When the topic of the Moorish influence in Europe is being discussed, one of the first questions that arise is, what race were they?
As early as the Middle Ages, “Moors were commonly viewed as being mostly black or very swarthy, and hence the word is often used for negro,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Author and historian Chancellor Williams said “the original Moors, like the original Egyptians, were black Africans.”
The 16th century English playwright William Shakespeare used the word Moor as a synonym for African. His contemporary Christopher Marlowe also used African and Moor interchangeably.
Papermaking was brought to Spain by the Moors, allowing the growth of libraries and, thereby, the accurate preservation and dispersal of knowledge — with Xativa, in Valencia, having the first paper factory in Europe.
Through the Moorish conquest of southern Spain, papermaking first reached the Moorish parts of Spain in the 12th century. A paper mill is recorded at Fez in Morocco in 1100, and the first paper mill on the Spanish mainland is recorded at Xàtiva in 1151.