End of Europe's Middle Ages

The Reconquista

Map of Spanish Kingdoms, 1210

The Reconquista refers to the medieval Christian conquest of the Iberian peninsula (present-day Spain and Portugal) from the Moslem forces, who had invaded the area in 711. After 1000, the Moslem caliphate of Cordoba began to break into several smaller states divided by warfare. This provided the opportunity for Christian forces to initiate the Reconquista, led by the Kingdom of Castile which captured the important Moslem city of Toledo in 1085.

Map of Spanish Peninsula in 15th Century

The kingdom of Aragón also began its own offensive against the Moors in the early twelfth century and the union with Catalonia in 1140 furnished additional military strength. In 1212, Pope Innocent III proclaimed a full crusade against the Moors and the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in the same year provided the Christians with a decisive victory from which the Moors never fully recovered. Castile captured Cordoba in 1236 and Cadiz in 1262. By 1270, the Moors were confined to the small Kingdom of Granada in the south of Spain, which they held until 1492 when Ferdinand V and Isabella I completed the Reconquista by capturing the last Moorish enclave in Spain.

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The End of Europe's Middle Ages / Applied History Research Group / University of Calgary
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