Reconquista Period

The Reconquista period refers to a period of nearly 750 years stretched between the earliest resistance to the expanding Moorish rule in the Iberian region and the eventual end of all Muslim rule in Iberia with the fall of Granada in 1492.

The Omayyad Caliphate rapidly expanded its reign into the Iberian region during the early 8th century under the Moorish leader Tariq ibn Ziyad. Ziyad was successful in overrunning the Visigothic Hispania but the Muslim armies were successfully halted in northern Iberia.

They were first defeated at the Battle of Covadonga in 718 and subsequently routed at the Battle of Tours by Frankish military leader, Charles Martel, in 732. This was followed by the establishment of different Christian kingdoms on the border of the Muslim-controlled regions. These kingdoms would then continued to push into Muslim territories, eventually taking back the control of the whole of Iberia by 1492.

Reconquista Armies

Christian Armies of the Reconquista mainly came from the Northern regions of Iberia, the armies of both sides had infantry and cavalry soldiers Read more about the Reconquista Armies >>

Reconquista History

If the northern Christian kingdoms had not fought back and beaten the Muslim Moorish armies could have taken over all of Europe Read more about the Reconquista History >>

Reconquista Rulers

Reconquista Rulers were tasked with driving out the conquering Moorish armies from Europe during the Reconquista period of Medieval times Read more about the Reconquista Rulers >>

Reconquista Timeline

The Reconquista was one of the most important medieval periods, several key events such as the Battle of Tours helped changed the course of history Read more about the Reconquista Timeline >>

Reconquista Wars

The Reconquista was a series of battles to drive out the Muslim Moors who had conquered much of southern Europe in a Holy War Read more about the Reconquista Wars >>

Reconquista Weapons List

A wide range of weapons was used by Christian armies during the Reconquista Read more about the Reconquista Weapons List >>

What was the Reconquista?

The Reconquista lasted for almost 800 years Christian Kingdoms battled to reclaim territories lost to conquering the Moorish armies Read more about the What was the Reconquista? >>

Muslim Conquest of Iberia

The Muslim conquest of Iberia began in 711 when Tariq ibn Ziyad crossed the Strait of Gibraltar with a Moorish army.

In a series of battles, he was able to subdue the might of the then Visigothic Hispania and bring most of southern Iberia under Muslim control.

Conquest of Spain by the Moors

The Moorish conquest of Spain and Europe lasted around 700 years

While Muslims successfully expanded their reign all the way to Valencia in the East and Zaragoza and beyond in the North, their advance further towards Northern Europe was decisively blocked.

Zaragoza Spain Mosque

Zaragoza Spain Mosque

Beginning of the Reconquista

The earliest effective resistance to Muslim expansion in Iberia came when an Omayyad army attempted to take the city of Toulouse in 721. The army laid siege to the city under the command of the Andalusian governor.

Moorish Rulers Abd ar Rahman

Duke Odo of Aquitaine rallied forces to create a Christian army which he then led to relieve Toulouse. Outside the city gates, Odo’s army was successful in enveloping the Omayyad forces and routing them.

Only a few Omayyad officials and soldiers managed to escape. This was the first battle in Iberia where the Muslims were decisively defeated. And it halted the Muslim attempts to expand northwards, at least for the time being.

Example of Moorish Warriors Clothing El Campello Moors

Battle of Covadonga

The Battle of Covadonga took place in northwest Iberia in the mountains of Asturias.

In 718, a Visigothic nobleman named Pelagius was elected to lead the local Christian population. Pelagius refused to bow to Muslim authority and refused to pay taxes to the Omayyad caliph in Cordoba.

He also assaulted the Muslim garrison in the region and expelled the Muslim governor.

santuario de covadonga g0fca31179 640

In 721, a sizable Muslim army confronted Pelagius and his band of men who had retreated into the mountains of Asturias.

Although heavily outnumbered, Pelagius was able to take advantage of his position and decisively routed the Muslim force.

This led to the establishment of the Christian kingdom of Asturias, a prelude to numerous other kingdoms in the Iberian north.

Battle of Tours

The Battle of Tours was another decisive victory against the Muslim armies in the north of Iberia.

The battle took place between the Frankish army under Charles Martel and the emir of Al-Andalus, Abdul Rahman.

Charles Martel

In 732, the two armies engaged in battle resulting in a decisive defeat for the Muslim army whereby the Andalusian emir was killed.

Martel then went out to march southwards, reaching as far as Nimes and ravaging Muslim strongholds along the way.

The battle marked a decisive halt of Muslim military campaigns in the north of Iberian and into Frankish regions.

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.

Kingdom of Asturias

Once the Muslim campaigning into northern Iberia was decisively halted as a result of the aforementioned events, independent Christian principalities in the north began to emerge. The earliest of these was the kingdom of Asturias under Pelagius.

The kingdom successfully fought off Muslim raids and by the 9th century, Asturian kings were raiding into Muslim territories and had established diplomatic ties with the Carolingian Empire as well as the Papacy.

It was in the originally Asturian territories that Castile, Leon, and Galicia came into being as the countryside was rapidly repopulated.

By the 10th century, the kingdom of Asturias had turned into the Kingdom of Leon.

Asturia Spain

Asturia Spain

Kingdom of Navarre

The Kingdom of Navarre was another Christian principality that emerged in northern Iberia during the 9th century and became one of the key entities exerting the Reconquista effort southwards into Muslim territories.

Navarre was more involved in absorbing the Christian territories which would later shape up into the kingdoms of Leon, Castile, and Aragorn.

Castile Spain

Castile Spain

Kingdom of Leon

The Kingdom of Leon was established in the 10th century and formed a vital bulwark against Muslim rule in southern Iberia.

In 920, the kingdom suffered a major defeat at the hands of the Caliphate of Cordoba and went on to suffer from internal unrest for the rest of the century.

Despite this, Leon played a vital part in the Reconquista by defeating the Muslim forces in alliance with Castile in 939.

Map giving Timeline of the reconquista

Reconquista Map

Role of Christian kingdoms in Reconquista

The emergence, integration, and re-emergence of Christian kingdoms in northern Iberia was an ongoing process that began in the 8th century and continued well until the end of Reconquista in the 15th century.

These kingdoms were frequently marred by internal unrest, an external threat from Muslim armies, and attempts to expand their territories at each other’s expense.

Ultimately, the merger of different kingdoms into larger political entities eventually consolidated the Reconquista efforts and was vital in successfully diminishing Muslim rule in southern Iberia.

Reconquista Timeline

Repopulation in southern Iberia

Repopulating conquered Muslim territories was a vital part of the Reconquista effort.

It ensured that the conquered territories decisively came to have a Christian identity and the populations brought to the region, being loyal to a Christian king, also acted as a formidable frontier bulwark against the Muslims.

Reconquista Armies Alfonso VI reconquista Toledo

Decline of Muslim rule & Conclusion of Reconquista

The Muslim rule in Iberia had begun to weaken following the fall of the Cordoba Caliphate in the early 11th century.

Many smaller polities were established in the Muslim territories and the lack of a centralised authority allowed Christian kingdoms in the north to encroach on these territories.

What Was Reconquista Jaume I Cantigas de Santa Maria

The Almoravids revived Muslim control in the late 11th century by defeating Christian kingdoms in many battles but by the 13th century, civil unrest again plagued Muslim territories.

By 1252, only the Emirate of Granada remained the sole Muslim territory in the region. It was ultimately conquered by Castilian forces in 1492, marking the end of the Reconquista period and the reassertion of Christian control over all of Iberia.

Reconquista Period

Reconquista – Recapture of Granada