For over 700 years, Jews, Muslims, and Christians lived together in medieval Spain in relative peace. This rare period of a pluralistic society is called La Convivencia (“the Coexistence”) by Spanish historians. It started with the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in 711 and ended with the surrender of the last Moorish King of Granada in 1492.
Project: Moorish Thanksgiving
In the 8th century, The Moors, an extension of the Islamic Empire, conquered and occupied the Iberian Peninsula, what is now Spain and Portugal. From Northern Africa they brought a culture of innovation, technology and knowledge into Europe.
The Moors also introduced new food: sugarcane, rice, vegetables, almonds, citrus. From Asia and Africa they brought spices: cumin, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, mustard, cloves, nutmeg, saffron, black pepper. This influx of new ingredients and cooking techniques proved pervasive and enduring for Spain, the rest of Europe and the New World, clearly impacting Mexican and South American cuisines. Spanish paella, considered a national dish, was birthed from Moorish casseroles of rice, fish and spices.