Muslim Spain

The peripheral location with respect to the rest of Europe, however, in the twentieth century determined a long isolation for the country which, if on the one hand kept it extraneous to the Second World War, on the other it subjected it to the horrors of a bloody civil war. Forty years of regime (Francoism), which ended only in 1975, determined conditions of retreat of the Spanish nation with respect to the rest of Western Europe, from which Spain began to redeem itself by forging solid international relations and accepting the necessary socio-economic and political alignments that this entailed: in particular the full return to the European scene was decreed with the entry into the EEC (1986) and the adherence to the Maastricht (1992) and Schengen treaties(1995), until the adoption of the euro, which replaced the peseta on 1 January 2002. In this way, significant economic progress has been made, accompanied by a rebirth of cultural life, encouraged in turn by the considerable development of the tourism sector, as well as in the Mediterranean coasts and in the cities of art, in the two island provinces of the Balearics and the Canaries.


According to bridgat, the triumph of Islam in Spain was incredibly rapid. In 5 years the bands of Tā’riq and Mūsā, generals of the Caliphate of Damascus, arrived from Gibraltar to the Pyrenees and beyond. They were Arabs, Syrians and Moroccans, very different and divided among themselves, despite the common religion, and concerned only with seizing the lands confiscated from the vanquished Visigoths and the great landowners. They did not even think of subduing the indomitable bandit-shepherds of the Cantabrian mountains and in many cases came to terms with the local caudillos, limiting themselves to collecting taxes and duties, without modifying, therefore, the ancient and obstinate Spanish “cantonalism”.

The fights between them were endemic but in the century. VIII, who escaped the massacre of the Umayyad familyin Damascus, Prince ‘Abd ar-Rahmān (756-788) arrived in Spain, who, having broken the ties of political dependence with the East, laid the foundations of a new Ibero-Islamic State that was to last two and a half centuries, with moments of authentic civil splendor: the emirate and then (929-1031) the Caliphate of Cordoba. Not even in its maximum power (10th century), however, the state of Cordoba managed to unify the peninsula under the banner of Islam. The majority of his subjects always remained indigenous (Christians, Mozarabs, or renegades, muladí, relics of the ancient urban and artisan bourgeoisie of the previsigota era), capable of martyrdom for the faith, as in the times of Muhammad I (851-66), and even of rebellions, such as those of Toledo (853) and ‘Omar ibn Hafsun in the Ronda Mountains (899-917). Furthermore, the Mozarabs already had their own Romance language and a certain culture, especially in the ecclesiastical and monastic class (the Latin of Eulogio and Alvaro of Cordoba is one of the clearest of the European Middle Ages); and even if Islam triumphed over the peasants as far south as the Duero and the Pyrenees, in many cities (Zaragoza, Toledo, Mérida, etc.) the natives remained, on the whole, superior in every sense to the Muslim rulers. Add to the continuing discord between the latter, aggravated by the presence of mercenaries and slaves, by religious heresies and personal rivalries, al-Mansūr (or Almanzor, 939-1002). Even before the “official” disappearance of the caliphate, the political unity of Al-Andálus (as Muslim historians called Spain, saving the name of the disappeared Vandals from oblivion) ​​split into the so-called ” kingdoms of taife ” (from the Arabic taifa, gang, faction or party), each with its own dynasty and events. And if this was useful for art and culture (previously, in a certain way, monopolized by the splendid Cordoba, perhaps the most cultured and flourishing European city of the 10th century), in the political sphere serious consequences ensued that overturned the previous situation..

In fact, the Christian states that in the meantime had risen in the North were able to pass from the defensive to the offensive and carry on the Reconquista. (already crushed by al-Mansūr) up to Toledo (1085), often allied with Muslim kings against other taife (which, on the other hand, often made use of Christian allies against other Christians: as in the case of Cid Campeador, seen later from the poem as the Christian hero par excellence). The fall of Toledo provoked the intervention of the Almoravid sultanof Morocco, Yusuf (1086), who imposed his military superiority, supported by religious fanaticism, on various Hispano-Muslim “kings”, from Seville to Valencia, eliminating the Arab-Andalusian aristocracy, extinguishing almost entirely the artistic luxuriance. cultural and making life difficult for Christian and Jewish subjects, many of whom took refuge with Christian principles (an important fact in the cultural context). But soon the Almoravid empire also shattered and was overwhelmed by another wave of fanatical Berbers, the Almohads (in Spain from 1145 to 1223); these however could not annihilate the now strong Christian states (Castile, Aragon, Portugal) and suffered a decisive defeat at the Navas of Toulouse (1212). A direct consequence of this was the conquest of Andalusia by the Castilian king Ferdinand III (Cordova, 1236; Seville, 1248); at this point the Muslim dominion of Spain could be considered finished, even if the small kingdom of Granada still survived until 1492, in a situation of vassalage towards the now dominant Castile.

Muslim Spain