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The Medieval History of Palermo in a New Light

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Chapter Summary

At first a city and bishopric of middling importance within the rich Byzantine province of Sicily (6th-9th century), Palermo became in the 9th century the Emiral capital of Islamic Sicily. The island was subsequently administered by a council, after the break-up of the Emirate. In 1072, Sicily was conquered by troops from the mainland led by the Hauteville. In 1282, the famous Sicilian Vespers, a revolt unleashed by the Palermitans against the French, brought the Angevin interlude to a close, when the kingdom re-entered the Aragonese orbit, under the rule of Peter III of Aragon. Ferdinand the Catholic, whose reign opened a new phase in the history of Sicily. He was also responsible, together with his wife Isabella, for the introduction of the Spanish Inquisition into Palermo in 1487, and for the expulsion of the Jews from Sicily in 1492.

Keywords: Aragonese orbit; Ferdinand; Jews; Palermo; Sicilian Vespers; Sicily

10.1163/9789004252530_002
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