July 17th, 2006, 11:41 PM
Challenge: Devise a scenario for enduring settlement and administration of at least one main island of the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, or Puerto Rico) by ethnic Berbers.
July 18th, 2006, 12:33 PM
1492 - Spanish troops capture Granada
1515 - Selim I dies in battle at Merj Daniq. A Maluke-Safavid alliance attacks the weakened Ottoman Empiure, reducing its Asian power base considerably, though the Sultans manage to hold on to Western Anatolia and their European possessions.
1523 - nominally Mamluk Oran is forced to accept Spanish sovereignty. Melilla and rabat follow shortly.
1528 - Charles V conquers Algiers and adopts the old Siculo-Norman title 'King of Africa'
1531 - Tunis is added to the Spanish possessions in North Africa
Spanish soldiers in the Maghreb begion the practice of taking on Berber 'serjentes'
1534 - grant of significant areas and townships in Africa to the Hospitaller, Calatrava and Santiago knights. The slow subjection of the inland Maghreb begins. Berbers and Arabs enslaved as captives, sold to Spain and the New World
Large numbers of Berber military servants take part in the conquests of Mexico and Peru.
1547 - Constitutions of Badajoz: The Spanish kingdom allows Muslims residence in all its possessions subject to certain terms.
1581 - Portugal conquered. Portuguese North African possessions transferred to the Spanish crown.
By the 1600s, the pattern of settlement in much of the Caribbean has developed into a four-tier society. At the top are the Christian, pureblood Spanish. This upper class is a small one, consisting of ecomenderos, officials, priests, professionals and soldiers, with a sprinkling of craftsmen. The next tier is occupied by Moriscos, mostly Berber in origin, who fill the mid-tier of craftsmen, labourers, minor administrators, personal servants and menials. These are often conversos, but thanks to the Constitutions of Badajoz, that is not required, and many retain their Islamic faith. At the third level stand the indentureds and house slaves, also frequently Berber, who are beholde personally to a Spanish master, but do not worek the field. The bottom (and by far the largest) class is formed by mostly African chattel slaves.
By the time of the revolutions that take Cuba and Hispaniola from colonial overlordship, the classes of free and indentured Moriscos have merged, adopting a large number of mulattos. They form the new ruling class of the independent republics. IN the copurse of the later 19th and 20th centuries, they develop a romantic nationalist notion of a Berber identity (which was never entirely lost, but rather subsumed into a Spanish one) and Berber names become more fashionable. Folk-Islam is given official recognition and mosques are built. The government hopes to use it to secure the loyalty of the black population, which mostly converted to it rather than Catholic Christianity.
1923 - Hispaniolan Revolution. The Berber-Mulatto upper class is overthrown by a black uprising. Lenga Morisca, a Creole of Spanish, Berber, Ibo and Yoruba, is declared the new state language.
1935 - black uprising in Cuba is suppressed by the ruling classes. The larger proportion of Berber Cubans gives the pro-state forces a larger recruitment pool.
1936-1942 - Hispanioan Civil War. The island is divided between the Hispaniolan Republic and the Free Republic of Hispaniola
1938 - Coup by General Juan Amid Rodriquez Ben Bella who makes himself dictator of Cuba, establishing a Berber-nationalist fascist regime
1951 - Hispaniolan tensions become theatre of Cold War as Soviet Union supports a hardline Communist takeover in the Free Republic of Hispaniola (renamed People's Republic of Hispaniola). The Hispaniolan Republic and Cuba become US satellites.
1968/69 - revolution in the Hipaniolan Republic. Short war followed by Cuban-US interention.
1992 - first democratic elections in People's Republic of Hispaniola. Reunification is mooted
1993 - first democratic elections in Cuba following the death of General Ben Amil.
Today, Hispaniola is a majority-Mulim, mostly black, bilingual (Morisca and Spanish) country, desperately poor, but for the first time in its history democratic. Cuba is by far the wealthier neighbour (with a GDP similar to OTL's Jamaica, so nothing to write home about). Its population is about 60% Catholic, 30% Muslim, 10% various others (mostly Evangelicals and Baptists), and racism is still rife despite official renunciations of Bellaista politics. The ruling class is majority-Morisco, with a strong tradition of viewing itself as 'Berber' and a sentimental attachment to Morocco and Argelia (mostly from a distance - not many Cubans actually visit thes war-torn, impoverished postcolonial states). The lower-class blacks are still predominantly Muslim, though a large numnber now flock to Protestant missionary churches. An interesting factor in the religious landscape is that the upper-class Moriscos increasingly follow a refined, highly philosophical version of Sunni Islam taught at the madrassa in Toledo while the majority of lower-class Muslims visit the mosques operated by local marabouts teaching an eclectic local version of Sufi mysticism. Inroads by Argelian Salafi preachers are watched with increasing concern after 9-11.
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