Abu 'Abdallah Muhammad XII Banu Nasr (c. 1460 – c. 1533), known to the Castilians as Boabdil, was the last Emir of Granada from 1487 to 1492. He led the last Moorish resistance against the Christian kingdoms of Spain. Though their views clashed from time to time, he and the Assassins were allies throughout his ventures. He's also a childhood friend of Jariya al-Zakiyya.
Once his uncle had been defeated in 1490, Muhammad XII became the undisputed emir of Granada, but he quickly came to shun his vassalage to Castile and revolted against the Christian kingdoms, defying expectations that the war was over. Since Castile's conquest of Granada had already been all but completed, Muhammad XII's rebellion only left him with his base of Granada. Muhammad XII trusting Jariya as a loyal confidant, he asked his friends and allies the Assassins to train her as one of their own. Jariya then served as his personal spy for many years.
Victory seemed impossible and resistance foolhardy, yet Muhammad XII persevered even as Spanish forces laid siege to the capital in April 1491. For seven months the siege raged on, and at best, the Moors seemed to be only delaying the inevitable, yet Muhammad XII remained convinced of his resolution. In truth, his obstinacy was influenced by the machinations of a Templar spy among his circle of advisors. The spy presented him false counsel that downplayed the peril the emir was in.
The motivations of the Templars had little to do with Muhammad XII: they hoped that by keeping Castile embroiled in the conflict, they could exhaust its treasury as much as possible—ideally until it was bankrupt and Granada utterly destroyed. Without funds, Queen Isabella I of Castile would be unable to sponsor the voyage of Christopher Columbus across the Atlantic Ocean, giving the Templars the opportunity to conduct their own expedition first for a headstart at the domination of the Americas.
In late November just before the night of the last assault on Granada, the Templar spy was assassinated by the Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze. In the wake of this development, the Templars seized Muhammad XII outright in his throne room at the Alhambra palace, without even his guards being aware of it. As a hostage, Muhammad XII could do nothing but listen as his Templar captor gloated over his schemes, all while the battle of Granada raged on outside.
However, it was at that moment that Ezio, having infiltrated the palace through the catacombs, entered the throne room and killed the Templar from behind, freeing Muhammad. He wasted no time in convincing the Emir to surrender to Spain, effectively ending the war and thwarting the Templars' plans.
The Assassin, keen on ending the battle as soon as possible, rushed off to the city gates to deliver news of Muhammad's abdication. The Spanish army marched into Granada triumphantly afterwards, and Queen Isabella met with Muhammad XII to negotiate the peace treaty that very night. Thus, a provisional surrender was signed on 25 November 1491, allotting two months for the Emir to prepare for the formal transfer of Granada to Castile. He was successful also in obtaining largely generous terms for his subjects, whose religious rights were to be respected even while the Spanish Inquisition used the intended goal of the Reconquista as justification to persecute non-Catholics throughout Iberia. During his surrender, Muhammad XII made Jariya swear on his life that she would flee Granada and join the Spanish Brotherhood to avenge him.
Turmoil on his abdication
His amicable relations with Queen Isabella did not protect him from Grand Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada. Secretly a Master Templar, Torquemada discovered that Muhammad had an Apple of Eden in his possession. To steal it, he had Muhammad's son Ahmed kidnapped to use as ransom.
When the Castilian soldiers entered the city on 2 January 1492 to guarantee the transfer of sovereignty, Torquemada entered Alhambra with Prince Ahmed to conduct the exchange. Caring more about his son than he did the powerful artifact, Muhammad acquiesced. The Templars kept the end of their bargain, but the meeting was interrupted by the Assassins Aguilar de Nerha and María, who ambushed and killed all of the Templars save Torquemada, including Ojeda, to rescue him and retrieve the Apple. Ahmed was reunited with his father although Maria perished in the battle. Muhammad asked Aguilar for forgiveness. As the Templars outside Alhambra tried to break down the doors, Aguilar fled with the Apple, entrusting it to Christopher Columbus a short time later.
As was agreed, Muhammad XII tendered his formal capitulation that day, ending the last Moorish state in Iberia. On the night of his abdication ceremony, the Templars struck again, targeting not him this time, but Queen Isabella. Intercepted by Ezio and his friend Helene Dufranc, the Templar assassins were killed outside the ceremony.
Behind the scenes
- Muhammad XII is a historical figure introduced in the 2009 Nintendo DS video game Assassin's Creed II: Discovery, where he was voiced by Erik Braa. He later appeared in the 2016 film Assassin's Creed, where he was portrayed by Khalid Abdalla.
- Though his official title was Emir of Granada, he and his family, the Nasrid, also went by Sultan of Granada. In Assassin's Creed II: Discovery, he was referred to by the title "king", and in the Assassin's Creed film, he was known simply as "the Sultan".
- The name "Boabdil" was used by the Castilians for Muhammad XII. It is a Spanish rendering of his name Abū ‘Abdallāh (أبو عبد الله), which means "father of ‘Abdallāh" with ‘Abdallāh itself meaning "servant of God".
- His regnal name of Muḥammad (محمد) means "praiseworthy".
- Assassin's Creed II: Discovery (first appearance)
- Assassin's Creed (film)
- Assassin's Creed: The Official Movie Novelization
- Assassin's Creed: Rebellion (mentioned only)