ESSAY: In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety-Two, Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue

Columbus isn’t politically correct any more, but this brief essay isn’t about Columbus. In 1492 there was another event, more immediately important to Spain: Ferdinand and Isabella drove the Moors (Islamicists) out of Spain, after Spanish Christians had fought them for almost 800 years.

The Spanish fought the Islamicists longer than just about anyone else. Starting from a small base in what is now Saudi Arabia in the 7th Century, Islam quickly spread west across North Africa to Morocco, across the Strait of Gibraltar to Spain, and across the Pyrenees to France. They were stopped by Charles Martel, Charlemagne’s grandfather, at the battle of Poitiers in 732.

Over the next seven centuries the Spanish, in fits and starts, drove the Moors out of Spain. They had Charlemagne’s help (made into a legend by the Song of Roland), national hero Rodrigo Diaz (El Cid, another legend played by Charleton Heston in the 1961 movie), finally succeeding when Aragon and Castile combined to unify Spain.
For the next four centuries Spain dealt with terrorists (the Moriscos, Islamicists passing as Christians) who were largely responsible for the severity of the Spanish Inquisition.

It is ironic that Franco, who defeated the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, came out of Morocco, where he commanded Spanish troops sitting on the Moors.

This week, rather incompetent Islamicist terrorists killed people in Barcelona and Cambrils. Five terrorists were killed and four were captured, more than usual. They had managed to blow up their explosives trying to make bombs. Terrorists do that quite often. ISIS is trying to train them to make bombs without blowing themselves up, apparently with little success. The Spanish terrorists then went back to using vehicles as weapons. The most significant effect of the attack may be to damp the Catalonian separatist movement. The Spanish need one another, as they did from 732 until 1492.

The Moors were part of two caliphates, the Ummayads ruling from Baghdad and the Abbasids ruling from Syria. Sound familiar? ISIS claims to be re-establishing the caliphate. Which one? There were four, descended from different parts of Mohammed’s family. They fought one another, which helped the Spanish defeat them, once the Spanish stopped fighting among themselves.

In view of the long history of terrorism in Spain, calling the Barcelona attack a Charlottesville copycat is one of the more ridiculous things I have heard. All the Democrats need to do is keep quiet while Trump repeatedly shoots himself in the foot. They seem incapable of that, driven to blame everything on Trump.

I fear for our republic.


Jerry Modisette

Jerry Modisette, PhD, was at NASA Houston during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo flights and performed the tests selecting the Mercury heat shield materials. He also has extensive experience working in the petroleum industry. He lives in Cabezon Canyon, west of Pagosa Springs.