Islamic political history can been seen a cycle that oscillates between power and weakness. The Abbasid caliphate that contributed much to math and science in from the 8th to 11th centuries eventually came to violent end with the Mongol destruction of Baghdad in 1258.

The Ottomans, who rose out of the ashes of that destruction at one point became the most powerful European empire, but eventually ended with a whimper in the aftermath of the First World War. Numerous examples illustrate the rise and fall of Muslim societies.

In this rise and fall cycle, there have been times when one society’s decline coincided with the rise of another, leading to interesting interactions between the two. One such case happened in the late 15th/early 16th century, when al-Andalus lost its independence in the western Mediterranean while the Ottoman Empire was becoming a major power in the East.

In 1492, the last Muslim polity in Iberia, the Emirate of Granada, fell to the Union of Castile and Aragón that would later form Spain. The remaining Muslim inhabitants, known as Moriscos, were originally promised religious freedom by the Catholic Monarchs, but by 1502, a royal decree imposed Catholicism on the entire population and Muslims had to publicly profess to have converted or face severe punishments.

In this atmosphere of religious oppression, in 1502 an anonymous Andalusian poet wrote an appeal for aid to the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II (r. 1481-1512). A portion of this appeal is available at:

A Morisco Appeal to the Ottoman Sultan