The Reconquista

The Reconquista is the name given to a long series of wars and battles between the Christian Kingdoms and the Muslim Moors for control of the Iberian Peninsula. It lasted for a good portion of the Middle Ages from 718 to 1492.

The Moors were Muslims who lived in the northern African countries of Morocco and Algeria. They called the land of the Iberian Peninsula “Al-Andalus”, after the Germanic Vandals who ruled the country before traitors sold it out to the invaders in 711. Over the next seven years they advanced into Europe and controlled the majority of the peninsula.

The Reconquista began in 718 when King Pelayo of the Visigoths defeated the Muslim army in Alcama at the Battle of Covadonga. This was the first significant victory of the Christians over the Moors.

Over the next several hundred years the Christians and the Moors would do battle. Charlemagne would halt the Moors advance at the borders of France, but taking back the peninsula would take over 700 years. There were many battles won and lost on both sides. Both sides also experienced internal struggles for power and civil war.

During the latter part of the Reconquista it was considered a holy war similar to the Crusades. Several military orders of the church, such as the Order of Santiago and the Knights Templar fought in the Reconquista.

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