The siege of the important Spanish Muslim city of Malaqa
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On May 7, 1487 AD, the siege of the important Spanish Muslim city of Malaqa was started by a huge Christian army of 20,000 cavalry, 50,000 infantry, and 8,000 support troops including thousands of mercenaries from other parts of Europe, as part of the attempts of Ferdinand and Isabel to occupy the prosperous Naserid kingdom of Granada. The siege lasted about four months.
Malaqa was the second important city after Granada, a major trading port on the Mediterranean. The city was prosperous, with elegant architecture, gardens and fountains. It was surrounded by fortifications, which were in good condition. Above it was the citadel, connected via a covered way with the impregnable fortress of Gibralfaro. A land-side suburb was also ringed by a strong wall. Towards the sea were orchards of olives, oranges and pomegranates, and vineyards. The city was well-supplied with artillery and ammunition but because of internal dissension could not continue resistance.
After its surrender, Ferdinand broke all terms and ordered that the survivors, numbering around 15,000 to be killed or enslaved. It is also worth noting that the Mamluks of Egypt, who had assembled a special force for assisting the Spanish Muslims, could not march to their aid, because of the divisive diplomacy of Christian powers, who fearful of the Ottoman advance into Italy and subsequently Spain, tempted the Turkish Sultan of Istanbul to get embroiled in an unwanted fratricidal war in Syria.