When the Muslims created al-Andalus, many Christians moved to the mountains in the north. Here was where Visigoth noble Pelayo defeated the Muslims in Battle of Covadonga in 722 A.D. and the Reconquista began.
After that, Don Pelayo established the Kingdom of Asturias. Later on this kingdom became the Kingdom of León. There were other Christian kigdoms too, such as the Kingdoms of Castilla, Navarra and Aragón.
|Statue of Don Pelayo in Covadonga (Asturias)|
From the 8th and the 15th centuries, the Christian kingdoms expanded in to the south. They conquered lands from al-Andalus. This process is called the Reconquista.
Christians wanted to conquer al-Andalus for three reasons:
- The Christian kings needed more land for growing crops, raising animals and because the population was increasing.
- The Christians kings thought the lands of al-Andalus should be ruled by Christians, as in the times of the Christians Visigoths.
- After al-Andalus was divided into small taifa kingdoms, it was easier to conquer them.
During this time, despite the fights for the Reconquista, Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together and established a rich excange between cultures.
Alfonso VI was King of Castilla and León. In 1085 he conquered Toledo from the Muslims. It was a very important victory for the Christian armies because Toledo was a strategic area and a symbol of Christianity from the time of Visigoths.
|Alfonso VI conquered Toledo, 25th may 1085. Banco de la Plaza de España de Sevilla|
In 1212 the Christians won the Battle of Navas de Tolosa in Jaén.
Battle of Navas de Tolosa (Jaén) 1212. This picture is found in the Palacio del Senado (Madrid)
Jaime I was King of Aragón. He conquered the Balearic Islands from the Muslims in 1229 and parts of Valencia in 1224.
|El Llibre del Fets. Autobiographical chronicles of James I The Conqueror.|
Fernado III was King of Castilla y León. He conquered Córdoba in 1236 and Sevilla in 1248.
|Fernando III, King of Castilla and León.|
Granada was the last Muslim Kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula. In 1492 king Fernando II of Aragón and Isabel I of Castilla, known as the Catholic Monarchs, conquered Granada. The Christian Reconquest was completed.
In the following picture we can see King Boabdil surrenders the Kingdom of Granada to the Catholic Monarchs.
|La Rendición de Granada by F. Pradilla (1882). This picture is found in the Palacio del Senado (Madrid).|
Click on the image below and you'll know the main characters of the Fall of Granada.
Here you have a famous Spanish TV serie where you can see this important event in the History of Spain.
FALL OF GRANADA (1492) The last taifa kingdom (Granada, Málaga and Almería)
The Muslims conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula from the Visigoths in only few years. But it took the Christians nearly 800 years to reconquer the peninsula from the Muslims!
EXERCISE. Write true or false. If it is false, write the right sentence.
1. It took about 100 years for the Christian kings to conquer al-Andalus.
2. The Christian kingdoms were expanding because they needed more land.
3. King Jaime I of Aragón conquered Granada in 1492.
4. In 1212 The Muslims won an important battle against the Christians.