The Reconquista was the reconquest by Christians of the Iberian Peninsula (nowadays Spain and Portugal), which was under Muslim control. The Reconquista lasted from c.722 AD with the success of Pelayo over the Muslim armies at Covadonga, and was completed in 1492, when the Christian Spanish King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella gained control of the only remaining Moorish enclave (the small Kingdom of Granada in southern Spain).

As part of the "Rechritianization" process after the long war which had seen non-Christians work with the Islamic invaders, the Spanish Inquisition was begun, and the Jewish population of Spain was expelled following the Alhambra Decree.

Notable military, political and religious leaders


  • Tariq ibn Ziyad (died 720), Berber general. He started the conquest (711-718) of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula) for the Umayyad Caliphate.
  • Abd-ar-Rahman I (731-c.788), founder of the Emirate of Córdoba.
  • Abd-ar-Rahman III (c.891-961), founder of the Caliphate of Córdoba, a new independent Muslim state in the Iberian Peninsula.
  • Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir (or Almanzor, c.938-1002), general and chancellor of Caliph Hisham II of Córdoba. Known for his raids on Christian territories. He sacked, among other towns, Barcelona (985) and Santiago de Compostela (997).
  • Yusuf ibn Tashfin (1061–1106), Almoravid ruler. He commanded a new Muslim invasion of Iberia from North Africa.


  • Pelagius (or Pelayo, died 737). Victor at the Battle of Covadonga (722) and founder of the Kingdom of Asturias, first Christian state after Muslim invasion.
  • Ramiro II of León (c.898-951), nicknamed "the Devil" by his Muslims opponents because of his energy at war. He defeated Abd-ar-Rahman III at the Battle of Simancas (939).
  • Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (known as The Cid, c.1040-1099), brilliant military leader. He took the city of Valencia in 1094.
  • Alfonso VIII of Castile (1155-1214), he led a Christian coalition to a decisive victory in Las Navas (1212) against the Almohads.
  • Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada (1170-1247), archbishop of Toledo and historian. Moral leader of the war against the Almohad Empire. He began the building of Toledo's gothic cathedral and promoted the city's cultural life.
  • James I of Aragon (1208-1276), nicknamed "the Conqueror". He achieved an important expansion of the Crown of Aragon, that became a major political entity of Christian Iberia.


  • Joseph F. O´Callaghan: Reconquest and crusade in Medieval Spain, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002, ISBN 0-8122-3696-3

External links

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