[Sca-cooks] sugar and rice in Iberia

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Wed Jul 4 10:30:06 PDT 2007

Stefan wrote:
>711? Rice and sugar in Europe, even if you include Iberia, that
>early?  That is much earlier than I had gathered from earlier

The Muslims - a combined Arab and Maghribi Amazight (Berber) force - 
began their invasion of the Iberian peninsula in 711. They defeated 
the Visigoths, whose own people were not fond of them, and there are 
reports that in some places the populace opened the city gates to 
admits the Muslims.

>I'm surprised they wouldn't have spread north from there
>within centuries of then. I got the impression from earlier
>discussions that both came in from the east, not from the southwest.
>Or is this complicated by the fact that while known in Spain they
>weren't really widely used because they were still items that had to
>be imported from the east?

I rather doubt they were growing sugar and rice quite as early as the 
initial invasion - folks need a little time to settle down. But 
around 750 'abd al-Rachman arrived and became the ruler of the rather 
cultured region of al-Andalus.

He was the last surviving member of the Umayyad dynasty, chosen by 
the last of the Rightly Guided Ones who succeeded Muhammed to rule 
Dar al-Islam from the capital of the Caliphate in Damascus. The 
Umayyads were assassinated and otherwise murdered by the 'Abbasids 
who decided to take over. 'abd al-Rachman's mother was Amazight and 
it took him a few years to make it to his mother's family, who were a 
bit uncomfortable with him, fearing his presence would draw the wrath 
of the 'Abbasids, who moved the capital city to Baghdad. But he was 
welcomed in al-Andalus

So it is possible that sugar and rice were grown in the Iberian 
Peninsula within the 8th century, and they were there by the 9th. 
Another crop - not food related - was also brought around this time: 

Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

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