Moorish Period

The Moorish period refers to the rule of Moors in the Iberian Peninsula which began in 711 and continued in one way or the other until 1492. The period began when Moorish military leader Tariq Bin Ziyad crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and defeated a significant Visigothic army in 711. This marked the beginning of the Moorish period.

Over the subsequent centuries, Moors consolidated their rule over Iberian regions of modern-day Spain, Portugal and Septimania. Initially ruled by a single caliphate, the Moors soon divided into multiple political entities which would frequently engage in mutual warfare as well as in wars with the Christian kingdoms to the north.

The Christian kingdoms continued a campaign to reconquer the southern lands of Iberia under the Moorish rule and by 1492, successfully ended Moorish rule all over the Peninsula.

Moorish Architecture

Moorish Architecture borrowed from many other cultures, one of the most recognisable elements of Moorish Architecture was the horseshoe arch Read more about the Moorish Architecture >>

Moorish Art

The Moors were well known for producing high quality art throughout Europe. Moorish art borrowed elements from Arab, North African, Visigoth and Frankish Art Read more about the Moorish Art >>

Moorish Clothing

The main garment that was worn by the Moors was called the Aljuba, it was a long robe worn by Moorish men and women during medieval times Read more about the Moorish Clothing >>

Moorish History

The Moorish period of medieval history was a golden age for the Muslim Moorish people which included the Holy War and invasion of Medieval Europe Read more about the Moorish History >>

Moorish Rulers

The Moorish rulers took control of large parts of Europe during the middle ages. Moorish rulers such as Tariq bin Ziyad conquered many territories Read more about the Moorish Rulers >>

Moorish Society

Moorish Society

Moorish society was very advanced and sophisticated, the Moors had a rich culture and were revered for their Architecture and Artworks Read more about the Moorish Society >>

Moorish Timeline

The Moorish Timeline gives you all the key dates from the Moorish period of medieval times, Muslim armies invaded the Iberia peninsula Read more about the Moorish Timeline >>

Moorish Wars

The Moorish invasion almost was a  complete takeover of Europe, a crucial battle for the Europeans was the Battle of Tours/Poitiers Read more about the Moorish Wars >>

The Moors in Spain

The moors conquest of Spain lasted for around 700 years during this time the Moors took over large parts of Spain and were permanent settlers Read more about the The Moors in Spain >>

What was the Moorish Conquest of Europe

The Moorish Conquest of Spain was a Holy war or Jihad against the populations of Europe which started in Spain and latest around 700 years Read more about the What was the Moorish Conquest of Europe >>

Who were the Moors?

The Moors were very close to taking over the whole of Europe in the 7th Century, They were stopped in France by the armies of Charles Martel Read more about the Who were the Moors? >>

Moorish Period Beginning

By the late 7th century, Arab Muslims had successfully conquered North Africa by ending Byzantine rule in the region.

This led to an assimilation of the Berber populations in North Africa into the expanding Muslim Caliphate.

Moors and Turks Clothing in Medieval Times

The Moors in Iberia from the 8th century until the 15th century

In 711, Berber military leader Tariq Bin Ziyad launched a campaign to conquer Hispania, then under Visigothic rule. In an eight-year campaign, he was able to conquer most of Hispania.

Charles Martel

Charles Martel

The series of Muslim battlefield victories was halted when Charles Martel decisively defeated a Muslim army at the Battle of Tours in 732, marking the maximum extent of Moorish rule in the Iberian Peninsula.

The Saracen army prepares for battle near Paris

Martel was able to check the Moorish advance by routing the Muslim army at the Battle of Tours in 732.

Establishment of Al-Andalus

The rapid Moorish conquest of Hispania led to a decentralised authority over the conquered territories, with many independent Moorish governors reigning over different regions.

This changed in 756 when the last surviving member of the recently-overthrown Omayyad dynasty reached An-Andalus.

Moorish History Regions Conquered

Moorish conquest areas of Spain highlighted in green

He would then proceed to establish the Caliphate of Cordoba and establish himself as the legal caliph of all Muslim territories in the Iberian Peninsula.

By 788, he had effectively brought most of these territories under his control and centralised the Moorish rule of Spain.

The Cordoba caliphate continued to be the most dominant and legitimate Muslim authority in Moorish Spain until the 11th century.

Moorish Rulers Abd ar Rahman

Collapse of Cordoba Caliphate

The Omayyad dynasty underwent a civil war in the early 11th century which effectively led to the collapse of the Cordoba Caliphate. This was immediately led by the rise of many small states and principalities all over the Moorish-controlled region.

The collapse of centralised authority weakened Moorish rule over the region which coincided with the rise of powerful Christian kingdoms in the northern Iberian region.

Consequently, Moorish states called taifas were forced to either pay tribute to these Christian kingdoms or to face the threat of conquest. To counter this, a number of taifa rulers sought the help of the Almoravid dynasty which reigned in Morocco.

Example of Moorish Warriors Clothing El Campello Moors

Almoravid Dynasty in Moorish Spain

The Almoravid ruler Yusuf ibn Tashfin reached Iberia in 1086 in order to aid Muslim rulers against the attacks of Christian kingdoms. He was able to halt the conquests of Christian kingdoms by defeating the armies of Castile and Leon in decisive battles.

By the turn of the century, he had effectively taken over the control of most of the Moorish region in Iberia and for the time being, stopped the advance of Christian kingdoms towards the south.

Almohad Dynasty and Civil War

Tashfin’s descendants continued to rule Al-Andalus until the late 12th century when the Almohad dynasty came to power following its success on the battlefield against Christian kingdoms.

In 1212, the combined might of the Christian kingdoms inflicted a major defeat on the Almohad army which shook the foundations of Muslim rule in Spain and severely weakened the Almohads.

Battle of Tours and Poitiers

The dynasty continued to rule for another decade before another major civil war ensued between different Muslim regions of Iberia.

This led to the re-establishment of many taifas which splintered the centralised authority and opened the way for the Christian kingdoms to rapidly reintegrate Muslim territories and taifas into their kingdoms.

Emirate of Granada

By 1249, all Muslim territories in the Iberian region had fallen to different Christian kingdoms with the sole exception of the Emirate of Granada.

The Emirate occupied a small region in southern Iberia and had to pay an annual tribute in gold to the Kingdom of Castile. This lasted until 1492 when the Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragorn came together thanks to the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabelle.

The united might of the two kingdoms led to an assault on the Emirate of Granada. After crushing all opposition, the Castilian army marched on the city of Granada in 1492.

After a long siege, the last Muslim ruler in Iberia finally agreed to surrender the city. This marked the end of the Moorish period of Hispania.

End of Moorish Influence

Despite the end of Moorish rule in Iberia, a sizable population of Moorish Muslims continued to live in the region. Initially, this population was allowed to adhere to their religious practices with freedom.

Before the end of the 15th century, however, forced conversions of Muslims led to revolts and rebellions in different parts of Iberia.

The revolts were suppressed and significant numbers of Muslims were exiled to North Africa while those remaining in Iberia were forced to convert to Christianity.

The expulsions of Moors from Spain continued until the early 17th century and the suppression of any form of Islamic expression continued until the early 18th century.

This effectively ended any Moorish religious influence in the region, although the Moorish period would continue to exert cultural influence on the identities of Christian kingdoms.

Moorish Society

The Moorish period in Iberia was marked by the rule of Muslim rulers over a vastly heterogeneous population comprising Berbers, Arabs, Christian, Jews, and other minorities.

Most of this period was marked by tolerance, with the Moors ushering in a golden age of Iberia during the Omayyad caliphate that lasted until the early 11th century.

During this period, arts and culture prospered, minorities enjoyed significant rights and rapid intellectual activity birthed great polymaths such as Averroes and Ibn Rushd.

The scientific and intellectual development during the period would play a part in later igniting the European Renaissance. Later periods of Moorish rule, as their might declined, were marked by strife, intolerance, and a lack of intellectual initiatives.