The kingdom of Granada, located in southern Spain, was an important location for the birth of the Barbary Pirates. In the 10th through 15th centuries, the Muslim kingdom served as an important trade link between Europe and north Africa as well as the home of thousands of Moors (Muslims of African descent).
Grenada however would fall under Spanish control in 1492 when Muhammad XII surrendered the kingdom to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella after it was besieged. The Spanish Crown, using the Alhmabra Decree, a law which authorized the expulsion of all Jews from Spain, demanded that all Moors convert to the Roman-Catholic church or face death. Many of the Moors fled Spain to their ancestral lands of north Africa. Others remained and converted to Catholicism, while others dispersed throughout the Spanish countryside. The expulsion of the Moors ended the 800 year reign of the Moors in the Iberian peninsula, and allowed a united Spain to quickly colonize the New World.
Expulsion of the Moors from Spain
Many of the Moors who had been expelled from Spain avenged their expulsion by conducting piratical (pirate) attacks on Spanish ships sailing through the Mediterranean Sea. Muslim pirates from throughout north Africa's Barbary coast were quick to assist the Moors in these endeavors, and hence the legend of the Barbary Pirates was born.