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The Last Crusade in the West
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The Last Crusade in the West
Castile and the Conquest of Granada

Joseph F. O'Callaghan

384 pages | 6 x 9 | 7 illus.
Cloth 2014 | ISBN 9780812245875 | $79.95s | Outside the Americas £64.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the Middle Ages Series
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"Extremely useful book. The Last Crusade follows the thread of Crusade rhetoric and Castilian diplomatic and military operations through the century prior to the conquest of Granada; it is told with skill and erudition."—Speculum

"With this final volume in his ambitious trilogy, Joseph F. O'Callaghan offers the fullest history of the Reconquista that has ever been made available in English. His familiarity with the sources for medieval Iberian history rivals that of any other contemporary scholar."—Norman Housley, University of Leicester

"This book is the final volume of Joseph O'Callaghan's excellent trilogy on the crusading movement in medieval Spain. . . . [It] describes the final series of Castilian campaigns against the emirate of Granada, beginning in the mid-fourteenth century and culminating in the surrender of the city to Fernando and Isabel in 1492. . . . A good addition to the shelves of anyone interested in the crusades, Iberian history, or Christian-Muslim relations in the Mediterranean."—The Medieval Review

By the middle of the fourteenth century, Christian control of the Iberian Peninsula extended to the borders of the emirate of Granada, whose Muslim rulers acknowledged Castilian suzerainty. No longer threatened by Moroccan incursions, the kings of Castile were diverted from completing the Reconquest by civil war and conflicts with neighboring Christian kings. Mindful, however, of their traditional goal of recovering lands formerly ruled by the Visigoths, whose heirs they claimed to be, the Castilian monarchs continued intermittently to assault Granada until the late fifteenth century.

Matters changed thereafter, when Fernando and Isabel launched a decade-long effort to subjugate Granada. Utilizing artillery and expending vast sums of money, they methodically conquered each Naṣrid stronghold until the capitulation of the city of Granada itself in 1492. Effective military and naval organization and access to a diversity of financial resources, joined with papal crusading benefits, facilitated the final conquest. Throughout, the Naṣrids had emphasized the urgency of a jihād waged against the Christian infidels, while the Castilians affirmed that the expulsion of the "enemies of our Catholic faith" was a necessary, just, and holy cause. The fundamentally religious character of this last stage of conflict cannot be doubted, Joseph F. O'Callaghan argues.

Joseph F. O'Callaghan is Professor Emeritus of Medieval History at Fordham University and author of numerous books. With The Last Crusade in the West, he concludes the magisterial history begun in his earlier The Gibraltar Crusade: Castile and the Battle for the Strait and Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain, both available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

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