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Moors

The Moors were an Islamic nomadic (Berber) people who brought Islam into North Africa in the 7th century. The name is derived from the Roman province of Mauretania which lay in present day Morocco and Western Algeria.

In 711 AD, some Moors invaded Visigoth Christian Spain. Under their leader Tariq ibn-Ziyad they brought most of Spain under Islamic rule in an eight-year campaign. They attempted to move Northeast across the Pyrenees Mountains but were defeated by the Frank Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732. The Moors ruled Spain, except for a small area in the northwest, and North Africa for several decades. The Moorish state suffered civil conflict in the 750s.

The country then broke up into a number of mostly Islamic fiefdoms, which were consolidated under the Caliphate of Cordoba. Christian states based in the north and west slowly extended their power over Spain. Galicia, Leon, Navarre, Aragon, Catalonia or Marca Hispanica, and eventually Castile became Christian in the next several centuries. This period is known for the tolerant acceptance of Christians, Muslims and Jews living in the same territories. Although, the Caliphate of Córdoba collapsed in 1031 and the Islamic territory in Spain came to be ruled by North African Moors.

In 1212 a coalition of Christian kings under the leadership of Alfonso VIII of Castile drove the muslims from Central Spain. However the Moorish Kingdom of Granada thrived for three more centuries. This kingdom is known in modern time for architectural gems such as the Alhambra. On January 2, 1492, the leader of the last muslim stronghold in Granada surrendered to armies of a recently united Christian Spain. The remaining muslim were forced to leave Spain or convert to Christianity. These descendants of the muslims were named moriscos. They were an important portion of the peasants in some territories, like Aragon, Valencia or Andalusia, to the 17th century.


Not to be confused with moor land.



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