The term "Moors" refers primarily to the Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta during the Middle Ages. The Moors initially were the indigenous Maghrebine Berbers. The name was later also applied to Arabs. Moors are not a distinct or self-defined people, and the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica observed that "The term 'Moors' has no real ethnological value." Europeans of the Middle Ages and the early modern period variously applied the name to Arabs, North African Berbers, and Muslim Europeans. The term has also been used in Europe in a broader, somewhat derogatory sense to refer to Muslims in general, especially those of Arab or Berber descent, whether living in Spain or North Africa. During the colonial era, the Portuguese introduced the names "Ceylon Moors" and "Indian Moors" in South Asia and Sri Lanka, and the Bengali Muslims were also called Moors. In the Philippines, the longstanding Muslim community, which predates the arrival of the Spanish, now self-identifies as the "Moro people", an exonym introduced by Spanish colonizers due to their Muslim faith. In 711, troops mostly formed by Moors from northern Africa led the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. The Iberian peninsula then came to be known in Classical Arabic as al-Andalus, which at its peak included most of Septimania and modern-day Spain and Portugal. In 827, the Moors occupied Mazara on Sicily, developing it as a port. They eventually went on to consolidate the rest of the island. Differences in religion and culture led to a centuries-long conflict with the Christian kingdoms of Europe, which tried to reclaim control of Muslim areas; this conflict was referred to as the Reconquista. In 1224 the Muslims were expelled from Sicily to the settlement of Lucera, which was destroyed by European Christians in 1300. The fall of Granada in 1492 marked the end of Muslim rule in Iberia, although a Muslim minority persisted until their expulsion in 1609.
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