Nine out of ten of what we call new ideas are simply old mistakes. — G. K. Chesterton

Reconquista

717 to 1492
Christian Kingdoms of Spain — versus — Moslem Moors

Early Conflicts — 717-778      Wars of Cordova — 756-1031     
Wars of the Almoravids — 1031-1130      Wars of the Almohads — 1147-1350     
Wars of Granada — 1300-1492      

The Moorish Empire was firmly established on the Hispanic Peninsula in 711 after the Battle of Guadalete. The conquering Mohammedan armies vanquished the Visigoth kingdom in a stroke, and quickly over-ran much of the Iberian Peninsula. Their expansion was not permanently checked until they contended with the Frankish kingdom north of the Pyrenees, twenty years hence. By that time, the Moors controlled all of the Iberian Peninsula outside of the mountainous Christian Kingdom of Asturia in the Northwest. The subsequent wars fought between Christian and Moslem powers on the Iberian Peninsula, over the next 750 years are often collectively referred to as the Reconquista, because the general trend over time was for the Christian kingdoms that originated in Asturia to gain territory from the Moslem Moors. But it took the Christians nearly 8 centuries to regain the region they had lost in one blow, and very few significant gains in territory were made until the 11th century.

reconquista
BOABDIL SURRENDERS GRANADA TO ISABELLA AND FERDINAND
The Wars of the Reconquista are relatively difficult to follow for those unfamiliar with Spanish history. They occurred intermittantly and were complicated by civil wars within both the Christian and Moslem kingdoms, so many of the battles were regional conflicts rather than part of a united Christian or Moslem front. There were Moslems subjects living in Christian domains and Christian subjects living in Moslem domains; treachery and politicking abounded, and independent Christian princes sometimes allied themselves with Moors against their Christian enemies, and visa versa. The battles considered here are primarily those between Christian and Moorish powers. Civil wars within the Christian and Moorish kingdoms that occurred contemporaneously are dealt with elsewhere.

The region under Moorish control on the Iberian Peninsula was referred to as Andalusia, and within a few years of the Moslem conquest it included all of Spain except the Northwesternmost corner. In 756 a new Emirate was formed, independent of the Caliph of Baghdad and Cordova was maintained as the Moorish capital. This city became a center for Moorish civilization and commerce, and for much of the ninth and tenth centuries, it was one of the most prosperous and cultured cities in Europe. It remained the Moslem capital until the early 11th century when Caliphate of Cordova collapsed entirely and the Moorish empire broke up into independent kingdoms. Soon afterward two empires arose and fell in Moslem North Africa (the Almoravids, and the Almohads), and their leaders attempted to gain control of the Moorish kingdoms in Iberia. These Berber princes held court in Seville for much of the 12th and 13th centuries, but never consolidated all of the Moslem kingdoms under their control. They spent much of their time fighting with Christian kingdoms to the north, and also with rival Moslem kingdoms. During these centuries the Christians made great gains against the divided Moors, and when Seville finally fell in 1248, the moslem kingdom of Granada, which had already been established as a vassal state of Castile became the last remaining Moslem stronghold. Granada continued to thrive for over two centuries before the last of the Moorish kingdoms was driven from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492 by Isabella and Ferdinand.

Early Conflicts : 717 to 778

reconquista.
BARONIAL CASTLE IN OLD CASTILE.
When the Moslems over-ran Spain in the early 8th century, a band of Christians, led by a Visigoth prince, took refuge in the mountain fastnesses of Northern Spain. In about 717, the Moors made an attempt to drive them out, but were soundly defeated, and chose to allow them to remain unmolested. This historic battle at the Cave of Covadonga, is probably more properly considered as part of the Moorish Conquest of Spain that of the Reconquista—except for the fact that it was a Christian victory, and assured the survival of a sovereign Christian realm within Hispania. It is therefore often considered the first battle of the Reconquista even though almost all serious contention between the Christian kingdoms of Spain and the Moorish powers was delayed for at least 200 years.

It was the Frankish kingdom in Gaul, rather than the isolated and overwhelmed Christians of northern Spain, that opposed the Moorish expansion over the Pyrenees. Even after their decisive victory over the Moors at Tours in 732, the Franks continued to fight the Mohammedans, particularly over the coastal region of Catalonia. In 778 however, the Franks, under the command of the great Christian warrior Charlemagne, withdrew all of their forces from Spain due to conflicts in Saxony. During their retreat over the pass of Roncevalles the rear guard was attacked, and this formed the basis of the legend of the "Death of Roland". With the retreat of the Franks, the king of Asturia was officially recognized by the Pope as a sovererign Christian kingdom within Spain. From this beginning, the kingdoms of Leon and Castile, which were to eventually reconquer all of Spain and Portugal for Christiandom, eventually emerged.



DateBattle Summary
722  
Battle of Covadonga (grananda ) Spaniards victory
Fought 717 near Covadonga between less than 1000 Christian Goths and Romans under Pelayo, and a much larger body of Moors under Al Kamah. The Christians drew the Moslems into an ambush and decisively routed the Moors. The Moors withdrew and left Pelayo in his mountain fastness, which became the foundation of the Christian kingdom of Austria.
  
778  
Battle of Roncesvalles (Spanish Campaign ) Basques victory
Fought 778 between the Franks, under Charlemagne, and the Basques and Gascons, under Loup II. The army of Charlemagne, retreating from Spain, was caught in the defile of Roncesvalles, in the Pyrenees, and the rearguard was totally annihilated, among those who fell being the famous Paladin, Roland.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Pelayo of Asturias Visigoth hero who survived Moorish conquest in 711 and founded the Christian kingdom of Asturias.
Bernardo del Carpio Legendary Spanish hero during the era of Charlemagne who battled both Moors and Franks.
Roland Nephew of Charlemagne and legendary hero of his wars. Died at Roncesvalles.


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Book Links
Rise of the Christian Kingdoms in  Story of the Greatest Nations: Spain  by  Charles F. Horne
Cave of Covadonga  in  Historical Tales: Spanish  by  Charles Morris


Wars of Cordova : 756 to 1031

reconquista
SPOILS FROM THE CAPTURE OF LEON
The Moorish kingdom of Cordova was founded in 756 by Abderrahman I, a prince of the Umayyad family who had fled from the Abbasids in Syria. A civil war between the two families was raging in the Moslem world, and he was welcomed in Spain, where the Umayyad dynasty still held sway. There he worked to establish a centralized government independent of the Abbasid family, which had assumed the Caliphate in the middle east. He was successful as a military leader as well as an administrator, and Cordova became an important commerical and cultural center. There were few major conflicts between Moors and Christians during the 8th and 9th centuries. During much of this time the prestige and power of Cordova was at its height, and the Kingdom of Asturia was able to defend its borders, but could not serious contend with the Moslems over disputed territory.

By the early tenth century however, the power of Cordova was beginning to wane, and the Kingdom of Asturia was becoming more powerful. Over a thirty year period, between 910 and 940, Asturia split into the two kingdoms of Leon and Castile, and in 939 Ramiro II of Leon succesfully stood against Abderrahman III at the battle of Alhandega (a.k.a Simancas). The caliphs that followed Abderrahman III were not of a high calibur, and infighting among the Moors continued until the rise of Almansur, a leading Moorish general, in 977. For the next 25 years Almansur reigned supreme, regained all Moslem territory lost to the Christians, and sacked many important cities. He fought other Moslem princes as well as Christians and succeeded again in bringing all of Moorish Spain under his dominion. We have few details of most of his battles but he is said to have fought in 57 campaigns was was victorious in almost all. Finally the Christian kingdoms united against him, and at the Battle of Calatanazor, he was defeated and killed.

The death of Almansur changed the aspect of things considerably. The royal family from whom he had usurped power was effectively dispossessed of the throne, and Almansur left no worthy heir. After his death his empire began to disintegrate, and thirty years later (1031), the Caliphate of Cordova collapsed entirely. With the Moorish leadership in dispute, the Christian kingdoms of Leon and Castile sought to regain the territory they had lost to Almansur, and when it was opportune, made alliances with Berber moslems to defeat the Moorish princes. Castilians fought alongside the Berbers when they sacked Cordova in 1010. And during the following century, the Christian kingdoms began to make their first real headway against the disunited Moorish kingdoms on their borders.



DateBattle Summary
844  
Battle of Clavijo (cordova ) Spaniards victory
Fought in 844 between Christian forces led by Ramiro I of Asturias, against a much larger force of Moors, led by Abderrahmen II of Cordova. Legend has it that Saint James intervened on the side of the greatly outnumbered Christians.
  
901  
Battle of Zamora (cordova ) Spaniards victory
Fought 901, between the Spaniards, under Alfonso the Great, King of the Asturias, and the Moors, under Abdallah, King of Cordova. The Moors were utterly routed, with heavy loss, Alfonso thereby extending his dominions as far as the Guadiana.
  
939  
Battle of Alhandega (cordova ) Spaniards victory
Fought 939, between the Moors under Abd at Rahman, and the Christians under Ramiro II of Leon. The Moors, 100,000 strong, were besieging Zamora, when they were attacked by Ramiro, who, aided by a sortie of the garrison, utterly routed them. In the battle 20,000 Moors fell, and 40,000 are said to have been drowned in the moat surrounding the city.
  
1002  
Battle of Calatanazor (cordova ) Spaniards victory
Fought July 1002 between the combined Christian armies of Castile and Leon, under Sancho and Alfonso V, and the Moorish forces under Almanzor. The Moors were routed by the Christians and Almanzor was slain.
  
1010  
Battle of Cordova (early ) Spaniards & Berbers victory
Fought August 1010, between the Berbers under Sulaiman, aided by the Spaniards under Sancho, Count of Castile, and the Moors of Cordova under Almudy. Almudy marched out of Cordova to meet the Berbers, but was utterly routed, with a loss of 20,000, including most of his principal Emirs.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Abderrahman I Last surviving Umayyad prince, escaped to Spain, became Emir of Cordova
Abderrahman III Powerful, long serving Emir who declared himself Caliph of Cordova.
Alfonso the Great Early king of Asturias who expanded kingdom and won victories against the Moors of Cordova.
Almanzor Renowned Moorish general. Leader of Moorish Spain at the height of its power near 1000 A.D.
Fernan Gonzalaz Count of Castile and legendary hero of Christian spain. Fought Moors at Simancas (Alhandega).


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Book Links
Conflict Between Moors and Christians in  The Romance of Spanish History  by  John S.C. Abbott
The Great Vizier  in  A Child's History of Spain  by  John Bonner


Wars of the Almoravids : 1031 to 1130

reconquista
MOHAMMEDAN KINGS FLEEING BEFORE THE BODY OF EL CID.
Almanzor, the Moorish general who conquered all opponents and brought the Moorish empire in Hispania to its greatest extent, made use of Berber armies from Africa in his wars against Leon and Castile. After his death in the early eleventh century, these Berber mercenaries did much to keep the Moors in a state of disarray, to the benefit of the Christian kingdoms. With the fall of Cordova in 1011, and the complete collapse of the Caliphate in 1031, the Moorish empire split into a dozen independent, and often warring, kingdoms. These independent fiefdoms were far more vulnerable to Christian encroachment than a united Moorish empire, and they suffered as much from internal divisions and civil war as they did from the Christians.

The early elevenths century, saw much civil war in both Moslem and Christian realms, and complicated skirmishes between various Berber, Christian and Moorish factions, but eventually, under Ferdinand I (the Great), the combined kingdoms of Castile and Leon began to rise to a dominant position among the Christian states, and expand its borders at the expense of both its Moorish and Christian neighbors. Alfonso VI was the son of Ferdinand, and after fighting his brothers to gain control of all of his father's dominions, he began to make serious incursions into Moorish territory.

Back in North Africa during this time, a new Berber dynasty, the Almoravids, had taken over Morocco and was increasing their sphere of influence. In 1085 Alfonso VI succeeded in capturing Toledo and its surrounding areas, and at that point, the Moslem princes of the Iberian Peninsula called upon the Almoravids to help them defend themselves against their Christian enemies. Another Berber army then arrived en force, led by the great Almoravid conqueror Yusuf, and dealt the Christians a serious blow at the battle of Zalaka (a.k.a Sagrajas). It was only a temporary set back however. The Christians recovered and spent much of the next century battling the Moors with considerable success.

The great hero of this era was El Cid, a loyal knight who first served Ferdinand I, and later his sons Sancho and Alfonso VI. Although many of his legendary feats have no reliable historical corroboration, he was undoubtedly the greatest military hero of his age, and an exemplar of all of the best traits of medieval chivalry. It is known with certainty that during the lifetime of El Cid, the Christian Kingdoms captured much Moorish territory, including the great Moorish strongholds of Toledo and Valencia.

Even after the death of Cid the the Moors continued to lose ground to the Christians. The Almoravids in Iberia never succeeded in uniting all of the Moslem princes under their sway, and in 1147, the Almoravids of Africa fell to the Almohad dynasty just as the disunited Moors in the far west surrendered Lisbon to Afonso I, the conquering Christian King of Portugal.



DateBattle Summary
1085  
Battle of Toledo (almoravids ) Spaniards victory
The capital city of the Moslem kingdom of Toledo was besieged by Alphonso VI, and defended by Jahaiah. After a long and celebrated siege, to which several French and other foreign warriors eagerly hastened, Toledo finally capitulated, 1085.
  
1086  
Battle of Zalaka (almoravids ) Moors victory
Fought October 26, 1086, between 40,000 Moors, under Almoravid, and 300,000 Christians, under Alfonso VI of Castile. The Spaniards were utterly routed, with enormous loss. Alfonso, at the head of 500 horse, cut his way out, and with difficulty escaped.
  
1094  
Battle of Valencia (almoravids ) Spaniards victory
This city was besieged by the Christian forces of El Cid in October 1092. A major battle occurred in December 1093, but Almoravids failed to drive the Christians away, and the city surrendered in 1094. The family of El Cid held the city for several years after his death in 1099, but the city was burned before being retaken by the Almoravids in 1102.
  
1097  
Battle of Consuegra (almoravids ) Moors victory
Fought August 15, 1097 between Castilians under Alfonso VI and the Almoravids under Yusuf. The battle turned against the Spaniards and Alfonso retreated to the Castle of Consuegra.
  
1105  
Battle of Huesca (almoravids ) Spaniards victory
Fought 1105, when the Moors, under Ali attacked the Spaniards, who, under Alfonso VI of Castile, were besieging Huesca. Ali was utterly routed, losing 10,000 killed in the battle.
  
1108  
Battle of Ucles (almoravids ) Moors victory
Fought 1109, between the Spaniards, under Don Sancho of Castile, and the Moors, under Ali. The Spaniards were defeated, with a heavy loss of the Christian chivalry, among the killed being Don Sancho, the son of Alfonso VI.
  
1139  
Battle of Ourique (almoravids ) Portuguese victory
Fought July 25, 1139 between a Portuguese army under Afonso Henriques and a much larger force of Almoravid Moors under Ali ibn Yusuf. Due to divisions within the Moorish army (and the legendary, miraculous intervention of St. James), the victory went to the Christians, and the Moorish army was destroyed. Afonso took immediate measures to have himself crowned the King of Portugal, independent of both Castile and Leon.
  
1147  
Siege of Lisbon (cordova ) Portuguese victory
The city of Lisbon was besieged from July 1 of 1147 by a Christian Portuguese army under Afonso I of Portugal, aided by a number of European crusaders. The city surrendered after a siege of four months, and Lisbon became the Christian capital of Portugal.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Ferdinand I King of Leon and Castile who expanded the domain of the Christian kingdoms.
El Cid Legendary Spanish hero of chivalry. Loyal to Alfonso VI in spite of treachery. Conquered Valencia.
Alfonso VI King of Castile, who with his great warrior El Cid, reconquered Toledo from the Moors.
Don Sancho Brother of Alfonso VI who contended with him for the throne of Castile, but was ultimately assassinated.
Yusuf ibn Tashfin Almoravid general who defeated Alfonso VI at Zalaka.
Afonso Henry First King of Portugal, defeated the Moors at Ourique and Lisbon.


Book Links
Story of the Cid for Young People  by  C. D. Wilson

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The Cid Campaedor  in  A Child's History of Spain  by  John Bonner
The Cid  in  Famous Men of the Middle Ages  by  John H. Haaren
Cid  in  Heroes Every Child Should Know  by  H. W. Mabie
Ruy Diaz, the Cid Campeador  in  Historical Tales: Spanish  by  Charles Morris
Spanish Hero  in  The Discovery of New Worlds  by  M. B. Synge
Cid Captures Valencia  in  European Hero Stories  by  Eva March Tappan


Wars of the Almohads, and Collapse of Moorish Spain : 1147 to 1350

reconquista
ALFONSO VIII HARANGUING HIS TROOPS ON THE EVE OF BATTLE.
The in 1147, the Almoravids of Africa fell to the Almohads, another war-like Berber dynasty whose early years were marked by extensive conquests and buchery. The Almohads sought to establish a presence on the Iberian peninsula and became involved in several civil wars between Moorish princes. They ended up taking Seville (1148), and Granada(1155), and in 1170 moved their capital to Seville. The Moorish empire remained divided however, and the Christians continued to attack Moorish territory. In 1195, the Castilians raided the province of Seville, and the Almohad Caliph of Morrocco crossed the sea with a large army, and dealt the Castilians a terrible blow at Alarcos.

For a time the tide turned in favor of the Almohads, but the next Almohad Caliph began to persecute infidels and conquer Christian cities, and so alarmed all of Christian Europe. In 1211, when the Almohads raised an enormous army of over 100,000 Berbers and Moors, Alfonso VIII of Castile led a united army of Spaniards and European Christians against them. The largest and most decisive battle of the Spanish Reconquista was fought July 16, 1212 near the plain of Las Nava de Tolosa in southern Spain. Alfonso VIII surprised the Mohammedans and caught them off guard. The entire Moslem army was slain and the power of the Almohads was nearly crushed in one blow. During the following forty years the Christian kingdoms of Castile, Portugal, and Aragon, under the leadership of (Saint) Ferdinand III all made significant gains at the expense of the Moors. They permanently captured the cities of Badojoz(1228), Majorca(1229), Jaen (1232), Cordova(1236), Valencia (1238), and Seville(1248), and gained almost all of the Iberian Peninsula, save Granada, a region on the southern coast.

The Moorish exiles who left the conquered cities fled south towards Granada. The ruler of Granada at the time was Mohammed ibn Nar and instead of fighting the Christians he sought to make an alliance with them. He agreed to become a vassal state and help the Castilians in their wars, including the overthrow of Moorish Seville. By proving his loyalty by taking arms against the his Moslem brethren, he won a reprieve from the King of Castile who thought it useful to have a Moslem "buffer" state in his realm. Mohammed founded the Nasrid dynasty, which lasted over 250 years and during his lifetime maintained peaceful relations with Ferdinand III, the victorious monarch of Castile.



DateBattle Summary
1195  
Battle of Alarcos (almohads ) Moors victory
Fought July 19, 1195, between the Moors under Yakub el Maasur, and the Spaniards under Alfonso VIII of Castile. The Spaniards were utterly routed, and very few escaped to Calatrava. The Moors claimed to have taken 30,000 prisoners.
  
1212  
Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (almohads ) Spaniards victory
Fought July 10, 1212, between a huge army of Moors, said by the chroniclers to have amounted to 600,000, under Mohammed al Nasin, and the allied armies of the Kings of Castile, Leon, Aragon, Navarre, and Portugal. The Moors were utterly routed, very few of their enormous host escaping from the field.
  
1248  
Battle of Seville (almoravids ) Spaniards victory
Capital city of the Almohads of Iberia was besieged by the Christians of Castile, and fell in 1248
  


Commander
Short Biography
Alfonso VIII Led the victorious Christians against the Saracens at the decisive Battle of Navas de Tolosa.
Mohammed al Nasin Leader of the Moors who was defeated at the critical battle of Las Navas de Tolosa.
Mohammed Alhamar(I ibn Nasr) Leader who made Granada a vassal state of Castile.
Ferdinand III of Castile King of Castile who conquered Seville and Cordoba, and brought Dominican and Franciscan orders to southern Spain.
Jacques I of Aragon


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Story Links
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The Battle of Las Navas  in  A Child's History of Spain  by  John Bonner
Las Navas de Tolosa  in  Historical Tales: Spanish  by  Charles Morris


Wars of Granada : 1300 to 1492

granada
GONSALVO DE CORDOVA FINDING THE CORPSE OF THE DUKE OF NEMOURS.
Granada had become a vassel state of the kingdom of Castile in 1236, and relations between the two kingdoms remained relatively stable while Mohammed Alhamar, the founder the kingdom of Granada, lived. After the deaths of Ferdinand III of Castile and Mohammed Alhamar however, both Castile and Granada suffered from palace intrigue and infighting. Conditions did not break out into serious warfare, however, until 1319 when a Castilian army attacked Granada, but was soundly defeated by the Moorish general.

The following years saw continued hostilities between Granada and Castile and after the defeat of Mohamed IV at the battle of Teba, he made an alliance with the emir of Morocco. The Moroccans took Gibralter and helped Granada in its wars against Castile, and in 1340 an enormous army from Africa crossed the straight. This was the first real threat to the Christian kingdoms' domination of Hispania, and resulted in a great battle at Rio Salado, in which the united Christians prevailed over the Moslem invaders.

For the following century, Granada and Castile settled in to a series of truces, occasionally interrupted by assassinations, or skirmishes, but both kingdoms suffered more from civil wars and internal dissention than from conflict between them. The second half of the fourteenth century saw Europe ravaged by the black death, and appallingly corrupt rulers, including the Infamous Pedro the Cruel, on the throne of most of the kingdoms of Spain. Granada therefore had over a century of reprieve while the Christians fought largely among themselves.

In 1474 Isabella and Ferdinand came to the throne, combining the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon. They spent the first years of their reign putting down divisions within their empire and with other Christian kingdoms, but by 1482 were prepared to undertake a concerted war against Granada, and to drive the last Moorish kingdom off the Iberian Peninsula. Granada was wracked at this time by internal divisions between Muley Abdul Hussan and Boabdil, and Spain was greatly strengthened by both the courageous military leadership of Ferdinand, and the astute statesmenship of Isabel. The army of Spain also included several of the most renowned soldiers of the age including Gonsalvo de Cordova, Hernan Perez del Pulgar and Ridgrigo Ponce de Leon.

The Castilian War against Granada lasted for over ten years years, and was carried on by a series of systematic attacks on fortifications, and seiges of cities. Granada is the Moorish word for Pomegranate, and Ferdinand famously said he would "pluck the pomegranate, seed by seed." The fighting between Christian and Moslem was furious when it occurred, but most of the war was marked by long seiges, and chivalric skirmishes between the two armies. The important port city of Malaga fell in 1487 and with it, the last chance for help from Africa. The ongoing conflict between the two rival claiments to the throne of Granada greatly impaired the kingdom's ability unite in resistance to Ferdinand. Granada, the capital city was finally besieged in 1491 and a year later, Boabdil, the last Moorish king, surrendered the city to the Spaniards.

The Moors who continued to live in the region under Spanish rule were called Moriscoes and pockets of resistance continued for several years after the fall of Granada. For a time many of the Moriscoes lived peaceably, but under worsening oppressions. Isabella and Ferdinand sought to drive non-Christians from their realm and in 1492 expelled all Jews from their dominions. The final expulsion of the Moriscoes was delayed until 1610, after a severe and bloody uprising. But the loss of both the Jews and Moriscoes, who were largely of the urban, craftsman, and merchant classes, was a great blow to Spain economically, especially over the long term.

Early Wars of Granada



DateBattle Summary
1319  
Battle of Granada (grananda ) Moors victory
Fought 1319, when a Spanish army, under the Regents Pedro and John of Castile, appeared under the walls of Granada. A sortie of 5,000 picked Moors, under Said Othman took place, and the Christians were utterly routed, both the Regents being slain.
  
1340  
Battle of Rio Salado (grananda ) Spaniards victory
Fought 1340 between the Spaniards, under Alfonso XI of Castile, and the Moors, under Abu 'l Hasan of Granada. The Moors, who were besieging Tarifa, were attacked by the Spaniards, who utterly routed them and relieved the town. Abu 'l Hamed fled to Africa, and Alfonso was enabled to recover Algeciras.
  
1344  
Siege of Algeziras (grananda ) Spaniards victory
Fought 1344, between the Portuguese and Castilians, under Alfonso IV of Portugal and Alfonso XI of Castile, and the Moors, under Abu Hamed, Emir of Morocco. The Christians won a signal victory, and Alfonso so distinguished himself in the battle as to earn the title of the "Brave."
  

Conquest of Granada



DateBattle Summary
1482  
Siege of Alhama (grananda ) Spaniards victory
This fortress, one of the ring of strong places protecting the Moorish capital, Granada, was surprised by a small party of Spaniards, under Juan de Ortiga, in the early morning of February 28, 1482. They scaled the ramparts unperceived, and opened the gates to the Spanish army. The garrison continued to defend the streets most obstinately, and it was only after hard fighting that the Spaniards mastered the town. An attempt was made to recapture the place by Abul Hasan, King of Granada, who set down before it, with 50,000 Moors. March 5, 1482. The garrison, under the Marquis of Cadiz, made a gallant defense, and on the 29th, Abul Hasan, alarmed by the approach of a strong relieving army under Ferdinand, raised the siege.
  
1482  
Battle of Loja (grananda ) drawn battle victory
Fought July 4, 1482, between the Spaniards, under Ferdinand the Catholic, and the Moors, under Ali Atar. The King, who was besieging Loja, was encamped on the heights of Almohacen, but finding the position insecure, decided upon a retreat. As he was retiring he was vigorously attacked by the garrison, and though, after very heavy fighting, he succeeded in withdrawing in good order, he lost most of his baggage and artillery.
  
1483  
Battle of Axarquia (grananda ) Moors victory
Fought March 20, 1483, between a Spanish force of 3,000 knights, and about 2,000 infantry, under the Marquis of Cadiz, and a strong Moorish force under Abul Hasan. The Spaniards were marching through the defile of Axarquia, on their way to attack Malaga, when they were assailed in front and flank, and totally routed, losing 800 killed and 1,600 prisoners. Among the killed were 400 men of rank.
  
1483  
Battle of Luncena (grananda ) Spaniards victory
Fought April, 1483, when the Moors, under Abdullah and Ali A tar, who were besieging Lucena, were attacked by a Spanish relieving force under the Comte de Cabra. The Moorish infantry fled, and Ali Atar, heading a charge of cavalry in a gallant attempt to retrieve the day, was slain, whereupon his following broke and fled, pursued by the Christians to the banks of the Xenil, where the majority were cut to pieces.
  
1487  
Siege of Malaga (grananda ) Spaniards victory
This city, defended by a Moorish garrison, under Hamet Zell, was besieged by the Spaniards, 60,000 strong, under Ferdinand the Catholic, April 17, 1487. After an obstinate resistance, lasting for four months, the garrison was forced to surrender, and Ferdinand and Isabella entered the city August 18th. The inhabitants were sold into slavery.
  
1498  
Siege of Baza (grananda ) Spaniards victory
This fortress, one of the outposts of Granada, was besieged by Ferdinand, with 95,000 Spaniards, in June 1489, and was defended by a strong Moorish garrison under Sidi Yahye. The town was very strong, and was gallantly defended, and the siege lasted until December, when the place was surrendered on honourable terms.
  
1491  
Siege of Granada (grananda ) Spaniards victory
On April 26, 1491, Ferdinand the Catholic, with an army of 50,000 Spaniards, sat down before Granada, the last stronghold of the Moors in Spain. The siege was carried on in somewhat desultory fashion, and in the early days one serious sortie was made by the inhabitants and garrison, who were, however, defeated, with a loss of 2,000 killed. The city held out until November 25, when Abdallah, the last king of Granada, capitulated.
  
1501  
Battle of Monarda   Moors victory
Fought March 18, 1501, between the Spaniards, under the Count di Cifuentes and Alonso de Aguilar, and the insurgent Moors. The Spaniards were largely outnumbered, and were overpowered by the rebels, suffering a disastrous defeat. De Aguilar was killed, fighting to the end.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Alfonso XI of Castile Led the Spaniards of Castile against the Berber Moors and routed them at the Battle of Rio Salado.
Ferdinand the Catholic King of Aragon who ruled united Spain with Queen Isabel. Drove the Moors out of Granada.
Isabel Pious and stalwart queen of Spain, unified diverse kingdoms, reformed finances, conquered Granada, financed Columbus.
Gonsalvo de Cordova Spanish general who fought in Granada and Italy; pioneered modern tactics of warfare.
Hernan Perez del Pulgar Spanish knight under Isabella and Ferdinand who gained famed during the Reconquista for daring exploits.
Ponce de Leon First Spanish governor of Puerto Rico. Explored inland regions of Florida while searching for the fountain of youth.
Muley Abdul Hussan Last Sultan of Granada. Fierce opponent of Christians, but lost control of Granada.
Boabdil Briefly replaced his father on the throne of Granada before surrending to Ferdinand.


Book Links
Isabella of Castile  by  O. O. Howard

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Story Links
Book Links
Conquest of Granada  in  The Romance of Spanish History  by  John S.C. Abbott
Philip II, III, and IV.  in  The Romance of Spanish History  by  John S.C. Abbott
The Moors at Granada  in  A Child's History of Spain  by  John Bonner
Border Warfare  in  A Child's History of Spain  by  John Bonner
The Fall of Malaga  in  A Child's History of Spain  by  John Bonner
The Fall of Granada  in  A Child's History of Spain  by  John Bonner
Ferdinand and Isabella  in  Story of the Greatest Nations: Spain  by  Charles F. Horne
Moors of Spain  in  Isabella of Castile  by  Oliver Otis Howard
Moorish War  in  Isabella of Castile  by  Oliver Otis Howard
Moorish War (continued)  in  Isabella of Castile  by  Oliver Otis Howard
Fall of Malaga  in  Isabella of Castile  by  Oliver Otis Howard
Siege of Granada  in  Isabella of Castile  by  Oliver Otis Howard
Fall of Granada—End of the War in  Isabella of Castile  by  Oliver Otis Howard
Moors Driven out of Spain—The Rise of Spain  in  The Story of Europe  by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
Key to Granada  in  Historical Tales: Spanish  by  Charles Morris
Knight of the Exploits  in  Historical Tales: Spanish  by  Charles Morris
Last Sigh of the Moor  in  Historical Tales: Spanish  by  Charles Morris
Last of the Moors  in  The Discovery of New Worlds  by  M. B. Synge


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Story Links
Book Links
The Last of the Moors  in  A Child's History of Spain  by  John Bonner
Last of a Royal Race  in  Historical Tales: Spanish  by  Charles Morris


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Image Links


Chivalric encounter between the Christians and Moors.
 in The Romance of Spanish History

Moorish homage to the Christian Queen.
 in The Romance of Spanish History

The last sigh of the Moor
 in The Romance of Spanish History

A Moorish Camp
 in A Child's History of Spain

The surrender of Granada
 in A Child's History of Spain

Boabdil surrenders
 in Famous Men of Modern Times

After a Moorish Victory
 in Famous Men of Modern Times

The spoils from the capture of Leon brought before Almanzor
 in Story of the Greatest Nations: Spain

King James the Conqueror setting out for the Balaeric Isles
 in Story of the Greatest Nations: Spain

Alfonso VIII. Haranguing His Troops upon the Eve of Battle
 in Historical Tales: Spanish

Gonsalvo De Cordova Finding the Corpse of the Duke of Nemours
 in Historical Tales: Spanish

The Mohammedan Kings Fleeing Before the Body of the Cid
 in European Hero Stories

The Cid overcame this knight
 in The Story of the Cid For Young People

And Muno turned to Suero as he lay on the ground, and lifted his spear against him
 in The Story of the Cid For Young People