The Reconquista ("reconquest") is a period of approximately 781 years in the history of the Iberian Peninsula, the period of the Portuguese and Spanish colonial empires which followed.

Traditionally, historians mark the beginning of the Reconquista with the Battle of Covadonga (718 or 722), in which a small army, led by the nobleman Pelagius, defeated an Umayyad army in the mountains of northern Iberia and established a small Christian principality in Asturias.

Nineteenth and much of twentieth-century Spanish and Portuguese historiography stressed the existence of a continuous phenomenon by which the Christian Iberian kingdoms opposed and conquered the Muslim kingdoms understood as a common enemy from the early eighth century to the late fifteenth century. However, the ideology of a Christian reconquest of the peninsula started to take shape at the end of the 9th century.

A landmark was set by the Christian Chronica Prophetica (883-884), a document stressing the Christian and Muslim cultural and religious divide in Iberia and the necessity to drive the Muslims out. However, Christian and Muslim rulers commonly became divided and fought amongst themselves. Co-existence and alliances between Muslims and Christians were as prevalent as frontier skirmishes and raids, especially in the earlier periods. Blurring distinctions even further were the mercenaries from both sides who simply fought for whoever paid the most.

The Crusades, which started late in the eleventh century, bred the religious ideology of a Christian reconquest, confronted at that time with a similarly staunch Muslim Jihad ideology in Al-Andalus: the Almoravids and even to a greater degree, in the Almohads. In fact previous documents (10-11th century) are mute on any idea of "reconquest". Propaganda accounts of Muslim-Christian hostility came into being to support that idea: most notably the Chanson de Roland, a highly mythical 12th-century French re-creation of the Battle of Roncevaux Pass (778) dealing with the Iberian Saracens and taught unquestioned in the French educational system as of 1880.

Many recent historians dispute the whole concept of Reconquista (as well as that of a prior conquista by the Moors) as a concept created a posteriori in the service of later political goals. It has been called a "myth". One of the first Spanish intellectuals to question the idea of a "reconquest" that lasts for eight centuries was José Ortega y Gasset, writing in the first half of the twentieth century. However, the term is still used by professionals and laymen, to designate that historical period.

In 711, Muslim Moors, mainly North African Berber soldiers with some Arabs, crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and began their conquest of the Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania. After their conquest of the Visigothic kingdom's Iberian territories, the Muslims crossed the Pyrenees and took control of Septimania in 719, the last province of the Visigothic kingdom to be occupied. From their stronghold of Narbonne, they launched raids into the Duchy of Aquitaine.

At no point did the invading Islamic armies exceed 60,000 men. These armies established an Islamic rule that would last 300 years in much of the Iberian Peninsula and 781 years in Granada.
Islamic rule
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After the establishment of a local Emirate, Caliph Al-Walid I, ruler of the Umayyad caliphate, removed many of the successful Muslim commanders. Tariq ibn Ziyad, the first governor of the newly conquered province of Al-Andalus, was recalled to Damascus and replaced with Musa bin Nusair, who had been his former superior. Musa's son, Abd al-Aziz ibn Musa, apparently married Egilona, Roderic's widow, and established his regional government in Seville. He was suspected of being under the influence of his wife, accused of wanting to convert to Christianity, and of planning a secessionist rebellion. Apparently a concerned Al-Walid I ordered Abd al-Aziz's assassination. Caliph Al-Walid I died in 715 and was succeeded by his brother Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik. Sulayman seems to have punished the surviving Musa bin Nusair, who very soon died during a pilgrimage in 716. In the end Abd al-Aziz ibn Musa's cousin, Ayyub ibn Habib al-Lakhmi became the emir of Al-Andalus.


Pulvis et umbra sumus. J.P. -> ardent blogger and philosopher. Cruzarei os dedos por você. Ou como dizem no teatro: quebre a perna!

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