The Moors were North African descendants of Berbers and Arabs who crossed the Strait of Gibraltar in the early 8th century and thus began the invasion of the Visigoth Kingdom of Hispania.
Moorish Conquest of Spain
In the conquest, the Moors were pitted against the might of the Visigoth army which was decisively routed at the Battle of Guadalete.
The Moors then led an eight-year campaign during which they subdued most of Iberia and reached northern Iberia. In the subsequent decades, the Moors suffered significant defeats and setbacks in northern Iberian in a series of wars. These setbacks marked the maximum extent of Moorish incursion into northern Iberia and set the stage for the counter-effort by Christians which was later termed the Reconquista.
The Battle of Tours
Battle of Guadalete
In the Moorish conquest of Iberia, the Battle of Guadalete was among the earliest and most decisive victories for the Moors. The battle was fought between a Moorish army led by Tariq bin Ziyad and a Visigoth army under the Visigoth King Roderic. According to modern surmises, the battle was fought near Gibraltar.
The Moorish army, comprising heavily of the Berber cavalry, was able to rout the Visigoth army and put to the sword most of the Visigoth nobility including King Roderic. This opened the way for the Moors to continue their campaign northwards into Iberia. The defeat also permanently damaged the might of the Visigoth army leaving no powerful contenders to the Moorish conquest in southern Iberia.
Battle of Covadonga
The Battle of Covadonga was fought in the north Iberian region of Asturias. It is estimated that the battle was fought in 722 between a sizable Moorish army and a few hundred Visigoths. The stage for the battle was set when a Visigoth nobleman, Pelagius, refused to pay taxes levied by the Moorish administration and rebelled.
He then faced a large Moorish army in the narrow valley of Covadonga where he was able to rout the Moors and clinch a major victory. This laid the foundations for the independent principality of Asturias which later evolved into the Kingdom of Asturias, one of the earliest Christian kingdoms on the borders of Moorish Iberia.
Battle of River Garonne
The Battle of River Garonne was fought in 732 by a Moorish army led by Omayyad governor, Abdul Rahman, and an Aquitanian army under Duke Odo. At the time, Duke Odo was busy defending Aquitaine from the Frankish threat to the north. Meanwhile, Abdul Rahman led a sizable army to the city of Bordeaux at an exceptional speed and captured the city.
He then engaged Odo’s army by Garonne River and the Moors were able to defeat the Aquitanian force, wiping out most of Odo’s army. This battle was significant in that it forced Duke Odo to forge an alliance with the Frankish leader, Charles Martel. This alliance would lead to the Battle of Tours fought soon after the Battle
Battle of Tours
The Battle of Tours was a very significant battle fought between the Moorish forces under Andalusian governor Abdul Rahman and a Frankish army under Charles Martel. The battle was fought in 732, a few months after the Battle of River Garonne. Abdul Rahman’s army had just defeated Duke Odo of Aquitaine and proceeded northwards where they were confronted by the Frankish might.
Charles Martel was able to display his excellent generalship in the battle, forcing the Moors to give battle on a battlefield of his choice. He was subsequently able to defeat the Moors and stop their advance northwards.