(from Arabic mudajjan: permitted to remain) Any member of a group of Muslims who remained in Spain after the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula (11th–15th century). In return for payment of a tax, the Mudejars were a protected minority, allowed to keep their religion, language, and customs. They formed separate communities in larger towns, where they were subject to their own Muslim laws. By the 13th century they had begun to use Spanish, which they wrote in Arabic characters. After 1492 they were forced to leave Spain or convert to Christianity, and by the early 17th century more than three million Spanish Muslims had been expelled.