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Travel - April 5, 2021

Al Andalus: Moorish Spain

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Should you consider Spain, you in all probability consider a predominantly catholic nation with main cathedrals and church buildings in each village.

Nevertheless, a lot of the Iberian peninsula for nearly 800 years was below Muslim management. The legacy of the Moorish occupation can nonetheless be seen within the names of locations and a few of Spain’s most historic buildings. 

Study extra about Al Andalus, the realm of Muslim-controlled Spain, on this episode of All the pieces In every single place Day by day. 


This episode is sponsored by the Vacationer Workplace of Spain.

Once you go to Spain, you aren’t simply going to see Spanish tradition.  Spain has layers of historical past you could discover. You could find trendy structure in Valencia on the Metropolis of Arts and Sciences, renaissance structure on the Cathedral of Seville, Moorish structure in Grenada, and Roman structure in Merida. 

You possibly can even discover tons of of examples of rock artwork from the daybreak of humanity all alongside the Mediterranean coast.

You can begin researching your dream journey to Spain at the moment by visiting Spain.information the place you may get all the pieces you have to know to plan your Spanish expertise.


The rise of Islam as a political power was one of many quickest increasing empires in all of human historical past. 

Inside a century of the demise of the prophet Mohammed, the Umayyad Caliphate had unfold from a small group within the Arabian Peninsula to conquering a lot of the center east, central Asia, and North Africa. 

Within the early eighth century, the Iberian peninsula was largely populated by the Visigoths, who have been a Germanic individuals who entered and populated the Iberian peninsula after the collapse of the Roman Empire. 

Throughout the reign of Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I, Normal Tariq ibn-Ziyad led Moorish forces throughout the Mediterranean and landed in Gibraltar on April 30, 711. 

This started a seven-year marketing campaign the place the Moors introduced a lot of the Iberian peninsula below Islamic management.

The time period Moor ought to in all probability be defined as I’ve used it right here and in a couple of earlier episodes. 

There actually aren’t any folks referred to as Moors. The time period Moor battle a time period utilized by Europeans to explain Muslim inhabitants from North Africa. It included folks of various ethnicities together with Berbers and Arabs.

The time period isn’t too dissimilar from the time period Franks which was utilized by Muslims within the Center East to explain all Europeans.

The time period comes from the Roman province of Mauritania which is the place modern-day Morocco is positioned. 

This invasion started a interval the place Muslim rulers managed a minimum of a part of the Iberian peninsula for nearly 800 years. 

The Moors by no means utterly conquered the peninsula. Even at its best extent, simply 8 years after the invasion, there was nonetheless part of the peninsula that remained below Christian management. Within the far north, the Kingdom of Asturias remained impartial and was by no means conquered. 

That being stated, one of many the explanation why that they had such a straightforward time is as a result of they gave very beneficiant phrases to the folks they conquered. One instance of that is Theodemir, the Visigoth chief of Murcia. He agreed to phrases the place he might nonetheless proceed to be the chief of his folks and apply Christianity. All they needed to do was pay an annual tribute.

The complete area of Iberian Muslim rule was recognized in Arabic as Al Andalus. 

The Muslim invasion of Spain terrified a lot of the Christian kingdoms in Europe. Till this level, the entire Muslim conquests had been outdoors of Europe. The Byzantines had misplaced vital territory, however they served as a bulwark stopping Muslim growth within the East. 

The Moors didn’t cease in Spain, they saved going into France. They have been wanting invincible. 

Nevertheless, they finally reached their restrict on the Battle of Excursions in 732. The Battle of Excursions was unquestionably one of the vital vital battles in historical past, and I’ll depart that story for a future episode. 

Charles Martel, the grandfather of Charlemagne the Nice, stopped the Muslim advance at Excursions, and that was so far as the Moors ever bought in Western Europe.

The Iberian Peninsula is of course defensible. It’s surrounded on three sides by water, and the opposite aspect is blocked by the Pyrenees Mountains.  

The Muslims settled in on the peninsula for a number of hundred years. 

I’m actually oversimplifying right here. The topic of Islamic Spain is a large matter. I might actually begin a model new present and discuss this topic for years. There are individuals who have devoted their complete educational careers to the subject. 

The Moors finally established their capital within the metropolis of Cordova, developed into the Caliphate of Cordoba from 929 to 1031, which was impartial and separate from different elements of the Muslim world. 

Throughout the peak of the Cordova Caliphate, Cordova was the biggest and most superior metropolis in Europe. 

Nevertheless, the Cordova Caliphate solely lasted a century. After that, Al Andalus devolved right into a handful of Islamic Kingdoms that competed with one another. 

Along with competing with one another, they have been additionally competing with the assorted Christian kingdoms. 

In contrast to most of the different Christian areas which the Muslims conquered comparable to Syria and Japanese Turkey, a lot of the inhabitants in Spain by no means transformed to Islam. Some did, however the overwhelming majority didn’t. 

Nevertheless, nearly as quickly because the Moorish invasion started in 711, Christians started planning and dreaming of retaking the misplaced territory. 

By the ninth century, they started speaking of a reconquest, or because it was recognized, the Reconquista. 

Over the centuries, the Christian kingdoms slowly started retaking territory. 

By the fifteenth century, the Muslim lands have been largely confined to the southern a part of Spain. It isn’t a coincidence that the province of Andalucia sounds similar to Al Andalus. 

By the fifteenth century, the one Moorish a part of Spain remaining was the Emirate of Grenada. 

In the meantime, the remainder of Spain was being united below the rule of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. They completed the Reconquestia on January 2, 1492, when the Emirate of Grenada lastly surrendered. 

Later, the remaining Muslims have been expelled they usually have been one of many targets of the Spanish Inquisition. 

800 years of occupation will depart an impression anyplace. Spain is not any exception. 

The language we name Spanish, additionally referred to as Castillian, was developed through the Moorish occupation. 

Because of this, Spanish was closely influenced by Arabic. There are actually 1000’s of phrases in Spanish that come from Arabic. 

Azúcar, trabajo, ciudad, azur, limon, and plenty of different phrases all come from Arabic. 

It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that Spanish is a romance language closely influenced by Arabic in the identical approach that English is a germanic language, closely influenced by French.

Many place names in Spain even have Arab origins. Along with the plain Andalucia, Algeciras, Ubeda, Guadalajara, Gibraltar, and Almería all come from Arabic.

There’s additionally a really strict geographical division in Spain the place you’ll find Arabic place names. There are nearly none within the north, and there are many them within the south. 

You could find proof of Moorish Spain throughout in case you look rigorously sufficient. 

Most likely the preeminent piece of Islamic structure in Spain is the Alhambra in Grenada. It was the previous palace for the Sultan of Grenada, and it’s actually beautiful. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Web site actually one of many high points of interest within the nation. 

The opposite nice architectural landmark could be the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba. It’s world-famous for its white and orange arches which have been constructed throughout its time as a mosque. Initially constructed within the eighth century, within the thirteenth century, it was captured by Christians and transformed right into a cathedral.  

In nearly each metropolis in southern Spain, yow will discover some examples of Arabic writing in stone and Moorish structure. 

The historical past of Spain can’t actually even be understood with out understanding Moorish Spain. It was the Moorish conquest that was straight answerable for the creation of contemporary Spain and the fashionable Spanish language. The Moorish occupation of Spain is what makes Spain distinctive amongst all European international locations. 

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