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The notes which follow are based on the author’s continuing investigation of Arab-Islamic relations with Latin America, 1 a research project which, we hope, wl lead ultimately to the publication of a i l more systematic contribution to a relatively little explored field of study. These notes have been arranged under three categories: The Journeys of Discovery, Islam and Latin American Literature, and ‘Black Islam’ in Latin America.

I. The Jourlteys of Discovery A. Arabic-Islamic Contributions to Navigation and Geography There is no opportunity to deal in the scope of this article with the many unresolved problems around the issue of possible Muslim predecessors of Columbus,2 and the thesis of an immigration of Visigothic Christians fleeing from Arab troops to Cozumel and Yucatan. 3 It is rather our intention to point briefly to the first Muslim map of America, and to Arab contributions to the accomplishments of Vasco da Gama and Columbus. In October, 1929,Khalid Edhem Bey discovered by chance in the Library of Serrallo, in the city of Istanbul, a map in parchment “made in the holy Muharram of the year 919”(March, 1513). The rare and valuable geographical letter contained, among other legends, the fdlowing note: “This chapter explains how this map has been made. Such map nobody owns at present. By the hands of this poor man it has been composed and now elaborated.” The discovery was important. As already stated, it had to do with a parchment, in Turkish writing, painted in several colors, with dimensions of 0.85 X 0.60. It represents the western zone of the world. It comprises the Atlantic Ocean with America and the western rim of the Old World. The other parts of the world, which undoubtedly the map also included, have been lost. The author of the map, F‘iri Muhyi ’1-Din Re+, is not unknown. He was a famous navigator and map-maker who died about 1554-1555. He wrote a handbook on navigation in the Aegean and the Mediterranean Seas, which was known as Piri Res& Bahriye. Perhaps the
1 Cf. the authofs article, “Muslim Immigration to Spanish America,” M.W., LVI (19661, 173-187. ’See Appendu. 3 A theory defended in the eighteenth century by, among others, Solormo Pereyra, Politica Indiana, I, ch. 5, p. 10 (Amberes, 17oa) and Antonio de Herrera, DesCripCidn de las I n d k Occidentdes, I, ch. 10, p. 21 (Madrid, 1730). C . also f Llano Zapata, Memorias Histdkco-Fisicas-Afdogtticas ( m W ) . pp. 518L I 520, on the crosses of tin found by the Spanish conquerors in Mexico.




map found by Khalil Edhem Bey was a part of this handbook which had been presented to Sultan Selim I in 1517, which would explain how the mysterious parchment was found in Serrallo. 4 Arab geographical information reached Vasco da Gama not only in written form, but also through his consultations with A d b. Msjid, whom he met on the west coast of Africa. Arab stories say that this Ibn MPjid was “intoxicated” by the Portuguese so that he would show them the way to the Indies. He is regarded as the author of a handbook on navigation on the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Southern China and the waters around the West Indies’ Islands. (Some West Africans consider him also the inventor of the compass.) 5 But Vasco da Gama must have met many other Muslim navigators as well. According to Lusitano, Vasco da Gama, “who w a s the first one to discover the Eastern Indies, met in the Mozambique Passage several Moorish navigators who used the magnetic needle with which they sailed in those seas; but no one states explicitly from whom they learned it.” 6 While it is impossible to state with certainty whether Columbus had direct contacts with Arab sailors and merchants, there can be no doubt that Arabic science reached him in an indirect way, partly, perhaps, through the works of Pedro de Ally and Regiomantano. 7 According to one of his contemporaries, Columbus started his enterprise impelled, among other reasons, by al-Fargh5ni’s thesis that the earth’s circumference was “much less than [estimated by] the other authors and cosmographers.” 8 How he knew a l - F a r g M s book Q is difficult to decide, since the translation by Juan Hispalense, dating from 1135, was not published till 1493. The Admiral may have read the manuscript, or he codd have received information about it through Johannes Sacroboscus, in a similar way as he knew Avicenna’s De Complexionibus through St. Albert0 Magno. 10


4 Of special importance are the various articles on this map written by Pad Kahle and Eugen Oberhummer: cf. the bibliography of Franz Babinger’s article “Piri MI&$ ’ - i Re’is:’ Encyclopuedio of Islam, 111, ro;rof. 1Dn 6 See on Ibn MHjid the interesting study of T. A. Shumusky, Tri N e i m e s t t k e totsii Akhmada Ibn Maakhida Arabskogo lojsmana Vasko du-Gamui, MOSCOW, 1047. and Gabrid Ferrand Zntrodwtion d l’artronomie n a u t w des Arabes (PGis: Geuthner, I@), p.‘247. Osorio Lusitano. De Rebus Gestis, I. I& quoted by Gregorio Garcia, Origen de 10s Indws en el N-o M d o e Ind& Ocdentales (Ma&id, I729), p. 21. 7 Columbus may have read also Aristotles’ De Coelo in the edition by A v e m s , published i Venice in 1483 and 1484; cf. Don Fernando Cokh, Histork del n Almironte, ch. 6, 7 and 8. 8 Bartolome de Las Casas, Historia de la Indiar (Buenos Aires-Me~ko, 1951), I, 38. 9 Abfi ’I-CAbb5s Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Kathir a l - F a r g m , Kitiib fi dharakdt al-sam6wiyya wa j a m % m ‘ C 4‘lm d-nujtim (“The Book of the heavenly f movements and complete science o the stars”). 10 De Las Casas, H k t h , I , 40.

B. The
Reconquista and the Discovery of

Latin America

When Spain began the great task of American colonization, there was a burning in the hearts of all Castillians, Aragmians, and Basques : the firm purpose of extending the Reconquista beyond the seas. T i might well have been the reason why Hernan Cortks (a former hs soldier in Africa), when he arrived at Yucath, named that area El Cairo. 11 His eyes were used to the high, white buildings of the Maghrib and of his native Spain. And when he embarked upon the conquest of this new land, he did not feel that he was coming to a new world, but to a part of the Islamic Empire, worthy of being incorporated into the Christian dominions of Spain. 12 Indeed, the whole Spanish colonization process of the American continent is closely related with this peninsular phenomenon, the Reconquista. That great and overpowering river of anti-Islamic feelings overflowed the European boundaries and flooded the American lands. The deeds of the CortCses and the Pizarros can be judged, in some way, as an extension of the Cid-ian struggles. The conquerors were men moving to the New World in order to complete the catholicity, or ecumenicity, of the Christian faith, according to medieval theological ideas. This transcendental mission was confirmed by a Spanish Pope, Alexander VI, who offered to the Spanish Monarchs the title of Catholic King. The Treaty of Tordesillas came to confirm this mission. 13 The reconquista motive played a role, also, in the activities of Columbus. 14 This adventurer had in mind the reconquest of Jerusalem, possibly as an echo of the Granada Reconquest. He was sure that beyond the unknown seas was the way to Cathay, Cipango, to India
11 Cf. Eligio Anwna, Hutoria del Yucatcin, desde la i j o c a mos remota hart0 nuestros d h (Barcelona, 1 8 8 ~ )11, 222; and Pedro Martin de Angleria, Dfcadar , del NWO Mundo (Buenos Aires, rw),I, 308. 12 Centuries later, another illustrious and adventurous Spaniard, Don F h d n del Valle I n c h , saw in the Gulf of Mexico something Arabic, something similar to North Africa. See “Bajo 110s Tr6picos” in Publicaciones Periodisticas de Don Ram& del Valle Incldn mteriores a 1895, Estudio preliminar y notas de William L. Fichter (El Colegio de Mexico, 1 5 ) p. 170. 92, 1s On the relationship between America and the Middle Ages see, besides the well-known works of Sanchez Albornoz, Charles Verlinden, “Les Influences MCdi6vales dans la colonisation de B’AmCrique,” R&a de H&Oria & A d a , 30 (Mexico, December 1950) and reprint; and “Colomb et les influences medievales dans la colonisation de 1’AmCrique” in Studi Colombiani, I1 (1951) ; Genea, Covegno Internazionale di Studi Colombiani). 14 See, among others, G. Ritter, Die Neugestaltung Europas im 16. Jahrhunderf, Berlin, 1950 (who states that the Conquhta of overseas territories began as a continuation o the Reconquista of Spain, and that Crusades ideas played f an important role in the early history o European expansion; p. 41) B. Bierf ; mann, “Das Requiriemento in der Spanischen Conquis@” N.ZM.W., VI (1950). w-115;A. S . Atiya, The Crusade in the later Middle Ages (London, 1938), pp. 7 , 258 f f . ; J. Hashagen, Euroja im Mittelalter (Munchen, 1951), pp. 406f.; and E. Staehelin, Die Verkundigung des Reiches Gottes k der Kwche Jesu.Chnstr ( 4 vol.; Basel, 1951-1957), IV, 1-16 (on Columbus’ desire to contribute towards a new crusade to capture Jerusalem).



(and to the Indies), and ultimately to the always mysterious land of Arabia. For this reason he took with him two Jewish converts, Rodrigo de Triana and Luis de Torres, the latter an expert in foreign languages, primarily in Hebrew, Chaldean and “even in Arabic,” as Columbus himself notes in his “Diario.”

11. Islam and Latin American Literature

A. Arabs and Muslims as ‘themes’ in Latin American Literature The Arab and in general the Muslim world has exerted a charm on
many Spanish-American writers, in past and present. To begin with some more contemporary ones, mention should be made of the Argentinian Enrique Larreta, who composed a magnificent description of the Moors during the reign of Philip I1 in his novel La Gloria de Don Ramiro. Another example is R6mulo Gallegos, who in one of his most beautiful books, Los Inmigrantes, chose an Arab from Lebanon as his principal character. A very special case is that of the Chilean writer Pedro Prado, who in 1921came to imitate the tone and the ‘nuance’ of the Islamic poem to the extent of publishing, under the pseudonym of Karez-I-Roshan -suggesting an Afghan poet-four series of short and delicate verses (“La Flor Roja,” * L a s Baladas de Kabul,” “De la Noche a1 amanecer,” “De la Llava Eterna”). The Spanish-American critics lavishly praised the newly discovered works of this mysterious poet who suddenly situated himself in the line of Omar Khayyam. The fraud succeeded widely. The pamphlet had as epigraph two unimpeachable judgments : that of Kahlil Gibran (Jibr5.n Khalil Jibrk), and that of George Bernard Shaw. The first one said: “This unknown one (Roshan) is the sweetest song of dawn, and the most sonorous trumpet of the Orient.” On his side, Shaw affirmed: “His originality and power is as obvious as Tagore’s, but like myself, Karez-I-Roshan emphasizes incendiary possibilities.” As introduction, the writer Paulina Orth (a name behiid which Don Antonio Castro Leal, who at the time was the Secretary to the Embassy of Mexico in Chile, hid himself) presented a biographical sketch, which, although short, was rich in data and news for the orientalists. 15 Looking back to the nineteenth century, we find Don Rufino JOSC Cuervo, the illustrious Colombian philologist. in whose works one can find many quotations in Hebrew, Syriac, and especially in Arabic, a language which he had learned in Bogoti around 1877from his help ful compatriot, the Arabic scholar Don Ezequiel Uricoechea. 16 Another Spanish American writer who showed an iinniistakable
16 See August0 Iglesias, Gabrielcr Mistral y el Modernismo en Chile (Ensaya de Cn’ficu Subjetha) (Santiago de Chile, I ~ S O ) , pp. 88-89, 16 Rufino J. Cuervo. Obras, I (Bogoti: Institub Car0 y Cuervo, rgs), pp. lxxxv f. and xciv f.



favor towards things Arabic was Domingo Sarmiento. In his Recuerdos de Provincia, he dedicated some pages to the supposed Arab lineage of the Albarracin family, to which this distinguished Argentine politician and educator belonged. In his Facundo he makes interesting observations on the life of the Gaucho and of the Arab and about the geography of Palestine and that of La Rioja. 17 Sarmiento’s special pride in his (supposed) Arab lineage made him the object of gross satire, such as that found in the anonymous libel (which is falsely attributed to Jose Hernhdez) La Repiiblica de 10s Canallas (Buenos Aires, 1868): “I am a Moor, that is, I am from San Juan, but of Moorish lineage: my grandfather was the famous Turk AX Kaka Ben al-Bazin, m s f r o de contrabujo of the Prophet Mdpmmad.” 1s Although he deserves much fuller discussion, at this moment we can only make a brief reference to the outstanding figure of the Venezuelan Don Rafael de Nogales y Mend& (born in 1878)who in the author’s opinion is comparable, both in his literary products and his military career, to Lawrence of Arabia.

B. Arabic-Islamic Literary Influences It is not difficult to trace the Arabic origin of several Latin American stones. The story of the goats, for example, in Cervantes’ Don Quixote (I, zo), was derived, via the Libro de 10s Enxiemplos and the Novellino, from an Oriental story of Disciplina Clericalis. Avellaneda, in turn, transferred it into his pseudo-Quixote, where the goats are changed into geese (XXI),and in this form the story became, after the Spanish conquest, part of the Chilean, Argentinian and Puerto R i m folklore. In Peruvian literature we find Don Ricardo Palma’s theme of “do good without noticing to whom,” which is unmistakably analogous to
17 Domingo V. Sarmiento, Recuerdos de Prmncia (chapter ‘ZOS Albarracines”). Lugones and Daireaux believed that they discovered the Arab etymology of the word ‘Gaucho.’ Cf. LeopOado Lugones, “Voces Americanas de procedencia , arabiga,” Lo NaciOn, rnarzo 4 25, abril 2 ~ 1923; febrero a marzo g, junio I, 1%; marzo I, abril 5, 1 9 5 ; “Nuevas Etimologias &bigas,” La Nocidn, febrem 13, abril 3, noviembre 27, rgq. Emilio Daireaux, El abogado de si mismo, 1887, p. x ;Lo vie e f Ies m u r s d la Plafa (1888), I, 31.-See A. Monia Figueroa, i also El gaucho argcnfino (I~IZ), p. 13and the bibliography on the Gaucho in Homero Seris, Bibtwgrafia de la Lingiiistica Esparlola (BogotA, I*), pp. 718-720. Unamuno, “La Literatura gauchesca,” L Ilustracidn EspaEola y Americana, 22 de a julio 1899, p. 46, compares the fight between the Gaucho and the Indian w t ih the struggle between the Castillian and the Moors. 18 Quoted by Emilio Carrilla, “La Rephblica de 10s Cadas,” Bolefin de Liter a t w m Hkj&kav (Facultad de Filosofia y Letras, Universidad Naciaal del Litoral), 1963, no. 5, p. 4. Another ironical treatment of the Arabic lineage claim (which seems to be accepted in Mary M n ’ biographical sketch of Sarans miento, following the English translation of the Facccndo; Life in the Argentine Republic, New York, 1868)is found in Vicuiia Madcenna, Pagina de un DiariO durmte tres oiios de Vbjc-1853, 1854, 1855,Santiago de chile, 1856.



a tragic episode in the life of Prince Ibrshim, ancestor of the Umayyad ruler M a r w k 11. In the two stones, the son of a murdered man offers asylum to the murderer of his father, and he forgives him, when the true identity of the guest is discovered.19 T i could be Seen as a hs literary coincidence. But both episodes present so much simdarity that it is not possible to deny the dependency on the M s i story. ulm Another example is the story of The Mark of the Lion, admirably studied by Gonzales Palencia, a story which, with few variants, has achieved great popularity in Argentina. 2Q Perhaps largely through Jibriin Khalil Jibrsn, Arab-American poetry is a well-known phenomenon. At this point we wish to draw attention briefly to the presence of some Arab poets and writers of prose in South America, where the two principal centers for Syrian, Lebanese and Egyptian poetry are Brazil and Argentina. Outstanding members in the Brazilian group include Fawzi Ma%f (d. I930), Ilfis Farhit (b. 1893) and al-Qarawi, while we find in the Argentine Republic the Egyptian Sayf al-Din Rahhd, a very fine poet in Arabic and an elegant prose writer in Spanish. He undoubtedly is the most distinguished figure of “La L i p Literaria Argentina.” In Venezuela George Sayd& deserves mentioning, and in Chile, Benedicto Shawqi. T a k to this activity, which facilitates interchange between Amerhns ica and the Arab world, a South American author, Pablo Neruda, had the honor of seeing work of his translated in Arabic by Muhammad CAytiini.

1 1 ‘Bkrck Islam’ in Latin America 1. In a previous article mentioned already21 we discussed the many ways in which Spain tried to prevent Lutherans, Moors and Jews from coming to the New World. By a rare paradox of history, the first Christian to see the American land, Rodrigo de Triana, or Rodrigo de Lepe, on his return to Spain became a Muslim, abandoning his Christian allegiance “because Columbus did not give him credit, nor the King any recompense, for his having seen-before any other man in the crew-light in the Indies.” 22 In this section we intend primarily to make a few brief remarks on ‘indigenous Islam’ in Brazil and Haiti, as an invitation to further study rather than pretending to have reached final conclusions. (The expression ‘indigenous Islam’ i s used to indicate that we shall not discuss
1s Ricardo Palma, Tradiciones PeruonaJ (Madrid, 1946), 1 , 115-119. See 1 Vulney, V k j e a Egipto y Si& (Paris, 1 3 ) I, 434, and Quatrem&~ b f d a 80, “ sobre 10s asilos entre 10s arabe~,”Memwios de la Academ. de I m m p f . y Bellar Letras de Park, XV, 344-346. 20 Juan Alfonso Canizo, Antecedentes hispano-medioevdes de la poesh frodic i d argentina (Buenos Aires, 1 9 4 9 , p. 3 . 2 21 See above, note I. 22 Cf. the data from Gomara and Gonzalo Funandu de Ovido, i H n * Christophe Colomb (Paris, IW),I, 412.



the presence of Syrian, Lebanese and other Muslim immigrants in these countries.) With the coming of the Republic, which led to the ‘separation’ between Church and State (188g), Islam in Brazil began to benefit from the guarantees of religious freedom. It is of interest to notice that Brazilian ‘Black Islam’ has preserved many d a traces of the er divers origins of these Muslims. Most of the slaves came from among the areas of Bornu and Adamawa, and from among Hausas, Fuiani, Nupe and Yorubas. All of these Muslims are referred to as Musmlumi (and variants; Hausa: M d m i ) . Not only Alldh, but also Olorun is used as the name of God. A ‘priest’ (limune; Hausa Zimun(i), limumi, from Arabic d-imdm) leads the sara (Arabic sokzt), while a choir of women repeats the bismillahi. In addition to the ;d&t, these Muslims observed arsumy (Hausa azumi, from Arabic al-putn, fasting). The counselors of the Zimune are called xerifes (Arabic d-shyif). Much use is made of the rosary (tecebu; Hausa cuzbi, from Arabic tosb$!z), and the spirits (uligenum; Hausa uljun, pl. uZjan(n)u, from Arabic d-jinn) play an important role in the daily life of these Muslims. An example of the survival of Yoruba phrases is the inscription found in a meat shop of the Baixa dos Sapateiros, in the Bahia area : Kosi Oba Kun Afi OZorun (“There is no King but God.” One of the various Hausa attempts to render the shahdda is identical: Bubu Sarki Sai Alhh, There is no King but God.) In Haiti, Dahomeyan and Senegalese slaves were instrumental in bringing Islam to this part of the world, notwithstanding the strict Spanish laws aimed at preventing this penetration. The Haitian native language still shows unmistakable African influence, up to ten per cent of its vocabulary. F.Ortiz’ Glossario de Afro-negrismos includes a large number of Afro-Arabisms, mostly of Sudanese origin. An interesting field of study awaits to be explored, and through such a research, wider attention will be drawn to such figures as the famous Mackandal, born in Guinea and educated among the Muslims of North Africa. He was burned in 1758, after a bloody episode in Haitian history.

Epilogue: a sixteenth-century Christian defense of Islam Throughout the history of Muslii-Latin American relations we come across examples of religious fanaticism and lack of tolerance on the side of the Christians. It would not be difficult to offer a long list of persons who were ridiculed, persecuted, driven away and punished in a variety of manners. But we rather conclude with an exceptionally positive sound, although it seemed to be a rather lonely voice. A sixteenth-century Franciscan, Pedro de Anuaga, defended the conviction that “the Moor could be saved in his Law.” The price which this ‘modernist‘ had to pay was expulsion, ordered by the Inquisitors. But



it was the foreshadowing of more friendly relations between Muslims and Christians which we, now, are privileged to see developing.

Lima, Peru



APPENDIX Of special interest is the story of Ibn Farriikh, as narrated by Abii Bakr b. CUmaraI-Qiitiyya (not to be confused with the author of the Ta’rikh If h‘t@zal-Andalw, Ibn al-Qiitiyya), translated and published by Etienne. A summary of it was translated in Spanish by Don Manuel Osuna y Saviiion, in Resumen de la Geografia Fisica y Politica y de la Histork Naturd y Civil de h I s h CanoricrS, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1%. Ibn F a d k h landed, according to this story, in February ggg in Gando (Great Canary), visited King Guanariga, and continued his journey westwards till he found the islands of Capraria (which some identify with Fuenteventura) and Pluitana. In May of that year he arrived back in Spain. Similar adventures of Arabic speaking adventurers reaching “the islands inhabited by goats” are told by al-Idrisi in his Kitdb al-Rtljdr (ed. by Jaubert), 11, 2627 (cf. I, 200). On the question of the historical reliability of the Ibn Far& story see, for example, Buenaventura Bonnet, “La supuesta expediabn de ben Farroukh a las Canarias,” Revista de Historia de la Facultad de Filosofio y Letras de la Univemidad de la Laguna de Tenerife, X, 68 (Oct.-Dec., I~M), 326-338. There is no reason for denying radically the possibility of some contact between pre-Colombian America and Islam. One can think in this connection of some remarks by Ibn Khaldiin in his d-Muqaddima (Arab. tqxt, publ. by Quatremke, pp. 93f.;de Slane’s transl., I, 112113) and the many extensive voyages of Arab travellers, among whom KhashkhHsh of Cbrdoba journeyed over the Bahr d-Muhif (Atlantic Ocean), as reported in Mabiidi’s Murdj al-Dhuhub, I, 258. Cf. also Bekri‘s Description de PAfrique Septentrionale, ed. by M. G. de S h e , p. 36 and no. 3, and Livi-Provencal’s La Ibdrique au moyen age d’aprks le “Kit6b d-Raud al-Mic.far” d’lbn CAbd d-MunCim dHimyar;, Leyden, 1938 (cf. on Masciidi’s story also Livi-Provenpl’s Histoire de PEspagne Musulmune [ 3 vol.; IgM-I953],I, 351 and 1 1 342). Cf. also D’Avezac, Nofice des dkcouvertes fuites au Moyen 1, Age dam Pockan Adantique antkrieurement aux g r a d e s explorations du quim2me sikcle, Paris, 1845; W. H. Babcock, Legendary Islands of the Atlontic, American Geographical Society, Research Series, No. 8, New York, 1922;L o Wiener, Africa and the Discovery of Americal e Philadelphia, ~gzo-~gzz. contacts between the Arabs and the On Spanish colonies in South America, see esp. I. Kratchkovski, “La premi6re description arabe d‘un voyage en Amirique du Sud,” Institute of Oriental Studies in MOSCOW, (Moscow, 1947), 8993; IV and Muhammad Hamidullah, “L’Afrique dicouvre I’Amirique avant



Christophe Colomb,” Prtsence Africaine, 17-18 (1958), 173-183. Reference should be made, finally, to the many authors who c I a h a Semitic origin for the inhabitants of the New World. A classic example is Horn’s De Originibw Americunis (The Hague, 1652). From recent contributions we mention only Benigno Ferrarion’s articles “La Investigacion Linguistica y el parentesco extra-continental de la Lengua ‘qheswa,’” Revista de lo Sociedad “Amigus de la Arqueologb/ (Montevideo), VII (1933), 89-120, and “Della possibile parentela fra le lingua ‘altaiche’ ed alcune americane,” Atti del Congress0 Internan’omle degli Orientalisti, Romo 1935, (Roma: 1938),XVI, 210-223, and two articles by Georges Dumezil, “Remarques sur l s six premiers e noms de nombres du Turc,” Studia Linguistua (Lund and Copenhagen), VIII, I 1(1g54), 1-15, and “Remarques complhentaires sur les six premiers noms de nombres du Turc et du Quechua,” Journal de la Sociitk des Amtricanistes (Paris), now. sCrie, XLIV (1g55),