The Moors Invade Spain

Want to learn more about the Moors invasion of Spain? Read on for a historical overview of the Moorish invasion of Spain and the events that followed…

The Moors were people of Arab and Berber origins that invaded Spain in 711 AD. By that time the Visigothic kingdom had reached its decline with internal disputes, disease and famine plaguing the entire country. This provided a good opportunity to the Moors to make their way into Spain.

The Moorish army led by Tariq bin Zaid comprising of about 10,000 soldiers made its way across the Straits of Gibraltar and met with the forces of King Roderick. The Visigothic army was defeated in the Battle of Guadalete. Following this victory the Muslim conquerors were able to swiftly follow up and within a span of seven years the Moors had established control in most of the peninsula. The rule lasted for more than 400 years in most of the areas whereas it extended up to 700 years in certain smaller parts.

Under the Moorish people the land became Al-Andalus. It was integrated with the North African province and had Damascus as the capital of the Islamic empire. The Moorish Caliph that occupied the seat in Spain were basically meant to act as governors implementing the orders of the head of the empire from Damascus. After conquering Spain the Moors developed Andalusia and Corboda as the main cities of the country.

In 756 Abd-al-Rahman established an independent emirate in the Spanish city of Cordoba. As a result of this is a new united Muslim Spain was established and now the central power rested in the city of Córdoba. Following this event Córdoba became one of the biggest and most important cities in all of Europe. The Moors were patrons of  medicine, astronomy, mathematics and made remarkable achievements in these fields. Córdoba also housed the largest Muslim libraries of the world.

After experiencing a flourishing empire for some time, unified Spain started to break down into separate smaller kingdoms. Granada, Sevilla, Zaragoza and Toledo became the more powerful “taifas” as they were known. There was intense competition between the rulers that presided over these independent states in all fields of life including arts and sciences.

However because of the fact that they were divided into smaller territories they started to lose ground to the Christian kingdoms of the North. By 1248 the area of Granada was the only Muslim territory left under the rule of the Moors and the rest of the Iberian peninsula had been taken over by the Christian crusaders. Granada during that time covered almost half of what is modern-day Andalusia. Muslim refugees from the other territories fled to the region and it was here that the last Muslim stronghold remained up until 1492. Granada was finally taken over by the pair of Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon and thereby the Moorish rule in Spain came to an end.

The Moors left behind a lasting legacy for Spain. They are remembered in history as the rediscovers of Greek knowledge and in this respect they paved the way for the European Renaissance that was to come.

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