Muslim Occupation al Andalus

In 711 an Islamic Berber raiding party, led by Tariq ibn Ziyad, was sent to Hispania to intervene in a civil war in the Visigothic Kingdom. Tariq's army contained about 7,000 Berber horsemen, and Tariq's commander, Musa bin Nusayr, is said to have sent an additional 5,000 reinforcements after the conquest. Crossing the Strait of Gibraltar, they won a decisive victory in the summer of 711 when the Visigothic King Roderic was defeated and killed on July 19 at the Battle of Guadalete. Musa, quickly crossed with Arab reinforcements, and by 718 the Muslims were in control of nearly the whole Iberian Peninsula. The advance into Western Europe was only stopped in what is now north-central France by the West Germanic Franks under Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732. The events of 711 - 718 AD are often known as the Moorish invasion of Iberia.

The following 781 years is often hailed as a period of enlightenment, a period when people of all religions and racial ethnicity lived together in harmony, a period that saw the introduction of new and exciting advances in medicine, agriculture, art and other sciences, overseen by a benevolent series of caliphs. As ever, some of that is true, some is propaganda inspired by politicians of the time and later politicians ‘spinning’ for their own ends, and some is just downright wrong. Our journey, from 711 AD to 1492 AD, attempts to show a balanced view.