In Search of My Roots | Al Jazeera World

In Search of My Roots | Al Jazeera World

When Spanish director Paula Palacios embarks on a road trip across Spain to uncover her roots, she discovers her own Muslim past and a very different version of history to the one she learned at school. Her journey pieces together a centuries-old jigsaw and the largely untold story of Christian Spaniards of Muslim origin.

In 1502, shortly after the fall of the last Muslim state in the Iberian Peninsula, Muslims in Spain faced a stark choice: convert to Christianity or be exiled to northwest Africa. Those who stayed formed a new social class, Christians of Muslim origin, known as the Moriscos. In 1609, however, a royal decree demanded that the Moriscos be expelled completely.

Palacios’ trip takes her across Spain where she talks to archaeologists, historians, architects and anthropologists, as well as descendants of the Moriscos. She discovers solid clues that suggest that thousands of Moriscos had indeed remained in Spain, backed up by modern historians who contend that many had lived quietly under the radar. She also gathers compelling circumstantial evidence that her own family are direct descendants of the Moriscos.

Palacios’ story is an informative modern-day odyssey with deep historical roots which casts a surprising light on ancient history.


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  1. May Allah guide them to Islam. GOD says And whoever desires other than Islam as religion – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers. Ali imran 03. 85

  2. I miss my little finca in a small farm on the Catalan hill. Miss climbing up almond & olive trees during harvest seasons, escaping to secluded tiny beaches on the Catalan coast on hot days, day-tripping to small villages and towns or to the jungle & mountains, hiking around the campo, taking a week or two off road-tripping around Spain, chopping woods for fire in preparation for winter or just meeting other expats & locals by the village over cerveza for them, cafe con leche for me.
    Back to the documentary, Guzman who defended Tarifa from Muslim raid, Spain's much-loved historical figure that gets celebrated annually in La Reconquista festival, was also a Muslim.

  3. Why don't you start by saying how and why Arabs were in spain in the first place? Then that would explain to you why they weren't welcome and had to be sent back to where they came from

  4. I found this documentary insightful. However, it's some dishonesty to not mention that many of the Moriscos were either forcefully converted to Christianity or killed. There's no doubt that others escaped to North Africa and the Ottoman Empire to escape persecution. Others who stayed back denounced Islam for their survival. Using euphemisms such as integration or name change wouldn't erase these facts.

  5. Islamic propaganda if shi know the histoy she kow the muslum obligate to convert to islam all pagans and Christian, the North free us… much moriscos were iberian to convert to islam

  6. To all indalusian people you can find your roots in Algeria, because it was ruled by Algerian Tarek Ibn Ziad an Amazigh Algerian from Nafzawa tribune of Awrass mountains of Algeria an d the Algerian Moorish. When the Andalusian people fled, they fled back to Algeria and were given lands and cities.

  7. Cuando la directora española Paula Palacios emprende un viaje por carretera por España para descubrir sus raíces, descubre su propio pasado musulmán y una versión muy diferente de la historia a la que aprendió en la escuela. Su viaje reúne un rompecabezas centenario y la historia en gran parte incalculable de los españoles cristianos de origen musulmán.

    En 1502, poco después de la caída del último estado musulmán en la Península Ibérica, los musulmanes en España se enfrentaron a una elección difícil: convertirse al cristianismo o ser exiliados al noroeste de África. Los que se quedaron formaron una nueva clase social, cristianos de origen musulmán, conocidos como los moriscos. En 1609, sin embargo, un real decreto exigía que los moriscos fueran expulsados por completo.

    El viaje de Palacios la lleva a través de España, donde habla con arqueólogos, historiadores, arquitectos y antropólogos, así como con descendientes de los Moriscos. Descubre pistas sólidas que sugieren que miles de moriscos se habían quedado en España, respaldados por historiadores modernos que sostienen que muchos habían vivido tranquilamente bajo el radar. También reúne pruebas circunstanciales convincentes de que su propia familia son descendientes directos de los Moriscos.

    La historia de Palacios es una odisea informativa moderna con profundas raíces históricas que arroja una luz sorprendente sobre la historia antigua

  8. I'm watching after learning my Father is of Sephardic origin and recently my Mother is of Morisco's Origin. I've always dealt with comments from people saying "You look middle eastern like your dad" along with ignorant ones that I don't really feel comfortable mentioning. I'm close to 19 minutes in and I decided to pause the video. I wanted to search to see if my last name came up in the baptism records and they did. Raposo did come up on page 208, Maria Raposo(Andalla), which makes sense after reading one of the surnames the Moriscos in Castile adopted was Raposo. I've dealt with a huge identity crisis all my life because I never really felt like I fit in anywhere and I never knew where I came from or what my roots were. Finding this out has brought tears to my eyes because it's validation that I was right and all the people who met me with ignorance were wrong. I never thought I would find this answer let alone find out what my last name really was but this was so gratifying to watch. Thank you endlessly for the happiness you brought me.

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