/moor/, n.1. a Muslim of the mixed Berber and Arab people inhabiting NW Africa.2. a member of this group that invaded Spain in the 8th century A.D. and occupied it until 1492.[1350-1400; ME More < MF, var. of Maure < L Maurus < Gk Maûros]
* * *Any member of the Muslim population of Spain, of mixed Arab, Spanish, and Berber origins.North African Muslims (called by their Latin name Maurii.e., natives of Roman Mauretania) invaded Spain in the 8th century and, under the Umayyad and Almoravid dynasties, created the great Arab Andalusian civilization in such cities as Córdoba, Toledo, Granada, and Sevilla. The Christian reconquest of Spain under Alfonso VI began in the 11th century; from then until the Moors' final defeat in 1492 and for another century thereafter, many Moors settled as refugees in North Africa. See also Mudejars.
* * *▪ peoplein English usage, a Moroccan or, formerly, a member of the Muslim population of what is now Spain and Portugal. Of mixed Arab, Spanish, and Amazigh ( Berber) origins, the Moors created the Arab Andalusian civilization and subsequently settled as refugees in North Africa between the 11th and 17th centuries. By extension (corresponding to the Spanish moro), the term occasionally denotes any Muslim in general, as in the case of the “Moors” of Sri Lanka or of the Philippines.The word derives from the Latin Maurus, first used by the Romans to denote an inhabitant of the Roman province of Mauretania, comprising the western portion of present-day Algeria and the northeastern portion of present-day Morocco. Modern Mauritanians are also sometimes referred to as Moors (as with the French maures); the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Mauritania), however, lies in the large Saharan area between Morocco and the republics of Senegal and Mali.The term is of little use in describing the ethnic characteristics of any groups, ancient or modern. From the Middle Ages to the 17th century, however, Europeans depicted Moors as being black, “swarthy,” or “tawny” in skin colour. (Othello, Shakespeare's Moor of Venice, comes to mind in such a context.) Europeans designated Muslims of any other complexion as “white Moors,” despite the fact that the population in most parts of North Africa differs little in physical appearance from that of southern Europe (in Morocco, for example, red and blonde hair are relatively common). The term Moorish continues to be widely used to describe the art, architecture, and high culture of Muslim Andalusia and North Africa dating from the 11th century onward.
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