Moorish Rulers

The Moorish rule in Iberia began when Tariq bin Ziyad launched a conquest of the Peninsula in 711. Heading a mainly Berber army, he was able to subdue the might of the Visigoth kingdom of Hispania and conquer most of Iberia. Since Ziyad had been sent by the Omayyad governor of North Africa to conquer the Peninsula, the conquered territory directly came under Omayyad rule.

Consequently, Iberia was established as an Omayyad province. In time, the Omayyad Caliphate in Damascus ended and Omayyad rule was limited to Iberia. This remained the case until the 11th century when Omayyad Caliphate in Iberia collapsed.

This led to the rule of many independent Moorish taifa states across Iberia, and eventually led to the intervention of North African Almoravid and Almohad dynasties which ruled the Iberian Moorish territories one after the other. The final Moorish dynasty to rule in Iberia were the Nasrids who lost control of the Emirate of Granada in 1492.

Omayyad Moorish Rulers

The conquest of Iberia by the Moors took place under the banner of the Omayyad Caliphate. Consequently, Omayyad dynasty ruled Iberia for the first phase of Moorish rule which lasted from the 8th century to 11th century. The most prominent Omayyad ruler was Abd ar Rahman I. He arrived in Cordoba in mid-8th century at a time when Berbers in Iberia had revolted against their Arab overlords.

Abd ar Rahman was successful in subduing the revolt and establishing the Emirate of Cordoba by uniting all Moorish territories in the region. In time, his Emirate would become the Caliphate of Cordoba and his descendants would go on to rule the Moorish territories until the early 11th century.

Moorish Rulers Quick Facts:

  • Most of Iberia was conquered by the Moorish leaders Tariq bin Ziyad armies
  • Independent moorish taifa states were established across Iberia in the 7th century
  • The last dynasty of Moorish descent to rule Iberia were the Nasrids
  • The Nasrids lost control of Granada in 1492 in the Reconquista
  • Christain armies regained control in the battles of the Reconquista in the 14th century
Moorish leader Abd-ar-Rahman.jpg

Moorish leader Abd-ar-Rahman.jpg

The Almoravids

Almoravids were a Berber dynasty which ruled over the Moorish territories in Iberia following the collapse of the Cordoba Caliphate. Almoravids originally ruled in North Africa and were able to extend their power to Iberia when the collapsing power of taifa states forced their rulers to seek the help of the Almoravids.

Consequently, Almoravid ruler Yusuf bin Tashfin reached Iberia in 1086 and unified most of the taifa states under a centralised authority. He decisively defeated the Christian kingdoms to the north in a series of battles which temporarily halted their advance southwards.

The Almohads

Between 1146 and 1173, the final decline of the Almoravids coincided with the rise of the Almohads in North Africa. By 1173, the Almohads had gained the control of most of the Moorish territories in Iberia. The Almohads proved able administrators of Moorish Iberia and brought a period of relative peace and prosperity to the south Iberian regions still retained by the Moors.

However, by the 12th century, they had to face the increasingly stiff Reconquista onslaught of the Christian kingdoms from north Iberia. The finale came in 1228 when following a major defeat, the last Almohad ruler of Iberia retreated to Morocco with his army.

The Nasrids

The Nasrids were the last rulers of Moorish Iberia, being lords over the Emirate of Granada which was the final stronghold of the Moors north of Gibraltar. The Nasrids ruled over Granada from 1238 to 1492. A brief period of cultural and intellectual Renaissance occurred during the reign of the Nasrids.

It was during their reign that the famous Alhambra palace complex was built. However, the Nasrids were no match to the might of the increasingly powerful Christian kingdoms in north Iberia. In 1492, they had to surrender Granada to the combined might of Aragon and Castile, an event which marked the end of Moorish Iberia.

Moorish Rulers Facts:

  • The taifa states were unified under a centralised authority by Almoravid ruler Yusuf bin Tashfin
  • Almoravid ruler Yusuf bin Tashfin defeated northern Christian armies in a series of battles
  • By the 12th century the Christian armies were fighting back hard and reclaiming many areas
  • The Almohads were defeated and forced from Iberia in 1228 following a major defeat
  • The Nasrids were finally forced out of Iberia in 1492 which marked the end of the Moorish conquest of Spain
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