Reconquista Wars

The Reconquista was a centuries-long effort made by the Christian kingdoms in northern Iberia to wrest back the control of southern Iberia from Moorish rule. The Moors had crossed the Strait of Gibraltar in 711 and in the subsequent decades, seized control of most of Iberia. They continued to rule Iberia until the 15th century.

During this period, the Reconquista efforts launched by the Christian kingdoms gradually eroded Moorish power in northern Iberia and then pushed southwards. A number of major wars were fought as part of the Reconquista effort, decisively contributing to the ultimate victory of the Christian kingdoms in subduing the Moors.

Battle of Covadonga

The Battle of Covadonga took place in the northeast Iberian region of Asturias in 722. It was instigated by the rebellion of a Visigoth nobleman Pelagius who refused to pay the tax imposed by Moorish rulers. The Moors consequently sent a sizable army to deal with the rebellion.

Pelagius retreated with a few hundred men into the narrow valley of Covadonga. When the Moors tried to attack him head-on, Pelagius was able to rout the much larger Moorish force and establish the independent principality of Asturias.

Battle of Toulouse

The Battle of Toulouse was a major victory clinched by an Aquitanian army against the Moorish forces. The Moorish forces laid siege to the vitally important city of Toulouse in 721. Duke Odo of Aquitaine was able to raise a sizable Frankish force with which he took the Moorish army by surprise three months later. The Moorish army was routed and very few were able to escape. The battle permanently ended any chances of Moorish expansion westwards into the territories of Aquitaine.

Reconquista Wars Quick Facts:

  • A tribe called the Franks were in charge of Paris and the outer suburbs during the Reconquista period
  • Charles Martel was the legendary leader and king of the Franks during the Reconquista period
  • Charles Martel was also nicknamed “Charles the Hammer” as his favourite weapons was a warhammer
  • In 732 the famous battle of Tours between Charles Martel and the Muslim leader Abd arRahman began
  • Charles Martel victory at Tours stopped Europe falling under Muslim rule


Battle of Tours

The Battle of Tours was another decisive confrontation that took place between a large Moorish army and a Frankish army led by Charles Martel. Martel was able to check the Moorish advance by routing the Muslim army at the Battle of Tours in 732. This victory permanently stopped the Moors from advancing any further into Frankish territories in northeast Iberia.

Battle of Sagrajas

The Battle of Sagrajas took place in 1086 between the Christian army of Castile and a Moorish army led by Almoravid King Yusuf ibn Tashfin. The battle was a setback for the Reconquista efforts of the Christian kingdoms. Almoravids had crossed into Iberia from North Africa in a bid to check the advance of Christian kingdoms after the collapse of Cordoba Caliphate. At the Battle of Sagrajas, Yusuf ibn Tashfin routed the Castilian army, laying foundations for the power of the Almoravids for subsequent decades.

Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa

The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa took place in 1212 between the allied Christian forces and the Almohad army. The Christian forces hailed from the kingdoms of Navarre, Aragon and Portugal. In the ensuing battle, the Christian army was able to decisively rout the Almohad army.

This victory marked an important event in the progress of the Reconquista since it conclusively ended the might of the Almohad dynasty in the Iberian Peninsula, opening the way for Christian kingdoms to reclaim southern Iberian territories.

Reconquista Wars Facts:

  • The battle of Tours and Poitiers was one of the most important battles in medieval history
  • The battle of Tours is also commonly referred to as the Battle of Poitiers, it was the same battle
  • Some Historical evidence suggests that around 375,000 Muslims died at the Battle of Tours
  • King “Charles the Hammer” personally killed numerous Muslim invaders in the battle of Tours
  • The Battle of Tours lasted around 7 days and in the early days the Muslim archers held the advantage
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