In 711 an army of 7000 under the command of the Berber Tarik-ibn-Zehad crossed the Straits of Gibraltar and defeated Roderic the Visigothic King of Hispania. The Muslim armies swept through Hispania and conquered Toledo which was then the capital of the Visigothic kingdom. This marked the beginning of Muslim domination of a large chunk of the Iberian Peninsula.
The Arabs named this vast region Al-Andalus. Initially it comprised five administrative areas roughly corresponding to Andalucía; Galicia and Portugal; Castile and Léon; Aragón and Catalonia; and Septimania which apparently was where the modern French region of Languedoc-Roussillon is located. So Al-Andalus was pretty big! At that juncture, Al-Andalus was merely a province of the Umayyad Caliphate of Damascus.
Over the centuries, Al-Andalus was ruled by varying Arab dynasties. For example, the Abbasid dynasty assassinated the Umayyads and seized power, and Al-Andalus became a kingdom also known as the Emirate of Córdoba (c. 750-929). Successively it became the Caliphate of Córdoba (929-1031); then a collection of Taifa kingdoms. The last of the Arab kingdoms was the Nasrid kingdom of Granada (1232-1492), which by then was merely the territories of Almería, Málaga, and Granada. This gradual yet massive reduction in the size of this once great kingdom was, of course, due to the Reconquest of Spain by the Christians. Al-Andalus ceased to exist in 1492 when Boabdil surrendered the city of Granada to the Catholic Monarchs.
|Córdoba - statue of Abu al Walid|
|Granada Alhambra - Patio de los Leones|
more blogs by Robert Bovington...
"Photographs of Spain"
"postcards from Spain"
"you couldn't make it up!"
"a grumpy old man in Spain"
"bits and bobs"
"Books About Spain"