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The term ‘diaspora’ refers originally to the dispersal of the children of Israel throughout the world, when expelled from their country of birth, or of adoption if they had previously been displaced. By extension, it also applies to any migration by a whole class of people following expulsion from lands that they have traditionally occupied. However, the diaspora brings in its wake other consequences with a high human cost - the disintegration of families, the plundering of personal possessions, slavery, deprivation of cultural and religious identity, not to mention loss of life through disease, exhaustion and despair: This was the unavoidable destiny of the Muslims of Velez.

Contemporary accounts (in this case, Mármol) confirm that the inhabitants of the Axarquía were taken away “without commotion or disturbance because they were disorganised. Those of El Borge were removed by Arévalo de Suazo; Don Manrique (Lord of Frigiliana) dealt with those of Comares, and Don Antonio de Luna, those of Cútar and Benamargosa, who trekked into the interior on the 16th March...” (1570), and those in the rest of the Axarquía, although not considering themselves to have rebelled and describing themselves as “Peaceful Moriscos” (Iznate, Almáchar, Moclinejo, etc), suffered the same fate.

By contrast, the people of Bentómiz, who  had taken an active part in events suffered a different and needless to say, more drastic and inhumane fate. Of the seven thousand Moriscos gathered at the Peñon de Frigiliana, approximately two thousand, in round figures, lost their lives in the battle: “Five hundred men, the majority old;  almost one thousand three hundred women and children...” as it is described in the tile panel. Another two thousand young men “shirkers from the battle”, among them el Darra, Alwacir el Melilú, and el Garral fled to the Alpujarras and suffered the fate of final defeat elsewhere, that is to say died in other battles.


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