Vivir por la seda : Morisca women, household economies, and the silk industry in the Kingdom of Granada, 1400-1570



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In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Granada was a kingdom of silk. Silk work formed the basis of the Granadan economy, determined Granada's place in Mediterranean trade networks, and determined the rhythms of daily life for people in Granada's cities and its countryside. Granadan women dominated silk cultivation and spinning. When the Christians conquered the kingdom in 1491 and ended centuries of Islamic rule, Granada's Morisco population continued to make silk despite forced conversion, revolt, excessive taxation, and Inquisition until finally the silk industry collapsed when the Moriscos were expelled in 1570. The continuity through change in the kingdom's silk industry both mirrors religious and cultural change and differs from it in important ways. The silk industry reveals the ways that Moriscos resisted and cooperated with Spanish officials as their identity and culture was increasingly under threat in the sixteenth century.