Russell Chamberlin

Moor pride

Moor pride

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The province of Extremadura is as different from the brochure-bright picture of tourist Spain as it is possible to be. Stretched along the Portuguese frontier, it has a sombre, restrained dignity, with mile upon mile of grassland like vast lawns studded with evergreen holm oak and cork trees, each handsome, solemn, monochrome in its private space. And every so often there is a jewel-like city embedded, almost unchanged, in a modern development.

It was from here that the most courageous, most speculative, most brutal of all Europe’s nascent imperialists, the conquistadores, set out to find the New World and, having found it, scourged it, plundered it, and brought back the spoils to their home towns like so many bourgeois Joneses intent on impressing the neighbours with their new wealth.