al Rahman consolidated his power in Spain, in Morocco it was Idriss the 2nd, the son of Idriss the 1st, who who went on to establish the city of Fez, which remains to this day one of the great strongholds of the Islamic faith. Two thousand Arab families came to settle here in 814 followed by 8000 Arab families from Spain.

Fez is famous for its medieval Medina with its labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways. This giant walled city, home to 70,000 people, is still the world’s largest urban car-free zone and everything today still needs to be brought in by hand pulled carts or even donkeys.

The heart of the city is the 9th century Kairaouine mosque, established in 859, which is also the sanctuary for tomb of Idriss the 2nd. The mosque contains what is thought to be the oldest university in the world. Over the centuries the mosque has been encased by the Medina surrounding it.

After the death of Idriss the 2nd a new dynasty came to power and they would found another great city and make it their capital. For nearly 500 years, and in particular during the 10th century, Cordoba was a beacon a civilisation – cultural capital that lived peacefully with a multi-ethnic population, including Jews and Christians.

The Almoravids

What is known today as the pink city, or Marrakech, was founded in 1062 by a Berber dynasty known as the Almoravids. Their most charismatic leader was Yousef Ben Tachfine.

The Almoravids constructed a 20-kilometre, eight-metre high mud wall around the city in 1126 , giving it thee distinct colour which survives to this day. Its has been repaired and rebuilt many times in the 900 years since.

The Almoravids introduced an ingenious underground irrigation system that still supports a vast palmerie outside Marrakech The Almoravid version of strict orthodox Islam spread across Morocco and into neighbouring Algeria.

And at the age of 80, Youssef Ben Tachfine launched a series of daring invasions of the Iberian peninsula.

Moorish Forts

To protect their newly won territory the Moors built giant fortress palace complexes known as “Alcazabas”. Construction of some like old Alcazaba at Malaga had begun more than 200 years earlier, during the reign of Al Rahman’s Cordoba based dynasty, but the Almoravids embellished the Alcazaba adding many of the hundred towers that survive to this day.

The Alcazaba of Malaga

The Alcazaba of Malaga

A series of fortified gates took visitors into the inner sanctum of the palace grounds. The Moors were renowned for their gardens, and the use of water delivered by simple but ingenious irrigation methods to create and ambiance of peace and tranquility to their surroundings.

The Moors also built more practical structures used for defense only. Further north west on the banks of the Guadiana River in Merida, where the Romans had built a massive bridge (the longest surviving from the ancient world), the Moors constructed an Alcazaba on the side of a previous Visigoth fortress.

And in Seville on the banks of the river Guadalquivir you find the “Torre del Oro” watchtower built in 1221. It is still there today.

The Moors territory stretched as far north as Zaragoza, near Barcelona, where they constructed a fortress palace which hundreds of years later would be occupied and converted by Spanish monarchs. Many conquests of the Iberian peninsula were launched from the modern day capital of Morocco, Rabat.

But right from the start the battles between Moors and Christians seesawed over the decades, a pattern which would be repeated over the centuries As early as the 11th century Moors would return from Spain on the occasion of military defeats and in Rabat they settled at the Rabat harbour entrance in an area known as the Kasbahs of the Ouidas. The unique blue and white washed homes of the refugees are still there today

Back in Fez, the Almoravids also embellished the city, in addition to their capital Marrakech. Skilled craftsmen were imported from Spain and countless new public buildings and fountains were erected. By 1145 there were 10,000 shops and 785 mosques.

But today very few monuments from a century of Almoravid rule remain. In Marrakech, the most significant is a small shrine known as the Koubba, now undergoing restorative work.

The Almorads

Roman Ruins of Volubilis

Roman Ruins of Volubilis

The Almoravids successors, the Almorads, were also Berbers but when they overthrow the Almoravids in 1147, they plundered and destroyed the Almoravid legacy, a trend that would be repeated over the centuries.

The most famous and expansive Almohad sultan was Yacoub el Mansour, who is remembered too for his victories over the Spanish and as a builder of great Mosques

Mansour’s most famous mosque was the Koutoubia in Marrakech. It’s 70-metre high tower became a prototype of the genre, it’s influence apparent in Moroccan minarets constructed since the 12th century. The design was also copied in the Moors’ Spanish territories.

The Marinids

After the death of Mansour, the Almorads were in turn overthrown by the Marinids, who achieved fresh victories in Spain and conquered Algeria. They made Fez their capital in 1248.

The Marinids were responsible for the Medersas, or Islamic boarding schools, that can be visited today. Medersa Bou Inania in Fez was built between 1351 and 1357 by Merinid Sultan Bou Inan. It’s been impressively restored with elaborate tile work and beautiful cedar lattice screens.

Bou Inan also built a medersa in Meknes completed a year later in 1358 . This is typical of the exquisite interior design common to Merimid monuments. Religious students 10 to 14 years of age slept in tiny rooms on the first floor.

Under the Merinids, many refugees arrived in Fez from Spain, as battles with Christian Spaniards intensified. The refugees settled on the other side of the river in a quarter known as Al Andalous. Among those arriving were skilled Granada craftsmen whose work can still be seen today.

Ceramics workshops still produce the intricate hand made tiles that decorate so much here and are now made for export. Copper work is also a proud artisan tradition, as is leatherwork. Tanneries within the Medina still process skins for leather goods.

Jews were among the refugees escaping to Fez following persecution in Spain. At one time a quarter of a million lived here in a specially created Mellah, or Jewish quarter. Their old houses remain, their open balconies looking into the street.

Less than a hundred Jews remain today, a bygone era symbolised now by the Jewish cemetery, where a sea of blindingly white tombs stretches down the hill from the Mellah.

The Merinid Sultans who welcomed the Jews were buried in far grander surroundings on a hilltop overlooking Fez. But the Merinid dynasty grew unpopular, protected by Syrian mercenaries and their tombs were ransacked and made ruinous long ago

The Merenids lost power because they started losing wars in Spain – and then ports in Morocco. Raising taxes to try to introduce new bronze cannons to keep up with European technology, they became hugely unpopular.

Merenid Tomb ruins, Fez

Merenid Tomb ruins, Fez

Seville’s massive cathedral, the world’s largest, is itself a former mosque. Its giant bell tower, the Giralda, used to be a minaret. The tower is 342-feet-high and remains one of the most important symbols of the city as it has been since medieval times. The Almorads used the Koutubia in Marrakech as a model for the Giralda. The tower’s first two-thirds is the former minaret built between 1184 and 1198. The upper third is Spanish Renaissance architecture. After Seville was taken by the Christians in 1248, the mosque was converted into a church. The final third of the building is an outstanding example of the Gothic and Baroque architectural styles.

In Rabat, Yacoub el Mansour’s great unfinished work, known as Hassan’s Tower, was to be the greatest mosque in western Islam. Mansour died before when it was half built and it remains in that state today.

Granada, The Alhambra And The Inquisition

Meanwhile in Southern Spain, or Al Andalus, today’s Andalucía, the Moors had continued building. It’s an architectural legacy that can still be seen today in the winding alleys of the old Jewish quarters, particularly in the Andalusian cities in the south such as Cordoba, Seville, and Granada. One of Moorish Spain’s most spectacular buildings, the Alhambra Palace, still stands.

Work had begun on the Alhambra fortifications in 889. But the complex evolved over several centuries with work on its three palaces not completed until the end of the 14th century.

In 1492, the Emirate of Grenada was the last bastion of Moorish Spain to fall to the La Reconquista led by the crusading Isabel and Ferdinand.

The last Moorish Emir, Boabdil, surrendered to the Spanish monarchs on the plains below the fortress. The Alhambra itself was never taken but the royal standard of the Catholic monarchs soon flew from the watchtower atop the fortress citadel. The Catholic monarchs then moved into what was the most exquisite of buildings that the Moors had created during their 800-year-rule.

The Alhambra complex is vast, covering 35 acres, and has a number of grand features. The protective Alcazaba, or fortress, at its western end is the oldest part of the complex and built on an isolated and precipitous headland making it impossible to take. The rest of the plateau comprised a number of earlier and later Moorish palaces enclosed by a fortified wall and 13 defence towers.

After the Reconquista, the Spanish monarch Charles the 5th built a giant Renaissance palace right in the heart of the complex. To this day it sits uneasily amongst the Moorish architecture of the Alhambra.

The main entrance to the Alhambra was the Gate of Judgement. Built in 1348 with its massive horseshoe-shaped arch, the Hand of Fatima, with fingers outstretched against the evil eye, is carved above the entrance.

The royal palace complex consists of three main palaces. The oldest is the most modest, and was used for business and administrative purposes. The Hall of the Ambassadors is the largest room and was used for welcoming important visitors.

Bou Inania Madrasa, Meknes

Bou Inania Madrasa, Meknes

The entire complex overlooks the old district of Albayzin where Muslims continued to live for decades after the Reconquista.

Soon after the last Moors were overthrown, the Inquisition intensified and religious minorities tolerated under Islam were driven out too or killed – victims of a blood and barbarous witch hunt by inquisitors.

The Grand Inquisator, Tomas de Torquemada, ran 100,000 trials, burnt 2,000 at the stake and advised Ferdinand and Isabel to issue the edit of expulsion. This led to 100,000 Jews converting to Christianity and another 200,000 who didn’t being forced to leave the country.

The Alhambra, the most famous of Moorish palaces, may still be here today but after the Reconquista inquisitors tried to eradicate Muslim culture too, carrying out mass baptisms, burning Islamic books and banning the Arabic language. By 1500, about 300,000 Muslims had been baptised and converted under threat of expulsion. But these Moriscos, as they were known, were eventually expelled 100 years later.

The Christian victory over the Moors in Spain in 1492 had therefore resulted in mass exodus from the Iberian peninsula of both Moslems and Jews.

White Slaves

For more than 100 years embittered Moriscos, as they were known, were among those that took to the seas off the Iberian peninsula pirating European ships and enslaving their crews. The white slaves they captured were destined to slave prisons in North Africa like the one at Sale, next to Rabat, still here today. Its estimated that over a period of 100 years, 30,000 Europeans were captured and sold into Slavery. The Morisco raiding parties stretched as far east as Italy, where pirates attacked shipping along its western coast.

And it wasn’t just European slaves being seized by Moors. Moorish slaves were also taken by Europeans and sold in slave markets in port cities like Livorno. Here, a sculpture known as The Four Moors shows Ferdinand dei Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, towering over four shackled Moorish slaves. These giant bronze statues created by Tuscan sculptor Pietro Tacca, a pupil of Giambologna, were erected between 1623 and 1629. The statue of the Duke, the founder of Livorno who made a name for himself fighting the pirates, was erected 25 years earlier.

Although diminished of their Spanish territories the Moorish empire nevertheless remained a powerful economic force in North Africa in the 17th century. But it was trading goods rather than slaves that made Moorish cities such as Marrakech wealthy.

In the Medina of Marrakech one can still find many Caravanserais – nearly 150 still survive – where valuable merchandise was stored and where the merchants and traders who brought these cargoes from inland Africa could also stay in lodgings on the first floor.

The Saadians

The great beneficiaries of this lucrative trade, particularly in sugar, was Morocco’s new dynastic rulers: the Saadians.

Medina walls, Rabat

Medina walls, Rabat

Overlooked by the Merinids, Marrakech in the late 16th century enjoyed a renaissance under the new Saadian dynasty. They established a Jewish Mella or quarter in 1558, where 6,000 Jews were relocated. Today, as with other mellahs in Moroccan cities, most Jews have left – just a small synagogue remains.

However, the Jews impact on cultural and commercial life in the city is felt to this day. The Al Badi Palace, a 360-room palace commissioned by famous Saadian sultan, Ahmad Al Mansour, was considered a wonder of its time. Featuring sunken gardens and reflective pools it was decorated in gold, turquoise and crystal, treasures all plundered by the later Allouite sultan, the infamous Moulay Ismail, who used them for his own palace in Meknes. Saadian sultan Al Mansour spared no expense in his glorious mausoleum. Also buried here were 60 members of his family and trusted Jewish advisors

Al Mansour died in spendour in 1603, but Moulay Ismail – who had plundered the palace – had the mausoleum walled up as well. It was only discovered by aerial photography nearly three hundred years later in 1917. Even today the tombs are only accessible through a small passageway in a nearby mosque.

Today, there are only traces in Marrakech of the refined tastes of Saadian artisans where original features have been painstakingly restored to their amazing colours, an indication of the vibrant decorations for which the Saadians were reknowned. Many of these Moorish architectural concepts come together in the traditional house or Riad, which form much of the accommodation in Medinas in Moroccan cities today.

The Allouites

When they assumed power from the Saadians, the Allouites – led by sultan Moulay Ismael – moved the capital from Fez to Meknes . The new sultan would become one of the most famous rulers in the history of Morocco.

Not lacking in ambition, Ismail built 12 grand palaces enclosed by 25 kilometres of walls and ramparts. Modelling himself on Louis XIV his summer palace was meant to be equivalent of Versailles.

Moulay Ismail made sumptuous gardens watered by great reservoirs and built the Gate Bab Mansour which still claims to be the grandest gate in all of Morocco. The inscription above its elaborately carved entrance reads:”I am the most beautiful gate in Morocco. I am like the moon in the sky. Property and wealth are written on my front.”

To support his vast army, Ismail built huge reservoirs which watered both the city and the massive stables, which could house 12000 cavalry horses. The animals were waited on hand and foot with a groom and a slave for each horse to ensure that all their needs were met. Today, the site is overrun with stray cats

Moroccan Palace Entrance

Moroccan Palace Entrance

When he died many of Ismail’s grand projects were either incomplete or fell into ruins. But Moulay Ismail’s legacy remains undiminished. Four hundred years later the grand square where Moulay Ismail expected an army of 150000 slaves from Sudan, is a very different place – the thriving heart of modern city.

Modern Day

Today, Moulay Ismail´s magnificent walls are not used for war or defence. Instead, the walls enclose a beautiful golf course that was built by Ismail’s Allouite descendent, Hassan II.
Hassan II modernised the country adopting market-based economy where tourism was developed and encouraged.

His son, the current king, Mommmad VI, even built a surfing club in Rabat. But the royal family grip on power remains undiminished.

Hassan II died in 2003, and is buried in a magnificent tomb in Rabat, next to his father, Mohammad V, who was the last Sultan of Morocco before the title was changed to King in 1957.

The legacy of the Moors lives on both in Morocco and in the great buildings left behind in Spain and beyond. This remains of the worlds most enduring dynastic civilisations.

A Short History Of The Moors

Study Guides

A Short History Of Convict Australia

Who Were The Convicts? The late 18th century was a period of immense social and political change. France was reeling from revolution and America had just gained her independence. In…

The French Revolution

The French Revolution is one of the most important instances of political upheaval in history, marking France’s transition from Empire to Republic after centuries of monarchy. Lasting a period of…

The Nazis & The Holocaust

Who Were The Nazis? The Nazis, abbreviated from the National Socialist Germany Worker’s Party, rose from the civil unrest in the interwar years in Germany. Spearheaded by Adolf Hitler for…

The Crusades

The Crusades were military campaigns endorsed by the Latin Roman Catholic Church during the High Middle Ages and Late Middle Ages. Pope Urban II declared the First Crusades with the…

The Russian Diaspora

The Russian diaspora is one of the most considerable in the world. Due to the country’s former dominance of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, there are an exceptional number of…

Chinatowns Of The World

Chinatowns are located all around the world, from the Americas to Europe as well as Africa, Australia and Asia. These areas are historically known as any ethnic enclave of expatriate…

The Lost World Of Joseph Banks

Sir Joseph Banks, naturalist, explorer, collector, patron and President of the Royal Society for more than 40 years was one of Australia’s founding fathers.  As a young botanist, he accompanied…

A Short History Of Beer

Many anthropologists and archaeologists now believe that it was a taste for beer, not bread that started people farming barley around 9000 BC. Known as the agricultural revolution, it ended…

The Spanish Empire

Lasting nearly five centuries, The Spanish Empire was, at its peak during the 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries, the world’s most prominent global power, earning the nickname ‘The empire on…

Latin American Independence Movements

The political chaos in Spain predictably resonated throughout its empire, most significantly in Spanish America, which became a battleground for several independence movements during the early 19th Century, marking the…

Planet Of The Apes

The primate family, most closely related to humans, is in danger of becoming extinct. This is largely due to the activities of the nearly seven billion humans inhabiting the earth.…

The English Civil War

 One of the most important and violent periods in British history, the English Civil War was a series of closely related conflicts during the 17th Century, which saw the monarchy…


Volcanoes have fascinated mankind for generations – their enormous beauty and destructive power revered in awe. They have been worshiped, immortalized in folklore and voraciously studied by geologist throughout the…

The Mongol Empire

One of the most imposing military and imperial forces in history, the Mongol Empire cemented itself as a power to be reckoned with over a very quick period of time.…

The Story Of Cheese

Cheese is one of the most ubiquitous foods in the world, ever-present across the world. Its many different variants reflect the cultural and culinary identity of each corresponding country. History…

Colonial Australia: The Gold Rush And...

The Gold Rush The Victorian gold rush was quite a significant part of Australia’s history, which began in 1851 when one of the earlier discoveries by Thomas Peters, a hut-keeper…

Native Americans

Given their near-genocidal treatment at the hands of European colonialism, the current population of Native Americans in the United States remains staggeringly low at over 5 million, just over 1.6%…

Galleons, Pirates And Treasure

Christopher Columbus put the Americas on the map in 1492. Shortly after, this ignited over 250 years of treasure hunting and vicious competition with the English, French, Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese,…

A Short History Of The Moors

Granada – the word in Spanish means pomegranate – a fruit brought to Spain by Moslem tribes from North Africa in the 8th century. They were known as the Moors…

The Transatlantic Slave Trade

The Transatlantic Slave Trade (1501-1867), sold at least 12.5 million black Africans as slaves to work for white land-owners on the other side of the ocean. Of these 1.8 million…

A Brief History Of Japan

 The early periods of Japanese history can be divided into four distinct periods. Firstly, the Japanese Paleolithic Period, which lasted several millennia between 40,000 BC to 14,000 BC. Human presence…

A Short History Of Tea

Food Facts: Where: Began in China, now consumed throughout the world, most notably in Japan, England, America, Russia and India. Serving Suggestion: Green Tea - serve without milk and honey to sweeten. Black teas -…

A Global Guide To Coffee Tasting

Coffee primarily grows within a belt thirty degrees north and south of the equator, between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. Within this belt, more than eighty countries…

Route 66

Route 66 is commonly known as few different names, from Will Rogers Highway, The Main Street of America to the Mother Road, each identifies the famous stretch of highway that…

Who Were The Vikings?

Often misconstrued in contemporary times as a culture of bloodthirsty yet noble savages, the Vikings’ historical legacy is in fact far more complex and important. A race originating from modern day…

Wellington Vs Napoleon

In 1814, it seemed that twenty five years of war in Europe was finally coming to an end with the surrender of the Emperor Napoleon and his banishment to the…

The Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire occupies a special place in the collective consciousness of the West, at once a dark star on the eastern horizon, threatening the very existence of Western civilisation,…

What Caused World War I?

World War I, the Great War, the War to End all Wars, no matter what you call it, it was a game changer. Lasting from 1914 to 1918, this war…

The American Civil War

A house divided against itself cannot stand.  I believe this government cannot endure  permanently half-slave and half-free. — Abraham Lincoln, 1858 What Was The American Civil War? A war fought…

The American War Of Independence

British Rule [caption id="attachment_23753" align="alignright" width="300"] The Stamp Act Protest, 1765 by Granger[/caption] The brutal and bloody eight-year struggle between the British Empire and the newly-declared United States of America, which…

The Journey of Spices

Spices conjure images of tempting culinary art, fascinating travels and bitter struggles for supremacy. Expressions like variety are the spice of life and sugar and spice and all that is…

The Spanish Inquisition

One of the darker periods of Spanish history is the Spanish Inquisition, which entrenched Spain for over 350 years. Also known as The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the…

The Story Of Chocolate

Our love affair with chocolate began at least 4,000 years ago in Mesoamerica, in present-day southern Mexico and Central America, where cacao grew wild. When the Olmecs unlocked the secret…

Global Cities: Melbourne

No Australian city better personifies the country’s multiculturalism than Melbourne, one of the most diverse melting pots on the planet. The city is one of the most ethnically and culturally…

The Korean Diaspora

Overall, the Korean diaspora is comprised of around 7 million people. This includes Korean-born emigrants as well as the descendants of emigrants. This total includes people from all parts of…

The British Diaspora

Given the supremacy of the British Empire for much of the Age of Discovery, the British diaspora is widely dispersed throughout the world. The United Kingdom retains some control of…

The Mexican Diaspora

Mexican immigration is one of the more contemporary and urgent strands of global mass movement. The Mexican diaspora population is overwhelmingly based in the United States due to geographical proximity.…

The German Diaspora

The German diaspora, like many European populations, is difficult to quantify and is best divided into two separate groups. Countries with large populations of German descent and large countries with…

The Scandinavian Diaspora

The Scandinavian diaspora encompasses the foreign populations of five different countries: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland. Despite the distinction between the countries, they bear a number of cultural and…

The Persian Diaspora

The Persian diaspora currently numbers at around 4.5 million people around the world. A significant portion of this population lives in the United States, numbering around 1.5 million (most of…

The Jewish Diaspora

The history of the Jewish diaspora stretches back thousands of years. It remains a contentious and culturally significant issue. The Jewish Homeland of Israel remains a hotbed of political and…

The Thai Diaspora

The Thai diaspora is estimated to account for around 1.1 million people across the world. The most significant Thai populations around the world are based in the United States (247,000),…

The Filipino Diaspora

The Filipino diaspora is one of the largest and most spread-out in the world. Indeed,it is estimated to consist of over 10 million people, 10% of the country’s population. Countries…

The Armenian Diaspora

The Armenian diaspora has a long and extensive history stretching back nearly two millennia. Armenia has been a country which has long been contested by a number of larger powers…

The Japanese Diaspora

The Japanese diaspora has a very rich and unique history despite being a very recent phenomenon. Japan was notably one of the most isolated countries on the planet up until…

The Chinese Diaspora

As the most populous country in the world, it is of little surprise that China has one of the largest diasporas on the planet. It is estimated that there are…

The Vietnamese Diaspora

The Vietnamese diaspora has a population of 4 million people, over half of whom live in the United States. Other countries with significant Vietnamese populations include Cambodia (600,000), France (350,000),…

The Ethiopian Diaspora

The Ethiopian diaspora, despite the long and extensive history of the country, is relatively small and confined to certain countries. With a total population of 107 million, less than 1…

The Cambodian Diaspora

The Cambodian diaspora, as is the case with many other Southeast Asian countries, does not have a relatively long history. The Cambodian Civil War of the 1960’s and 1970’s was…

The Puerto Rican Diaspora

The Puerto Rican diaspora is overwhelmingly centralised in the United States due to the former essentially being a part of the latter. Puerto Ricans comprise 10% of the United States’…

Global Cities: Paris

As one of Europe’s most important major cities, Paris is known for its distinct cultural identity, something which makes it one of the most appealing cities for visitors. With centuries…

The Italian Diaspora

The Italian diaspora is one with a long and extensive history and provides one of the definitive immigration narratives in the world. It can be divided into three major stages.…

The Indian Diaspora

The Indian diaspora is the largest in the world, numbering 31.2 million. It is widely dispersed throughout the world, with sizeable populations across each continent. The United States is home…

The Bangladeshi Diaspora

The Bangladeshi diaspora is one of the largest in the world, with a population of over 7.5 million people. It is fairly evenly distributed around the world, with no country…

The Pakistani Diaspora

The Pakistani diaspora is one of the largest immigrant populations in the world, numbering around 9 million. The large majority are based in the Middle East, particularly in the Arab…

The Sri Lankan Diaspora

The Sri Lankan diaspora is relatively large in comparison to the country’s overall population. 3 million Sri Lankans live overseas, with Western Europe, the Arab Gulf States and North America…

The Arab Diaspora

The Arab diaspora is one of the most widespread immigrant populations around the world, as well as one of the trickiest to define. Unlike most diaspora populations, Arabs are not…

The Irish Diaspora

The Irish diaspora is one of the largest in the world. Ireland itself has a very small population of 4.8 million. More than double this number has emigrated from Ireland…

The Polish Diaspora

The Polish diaspora is widespread and has been notably oppressed for centuries by a number of different external forces. This has caused it to become dispersed throughout the world, with…

The Nigerian Diaspora

The Nigerian diaspora is one of the largest African immigrant populations in the world, but its actual size is very difficult to estimate. The advent of colonialism and the Trans-Atlantic…

The Jamaican Diaspora

The Jamaican diaspora is a very large one in proportion to its overall population. The Caribbean island nation has a population of 4.4 million. Its diaspora population is over 2…

A Short History of The Inca Empire

The most widespread empire in the Americas prior to European conquest; although the Inca civilization was long-lived, the Empire itself thrived for a relatively short period of time of just…

The Turkish Diaspora

The Turkish diaspora is difficult to categorise due to there being so many disparate population groups as a result of the sheer territorial reach of the former Ottoman Empire. Thus,…

The Greek Diaspora

The Greek diaspora, due to its sheer longevity, is one of the more difficult to categorise. It has existed since the days of antiquity and remains widespread in the present…

Global Cities: Berlin

[caption id="attachment_35939" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Daniel Grothe, #Berlin, Flickr Creative Commons[/caption] While historically overlooked in favour of more glamorous and traditionally beautiful European cities, Berlin has undergone a renaissance of sorts…

Global Cities: London

London is one of the most global cities on the planet, a real melting pot of different cultures, nationalities and religions. With many traces of the country’s former colonial reach…

Global Cities: New York

New York City is one of the most global metropolises on the planet, practically synonymous with the virtues of immigration. For centuries, the city has been an entry point for…

The Malaysian Diaspora

The Malaysian diaspora is a relatively small one, numbering around 1 million people, a small number considering its population of over 32 million. It is also generally confined to nearby…

The Portuguese Diaspora

The Portuguese diaspora is very difficult to estimate in terms of size due to its extensive history. As one of the largest empires of the colonial period, Portugal’s territorial reach…

Global Cities: Los Angeles

Few cities epitomise multiculturalism better than Los Angeles. The city is home to one of the most diverse array of immigrant populations in the world. From its Spanish roots, the…

Showing study guides -