Event—Center for Renaissance Studies

Mayte Green-Mercado, Rutgers University

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Mediterranean Displacements: Morisco Migrations in the Sixteenth Century, Mayte Green-Mercado, Rutgers University-Newark

This paper examines the phenomenon of migration and displacement of Moriscos—Iberian Muslims forcibly converted to Catholicism in the first two decades of the sixteenth century—before the expulsion of this community from the Iberian Peninsula in 1609. Scholarship on Morisco migration has recently received much attention, and most scholarship has centered on the post-expulsion period and the settlement of Moriscos in North Africa, Italy, and around the Mediterranean. Comparatively less attention has been paid to the movement of Moriscos outside the Peninsula during the sixteenth century (in the pre-expulsion period). While some Moriscos migrated around the Mediterranean to embark in commercial ventures, others fled the Peninsula to avoid Inquisitorial persecution. Taking a prosopographical and micro historical approach that focuses on the Izquierdos, a wealthy family of Morisco merchants who were at the center of a rebellion conspiracy in Valencia and Aragon in the 1570s and 1580s, the aim is to examine the experiences of displacement of Moriscos before the forced exiles. Some guiding questions that this paper will address are: to what degree did migrant and displaced Moriscos keep ties with their communities of origin? Did the mobility of Moriscos impact the lives of their coreligionists living in the Peninsula? This paper is part of a larger project that aims to consider the ways in which the fields of migration studies, diaspora studies, and critical refugee studies can contribute to our knowledge of Morisco history and identity.