A Moor History

Staff Writer

By looking at our mascot’s weapon of choice, many can tell that the Moor symbolizes our school’s fighting spirit. However, numerous students do not know the origins of the Moor.

The word “Moors” refers to the Muslim inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula in 711 A.D. These invaders were usually known to originate from Algeria or Morocco. Although set to conquer more European land, the Moors were resisted by surrounding people. However, in the lands they did take over, the Moors were able to convert multiple Iberians to Islam. The Moor state gradually declined in influence as it split into separate factions and as the Reconquista in the 15th century drove the remaining Muslims out of Spain. Nevertheless, the Moors left behind significant remnants of their past, such as buildings and art forms, which still stand today.

One such building that represents the Islamic presence in Spain is the Alhambra, a palace found in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. Its original purpose was to be a small fortress, until it was renovated by Moorish king Mohammed Ben Al-Ahmar of the Kingdom of Granada. The palace was seldom used after the Reconquista and gradually fell into disrepair. After being rediscovered in the 19th century by European tourists and undergone renovations, the Alhambra is a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site, housing both Islamic and Christian influences.

In 1874, Benjamin D. Wilson bought 275 acres of land between the Arroyo, a seasonal river and canyon, and the Old Mill Wash. Wilson named his venture “Alhambra” as his daughter Ruth had insisted, since she had been reading Washington Irving’s book Tales of the Alhambra along with her sister Anne.

The great Alhambra palace in Spain inspired our city’s name, as well as our school’s name. The Moor serves as the well-fitting mascot behind our home’s namesake.