Although the role of Moriscos in the diplomacy of North African Muslim polities has long been recognized, next to nothing is known of their contribution to Ottoman diplomacy. Yet, during the sixteenth century, and especially after their expulsion from Spain in 1609, Constantinople became an important node in the Moriscos’ Mediterranean-wide network. Unlike other intermediaries active on the diplomatic scene of Constantinople, Moriscos had a special role in sultanic image-making during the age of increased confessional polarization in both Europe and parts of the Middle East, between the mid-sixteenth and mid-seventeenth centuries. The essay examines how European and Ottoman sources represented Moriscos as both subjects and objects of Ottoman diplomacy, explores the significance of their religious affiliation in the diplomatic process, and argues that the Moriscos’ mediation provided the Ottomans with valuable opportunities to exploit confessional tensions and articulate their claims to sovereignty to their European interlocutors.
Journal of Early Modern History – Brill
Published: Apr 21, 2015
Keywords: Moriscos; Constantinople; Ottoman Empire; early modern; diplomacy; sixteenth century; seventeenth century; intermediaries