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The Moorish Essence of Pensacola (Little Al-Andalus) 

Jeremie Samuel

In 1528, Spanish explorer Pánfilo de Narváez arrived on the shores of Pensacola Bay and there he was told by the aboriginals that the crescent shaped province on the gulf coast from Mobile Bay, AL to Cedar Key, FL was known as Amixchel. The word was recorded by the Spanish as Amichel. Amixchel derived from the ancient Amaru (Olmec) and Maya goddess Ixchel-the moon goddess who holds a rabbit in her lap representing fertility.  “Am” was a prefix meaning “place of”, “Ix” is applied to jaguar deities and “Chel” means rainbow. Amixchel was also applied to several islands off the coast of Mexico and Yucatan where wives would go to pray at the temples of Ixchel for healthy children.

The Gulf of Mexico and the Southeastern Gulf Coast form a massive crescent and therefore Amixchel became affixed to the home of the powerful ancient empire of the Amaru-Xi aka Olmec. This was the place of the ancient Al-Marrakanos (American) goddess Ixchel who brought fertility and prosperity to the inhabitants of her land Amixchel (Amexum). Amixchel is the Fertile Crescent of the West, where the earliest civilizations flourished simultaneously with the more referenced Eastern, Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia and Egypt.

Provinces within the transoceanic, commercial empire of the Amaru stretched from South America throughout Central America and around the Gulf of Mexico. Pensacola was a major place of trade for indigenous people because from there they had access to Alibamu (Alabama), Georgia, Mississippi, and Olmec satellite dominions of Ouachita, Poverty Point, San Lorenza, La Venta, Tres Zapatos and Monte Albon etc. The influx of European settlements would impede on ancient indigenous trade routes like the Pensacola Road (Wolf Trail) over which the U.S. Government constructed a federal road. The United States gained control over the trade route after the Creek War of 1814 and thereafter they made it a post for its military industrial complex. Consequently, Pensacola today is largely based on the industry of military.

However, Pre-Columbian aboriginals utilized their access to the many water highways to accelerate growth in trade and commerce along with the proliferation of high culture and advanced civilizations. These cultural and commercial centers of the vast Amaru Empire were characterized by large temple-mounds at the heart of each town. They existed around the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys. As the Prophet said, “The Moors were living up and down the Mississippi River before the European man came here.” If one traveled up the Mississippi in the Pre-Columbian period they would see hundreds of thousands of pyramid mounds on the land, these constructs were placed under the label of Mississippian Culture.

Aboriginal Moors from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean executed commercial expeditions making use of the ocean currents. For instance, motifs and artifacts of the ancient Moabites and Cannanites were found at sites of ancient Mexico. On the slender strip of Veracruz, the Amaru had access to the Pacific, greater Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. This allowed them as the first Americans to build the wealthiest city complexes with the largest pyramids and stadiums, along with diverse assortments of precious gemstones and metals. Copper mining sites in North America like Poverty Point attracted merchants from Nubia, Ghana and Asia.

Export and imports bolstered the Amaru-Xi Empire, one being the rubber tree or Aztec word olli which became the root for the name of the Olmec ballgame, ollamaliztli. The Castilla elastica or Panama Rubber Tree is a tree native to the tropical areas of Mexico, Central America, and South America. The rubber in the tree was used for the manufacture of the rubber balls used in the sacred ball game. This rubber tree was transported to Mauritania where rubber is a prime resource. This was a trading network of the ancient Amexum Empire of the Moors that extended from Northeast and Southwest Africa, across great Atlantis even unto the present North, South and Central America.  In fact, Florida was once part of Africa and was initially above water, but during the cooler Jurassic Period, the Florida Platform became a shallow marine environment in which sedimentary rocks were deposited.  Therefore, Moors were the first to inhabit Florida when it was permanently above water.

Moreover, the Amaru traveled to Europe and established dominions there. The evidence of this prehistoric presence of the Amaru in Europe is traced back to the origins of the Fleur-de-lis, a royal French emblem. Carl de Borhegyi pointed out that the “Old World Fleur-de-lis symbol” is “encoded in Mesoamerican art as a symbol of divinity and rulership”. In his article de Borjegyi identified a mural from Teotihuacan as a harpy eagle above what he calls a “pre-Columbian version of the Old World Fleur de lis emblem” which is the symbol of the Olmec maize deity worn on the ancient American kings’ crown.

In the ancient Mesoamerican calendars the fifteenth day was the day of Quauhtli, the eagle. The patron deity was Xipe Totec, the Flayed Lord, who presented the seed corn which gives up its life for the following harvest. In the theme of resurrection and renewal on this day one thought of the life of a seed sacrificed and buried in the ground to later burst out of its skin to give new life to humanity.

Furthermore, there are other Old World connections in the headdress emblem of Mesoamerican kings in its correspondence with Asar (Osiris), the agricultural god of Tamauray (ancient Egypt). Dr. Robert N. List alludes to this point in the article Decoding Poverty Point saying:

“The cleft head imagery noted on figurines excavated at Olmec sites including Poverty Point may have been a part of this resurrection imagery. Researchers have linked the motif to the funerary corn-Osiris icons, with seeds sprouting from the top of the head, a likely prototype also for Tlaloc, a Mayan god inspired by Olmec cleft-head iconography.”

Hence, the earliest evidence of the Fleur-de-lis is found in ancient Mesoamerican civilizations. It represents resurrection and renewal and was worn on the headdresses of Amaru Kings. The noted cleft head imagery was also depicted on the headdresses of Xipe Totec, the Flayed Lord. Rulership was deemed through connection to the agricultural deity which corresponds with the pharaohs of Tamauray, who were to be the personification of the agricultural, resurrected god Asar. Similarly, Asar wears the cleft corn headdress that interestingly provides proof of the kinship between the Ancient American and Ancient African kings of the global Amexum Empire.

The high priests of this empire were called Maurs.  The Moors of medieval antiquity were their descendants and inherited the advanced knowledge and ancient wisdom. Therefore, from 711 to 1492 the Moors carried the light of civilization to guide a plagued Europe out of filth and darkness. The Moors practiced high end architecture; their temples surrounded by thousands of markets were at the heart of the cities and consisted of libraries and schools. The first universities of Europe were established by Moors of Al-Andalus and much culture was shared in the cosmopolitan provinces of Cordova, Seville, Almeria, Málaga, and Granada.

However, the Catholics proclaimed crusades against the Moors, persecuting them as infidels. The first crusade was proclaimed by Pope Urban II in 1095, and then crusades followed in 1146, 1189, and 1211, the last which was declared by Pope Innocent in Spain. The crusades strengthened the Christian empires and lead to the union of Castile and León in 1230. Later, in 1469 Isabella reluctantly married her cousin Ferdinand of Aragon to bring about the union of Castile and Aragon. In, 1479 they sanctioned the Inquisition which denationalized many Moors by forced conversion into Christendom relabeling them as Moriscos.

Thousands of Moors were baptized into Christianity and servitude, while Christians adopted many Moorish children as god-children and gave them Christian names. Some Moors converted to Christianity to remain in their homeland while others repatriated back into the kingdoms of Morocco, Mali and Ghana.

Granada was the last stronghold in Moorish Spain. Unfortunately, in 1483 the Moorish Prince Boabdil was taken captive and entered into a pact with Catholic monarch Ferdinand. In the aftermath the Catholic Monarchs captured Málaga in 1487 and in 1490 laid siege to the kingdom of Granada. Hence, in 1492 Boabdil surrendered Granada to the Catholic Monarchs which was the fall of Moorish rule in Spain, known as the Reconquista.

While many Moors refused to live as Christian serfs and took cruisers back to North Africa, other Moors found refuge in the Americas. Evidence of Moors sailing to America before Columbus are found in the written and oral traditions of the Moors. For example, the Nanticoke Moors of Delaware tradition tells that they are descendants of a crew of Moorish sailors who shipwrecked near Indian River inlet, escaped to the shore, and intermarried with the aboriginal inhabitants.  Furthermore, other Moors from Mali, the wealthiest empire of the Middle Ages, traveled with the Moorish prince Abukari to South America. In fact, the name Brazil comes from the Moorish tribe named Barasil (BeyRasEl). Thereby, the Spanish word for Moorland is Brezal.

Likewise, Florida was a Moorish land were Moors found safe haven and brotherhood with aboriginals thereby bringing about unique cultures. This brings us back to full circle–the Moorish essence of Pensacola. Even upon the arrival of European colonists, the Wolf Trail or Pensacola Trading Path was still a lucrative trade route. Mustafa Zemmouri or Estévanico the Moorish navigator and explorer is celebrated today at the Estévanico International Festival in Pensacola. In Western perspective he was the first person born in Africa to have arrived in the present-day continental United States. Mustafa Zemmouri was a guide and translator who lived in Azemmour, Morocco and traveled from Seville to Florida and Northwestern Mexico with Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, Andrés
Dorantes and Alonso del Castillo Maldonado.

In 1539, Zemmouri was also a guide in the search for the Seven Cities of Cibola and later entered the Zuni village of Hawikuh in New Mexico. Roberts and Roberts wrote “still others suggest that Estevan, who was black and wore feathers and rattles, may have looked like a wizard of the Zuni.”  It has also been said that Estévanico faked his death amongst the Zunis in order to evade servitude under the Spaniards. If Mustafa Zemmouri was able to navigate his way to the Seven Cities of Cibola and Hawikuh where he was found familiar to the Zuni, then the question presents itself–Was he a Zuni Moor, indigenous to America and taken captive in the Portuguese slave trade, later traveling back as a guide in a Spanish expedition in order to get back home?

Three centuries later, Souanaffee Tustenukke or Chief Abraham served as a translator and diplomat for Chief Micanopy and the Seminole Nation. Tustenukke is a term given to a commanding officer in charge of defending the life and lands of the Seminoles.  Chief Micanopy’s wears the Moorish styled red turban with ostrich feathers in his portrait and Abraham is also pictured wearing a turban. Many Seminoles wore fezzes also, as Billy Bowlegs is shown in a picture wearing a large maroon fez. Nevertheless, Abraham lived in Pensacola but fled when Andrew Jackson arrived to colonize Florida and enslave freed and fleeing Moors also known as Maroons. Many people of African and aboriginal American descent fled from their homes in Pensacola with Abraham to “Negro Fort” but it was destroyed in 1816. Abraham survived and went south around Tampa to find refuge at Billy Bowlegs’ village.

However, before Moors like Mustafa Zemmouri and Souanaffee Tustenukke were in Pensacola, masses of Moors found refuge in the area during the Inquisition and Reconquista. Recorded as Spanish Africans and Creos, these Moors settled in Pensacola to make a life for themselves based upon Moorish heritage. The Moorish essence of Pensacola is shown in the layout of the city. Pensacola’s main centers are named Cordova, Seville, and Granada which inspired me to term the city Little Al-Andalus.

Like the Cordova of medieval Al-Andalus, the Cordova area is in the center of Pensacola serving as a commercial district with many businesses, restaurants, and commercial rental property. Cordova consists of Cordova Mall, Pensacola State College, and Sacred Heart Hospital. To the south of Cordova is Granada, a residential area that is populated by blacks–people of Moorish descent. This area was established by Moorish descendants of the first Moorish settlers. The community of Granada existed as a prosperous community up until the civil rights movement which brought upon the disenfranchisement of its socioeconomic infrastructure like many other communities around the country at that time.

South of Granada is the downtown historic district called Seville. Much like the Seville of Moorish Spain, it is a hub for art, music, and festivals like the Estévanico International Festival and the Festival of Five Flags. Similar to the Granada residential area, Seville was also historically a “black” district. The whole Pensacola downtown area consisted of Moorish descendants who built economic infrastructure that produced millionaires who established banks, building and loan associations, trust companies, pharmacies, insurance companies, schools, and grocery stores etc. Unfortunately, with the rise of the Ku Klux Klan crusades in sporadic mobs against our community and the civil rights agenda the “blacks” were pushed out and again disenfranchised.

Moreover, another aspect of the Moorish essence of Pensacola is found in the lineage of Tristan de Luna, the conquistador who founded the first European settlement in the United States at Pensacola. The settlement was called Santa Maria yet it was short lived due to its destruction by a hurricane. Tristan de Luna was born in the Moorish province of Borobia in northern Spain. He was of a Castilian family of the Borobia estates in the villas of Cicia and Borobia in Al-Andalus.  Similar to Christopher Colon and other European explorers, Tristan de Luna most likely received a Moorish education in his birthplace which allowed him to sail to America. In fact, the flag Tristan de Luna sailed under was red with a crescent moon in the likeness of a Moorish flag.

Ixchel: Ancient American Moon Goddess of Fertility

Ixchel: Ancient American Moon Goddess of Fertility

Ixchel: Ancient Gulf of Mexico Empire named Amixchel after Ixchel

Ixchel: Ancient Gulf of Mexico Empire named Amixchel after Ixchel

Origins of the Fleur De Lis are found in the head ddress of ancient agricultural deity Xipe Totec

Origins of the Fleur De Lis are found in the headdress of ancient agricultural deity Xipe Totec

Ancient origins of Fleur De Lis found below the eagle in a mural at Teotihuacan

Ancient origins of Fleur De Lis found below the eagle in a mural at Teotihuacan

Cleft head, Olmec agricultural diety Xipe Totec

Cleft head, Olmec agricultural deity Xipe Totec

Cleft head Egyptian agricultural deity Asar

Cleft head, Egyptian agricultural deity Asar

Depiction of Mustafa Zemmouri wearing feather

Depiction of Mustafa Zemmouri wearing feather

Depiction of Mustafa Zemmouri wearing red Moorish headdress

Depiction of Mustafa Zemmouri wearing red Moorish headdress

Chief Micanopy wearing red turban with feathers

Seminole Chief Micanopy wearing red turban with feathers

Seminole Chief Souanaffee Tustenukke wearing a turban

Seminole Chief Souanaffee Tustenukke wearing a turban

Seminole Chief Bowlegs wearing a large fez

Seminole Chief Bowlegs wearing a large fez

Moorish castle in Borobia, located in Northern Al-Andalus. Birthplace of Tristan de Luna

Moorish castle in Borobia, located in Northern Al-Andalus. Birthplace of Tristan de Luna

Red Crescent Flag of Tristan de Luna

Red Crescent Flag of Tristan de Luna

Pensacola: Major trading path for indigenous people up until European arrival. Tristan de Luna settled there in 1559.

Pensacola: Major trading path for indigenous people up until European arrival. Tristan de Luna settled there in 1559.

Pensacola Beach

Pensacola Beach

Gulf of Mexico: Amixchel; Place of Ixchel, home of the Ancient Amaru Empire

Gulf of Mexico: Amixchel; Place of Ixchel, home of the Ancient Amaru Empire


Thornton, Richard, Native American History Examiner. Gulf Coast was once called “Place of the Moon Goddess”, 10/22/2011

Ali, Noble Drew, Holy Koran of MSTA Ch. 47:7


Carl de Borhegyi, DECODING THE FLEUR DE LIS, http://www.scribd.com/doc/150894407/Decoding-the-Fleur-de-Lis

Burlanf C.A., The Gods of Mexico pg. 90

List, Robert N., Decoding Poverty Point, Ancient America: Archeology in the Americas before Columbus. Pg. 21

Budge, E.A. Wallis (Ernest Alfred Wallis), Sir, An Egyptian hieroglyphic dictionary: with an index of English words, king list, and geographical list with indexes, list of hieroglyphic characters Coptic and Semetic alphabets, etc. volume 1. Pages 309-317. New York: Dover Publications 1978.

Read, Jan. The Moors in Spain and Portugal, London: Faber, 1974.

Read, Jan. The Moors in Spain and Portugal, London: Faber, 1974

Speck, Frank G., The Nanticoke Community of Delaware

Hamdani, Abbas. An Islamic Background to the Voyages of Discovery pg. 277, The Legacy of Muslim Spain Volume 1

Roberts, C.A.; Roberts, S. (2006). New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico. pp. 24–26.

Florida Wars p. 98

Johnson, John G. LUNA Y ARELLANO, TRISTAN DE, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fluff

Pooley, Phyllis K. A Newcomers Guide to Pensacola Bay Area.


MacMahon and Marquardt:115–6.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calusa#cite_note-14 Advertisements

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4 comments on “The Moorish Essence of Pensacola (Little Al-Andalus)”

  1. Gregory Armstrong Bey says: August 6, 2014 at 9:51 am Shalom… From Gregory Armstrong Bey bonded in Silver RB642430461US… Psalms 68 verse 30Reply
  2. Gregory armstrong bey says: February 9, 2015 at 12:57 am “Shalom” an Alabama Senator makes a statement in a private setting recorded “that the black people in alabama are aboriginal to the land”…. and he later recant his statement publicly. so they know who we are but we don’t know who we are….” I Gregory Armstrong Bey urges every melainated people to go and obtain your dna testing to show proof by blood which ties the people to the soil and the oldest autuchous indigenous people by contacting me at gregoryarmstrongbey@gmail.com last but not least please go visit your ancestors at the mounds in Moundsville alabama “Ali-bamu” and other mounds through out this land for a powerful spiritual connection
  3. Tia says: January 5, 2016 at 9:51 pm Thank you, very well doneReply

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  • Published: 1 year ago on Fri 21 Rabi Al Thani 1440AH 28-12-2018AD
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  • Last Modified: August 31, 2019 @ 10:14 pm
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